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


Spend on Google search ads in the U.S. rose by 17% year-on-year in the final quarter of 2023.

Google click growth remained steady at 8% year-on-year, while cost-per-click accelerated to 9% during the same period, according to a the Tinuiti Digital Ads Benchmark Report.

Why we care. The increase in Google search ad spend suggests that people are feeling more confident in digital advertising after a rocky start to 2023, when CPS dropped. However, it’s important to know that because more advertisers want ad space, it might cost more and be competitive.

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%.
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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.

What is Tinuiti? Tinuiti is the largest independent performance marketing firm specializing in Streaming TV and dominating the triopoly of Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Managing $4 billion in digital media and boasting a workforce of over 1,000 employees, Tinuiti is a significant player in the digital marketing landscape.

Report methodology. The Tinuiti Digital Ads Benchmark Report utilizes anonymized performance data from advertising programs managed by Tinuiti, totaling over $4 billion in annual digital ad spend. 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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Deep dive. Read the report in full for more information (please note, this is a gated report).

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