States with the Highest and Lowest Cost-Per-Click for Search Ads

September 13, 2018 / Paid Search / 0 Comments /

Just like the cost of living and average income per capita, the price of pay-per-click (PPC) ads varies from state to state. Recently, search engine optimization research company SEM Rush released a report of the average cost-per-click (CPC) in the United States broken down by state.

How is CPC determined?

In Google Ads, cost-per-click follows the basic tenets of economics. The more advertisers there are competing for the same keyword, the higher the price will be. Google Ads work like an auction, with the best ad placements going to the highest bidders. Saturated markets will naturally have more competing advertisers, consequentially driving prices up.

On an individual scale, your average cost-per-click will always be equal to or less than your maximum bid. According to WordStream, your actual cost per click is also heavily influenced by you and your closest competitor’s ad rank, maximum bid and Quality Score.

Averages also vary greatly depending on the industry. For example, automotive dealerships spend an average of $3.18 per click, whereas an insurance company spends close to $22 on every click.

States with the Highest and Lowest CPC

According to the report, the state with the highest average CPC is California at $4.57. The Golden State is followed by Florida at $4.39, then Texas at $4.37. Our office’s home state of Alabama ranks number 22 on the list at $2.63, while neighboring Georgia comes in as the Southeast’s priciest state at $3.59 after Florida.

As for the least expensive state in terms of search advertising, Wyoming comes in at number 50, costing only $0.96 per click. It is followed by the surrounding Midwestern states, with South and North Dakota being the second and third cheapest at $1.02 and $1.06, respectively.

Related reading: Strong Beats Auto Industry Click-Through Rates by Nearly Triple

CPC and Its Correlation with Population

In analyzing the average CPC for the 50 United States, a pattern begins to emerge connecting cost with population. Particularly apparent on the extreme ends, California is the country’s most populated state just as Wyoming is the nation’s least populated state. This makes sense when you consider that a larger audience draws in more advertisers, causing the cost of popular keywords to rise.

To keep CPC low, Strong Automotive Merchandising uses a mix of strategic keyword planning and ultra-refined audience targeting to serve ads to the most relevant users. By doing your research, you can keep costs down and maximize your ROI with pay-per-click advertising.

About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as an account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40.” In 2018, Strong was named CEO of the Year by the BBJ. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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