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The Highest (and Lowest) Average CTRs in Google AdWords by Industry

How do you know if your CTR is doing good or bad? In this post, Larry Kim breaks down the average CTRs in Google AdWords by industry.

The Highest (and Lowest) Average CTRs in Google AdWords by Industry

You might feel like your click-through rates (CTRs) are lagging a bit (or completely suck) — or maybe you think you’re doing really awesome with 2% to 5%, and you can’t stop patting yourself on the back…but how do you really know how your CTR looks? Think big picture. There are some industries you might just assume have lower than average CTRs, but without visible or consistent benchmarks, it’s impossible to know whether your performance is normal, actually ahead of the pack, or lagging far behind.

We recently took a deep dive into our client data — which includes over a billion dollars in annualized AdWords spend–in order to get an accurate and up to date picture of click-through rates across twenty very different industries.

Which Industry Has the Highest Click-Through Rate?

As part of our analysis, we broke down the average click-through rates for both Search and Display, across a total of twenty industry categories:


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.

Now, the average CTR across all industries is just 1.91% for Search, and 0.35% for Display.

So if you’re getting 2% CTRs or more, you must be doing really awesome, right?

Not if you’re in the Dating & Personals industry, where the average Search CTR is 3.40%. That’s almost twice the overall average. Display ads in this industry tied for second highest average CTR (alongside Advocacy display ads) with an average 0.52% CTR.

As you can see, the only industry in which Display ads perform better is Technology, where the average Display ads CTR is 0.84%.

Display Really Sucks for Real Estate, Employment Services, & Consumer Services

If your business is in Employment Services, Consumer Services or Education, you’re going to want to keep a really close eye on your Display campaigns and test constantly to see if it’s even worth being there. Why, you ask? Because, on average, the bottom five industries for clicks-through are:

  • Employment Services at 0.14%
  • Consumer Services at 0.20%
  • B2B at 0.22%
  • Education at 0.22%
  • Real Estate at 0.24%

Even with an average CTR under 1%, you could still be doing exponentially better than the competition in any of these industries. For example, an average display CTR of 0.95% in real estate really isn’t that terrible when you consider it’s a whopping three times higher than the average!

This is why the context of industry benchmarks is so critical — you don’t want to be fooled into thinking you’re doing great when really, your performance may only be average, at best. You don’t want to be average. You want to be that shining, sparkling, glorious unicorn advertiser who outperforms the average by 3 to 5 times, not a few measly percentage points. Don’t settle for mediocrity!

Average Search CTRs Aren’t Really That Great in Dating & Personals, Finance & Insurance

Take a moment to remember that the average search CTR is just 1.91% — but in some industries, even that would be an above-average performance.

Not so in Dating and Personals. In fact, if you’re only getting the average 1.91%, you’re way behind the competition, because the Dating and Personals average CTR for Search is 3.4%! You’ll have to do way, way better than the Search-wide average to compete in these industries, as well:

  • Finance & Insurance: 2.65% Avg CTR
  • B2B: 2.55% Avg CTR
  • Consumer Services: 2.40% Avg CTR
  • Technology: 2.38% Avg CTR
  • Education: 2.20% Avg CTR
  • Travel & Hospitality: 2.18% Avg CTR

In these industries, you’ll need average click-through rates of 10% to 15% to achieve true unicorn status, but with a little elbow grease, you can be an advertising unicorn, too.

miranda image

In our AdWords research here at WordStream, we’ve found that the top 1% of advertisers are consistently achieving click-through rates 6x higher than the expected CTR!

Google AdWords Search & Display CTRs by Industry

To summarize, industry-specific benchmarks are a useful tool that, when used in tandem with your own AdWords account data, can help you understand better where you have opportunities to improve your account performance. This is a crucial step in maintaining (and we hope, improving) your business.


Check out WordStream’s Google AdWords Industry Benchmarks Average Click-Through Rates infographic for the full breakdown of average CTRs by industry. See the full report on the WordStream blog for our complete analysis of average costs per click, average conversion rate, and average cost per action.

google adwords industry benchmarks

Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by WordStream. Used with permission.
In-post Photos: Images by WordStream. Used with permission.

CategoryPaid Search

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Larry Kim

Chief Executive Officer at Mobile Monkey

Larry Kim is the CEO of Mobile Monkey and founder of WordStream.

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