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The average cost per click (CPC) for a B2B search ad on Google in Q1 2018 was $1.75 in the US, says Marin Software in analyzing a sample of its client base for its latest quarterly benchmarks report [access page]. Perhaps more important than the actual figure is the downward direction it has taken in recent quarters, dropping below the year-earlier CPC of $1.81.

B2B advertisers from Marin’s advertising index (which primarily consists of larger enterprise companies) have enjoyed strong growth in click volume on Google in the US. In Q1 2018, the number of clicks grew by 17.5% year-over-year, as click-through rates increased by almost 65%, to an average of 2.27%.

Interestingly, it’s been the opposite pattern on Bing: click-through rates and click volume decreased on a year-over-year basis for B2B advertisers on Bing, per the report, while CPCs increased.

Aggregate search CPCs for Marin’s B2B clients in the US remain lower than for the Education, Healthcare and Auto industries, but higher than a host of others including Finance, Technology and Retail.

Mobile Gets A Majority of B2B Search Spend

Mobile’s share of search spend for Marin’s B2B advertisers in the US has inched up in recent quarters, growing from 50.4% in Q3 2017 to 52.8% in Q1 2018.

Growth has been faster on a year-over-year basis, as just 44.4% of search spend by these B2B advertisers was directed towards mobile devices in Q1 2017.

A report last year from iProspect pointed out that B2B brands “are starting to embrace mobile” in paid search, increasing their investments and mobile optimization efforts. That same report, covering iProspect client activity in Q3 2017, found that 42% of Google paid search clicks for B2B advertisers came from smartphones, up from 38% during the year-earlier period.

A forecast released late in 2017 by eMarketer called for mobile to take a larger role in US B2B advertising this year. The firm predicted that US B2B advertisers would spend $1.91 billion on mobile advertising this year, representing 41.5% of B2B digital advertising spending. Back in 2013, for comparison’s sake, mobile comprised just 12.4% of B2B digital ad spending in the US.

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