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Your PPC Benchmark Guide for 2019 Planning

As you're working to finalize budgets and blueprints for 2019's marketing plan, it's always good to have a reference point to work off, and for that, we look to the data. Specifically 13.3 billion impressions and over 135 million clicks. If you haven't yet downloaded our Q4 2018 Benchmark Report to see what we found for median CPC, CPM, and CTR for Facebook ads (News Feed, the Audience Network, and FB Messenger), Google Ads (Search and Display), Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, YouTube, and Bing, you can do that here. Keep reading for a highlights preview plus recent platform updates that could affect your strategy for 2019. 


Bing CPC and CPM ended the year at a record low, while CTR jumped up slightly, Merkle said in its Q4 digital marketing report that "the future looks brighter for Bing," plus Ad Trend: Bing released new shopping-friendly features. Bing released Automatic Item Update for Bing Shopping Campaigns to keep product catalogs up-to-date, Flyers to showcase hot deals, multiple images in Product Ads to give customers the most complete info for products, and larger product images to show off important details. Read more.

Q4 2018 Bing ad performance data from  75MM impressions and  2MM clicks
Source: AdStage Inc.

Twitter's CPM dropped nearly a dollar Q/Q, the company finally revealed its user base numbers to a shocked audience, plus Ad Trend: Publishers can now reach global audiences through In-Stream Video Ads. In-Stream Video Ads were created to add incremental revenue for top publishers who wanted to make money off their videos on Twitter. Previously, In-Stream Video Ads were limited to the markets in which publishers are based, but many have a global audience they were missing out on. Twitter expanded the allowed reach to include all audiences, regardless of location, so publishers can now cash in on the entirety of their audience. More here.


LinkedIn CTR continued its upward climb ending the year up 36.7% from last quarter, Microsoft reported LinkedIn was seeing record levels of engagement among its 610 million registered users, plus Ad Trend: LinkedIn integrated with Google Campaign Manager. The partnership allows marketers to see LinkedIn ads alongside all other paid spend and reveal attribution for LinkedIn ads across all impressions and interactions measured across devices and platforms. Read more.

Q4 2018 LinkedIn ad performance data from 2B Impressions and 3MM Clicks 
Source: AdStage Inc.

In Q4, Google Ads Search CPC and CPM plunged, but so did CTR, plus Ad Trend: Google added new features to bring more impact to Display campaigns. Google debuted three features aimed at reaching new customers that are all in some way powered by machine learning. Dynamic prospecting with product feeds serves up ads that show products based on people’s interactions on Google and publisher sites in the network. The second feature, fine-tuned audience expansion, is used to manipulate reach to get more conversions at the same CPA. The third AI-powered feature is auto-generated custom intent segments, which greatly reduces the time spent on keywords by offering up umbrella segments like “kids’ clothes” that include updated lists of the most common keywords for that theme. More on Google here.


YouTube CPM dropped nearly $3, YouTube reached almost 2 billion monthly logged-in users, plus Ad Trend: Changes to engagement measurements for TrueView. Now, YouTube counts an ‘Engagement’ whenever a user clicks or watches 10 seconds or more of a TrueView for action ad, rather than 30 seconds when using maximize conversions or target CPA bidding. A ‘Conversion’ is counted when a user takes action on an ad within 3 days of an Engagement as opposed to the previous default of 30 days. Google said the changes are intended to give marketers faster ramp-up times for target CPA campaigns and more up-to-date reporting. Read more.

Facebook News Feed CTR remains way down Y/Y, analysts predict Facebook will grow video ad revenue by double digits, plus Ad Trend: Facebook added new ways to buy and deliver video ad campaigns. Facebook is going all in on video with new capabilities through In-Stream Reserve and ThruPlay. In-stream ads used to appear only in videos that met Facebook’s content guidelines, but advertisers can now select placements in advance and target audiences that have been verified by Nielsen. Within that same announcement came news about ThruPlay, which seeks to help stretch advertising budgets by charging only for the video ads that are watched to completion, or for at least 15 seconds. More Facebook numbers and news.
Q4 2018 Facebook News Feed ad performance data from 4.5B Impressions, 67MM Clicks
Source: AdStage Inc.

Instagram CTR ended the year up 120% Y/Y, see how people say Instagram positively affects their buying decisions, plus Ad Trend: Instagram debuted built-out Instagram Analytics. Advertisers can now: learn whether people who comment on or like posts have higher retention rates, compare the LTV of people who interact with your Instagram account vs those who don't, create and analyze the value of segments like “people who have commented on one of your posts,” and uncover audience overlaps with the people downloading your app, visiting your website, or engaging with your Facebook Page. More on Instagram. 

Be sure to read the Q4 2018 PPC Benchmark Report for additional ad performance trends. Check out our Benchmark Report page for the latest reports by quarter .   

AdStage Team