PPC Statistics for 2021

By Kylie Moore

2020 was a roller coaster year for businesses, and many are looking for fast, effective ways to get their brand, products, and services in front of qualified audiences.

One of the most efficient ways to do this is through pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements. PPC ads have become a critical component of many companies’ digital strategies. PPC is a form of digital advertising whereby a digital ad is presented to internet users based on a formula of terms entered into a search engine. 

These ads appear alongside, atop, or below organic search results relevant to whatever the user is searching for. Companies bid on different variations and combinations of search terms to appear for, and measure the cost-per-click (CPC) for each conversion driven by their ads. 

Are you interested in learning more about PPC stats and how consumers and businesses alike use paid ads? Here are 120+ PPC statistics you need to know in 2020:

How do People Feel About & Interact with PPC Ads?

Do users recognize paid ads?

  • 90% of internet users see Google ads (Websitebuilder, 2020)
  • 65% of buyer-intent keywords are paid clicks (MARKINBLOG, 2019)
  • 46% of Internet users can’t readily tell the difference between pay per click advertising and links returned organically from searches (MARKINBLOG, 2019)
  • 75% of users click on ads to find authentic and relevant information (Curvearro, 2020)
  • 75% of people say paid ads make it easier to find what they need (WebFX, 2020)
  • 77 percent of the respondents said they’re confident they can recognize search advertisements in the results (Clutch, 2018)
  • More than 50 percent of people between the ages of 18–34 can’t differentiate between an ad and an organic result on Google (Search Engine Land, 2018)
  • 57.5 percent don’t recognize Google ads. 34.8 percent recognize them but don’t click on them, and 7.7 percent recognize paid ads but do click them (Search Engine Land, 2018)
  • Only 1% of consumers actually have a negative appreciation of PPC advertisement (Marketing Expertus, 2020)
  • People aged 18-24 have 75% of the attention span of the 65+ demographic when it comes to watching Facebook ad videos (SmallBizGenius, 2019)

How often do people click on paid ads?

  • 63% of individuals said they’d click on a Google ad (Askmedigi, 2020)
  • 33% of users click on a paid search ad (GoRemotely, 2019)
  • Text ads the most popular with 49% of users clicking them (Search Engine Land, 2019)
  • 49 percent of people said they click on text ads; 31 percent on Shopping ads; and 16 percent on video ads (Search Engine Land, 2019)
  • About four times as many people are more likely to click on a paid search ad on Google (63%) than on any other search engine – Amazon (15%), YouTube (9%), and Bing (6%) (Clutch, 2019)
  • Google Ads results receive 65% of the clicks that started with buying keywords, while organic results only receive 35% (Askmedigi, 2020)
  • PPC visitors are 50% more likely to purchase something than organic visitors (Unbounce, 2019)
  • In a survey of 506 people who said they have clicked on a paid search ad in the past month, 75% said the ads make it easier to find information they’re looking for, and they’re most likely to click on ads that answer their questions (Clutch, 2018)
  • 70% of consumers say it’s important to include directions and a call button in ads (Social Media Today, 2019)
  • 49 percent said they click on text ads; 31 percent on Shopping ads; and 16 percent on video ads (Clutch, 2018)
  • 63 percent said they’d click on a Google ad, while just 15 percent said they’d click an ad on Amazon, 9 percent on YouTube and 6 percent on Bing (Clutch, 2018)
  • Video ads are clicked 73% more than display banners (Sativant, 2019)
  • An average Facebook user clicks on 11 ads per month (Websitebuilder, 2020)
  • 52% of online shoppers who click on or view paid advertisements call that advertiser right after browsing  (SmallBizGenius, 2019)
SERP google ads for used cars

How do People Search Online?

Marketing world & search engine results

  • In 2016 an Adobe representative remarked that of their digital marketing research …76% of people feel that marketing has evolved 60 years in the past 3 years (Craig McConnel, 2019
  • Search engines drive 93% of all website traffic (Omnicore, 2020)
  • 53% of users abandon sites that take longer than three seconds to load (SmallBizGenius, 2019)
  • 90% of people haven’t made their mind up about a brand before a search (Review 42, 2020)
  • More than 36% of all clicks to American advertisers come from overseas (Google Economic Impact, 2019)
  • 66% of buyer-intent keywords are paid clicks (Wordlead, 2019)
  • 90% of consumers say they trust online reviews (MARKINBLOG, 2019)
  • By 2022, 82% of all business and consumer Internet traffic will come from videos, up from 75% in 2017 (Single Grain, 2019)
  • The top PPC search engines in order are Google, Yahoo, and Bing (MARKINBLOG, 2019)

More and more people rely on “local”

    • “Near me” searches saw a 500% growth between 2016 and 2018 (Atomic Reach, 2019)
    • 46 percent of Google searches are seeking local information (Atomic Reach, 2019)
    • Nearly 30 percent of searches for something in a specific location will result in a purchase (Valve+Meter, 2020)

How people use Google to search in 2020

How people use other search platforms in 2020

  • $1 million is Pinterest’s expected ad revenue in the U.S. in 2020 (eMarketer, 2019) and 64% of Pinterest users described the platform as a place to find ideas, products or services they can trust (Pinterest, 2019)
  • Bing handles 6 billion searches per month (99firms, 2020)

Emergence of voice-based search

Mobile Searches & PPC Ads

The overwhelming majority of Americans own some type of cell phone, and of that 81% own smartphones with internet capabilities. 

Digital marketers have seen a slow but steady transition from searches on desktop and laptop computers to ones done on a mobile device. As many Americans shift their reliance from computer to phone, digital advertisers need to take notice:

SERP and social media PPC ads

Turning mobile ad impressions into conversions

  • 91% of smartphone owners made a purchase after seeing a relevant ad (Review 42, 2020)
  • 76 percent of people who search for something nearby on a smartphone will visit a business within one day (Valve+Meter, 2020)
  • Of all mobile customers, 70% call their target business directly through Google Ads (SmallBizGenius, 2019)

How are Businesses using PPC Advertising?

  • 32% of companies use PPC to sell products directly to consumers (WebFX, 2020)
  • 65% of small to mid-sized businesses have a PPC campaign (WebFX, 2020)
  • 72% of companies haven’t looked at their ad campaigns in over a month (Neil Patel, 2019)

How much do businesses spend on PPC advertising?

  • Companies spent $106.5 billion on search advertising globally in 2019 (Statista, 2019)
  • $161 billion is the amount display advertising accounted for in 2019, making it the largest ad spend share (Statista, 2020)
  • $132 billion is how much search advertising spending is projected to grow worldwide by 2022 (Statista, 2020)
  • $46 million is how much search ad spending accounts for in the U.S. in 2020 (Statista, 2019)
  • The US retail industry spent $27.58 billion on digital advertising in 2019 (Curvearro, 2020)
  • Small businesses using Google Ads spend $9,000 – $10,000 monthly (GoRemotely, 2019)
  • The average yearly cost of PPC is between $108,000 and $120,000 (SmallBizGenius, 2019)
  • 80% of marketers now allocate at least some ad budget to search, social, display, and remarketing ads (Social Media Today, 2019)
  • 40% of businesses would like their PPC budgets to be bigger (SmallBizGenius, 2019)
  • 64% of brands are planning to increase their PPC budget in the next 12 months (State of PPC 2019/2020, 2019)
  • 39% is how much paid search accounted for in advertisers’ budgets (Search Engine Journal, 2019)
  • 50% of programmatic display ad spending went to banners, video, and other display ad units across social networks in 2019 (eMarketer, 2019)
  • 85% of total digital display ad spending in 2020 is projected to be programmatic advertising (eMarketer, 2019)
  • 16% of advertisers’ budgets is display advertising (Search Engine Journal, 2019)

How big are search platforms getting thanks to pay-per-click advertisements?

  • 96% of brands are spending money on Google Ads (State of PPC 2019/2020, 2019)
  • Google Analytics is the top SEO tool used by marketers (Hubspot, 2020)
  • Google Ads is currently the biggest provider of search advertising on the market (Statista, 2020)
  • For every $1 spent on the Google Ads platform, brands make up to $2 on average (GoRemotely, 2019)
  • $8 for every $1.60 spent is what businesses earn on average with Google Ads (WebFX, 2020)
  • $1.16 is Google’s average CPC (WebFX, 2019)
  • 96% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising (Curvearro, 2020)
  • Google and Facebook still hold the largest share of total U.S. digital ad spending, with 37.2% and 22.1% (AdAge, 2019)

Measuring PPC Results

Search engines and social platforms are serving up more and more ads to potential customers each year. With the seemingly exponential growth of paid ads on these platforms, businesses must be seeing excellent returns to justify the ad spend, right? 

  • 74% of brands say PPC is a huge driver for their business (State of PPC 2019/2020, 2019)
  • 79% of marketers say PPC is hugely beneficial for their business (Hanapin Marketing, 2019)
  • $162.03 is the average ad spending of an internet user in the U.S. in 2020, up 10% from last year (Statista, 2020)
  • Consumers spend 10 percent more money in a store if they have clicked on the retailer’s Google search ad before visiting (Valve+Meter, 2020)
  • 80% is about how much search ads can increase brand awareness (WebFX, 2020)
  • Remarketing increases conversion by 70% (Marketing Expertus, 2020)
  • Google Ads alone reaches a network of more than $2 million websites and applications (Valve+Meter, 2020)

Average conversion rates on PPC ads

  • Click-throughs from PPC results convert at a 1.5 times higher rate than their organic counterparts (Atomic Reach, 2019)
  • Leads from search engines have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (ex. cold-calling, direct mail, etc.) have a 1.7% close rate (Junto, 2019-2020)
  • 65% of advertisers say their company’s use of shoppable images within search will increase in 2019 (Search Engine Journal, 2019)
  • Retailers can raise conversions by 16 percent when they include cross-device data (Valve+Meter, 2020)
  • The most effective PPC channels are text ads, remarketing and mobile (Valve+Meter, 2020)
  • 32% of advertisers say that video is the most effective social ad format, followed by image ads at 26%, Instagram Stories at 23%, and carousel ads at 19% (Search Engine Journal, 2019)
  • When paused, 89% of search ads are not replaced with organic clicks (99firms, 2020)

Conversion rates for social media & mobile app ads

  • 65% of B2B companies have acquired customers through LinkedIn ads (WebFX, 2020)
  • 91.69% of social media advertisers opted for Facebook (99firms, 2020)
  • The average CPC for Facebook ads is $1.72 (SmallBizGenius, 2019)
  • Facebook’s medium CPC for the first quarter of 2020 was $0.78, a 2.6% decrease since Q4 2019, but a 4% increase YoY (AdStage, 2020)
  • Instagram saw a median CPC of $3.35 in the 1st quarter of 2020, an increase of $1.82 from the previous quarter, while the majority of advertisers recorded median CPCs between $3.00 and $3.50. That equates to a roughly 118% increase from the fourth quarter, but a 93% decrease year over year (AdStage, 2020)
  • Twitter’s median CPC in the first quarter of 2020 was $0.58, which was up $0.32 cents from the fourth quarter of 2019. Similarly, their CPC was up 47% year over year (AdStage, 2020)
  • Only 4% of social marketers in the U.S. are using TikTok (Business 2 Community, 2020)
  • $935 billion is what mobile apps are projected to generate in revenues for 2023 via paid downloads and in-app advertising (Statista, 2019)

Conversion rates for Google Ads

  • 80% of all companies focus on Google Ads for PPC (WebFX, 2020)
  • Google’s display campaigns reach more than 80% of the global internet audience (99firms, 2020)
  • 98% of advertisers rate Google as most trustworthy with a 4 or 5 out of 5 on the trust index (Search Engine Journal, 2019)
  • The average click-through rate in Google Ads is 3.17% for the search network and 0.46% on the display network (WordStream, 2019)
  • 84% of advertisers who use paid search are currently using or planning to use Google’s new responsive search ads (Search Engine Journal, 2019)
  • The average cost-per-click across all industries in Google AdWords on the search network is $2.69. The highest cost-per-click is found in the legal industry, while the lowest cost-per-click is found in the dating and personals industry (Valve+Meter, 2020)
  • The highest average click-through rate in Google AdWords is found in the dating and personals industry, while the lowest click-through rate is found in the legal industry (Valve+Meter, 2020)
  • While the average click-through rate for PPC advertisements is only 2 percent, the average click-through rate for the top paid result on the screen is almost 8 percent (Valve+Meter, 2020)
  • The average CTR is higher with Google Ads than with Bing Ads. A paid ad on the first position on the first page of Google has a CTR of 7.11% (99firms, 2020)
  • Paid ads have an 11.38% CTR on Google (Askmedigi, 2020)
  • Google ads experienced a first quarter median CPC of $1.28, an 8.5% increase from the previous quarter but a 8.2% decrease year over year (AdStage, 2020)

PPC During Covid-19

Covid-19 has changed the way many companies do business. From trimming budgets and furloughing or laying off employees, to ramping up production to meet growing demand, no two businesses have had identical experiences during the pandemic.

Business management and office supplies, non-profits, medical advertisers, as well as beauty, skincare, and gifts have all experienced a positive increase in PPC engagement during the pandemic.

Business management and office supplies during Covid-19

  • Overall, business management searches grew by 23% since February 23 (Wordstream, 2020)
  • Searches for office supplies increased 90%, paid search ad clicks increased 35%, and search conversion rates increased 41% (Wordstream, 2020)
  • Packing and shipping supplies more than doubled their search ad conversions (up 123%) and search ad conversion rate (up 107%) (Wordstream, 2020)

 Non-profits PPC during Covid-19

Medical advertisers seeing strong spike in performance during Covid-19

Retail and beauty PPC advertisements during Covid-19

  • Skin care has seen a 3% decrease in search CPC, 21% increase in search CVR (Wordstream, 2020)
  • Spa care has seen a 20% decrease in search CPC, 41% increase in search CVR (Wordstream, 2020)

Miscellaneous industry PPC ads impact during Covid-19

  • On-demand media has seen a 102% increase in search ad conversions 
  • (Wordstream, 2020)
  • Searches for cards and greetings have seen a 15% increase in conversion rate 
  • (Wordstream, 2020)
  • Searches for gift baskets have seen a 30% increase in conversion rate
  • (Wordstream, 2020)
  • Searches for floral arrangements have seen a 43% increase in conversion rate 
  • (Wordstream, 2020)
  • Real estate listings and agents have seen a 15% increase in CPC but a 25% and 30% decrease in CVR, respectively 
  • (Wordstream, 2020)

Which industries PPC ads have been negatively impacted by Covid-19?

On the flip side, Covid-19 has negatively impacted thousands of businesses across the United States. Many have struggled to stay afloat as customers and conversions are on the decline.

Travel and tourism

Bars and restaurants

Live entertainment


Everything Else You Need to Know About PPC Ads in 2020

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