This report is based on a sample of 18,316 North American-based LOCALiQ client campaigns in the outlined business categories that were running search advertising across all search engines between May 1, 2020, and June 25, 2021. Each business category includes a minimum of 69 unique active client campaigns. “Averages” are technically median figures to account for outliers. All currency values are posted in USD.
In today’s day and age, when we want to buy something, our knee-jerk reaction is to head to Google (or whatever search engine we use). Whether we know exactly what we want, are looking for nearby businesses, or want to do more in-depth research, 71% of buyer journeys begin with a search engine.

bidding strategy can impact this metric.
  • We found the average cost per click for search ads across all industries to be $3.53, ranging from $1.40 to $8.67.
  • Industries with the lowest CPC include travel ($1.40), animals and pets ($1.60), and sports and recreation ($1.73).
  • Industries with the highest average CPC include attorneys and legal services ($8.67), dentists and dental services ($6.49), and home and home improvement ($5.75).

On the other hand, sports and fitness have historically had lower click-through rates than what we’re seeing here, and the personals vertical has shown significantly higher click-through rates than these numbers.

Average click-through rate for search advertising

ad copy, and offers for your ads. The metric can be misleading by itself, so be sure to analyze it with respect to other metrics (like conversion rate).
  • We found the average click-through rate across all industries to be 6.18%, ranging from 3.84% to 10.67%.
  • Industries with the highest average click-through rates include arts and entertainment (10.67%), travel (8.54%), and real estate (7.75%)—with sports and recreation just behind that (7.73%).
  • Industries with the lowest average click-through rates include attorneys and legal services (3.84%), home and home improvement (4.21%), and dentists and dental services (4.69%).

In our previous benchmarks reports, we have consistently found the highest click-through rates in the travel and arts industries, and the lowest with legal, health, and home industries. 
In other words, consumers have the highest purchase intent when on search engines. This is why paid search ads are so highly effective—and yet so competitive. 

Average cost per lead for search advertising

full search ad benchmarks report. You may also be interested in these vertical-specific advertising benchmarks:

Data source

These findings are consistent with our past benchmarks reports, with the legal industry having the highest cost per click and sports and fitness being among the industries with the lowest.

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