Google search CPCs up 19%, pushing ad spend up 17%

Advertising spend on Google search ads in the U.S. rose by 17% year-on-year in the final quarter of 2023. Meanwhile, Google click growth remained steady at 8% year-on-year, while cost-per-click accelerated to 9% during the same period.

Those numbers come from Tinuiti’s Q4 2023 Digital Ads Benchmark Report.

Device matters. The report also found that mobile is continuing to lead the way in terms of generating Google search ad clicks:

  • Mobile search ads: Spend was up 19% year-on-year, clicks were up 10%, and CPC was up 9%.
  • Desktop and laptop search ads: Spend was up 15% year-on-year, clicks were up 2%, and CPC was up 13%.
  • Tablet search ads: Spend was up 4% year-on-year, clicks were down 13% and CPC up 19%.

PMax uptick. 91% of retail advertisers running shopping ad listings with Google included Performance Max campaigns in their strategies during the peak of the holiday shopping season in Q4 2023. Comparatively, a year earlier, 80% of retailers had incorporated PMax campaigns. However, despite steadily increasing throughout 2023, the adoption of PMax campaigns seems to have reached a plateau.

Rise of Temu. In the final week of 2023, 90% of retailers recognized Temu as a top competitor in Google Shopping auctions. This level matches Amazon’s consistent presence over the last two years. Although Temu wasn’t seen in these auctions until late 2022, its visibility increased sharply in the first half of 2023 and continued to rise throughout the year.

About Tinuiti. Tinuiti is a large independent performance marketing firm with over 1,000 employees that manages $4 billion in digital media.

Report methodology. The Tinuiti Digital Ads Benchmark Report utilizes anonymized performance data from advertising programs managed by Tinuiti. The data is based on active programs with consistent strategies. All figures represent same-client growth and are not meant to officially reflect any specific advertising platform’s performance or the experiences of every advertiser.

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The report. Tinuiti’s Digital Ads Benchmark Report Q4 2023 report (registration required).

Why we care. The increase in Google search ad spend (and across other ad platforms and retail media networks) suggests that advertisers felt more confident in paid media at the end of what was a challenging 2023.

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About the author

Nicola Agius

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid media, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book Mastering In-House SEO.

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