Stop Using Those Old Click-Through-Rate Benchmarks

Ever since I began my digital advertising career in 2009, I have heard the same two click-through-rate (CTR) metrics recycled year after year – benchmark CTR for Search is 1% and benchmark CTR for Display is 0.1%. Even though I see these two metrics cited today on a regular basis, these benchmarks surely must have changed as the landscape around them has changed. After a little research, it’s obvious that these metrics are indeed out of date!

According to a recent blog post from WordStream’s Mark Irvine, the new overall benchmark CTRs are much stronger.

The average CTR in AdWords across all industries is

  • 3.17% in Search
  • 0.46% in Display

Irvine also reported on the average cost per click (CPC), conversion rate (CVR), and cost per action (CPA) in Adwords across all industries:


  • $2.69 in Search
  • $0.63 in Display


  • 3.75% in Search
  • 0.77% in Display


  • $48.96 in Search
  • $75.51 in Display

The blog goes even one step further and provides CTR, CPC, CVR, and CPA by industry, giving even more granularity and accuracy in understanding how your AdWords campaigns stack up against the industry as well as how they give realistic expectations of what you can expect from your PPC campaign.

So how can you use these new benchmarks to your advantage? Start by not settling. If you’re consistently on the lower end of these new numbers, then you have plenty of room for improvement. Likewise, if you’re hitting, or exceeding these benchmarks, try to stand out from your peers by crafting more compelling ad copy and designing more effective landing pages.

Similarly, although these new benchmarks are great to have, an established account should continue to focus more on historical performance and improving the account based on established metrics specific to their region and industry.

google adwords benchmarks by industry

This blog post was updated and re-posted in March 2018 to reflect most up-to-date statistics.