AdWords Cost Per Click Rises 40% Between 2012 and 2014

Have you been paying more per search click than you used to? So have a lot of advertisers. According to proprietary AdGooroo data, the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) on U.S. AdWords text ads has increased an average of 40% across 9 major industry categories between the first quarters of 2012 and 2014. The data measures desktop and tablet for 2014 and desktop only for 2013 and 2012. 

Rise in Average CPC US AdWords 2012-2014 - update AdGooroo


Increases in CPC were most dramatic in the Legal and Automotive categories, where advertisers paid an average of 100% and 83% more per AdWords click, respectively, than they did two years ago.

The category with the lowest increase in CPCs is also the largest in terms of Paid Search spend, Shopping & Classifieds, which primarily includes retailers. Between Q1 2012 and Q1 2014, the average CPC for Shopping & Classifieds advertisers rose just 7%, from $0.72 to $0.77. The next lowest category increase in CPCs was in Financial, which rose 11%.

Every other industry category studied experienced double digit increases in CPCs, including Education (31%), Health (42%), Home & Garden (29%), Telecommunications (35%) and Travel (18%).

The Yahoo! Bing Network

Rise & Decline in Average CPC on Yahoo Bing Q1 2013-Q1 2014 - update AdGooroo


Looking at average CPCs on the Yahoo! Bing Network in the U.S. for Q1 2013 to Q1 2014 (AdGooroo does not have Bing data for Q1 2012), we found that prices in 5 of the 9 industry categories were on the rise by an average of 18%.

The most substantial year-over-year increase was in the Education category, where CPCs rose 32%.  The smallest increase was in the Automotive category, which saw a single digit increase in CPC of 3%.

At the same time, four categories saw decreases in the average CPC on Yahoo! Bing from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014: Shopping & Classifieds (-5%), Telecommunications (-30%), Home & Garden (-9%) and Travel (-4%).

AdWords and Bing – A CPC Comparison

We also compared the average Cost Per Click on Google AdWords and the Yahoo! Bing Network in the 9 industry categories during Q1 2014. As AdGooroo found in our report Yahoo! Bing PPC Performance Metrics, advertisers pay a premium to gain access to AdWords’ higher volume of searchers and clickthroughs. On average, advertisers paid 93% more per click on AdWords than on Bing in the first three months of 2014. The most significant difference in price between the two search engines was in the Legal category (231%) and Home & Garden (160%).

 Note: This is an updated version of the original blog post with corrections appended.