In Q1 2018, we analyzed over 110 million ad impressions and over 5 million clicks on Google Search ads to uncover the average CPM, CPC, and CTR. Compared to last year, we found the average CPM for search ads increased by 13%, the average CPC increased by 117%, and the average CTR dropped by 25%.
Google Search Ads Benchmarks - Q1 2018
Search marketers on the AdStage platform spend, on average, $116.91 per thousand impressions (CPM) and $2.75 per click (CPC). The average click-through rate (CTR) for Search ads was 4.3%.
Download the Q1 2018 Paid Search and Paid Social ads Benchmark Report to see results for all the major ad networks.
CPMs back to previous levels
After a dip in Q4 of 2017, CPMs in Q1 2018 stabilized at $116.9, just a dollar below the averages we observed in Q3 2018, and up 13% from last year.
CPCs spike up 117% from last year
For the past two quarters, median CPCs for Google Search ads were continuously declining. The prices plummeted at the end of last year, averaging at $0.90 per click. This downward trend seems to be over; Search ads CPCs surged to $2.76 per click in Q1 2018.
CTRs show a steep decline from last year
After a dip in Q2 2017, Search ads CTRs rose up to the previous level, before dropping way below the 2017 average. Q1 2018 CTRs are 47% lower than they were at the same time last year.
Google Search ad trends in Q1 2018
As you can see, the prices for Google Search ads rose significantly in the beginning of 2018, while the click-through rates dropped by almost half compared to end-of-2017 results on the AdStage platform. It’s important to note that the AdStage benchmarks represent aggregated data from the accounts linked to our reporting platform, so the numbers don’t necessarily illustrate the larger Google AdWords trends.
Many factors can affect an individual CPM, CPC, and CTR. Internal factors like historical campaign performance and unique optimization strategies are obvious reasons these prices differ. In addition, the dynamic and fragile nature of the ad ecosystem, and a change in balance of supply and demand can drive the ad costs up and down very quickly. To learn more about the changes Google introduced to Search and Display ad campaign management earlier this year, check out our article “7 Important Changes to Google AdWords Reporting and Targeting in 2018.”
For more information on Q1 2018 paid advertising benchmarks, check out our blogs on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Or, download the full report to view the data across all major paid search and paid social networks.