Pay per click, or PPC as it’s often referred to, is a funny old thing. Many businesses see spending money on online advertising as a shot in the dark, a ‘suck it and see’ moment where if it works great, if not, it’s no biggie. But with many agencies charting PPC spends in their tens of thousands every month, the use of paid ads is proving to be so much more than just a punt!

According to the latest Internet Advertising Bureau UK & PwC Digital Adspend report, last year digital advertising grew at its fastest ever rate, increasing by 17.3% to £10.3 billion. The study also found that 48% of this total spend was attributed to paid for search.

With the right keyword research, industry know-how, landing pages and tracking, paid advertising can even be relied on as a business’ sole form of lead generation. Yes, companies now have the chance to wave a not-so-fond farewell to more traditional lead generating methods like cold calling. The likes of Google AdWords, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, BuySellAds, DirectBuy and even StumbleUpon are all up there as great platforms for local business advertising. But just how successful can your business be when using paid ads and what kind of conversion rates can you expect?

Facebook Business

With all forms of paid ads, the click through rate (CTR) varies from industry to industry, with some sectors finding greater success than others. Let’s take Facebook for example. According to Wordstream, its average CTR across all markets is 0.90%. At first glance, this doesn’t seem awfully great, but is one of the best in the paid ads world. Some industries chart higher or lower than this average, with legal businesses in particular experiencing the highest CTRs at 1.61%.

Those serving the retail, apparel, fitness and beauty industries will also realise CTRs of between 1.59 and 1.01%. Many of these accredit their use of high quality imagery as the primary reason why they score so highly. Employment and job training, finance and insurance, education, and industrial services chart the lowest click through rates on Facebook.

Google AdWords

For AdWords the average CTR is the highest in the industry, 2.70% across all industries on the search network and 0.89% on the display network. The average click through rate for AdWords may be great in comparison to Facebook Business. However this figure has dropped significantly in the past four years. Display network rates weighed in at 4.68% and the average search network CTR 5.63% back in 2012.

The finance and insurance industry is one of the least successful sectors on Facebook Business. With AdWords this market sees its fortunes altered with a 7.19% CTR in search and 1.75% in the Google Display Network (GDN). Ecommerce industries have the lowest click through rates on Google Ads.

LinkedIn Ads

With LinkedIn, click through success is all about the type of advertisement you place. Text Ads – the paid ads you see to the right hand side, if you notice them that is – have very low CTRs (a 0.012% – 0.030% average to the exact). Sponsored content gains 10 to 14 times more click throughs! Sponsored content CTRs range from 0.35% to 0.45% according to the most recent LinkedIn performance benchmarks by product information.

But you may just forget about text ads and sponsored content completely when you see the CTR for sponsored InMail. With a range of 2 to 5%, InMail is definitely worth exploring particularly if you are a local B2B business. The minimum open rate for sponsored InMail is 20%. That means 1 in every 5 messages you send gets seen by potential customers.

Bing Ads

Google is no doubt the king of search. This search engine royalty got 86.65% of searches in 2016, whilst Bing got 8.88% and Yahoo got a measly 3.38%. With that, we wouldn’t blame you for dismissing the prospect of paid advertising on Bing and Yahoo completely. Advertisers can find success in both of these lesser used engines. From a cost per click (CPC) prospective, Bing trumps Google every time. Last year, Bing’s CPC was 33.5% cheaper than Google’s. Due to the less competitive environment, some Bing CTRs have been as high as 15%, providing a higher conversion and ROI for advertisers. The international and device targeting bonuses of Bing have also seen a resurgence in paid ads interest across all industries.

Yahoo! Gemini

Yahoo’s paid ads platform Gemini saw the launch of Sponsored Mail Ads just last year. One year on, it still charts a rather underwhelming CTR in comparison to Gmail Ads. Like Bing, the cost effectiveness of Yahoo Gemini is far superior than Google. The poor mobile performance of both Yahoo and Bing has however left Google winning the race, by a mile. According to the Merkle’s Digital Marketing Report, spend on Bing and Yahoo fell by 14%, their fifth consecutive year of decline.

StumbleUpon Ads

With the rise and rise of native advertising, it’s no big shock that StumbleUpon Ads is providing a traffic source for advertisers everywhere. This includes those representing local businesses. Whether your aim is to raise brand awareness, grow follower numbers or gain links, StumbleUpon Ads provides an inbound marketing option through advertising. StumbleUpon Ads is super cheap too. The platform also uses demographic targeting to provide a quick (often within 24 hours) insight into how positively your sponsored content is likely to perform and convert.

Local businesses, based outside of major cities, may however despair at the location options available to them. StumbleUpon choices are not as precise as other paid advertising platforms. Location can only be defined by major counties or cities. Unfortunate, but something that is certain to evolve as the advertising arm of the platform gains more popularity. The possibilities for content sharing however are off the chart with articles, videos, slideshows, or indeed anything with a URL distributed. With StumbleUpon, your content is your ad. You don’t share your ad space with other competitors thanks to full screen presentation. Some 120,000 brands and publishers already use StumbleUpon Ads as part of their PPC strategy.

Seen a pay per click advertising platform that tickles your fancy? Let our PPC marketing team do the hard work for you. Get in touch to get started.

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