Google Adwords conversion rate averages by industry [#ChartoftheDay]

A reminder of the importance of paid search marketing contrasting the search network with the display network

This chart gives an update to historical data on conversion rates in AdWords from the AdWords management platform Wordstream. It's part of new benchmarking paid search marketing statistics by industry. If you're considering paid search it gives you an idea of the conversion rates you can expect when making the business case. Of course, a test will show you rates specific to your market, type of keywords (Brand, generic, product, long tail, etc) and your proposition, but this gives an indication. The full report also covers clickthrough rate and cost to help you build conversion rate funnel spreadsheet models.

Average conversion rates 2016 adwords

About these AdWords benchmarks

  • Source: Although published by Wordstream this year, this report is based on a sample of 2,367 US-based WordStream client accounts in all verticals (representing $34.4 million in aggregate AdWords spend) who were advertising on Google AdWords’ Search and Display networks in Q2 2015. “Averages” are technically median figures to account for outliers. All currency values are posted in USD.
  • Industry sectors covered: Advocacy, Auto, B2B, Consumer Services, Dating & Personals, E-Commerce, Education, Employment Services, Finance & Insurance, Health & Medical, Home Goods, Industrial Services, Legal, Real Estate, Technology, and Travel & Hospitality.

Comparison to previous AdWords conversion rate data

We have kept this data for reference to show how conversion rates have changed. Note that previous results were true averages, so didn't include outliers. Here's a summary of the previous findings:

  • Average conversion rate for the search network in Q3 2012: 5.63%
  • Average conversion rate from the display network in Q3 2012: 4.68%
  • The Travel industry has the lowest conversion rates
  • Internet / Telecoms has the highest conversion rates across search & display.
  • The display network (ads outside of Google on publisher sites useful for generating awareness) generates 5x the volume of impressions but 1/5 of the clicks compared to the search network (searches within Google and its partners). 
  • Clickthrough rates are not covered by this research, but Wordstream suggest an average 2% to 5% paid search clickthrough rate for competitive industries and a 5%+ click-through rate for non-competitive industries for top positions with brand terms higher.

The thing to remember with the data above is that a conversion is not necessarily a sale it includes lead / data capture as well. While industry benchmarks are great if you are one of the bigger players in the industry be careful not to get too hung up on them, work to your own cost per sale and use such metrics as guides not absolutes. (view original post).

Share your thoughts

  • Looks like the numbers in the graphic are from 2012?!

  • Anne Taylor commented on March 18, 2016

    Adwords isrelated with the big data algorithm which has 200 broad factors. For reference you can read this

  • Wil commented on April 6, 2015

    The difference between a conversion defined as “contact request” vs. “download a white paper” is astronomical. We get quite a few students and job searchers researching our industry with gmail addresses for future employment purposes. When an agency was running it, the search terms report really shows this.
    Also, the conversion rate for a $10 consumer item will surely vary from a $100,000 dollar enterpise software implementation.

    Still it’s great to have broad baseline measures to compare. You gotta start somewhere 🙂

    • Thanks for your thoughts Wil – yes huge differences in B2B conversion rates for sure depending on offer.

  • Val Johnson commented on March 27, 2014

    That’s pretty interesting. For my company, the biggest problem with Adwords I’ve had was getting a good ROI on advertising. We’ve spent a little over $5000 but we weren’t getting any leads of people interested in buying our US-made Adirondack chairs. We started consulting with a company who basically told us though that our targeting was too broad and the way to go is lots of exact match keywords, consolidated ad groups (all our groups are less than 20 keywords now), and including lots of long-tail keywords. If you want, I’d recommend emailing him or what not if at least for the free PPC account audit, it helped us out and increased our sales a bit after the economy downturned here. His email is hope that helps!

  • Grace Minton commented on March 5, 2014

    There is so much to know in Google Adwords that the fastest results can come with just a campaign audit. Results Driven is doing them for free at 325-446-1507

  • Louise Bailey commented on June 10, 2013

    I agree with Agostino, however, it is very interesting to have an average on conversion rate by industry.

  • Agostino commented on November 23, 2012

    IMHO, most of data presented are interesting but the main problem with this infographic is that “conversion rate” includes all possible tipology: completed sales, leads generated, etc. I have little experience of Google Adwords but I feel that the kind of conversions differ from industry to industry (or rather it may be very different at single-firm level in the same industry).

  • Sam commented on November 15, 2012

    Is this data global or US-centric?

    Also, somebody didn’t proofread the Computer’s & Electronics cell.

    • Sam, Wordstream are a US company, so sure it is US-centric. We always try to explain source/methodology, but the problem with infographics is that they are often limited on this info.
      Felt it was still useful to share though.


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