Cost Per Click (CPC) Rates 2021

Artyom Dogtiev

Updated: December 21, 2021

The most basic and yet fundamental costs that define mobile advertising are Cost Per Mile (CPM rates) and Cost Per Click (CPC rates). In this article we’re taking a close look at CPC rates for 2021. As a metric, Cost Per Click rate has a long history, back in early 2000 – before the mobile era began in 2007 – it was the metric for any online advertising campaign. All major paid advertising platforms helped online marketers to drive traffic to their websites via ad campaigns based on CPC model.

Today, in the world of mobile advertising, the mobile CPC rate is about measuring a cost of the most basic interaction between a mobile ad and mobile user, it is the first step that allows mobile marketer to access efficiency of an ad campaign she or he runs. CPC rates vary by region and industry and fluctuates in sync with seasonal events, such as  Xmas, Black Friday and so on. The Cost Per Click is a solid indicator of a competition level in your industry, knowing average rate for your vertical, you can adjust how much you’re paying for a click in your paid mobile user acquisition campaign.

Let’s give a formal definition for what is Cost Per Click.

What is Cost Per Click (aka CPC)

Cost per click advertising (CPC) is a pricing model used in mobile user acquisition campaigns in which app advertisers pay each time a mobile user clicks on their in-app ad. The formula to calculate CPC is:

Yes, it’s a simple but yet important benchmark for any mobile marketer to assess efficiency of her marketing budget spend.

Boiling down the major benchmarks for CPC rates we get the following list.

Key Cost Per Click Statistics:

  • Google Ads (Search) CPC rate – $0.67
  • Google Ads (Display) CPC rate – $2.32
  • Facebook Ads CPC rate – $1.35
  • Instagram Ads CPC rate – $3.56
  • Twitter Ads CPC rate – $0.38
  • LinkedIn Ads CPC rate – $5.26
  • Pinterest Ads CPC rate – $1.5
  • Amazon Ads CPC rate – $0.89

Now, mobile advertising landscape provides businesses with a lineup of platforms to grow their brands and generate revenue. This landscape consists of advertising platforms such as Google Ads (Search and Display), Meta (Facebook and Instagram Ads), Twitter Ads, Linkedin Ads, Pinterest Ads. As well as the second tier mobile ad networks such as  Applovin, UnityAds, ironSource and Vungle.

Taking a holistic view at all these major advertising platforms, we see that LinkedIn Ads features the most expensive CPC rate – $5.26 per click, followed by Instagram with $3.56 per click, Google Display Ads – $2.32 per click and Twitter Ads being the least expensive – just $0.38 per click on a mobile ad. One of the most interesting players on this market is Amazon, which debuted its online advertising platform Amazon Ads in 2012 and since then raised to number three after Google And Facebook. In 2021 a click on Amazon Ads costs $0.89.

Cost Per Click Rates, multiple ad platforms

Source: TopDraw, AdBadger

Average CPC Rates, Facebook and Google Ads duopoly

Now, since Google and Facebook Ads are two dominating forces on the mobile advertising landscape, let’s look at how Cost Per click rates fluctuates over time for these two.

With Facebook Ads, the platform provides a broad spectrum of advertising tools to reach target audience via its app on desktop and mobile, as well as on Instagram, WhatsApp and via its Audience Network that serves thousands app developers with target ads that match their app users interests.

Google Ads platform gives mobile advertisers access to audiences interacting with Google Search, YouTube, Google Display Network videos and publishers mobile apps.

To put things in perspective for the average CPC rates in the mobile advertising industry, let’s look at how Google and Facebook Ads CPC rates fluctuate over the last several years.

In 2018 and 2019 CPC rate for Google Ads was in decline, following from $0.75 in 2018 to $0.69 in 2019. In 2020, the year when the global pandemic hit, the price of a click collapsed to just $0.49 – advertisers were pulling their ad budgets in masses that lead to a competition decrease and hence the low CPC rate. This year, when the world is slowly but surely recovering, Google Ads CPC rate shot back to $.67, which is really close to the pre-pandemic pricing level.

Google Ads Cost Per Click (CPC), over time

Source: AdStage, Statista, TopDraw

Switching to how the Facebook Ads CPC rate has been changing over time.

The overarching theme for the 2017 – 2020 period is clear, the average Cost-Per-Click for a Facebook ad has been stable and on average has been hovering around $0.39 per click. Keep in mind that these numbers are average for the entire platform, across various verticals.

Facebook Ads Cost Per Click (CPC), over time

Source: WordStream

An average Cost Per Click for ad campaigns run on Facebook across ten verticals is around $1.6 – $1.7 per click, ranging from $2.72 for Employment & Job Training sector to just $0.45 for Apparel.

Facebook Cost Per Click (CPC), by industry

Source: WordStream

 

And finally for Facebook Ads, let’s see how CPC changes for different locations. You may think that the highest CPC rate would be for the US but in fact the absolute leader is Japan with $1.6 per click, followed by Canada with $1.5 and the United States is only number three with $1.1 per click. On the other end of the spectrum is Spain, Brazil and Indonesia where a Facebook Ads ad click costs only $0.19. And again, bear in mind that these rates are average and they do fluctuate for various industries.

Facebook Ads Cost Per Click (CPC), by country


Source: ADCostly

On the Google Ads side of the digital ad duopoly the picture is similar. The pricing for an average Cost-Per-Click for Google Ads Search ranges from $1.16 for E-Commerce industry to a whopping $6.0 for Consumer Services, with the average value around  $3.3. On the Google Ads Display side the numbers are more modest, starting from $$0.44 for Travel & Hospitality and maximizing with $1.49 for Dating & Personals vertical, averaging at just $0.72 per a click.

Google Ads Cost Per Click (CPC), by industry

Source: Business2Community

The picture of the mobile advertising landscape would be incomplete if we don’t take a closer look at the Amazon Ads platform we mentioned at the beginning. Let’s see what CPC rates for this platform has been over time, by industry and by location.

Average Amazon Ads CPC Rates

First up is the graph that covers how this rate has been fluctuating over time. In 2018 brands paid $0.56 for a click, a year later in 2019 the price went up to $0.81 per click. Again, 2020 was an exceptional year for the Amazon Ads too, an average Cost Per Click didn’t increase but dropped to $0.79. This year, just like for other mobile advertising platforms, an average CPC rate went shot up to $1.2 per click.

Amazon Ads CPC rate, over time

Source: Webx, AdBadger, JungleScout

Today Amazon is the biggest e-Commerce hub for both mobile and desktop. Let’s take a look at a few prominent verticals for how much advertisers pay to promote their products via its advertising platform. In 2021, it costs $0.44 / click for Clothing, $0.79 / click for Electronics, $1.27 / click for Health & Household and $0.9 / click for Sports and Outdoors.

Amazon Ads CPC rate, by industry

Source: Sellics, Pacvue

Final Thoughts

On today’s mobile advertising market, although web and mobile marketers focus has been shifting towards CPA, Cost Per Action model, Cost Per Click continues to be an important benchmark that allows mobile marketers to gauge their ad campaigns performance. Knowing certain vertical or location average CPC rate, helps them to assess if they over-spend or, in the case when their spend on a CPC campaign is low, it may indicate them their mobile ads do not generate enough impressions because ad creatives are underperforming or because of some other obscure reason.

Although the mobile advertising space continues to be, for the most part, divided between two giants – Google and Facebook, Amazon Ads has become a clear number three and hence knowing its CPC benchmark is equally important.

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