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Digital Marketing Benchmarks Cheat Sheet for 2019

How does your marketing measure up against your competition? Are you doing better – or worse – than average? It’s something a lot of marketers want to know. A lot of bosses and clients want to know it, too. So we thought it might be helpful to give you some hard numbers for digital marketing benchmarks in 2019.

The sections below cover:

  1. Social media benchmarks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
  2. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising benchmarks: Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads.
  3. Search engine optimization (SEO) benchmarks.
  4. Email marketing benchmarks.

1. Social media benchmarks for 2019

Social media may be more competitive than it used to be, but almost no marketers are stepping back from it. And while Facebook, in particular, has taken some hits in the last few years, it is still the most popular marketing platform. Apps like Snapchat, Twitch, and Tiktok may get a lot of press, but less than 10% of marketers use them.

Most popular social media platforms

Following the trends, we're going to focus our benchmarks study on three main social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

  • Facebook marketing benchmarks

It’s no secret that Facebook’s organic reach and engagement rates have plummeted in the last few years. We’re arguably at “Facebook zero” already; it’s more of an advertising platform for marketers than anything else. If you’re inclined to argue with that statement, consider this: According to recent research shared by Rival IQ, the average engagement rate for Facebook posts is 0.09%.

Yet most companies are still posting on this platform. And they post quite regularly, too: almost once per day.

Facebook benchmarks 2019

  • Instagram marketing benchmarks

Instagram has gotten a ton of attention because its engagement rates are so much higher than Facebook’s – on average, Instagram engagement rate is 1.60%. In other words, Instagram posts get 1,777 times more engagement than Facebook posts. So while there are reports of engagement rates on Instagram decreasing, the platform is still a haven for any marketer who craves engagement.

Despite the increased engagement, marketers tend to post on Instagram a bit less often than they do on Facebook: only 0.7 times per day.

Instagram benchmarks 2019

  • Twitter marketing benchmarks

Twitter’s “microblogging” platform generates only about half the engagement per post that Facebook gets – an average engagement rate per Twitter post is 0.048%. And while it’s generally more acceptable to post multiple times per day on Twitter, most marketers aren’t doing that either. In fact, they’re posting only 0.86 times per day on Twitter, which is even less than on Facebook.

2. Pay-per-click advertising benchmarks for 2019

Because PPC is one of the most measurable marketing channels, having reliable pay-per-click marketing benchmarks can be especially helpful.

WordStream has been sharing its PPC benchmark data for several years now and it is one of the most trustworthy sources on the web. However, one thing that becomes immediately obvious after looking at their data is that different industries have dramatically different benchmarks. So to make things easier, we'll be focusing on averages across all industries. 

  • Google Ads benchmarks

The average click-through rate (CTR) for search ads is 1.91% and 0.35% for display ads. CTR shows how often people who see your ad end up clicking it.

The average cost-per-click (CPC) for search ads is $2.32 and $0.58 for display ads. CPC shows the amount you pay for each click on your ad.

While cost-per-click and click-through rate are important metrics, they aren’t the ultimate measurement of whether or not a campaign is performing well. We recommend you look beyond those somewhat “vanity metrics” and focus on conversion rate and cost-per-action. PPC marketing is not a game of who can get the highest click-through rate: It’s a game of getting maximum ROI from your PPC marketing budget.

The average conversion rate (CVR) for search ads is 4.40% and 0.57% for display ads. CVR measures the number of conversions you received from an ad.

The average cost-per-action (CPA) for search ads is $56.11 and $90.80 for display ads. CPA, also known as cost-per-acquisition, is the average amount of money that you pay for a conversion from your ad.

The average CTR in Google Ads on mobile across all industries is 4.10% for search ads and 0.60% for display ads.
The average CPC is $2.67 for search ads and $0.60 for display ads.
The average CVR is 3.48% for search ads and 0.72% for display ads.
The average CPA is $80.89 for search ads and $148.68 for display ads.

Google Ads mobile benchmarks 2019

  • Facebook Ads benchmarks

The average CTR for Facebook ads across all industries is 0.90%.
The average CPC is $1.72.
The average CVR is 9.21%.
The average CPA is $18.68.

  • Bing Ads benchmarks

The average CTR on Bing across all industries is 2.83%.
The average CPC is $1.54.
The average CVR is 2.94%.
The average CPA is $41.44.

3. Search engine optimization (SEO) benchmarks for 2019

SEO can be a complex topic. There are many ways to measure it. But one of the most critical aspects of a site right now is page speed. Given that Google has expressly said page speed affects search rankings, and the recommended page load time is 3 seconds or less, the table by MatchMetrics shows that most websites are not meeting that benchmark.

Page speed benchmarks 2019

Bounce rate also affects search engine rankings. It’s an important SEO metric, and perhaps an even more important measurement of how well your pages are meeting visitors’ needs, we’re including it here.

Google describes bounce rate as "the percentage of single pageview visits to a website," i.e. when a user leaves your website after viewing just a single page. There's a whole debacle about Google's wrongful calculation of bounce rate that we're not going to get into here (Neil Patel has covered it quite nicely).

The general rule of thumb is that 26-40% is a good bounce rate, 41-55% is average, and 56-70% might signal the need for optimization. Here's also a handy benchmark bounce rate by industry infographic provided by ConversionXL.

Benchmark bounce rate by industry

4. Email marketing benchmarks for 2019

One of the most comprehensive email benchmark reports this year comes from Campaign Monitor, which claims to have "analyzed billions of emails sent across millions of campaigns in 2018." The report shows data based on industry and day, but first, let's look at average email benchmarks for all industries:

  • Average open rate: 17.92%
  • Average click-through rate: 2.69%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 0.17%
  • Average click-to-open rate: 14.10%
  • Average bounce rate: 1.06%

From their analysis, it seems like nonprofit organizations get the highest open rates on their emails, with the highest click-through rate belonging to the Agriculture industry. GetResponse also provides data based on country, which is super interesting to analyze if your business is international.

Average email marketing results by country

Closing thoughts

We all want to know how we compare to others. It’s a natural human curiosity. And that’s part of why marketing benchmarks are so interesting. Benchmarks are especially helpful for data-driven marketers because they highlight where we need to improve.

Now that you have numbers to compare to, make sure you set benchmark lines in your Whatagraph reports as well. It's super easy to do, just follow these steps:

  1. Log into your Whatagraph account and find the report you want to add the benchmark lines to.
  2. Click on the specific widget in the report where you want the benchmark line to show. Note that benchmarks can only be added to histograms and line charts.
  3. Click on “Show more options”. Add the benchmark measurement you want to the “Set Metric Benchmark” field, as shown below.
  4. Click the green “Update widget” bar at the bottom of the widget panel to save your changes.

Whatagraph benchmark lines GIF

Your new benchmark line will show red in the updated widget and you’ll be able to see it in every completed report going forward. Not a Whatagraph user yet? Sign up for a free trial now!

Free Whatagraph trial

Pam Neely
Written By Pam Neely
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