Guide to B2B Digital Advertising Benchmarks

previous
Back to blog

Updated August 2021. Each quarter we update our numbers based on a 4-quarter rolling average.

What Are the Most Important B2B Paid Media Benchmarks?

Reporting digital advertising benchmarks is essential to measure a campaign’s short- and long-term success. But there are dozens of different metrics to track campaign performance, and it can be daunting to pick out the best ones to evaluate a campaign’s success. 

That’s where we come in. We’ve picked out the most useful paid media benchmarks to quantify a campaign’s success and help you make necessary adjustments to your digital advertising campaigns. 

We not only provide definitions but also share specific benchmarks based on the aggregate campaign performance of all of Beacon Digital’s clients. 

Our client portfolio is specific to B2B and is primarily composed of companies in the following industries: 

  • Risk Management and Compliance Solutions
  • Cyber Security Solutions
  • Financial Technology Companies
  • SaaS Software or Technology Platforms
  • B2B Professional Services 

So, if you’ve been looking for benchmarks to help you decide how many leads you should be receiving for your cybersecurity ads on Google vs. Linkedin, this article is for you! 

Get to Know These B2B Paid Media Benchmarks

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)

One of the most commonly used methods for measuring digital ad success, CPM measures the cost per 1,000 impressions or cost per time an ad is served. (What’s the “M” stand for? Here, M is short for “mille,” which is Latin for “thousand.”) This method is an excellent gauge for what it costs you to place your brand in front of eyeballs online. That’s why CPM is a popular metric particularly used for campaigns focused on heightening brand awareness or delivering a certain message for the lowest possible cost.

You may want to use CPM as a key metric when evaluating the success of a Display ad campaign that has the goal of reaching a broad audience to create brand awareness. 

Insights: When looking at the data we collected from our clients, a company in the Risk Management industry has a more efficient CPM compared to others in our portfolio. They are 58% more efficient than other industries in using their budget to generate impressions.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

CTR is the ratio of how often your ad is being clicked relative to the number of times it was served (or viewed). Unlike CPM, which is expressed in dollars and cents, CTR is expressed as a percentage calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions served. CTR is important for measuring the effectiveness of your ad copy or creative in driving users to click through the ad to your website. Low CTRs might indicate that your ad might need to be rewritten or redesigned.

It’s typical that Display ads will have a much lower CTR than Paid Search ads. In the chart below, we’ve shown our average CTRs for several platforms: Google Search, Google Display, LinkedIn, and Facebook. We’ve also compared our own company-wide averages to the general B2B benchmark data from WordStream, and broken down these averages based on specific verticals we support. Overall, Beacon Digital clients outperformed general B2B benchmarks on Google Search and LinkedIn but were fairly close to WordStream’s averages for Google Display and Facebook.

Industry

Google Search 

Google Display

LinkedIn

Facebook

B2B All (WordStream)

2.41%

0.46%

0.39%

0.78%

B2B All - Beacon Digital

3.78%

0.46%

0.48%

0.76%

Computer Software

3.27%

0.26%

0.43%

0.50%

Cyber Security

3.85%

0.43%

0.26%

--

Financial Technology

4.83%

0.21%

0.50%

--

IT & Services

4.45%

0.51%

0.39%

1.13%

Risk Management

2.90%

0.54%

0.55%

--

Insights: If we take a deeper look into Google Search campaigns, we need to understand that there can be big differences between branded or non-branded campaigns. Branded campaigns are ones where a company bids on its own brand term. Our data concluded that as a whole our clients’ branded search campaigns had a CTR of 9.80% compared to a non-branded campaign of 3.18%. Across all platforms, we found that companies from the IT & Services and FinTech industries perform best in terms of CTR.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

As its name suggests, CPC measures the amount of money paid for each click of an ad in your campaign. Reporting CPC data is immensely helpful for understanding the competitiveness of your industry terms on Google Search. It expresses how much it costs to drive a potential client to your website. This metric is important for evaluating your keywords, and understanding how to drive as much traffic as you can for the lowest cost. But it’s not just about finding low-cost keywords: certain keywords with a high CPC may produce a better ROI due to a higher conversion rate. 

Industry

Google Search 

Google Display

Linkedin

Facebook

B2B All (WordStream)

$3.33

$0.79

$7.90

$2.52

B2B All - Beacon Digital

$5.28

$0.90

$9.96

$1.69

Computer Software

$4.00

$1.96

$15.30

$7.99

Cyber Security

$7.16

$1.32

$24.75

--

Financial Technology

$8.71

$3.95

$10.23

--

IT & Services

$7.35

$0.40

$8.04

$1.96

Risk Management

$3.72

$0.82

$6.22

--

Insights: Depending on the platform used and what type of campaign you are running, CPC can vary. As you can see, a company from the Risk Management industry typically has a lower CPC across all platforms compared to others in our client base. The industries our clients are in are extremely competitive, growing at an exponential rate, and tend to have higher-priced products and services. This could be a reason why a click is more expensive than the overall average across all B2B companies reported by WordStream.

Cost Per Action (CPA)

Another great measure of ROI, CPA calculates the cost of each time a user completes a pre-determined action after clicking through your ad. This paid media benchmark is great for tracking the success of campaigns with the goal of users fulfilling a specific task, such as scheduling a demo or downloading a case study. This method is also uniquely suited to B2B and SaaS organizations that don’t directly sell a product on their website.

Industry

Search 

Google Display

Linkedin

Facebook

B2B All (WordStream)

$116.13

$130.36

$125

$23.77

B2B All - Beacon Digital

$142.44

$84.25

$178.56

$121.04

Insights: Our data shows that CPA is more efficient in Q1 & Q4 compared to other quarters. In fact, CPA for paid search in Q1 was 78% lower and CPA for paid social in Q4 was 12% lower than our 4-quarter rolling average. This makes sense as businesses are looking for new ways to start and end the year positively. In general, a company from the Cyber Security industry spends less to gain a lead through a paid search ad than a paid social.

Conversion Rate (CVR)

While the CPA expresses the cost for completing an action, the CVR measures the percentage of users completing that action. These numbers are commonly viewed together as they illustrate a bigger picture of what’s happening in a CPA campaign; what percentage of users are clicking on your ad and completing an action; and what each completed action costs you. 

Industry

Search 

Google Display

Linkedin

Facebook

B2B All (WordStream)

3.04%

0.80%

6.10%

10.63%

B2B All - Beacon Digital

3.71%

1.07%

5.63%

1.40%

Insights: Through research, we have found that different industries convert better depending on which platform they are using. For example, our data shows a company from the Financial Technology industry has an overall CVR of 6.50% when using LinkedIn ads, which is 15% higher than our organization's benchmark. On the other hand, a company from the IT & Services industry performs better with paid search campaigns with an overall CVR of 6.08%, which is significantly higher than our overall benchmarks. We have also found that Cyber Security companies CVR perform stronger with display ads compared to paid social.

Cost Per View (CPV)

Primarily applied to video ad campaigns, CPV measures how much it costs you each time someone views your video ad. For example, YouTube displays ads throughout their videos, and each time an ad is viewed for 30 seconds - or the duration if the ad is shorter than 30 seconds - it’s counted as a view. As video ads have proven their effectiveness, CPV can be even more impactful than its non-video counterpart, CPM. While CPM uses criteria for impressions (often a small number of seconds that an ad is served), CPV takes into account the ways users interact with a video without clicking through it, like how many times an ad is skipped or how much of the video was on the screen when it was playing.

It’s important to note that the metrics above are significant and useful on their own, but they are exponentially more effective when viewed as a group. Together, they paint a much more accurate picture of the overall impact of a campaign. 

Work with Beacon Digital Marketing

Want to dive deeper? Check out these trusted resources from WordStream, where we sourced some of the information in this blog post. Lastly, take a look at this resource on LinkedIn averages.

Even with a benchmarking and reporting plan, tracking your digital efforts can be time-consuming, which is why many businesses trust our team at Beacon Digital Marketing. Let us run your campaigns and track your success, so you can get back to what matters most: operating your business. Let’s work together

Fraser Colmer

Fraser Colmer