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Study: What 8.5B Impressions, 93M Clicks Say about Digital Ad Performance

A new digital advertising benchmark study from AdStage analyzed 8.5 billion impressions and 93 million clicks on digital ads across Google (search and display), Facebook (Newsfeed), Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Bing and YouTube. The findings identify the channels that are best for driving actions and/or for keeping costs down.

Q2_2018_AdStage_CPC
Source: AdStage, “PPC Benchmark Report – Q2 2018”

The average cost per click (CPC) from all the channels analyzed above is $2.20. As a general matter, marketers should use this average as a reasonable CPC for digital ads. From a channel perspective, Facebook, Google (display) and Twitter offer the lowest CPC while LinkedIn, YouTube and Bing have the highest.

One way to interpret the data is that the lower CPC rates represent channels that can drive clicks for less. If clicks and traffic to your website are your KPIs, then lower CPCs would make sense for you. But click fraud is variable across channels. Additionally, it is important to look at these CPC figures along side click through rates (CTR).

Q2_2018_AdStage_CTR
Source: AdStage, “PPC Benchmark Report – Q2 2018”

The average CTR across these channels is 1.45% with more channels falling below the average than above it.

Google (search) and Bing sit at the top because of their ability to publish ads that are relevant to keyword searches. In other words, by aligning ads with consumer intent, search ads offer a more relevant and engaging advertising option.

Facebook is also on the higher end of the CTR spectrum. This is largely a function of massive reach and extensive targeting capabilities. As Facebook reduces ad density and focuses more on relevance, it is likely that CTRs will continue to improve. On the downside, higher CTRs could drive the CPCs up.

LinkedIn is the most expensive option with the lowest CTRs. The company might justify this because of its prominence as a B2B channel, where sales in this environment typically have greater value than the purchase of a low-price CPG for example.

These figures represent industry benchmarks and averages. They’re useful but don’t speak to other variables that can significantly impact performance, such as target audience, copy/creative, quality score, optimization, bid amount, bidding strategy, frequency, etc. Those factors will ultimately determine how any individual campaign performs.

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