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Google Q4 performance: CPCs, CVRs on the rise across devices

Published: January 28, 2014

Author: Joe Kerschbaum

Most of the hue and cry over Enhanced Campaigns, Google’s biggest release of 2013, was about bidding, specifically the inability to uncouple tablets from desktops and the lack of control on mobile bids. In an increasingly mobile world, the release was widely seen as Google forcing advertisers’ hands and shoving them headfirst into multi-device campaigns.
No surprise, then, that CPCs — with less control, more advertisers, and more competition for the mobile and tablet/desktop placement — are up across the board from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013. But there was a huge saving grace: conversion rates, across PLAs and regular ads and every kind of device, were up across the board as well.
We surveyed a variety of AdWords accounts in each Q4, with impressions totaling just over 450M in each. The accounts we analyzed were a mix of B2C and B2B and eCommerce and lead gen.
Here’s what we found in comparing this past Q4 to 2012’s Q4:
– search CPCs were up 8.7% overall, with search impressions up a whopping 72.8%
– search CVRs were up 27.2% (to 4.89%), with display CVRs up 57% (to 2.41%). A couple items to note with CVRs: search conversion rates received a lift from PLAs and overall optimization efforts. Also, conversion rates on GDN were up YoY mostly due to our optimization efforts (cutting our poor converting traffic). But in general, GDN was converting better this year.
– CPCs were up across every device, with mobile up 62.1% ($0.63), desktops up 22.6% ($1.20), and tablets up 35.5% ($1.28)
– CVRs were up across every device — mobile up 131.3% (2.68%), desktops up 33.5% (5.6%), and tablets up 11.4% (4.18%)
-And PLAs  Same story: CPCs up 15.6% and conversions up 22.2%, with a corresponding 5.4% drop in cost per acquisition.
The upshot, of course, is that this is great news for Google if advertisers are reporting similar numbers across the board. More money is being spent, more conversions are being recorded, and despite less-than-optimal advertiser control of device bidding, performance is keeping up with cost.

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