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How to Benchmark Your PPC Data
December 13, 2022 - By Hawke Media

How to Benchmark Your PPC Data

Generating website traffic with PPC (pay-per-click) advertising is becoming increasingly difficult, given the competition for today’s digital audience. Customers are inundated with competitive offers and new solutions. That’s why now – more than ever before – your digital marketing team must become experts in PPC data benchmarking.

PPC advertising generates $2 of revenue for every $1 spent on a PPC campaign and has a 50 percent higher conversion rate than organic traffic. However, that 200 percent ROI (return on investment) shouldn’t be viewed as a target; PPC data benchmarking is the tool your team uses to increase those returns even further. The goal is to adopt a continuous improvement mindset where analyzing granular data paves the way for generating higher returns.

So, where do you start exactly? Well, there are two primary methods for PPC benchmarking: internal and external benchmarking. One involves analyzing PPC data based on your historical performance, while the other is a little more nuanced. It involves comparing your company’s performance against other companies in your vertical or market.

Internal Benchmarking

Internal benchmarking is the easiest of the two methods. All the necessary data is at your fingertips. You are in the proverbial driver’s seat and can measure your PPC campaigns’ performance against criteria you determine are important to your business.

The goal of PPC benchmarking is to prevent PPC overspending, increase targeted website traffic, and increase conversions. It’s about maximizing your digital marketing ROI by adopting digital advertising best practices that generate more leads, more opportunities, and more sales for every marketing dollar spent.

Your criteria must be tailored to your business, market, product or service offering, and your customers’ online behaviors and purchase patterns. Fortunately, it’s simply a matter of deep diving into the data you already have. Here are some things to consider.

Historical Performance: Benchmarking your returns month-over-month (MoM), quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), and year-over-year (YoY) is a great way to track your performance. Diligently tracking any changes to your PPC campaigns is critical. You can immediately reverse any changes if you’re falling behind or maintain the status quo if you’re on target.

Benchmarking different periods helps you spot recurring trends like cyclical and seasonal business patterns. Once you thoroughly understand the data, you’ll better manage your PPC budget and create target-specific benchmarks to hit.

You won’t overspend on campaigns to catch up to your quarterly target if you know the upcoming month historically has a lower click-through rate (CTR). You won’t overcompensate for declining CTR by making too many changes to your campaigns if you know you’re fast approaching the end of your busy season.

Benchmarking CTR: Consider CTR a measurement of how relevant your ads are to your audience. A high CTR means your customers find your ads relevant, while a low CTR means missing the mark. Google search ads have an average CTR of 1.5 percent, while display ads average 0.47 percent.

These percentages are a good starting point if you’ve yet to benchmark your CTR. Once you do, you’ll want to anticipate the increases and decreases in CTR according to seasonality. This will allow you to put a proactive plan together to buck the trend and increase CTR on the next go-around.  

Benchmarking Cost-per-Click (CPC): As the name implies, CPC is a measurement of the costs your company covers every time a potential customer clicks on one of your ads. The competition for your chosen keywords drives these costs. CPC costs increase during peak demand and decline during low demand. However, these periods may not correlate to your high and low periods, allowing you to take advantage of lower CPC costs if you’re savvy enough.  

Benchmarking Conversion Rates: An argument can easily be made that nothing is more important than conversion rates. After all, generating targeted traffic with a high CTR doesn’t accomplish much if your website isn’t converting. For this benchmark, focus on your conversion rates per PPC campaign and landing page. It’s the clearest apples-to-apples comparison.

Pay Attention to Search Cannibalization: Define your organic traffic volumes relative to your paid traffic volumes. Once you do, benchmark them both. Search cannibalization occurs when paid clicks steal from organic traffic. These benchmarks will help you better manage your keywords. You’ll be able to avoid the high costs of running campaigns that generate clicks you would have otherwise received because of your strong organic position.

Landing Pages: A lot goes into your website and landing page’s conversion rates. Some pages perform better than others. Your PPC campaign may generate a lot of interest and a lot of traffic. However, if your landing pages aren’t up to snuff, then it’s all for naught. Your page’s bounce rates and the time on the page per website visitor are metrics that should be benchmarked and improved upon.

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External Benchmarking

External benchmarking involves analyzing your performance against your industry’s performance. Not long ago, this involved phoning a friend in the same market or vertical or finding an industry expert and comparing results. Fortunately, times have changed. It’s no longer a labor-intensive and time-consuming pursuit.

Many online sources break down CTR, CPC, and conversion rates by industry and market. Unfortunately, that’s often the problem. Having too many sources for the same information leads to wide variations in data. This is incredibly frustrating, given how the success or failure of a PPC campaign is often measured by an increase or decrease of a fraction of a single percent. Fortunately, there is a solution.

HawkeAI is a digital marketing insights tool that makes comparing your company’s performance against industry benchmarks much easier. The user-friendly dashboard allows you to benchmark your performance against your industry without validating or changing your sources. It’s the consistency needed to make benchmarking work.

Benchmarking Tips

Adopt the right mindset with PPC data benchmarking. Don’t make the all-too-common mistake of treating last month, quarter, or year’s results are your benchmark. All you’re doing is settling for the status quo. You’re not raising the bar on performance.

Adopt a forward-thinking mindset. If you anticipate an increase in CTR, build that into your benchmark. The goal is to increase your returns, not make them stagnant. Incremental increases will give your team something to shoot for.

If your goal is to increase CTR, then consider using ad extensions. Your advertisement will appear larger on the page in search results. The additional information and real estate could entice your audience to click more. You can include call, app, promotion, price, callout, and location extensions.

Think about using negative keywords in your next campaign. Negative keywords are similar to your chosen keywords but aren’t relevant to your ad or what you’re selling. This will make your ad more relevant and should increase CTR.

In terms of keywords, your team should constantly research, revamp, and improve the keywords and phrases used in your ad campaigns. They may find less expensive keywords that produce similar returns.  Finally, always review your ad copy and make it relevant to current events and emerging trends.  


PPC data benchmarking helps you better manage your advertising budget while empowering you to improve the performance of your campaigns. It helps you better understand how seasonality impacts your campaign’s performance. You’ll better understand what needs improvement, how you stack up versus your competition, and where you are within your industry.