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How Google Ads Benchmarks Have Shifted for Various Industries Post Covid-19

Contributors: Amol Ghemud
Published: June 9, 2021

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Covid-19 has changed everything & around the world, be it our daily lives, priorities, our jobs, businesses, and the way we spend our money.

The pandemic has impacted varied upshots on different aspects of life and the economy. Advertising & Marketing are no exceptions. Different Industries have seen huge highs & lows and are still thinking of ways to come out of the crippled state.

Advertising benchmarks or key performance indicators (KPIs) are the crucial metrics marketers use for specifying the parameters of digital campaigns and their other aspects like budget, creatives, and the success of campaign objectives. The key to successful digital marketing is a progressive trial, calculative risks, continuous evolvement, and fine-tuning of marketing & advertising strategies.

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Knowledge of important digital marketing benchmarks helps marketers identify effective advertising fundamentals and optimize campaigns to run successfully. 

Google releases these vital KPI benchmarks intermittently for different industries & sectors, like Beauty & Personal Care, Education, Finance, Food & Groceries, Health & Medical, Real Estate, Retailers, Sports & Fitness, and Travel & Tourism to name a few.

Here is a peek into advertising KPI benchmarks compiled through data collected from across industries:

Average CTRs Have Increased During COVID-19

The average CTR (click-through rate) of PPC ads has increased during and after the pandemic, specifically on Google search campaigns.

Google Search5.90%
Google Display0.46%
Google Shopping0.77%
Bing Search3.24%
Bing Shopping1.27%

Google Ads CTR Benchmark

Many industries saw a surge in the number of Impressions & clicks during the COVID wave. Industries like Food & Groceries and Charities & Non Profits, saw a  high in CTR, previously never reached. And as most of the advertisers pulled back in the pandemic, cost-per-clicks have also seen a dip in PPC advertising.

Image & Data Source

Decline In The Average Cost Per Click (CPC) During Pandemic

Some industries like Food and Restaurant Business noted lower & below average CPCs as ad competition was less competitive due to temporary closures and those remaining, limited their services to only “Take-Out” and “Delivery”.

Surprisingly, professional services industries like Legal, Real Estate, Medical & Health, etc., are seeing increased competition and Cost Per Click.

Legal Services has seen a spike in Cost-Per-Click, during lockdown when people were bound to remain at home & the major population is still spending time online or working from home.

Image & Data Source

Effect On Average Conversion Rates (CVR) During COVID-19

During the pandemic, the Google Ads Conversion Rates across industries have seen a tremendous change, and the Avg. Conversion Rate in 2021 is at 3.75% on the Search Network and 0.77% on the Display Network. Search Network CVR has seen a little increase and on the contrary GDN CVR has seen a drop.

Conversion Rates

Average Cost Per Action (CPA) After Covid-19

Post-COVID, the search network Avg. CPA has seen an unexpected decrease in a long time, and that too, lower than Display Network.

The current average CPA on Search across all industries is $56.11 whereas it is $90.80 for GDN.

The Automobile and Vehicles industry had the lowest CPA at $26.17 and the Computers & Electronics industry saw the highest average CPA at $101.40.


Industry Trends Post COVID-19

As is evident with data over the years, Advertising spend has been and presumably will increase over time. But as the drop in Search CPA & CPC, and increase in CTR & CVR data over the period suggests, Google’s Search Network will always have an upper hand over Display, because of the HIGHER INTENT of the active user on Search when they precisely type their requirement.

The Top Gainer Industries:

The Dating & Personal Services industry is leading the pack with Avg. CVR over 9%, followed by Legal Services, Automobiles, and Consumer Services.

Nonprofits and Charities have seen a 20% increase in search ad conversion rate and a 23% increase in search ad conversions in these difficult times. The Health and Medical industry has also noticed a significantly higher than usual CVR.

During these uncertain times, with people working-from-home, Business Management, Office Supplies, Packing and Shipping Supplies saw a two-fold rise in the search ad conversions.

The Beauty and Personal Care industry is also seeing much higher CVRs with people focusing on self-care during the pandemic.

Another industry that saw a boom with doubled-up conversions is On-Demand Media, with people confined to their homes and spending more time on digital entertainment.

Industries With Average Google Ads performance

The Real Estate & Housing Market industry is seeing a steady decline in search traffic & conversion rates in the Construction & Property development sector while real estate agents and brokers have observed an approximately 30% increase in search & conversion rate.

Moving and relocation services are also witnessing some rise in their search volume at decent CTR & spend.

Home Furnishings & Home Improvement industry data is kind of consistent. Economic uncertainty has not pulled down the curtains. People aren’t spending on high-value products & services but search & conversions are ensuing on home furnishings & small appliances.

The Automotive industry is slightly consistent with no major fall but saw a drop of around 30% in the first quarter accounting for the seasonal lull in March and possibly pandemic uncertainty. Search trends and conversions are more aligned towards vehicle maintenance & repair works.

The Retail industry, which was expected to soar through e-commerce has been consistent during the pandemic owing to financial insecurity, even though more and more people have shifted towards online shopping for their needs. This low in Retail industry CVR has been evened out by retail giants like Amazon etc. as they have towed their advertising budgets on Google Ads, resulting in reduced CPC.

The Jobs and Education sectors are seeing search traffic on careers and vocational training, however, the high conversions look bleak owing to the temporary closure of institutions because of the ongoing pandemic. People seem more inclined towards eLearning & online training courses.

Industries That Suffered And Continue To Take A Hit

The Travel and Tourism industry is still trying to recover from the blow that COVID-19 posed last year to the entire world. Though domestic travel restrictions are easing, there still are stringent controls on international travel, hence not much search is happening around travel and bookings. There has been a huge decline in Travel conversion rates post-COVID and searches on flight delays, flight cancellations, flight restrictions, etc. are further burning a hole in pockets. Many travel advertisers have either pulled back their budgets or paused their operations for a while.

Hotels, Bars and Restaurants: Though COVID curbs are lifting in a few countries, people are still not very keen on visiting these places yet. Hence booking conversions and related searches are still low resulting in a Search Ads CVR drop of -59%. Live Entertainment & Conferences have also seen a decline of 30% in their conversion rates.

The Industrial and Manufacturing sector has also witnessed a slowdown post-COVID outbreak. It’s not just Search traffic and CVR that has dropped; the Cost Per Click has also increased by 5%.

We will further observe Google Benchmark changes in the coming days & the shifting strategies in marketing to help business and online PPC campaigns. And hopefully, the world will come out of the pandemic completely and life will be NORMAL soon. Until then, keep safe and strive to survive.

How to Strategize Highly Profitable Google Ads?

Google ads have the potential to grow your business exponentially only if you know the technique of building the right campaign.

About the Author

amol ghemud
Optimizer in Chief

Amol has helped catalyse business growth with his strategic & data-driven methodologies. With a decade of experience in the field of marketing, he has donned multiple hats, from channel optimization, data analytics and creative brand positioning to growth engineering and sales.

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