These 8 Industries Are Ruling the PPC Market During COVID-19

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A new set of PPC benchmarks reveals which industries are currently performing well, which ones are hardest hit, and which ones have seen mixed results during the COVID-19 pandemic.

WordStream typically releases its Google Ads benchmarks report on an annual basis. Due the unprecedented times we’re living in, WordStream just released its second report this year alone.

WordSteam’s updated Google Ads benchmarks during COVID-19 contains data across 21 industries and is current up to May 2020

Marketers can use this data to compare how their ads are performing against the industry average. From there, marketers can start thinking about what (if any) changes need to be made to their campaigns.

Industries With Increased Ad Performance

Some businesses are seeing a surge in demand during the pandemic, which has lead to stronger advertising performance.

The 8 industries with the greatest ad performance increases during COVID-19 are:

  • Apparel: Performance first spiked in April and carried that momentum into May.
  • Beauty & Personal Care: Conversion rates spiked in April. In May, as these local services began to re-open, shopping campaigns saw lower conversion rates but a surge in online bookings.
  • Hobbies & Leisure: Advertisers saw a stable performance the past few months with people having more time to spend on indoor hobbies.
  • Arts & Entertainment: These advertisers saw challenges early in April. As these attractions reopened ad performance rebounded.
  • Computers & Electronics: Consumers reportedly spent more on big-ticket electronics as stimulus checks were mailed out in April and May. This led to an increase in ad performance.

DATA: These 8 Industries Are Ruling the PPC Market During COVID-19

  • Occasions & Gifts: Online advertisers saw lower costs but higher conversion rates. Subscription boxes and delivered gift box sales soared in place of traditionally bought gifts.
  • Health: With higher search volume and lower CPCs, advertisers were able to find plenty of new customers and convert them inexpensively.
  • Real Estate: Recently reduced CPCs have helped real estate advertisers keep costs low and CTRs steady.

Industries With Mixed Ad Performance

Some industries are on the verge of sink or swim as they react to changes brought on by the pandemic.

The 10 industries with mixed PPC performance during COVID-19:

  • Retail
  • Food & Groceries
  • Dining & Nightlife
  • Home & Garden
  • Sports & Fitness

DATA: These 8 Industries Are Ruling the PPC Market During COVID-19

  • Vehicles
  • Legal & Government
  • Business & Industrial
  • Finance
  • Jobs & Education

Hardest Hit Industries

Many large industries are still feeling the impact of COVID-19, which is reflected in the performance of their PPC campaigns.

The 3 industries hit the hardest during COVID-19 are:

  • Internet & Telecom: Conversion rates have fallen nearly 30% since March. Many larger advertisers are now ramping up their budgets, which is driving CPCs up for smaller advertisers.
  • Family & Community: Advertisers have seen below half their usual conversions from Google Search, which has lead to higher costs as clicks and CPCs remain steady.
  • Travel & Tourism: Travel was one of the first industries impacted by COVID-19 and it remains impacted still.

DATA: These 8 Industries Are Ruling the PPC Market During COVID-19


Click-through rates up
For the most part, WordStream reports, advertisers have quickly adjusted their campaigns to provide more relevant messaging for the current times.



This had lead to an almost universal increase in CTRs across Google and Bing.

Conversion rates & CPC down
Across many industries, CPCs and conversion rates are falling in tandem.

WordStream attributes this to Google’s (and Bing’s) Smart Bidding adjusting advertiser’s bids in real-time in response to the rapid shift in ad performance.

As a result, many advertisers’ ROIs remained stable or even grew, despite having a lower budget.

World is changing
Lastly, it cannot be stressed enough that the world is changing.

There have been shifts across all industries, including digital advertising.

WordStream emphasizes that ad campaigns must continue to change as well.

“As our behaviors change, so must our ad campaigns. Smart advertisers can react to these shifting norms and adjust their PPC accounts to stay agile.”

For more insights, and a complete set of charts for all industries, download the full report here.

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