12 Google AdWords Facts & Trends From 2013

2013 was easily the biggest year ever for Google AdWords, both from a financial standpoint as well as expanding and adding new features. Once a service that started with a trial of just 350 users, AdWords offers a platform where advertisers can set up a campaign and have their ads shown to millions of highly targeted searchers worldwide within a few short hours. As we march on into 2014, it's worth keeping a close eye on how AdWords continues to affect the way we search and find things both on our computers as well as our mobile devices.

Here are 12 interesting Google AdWords facts and trends from 2013:

  1. In 2013, Google officially surpassed $50 billion in total advertising revenue. This comprised 85% of their total revenues for 2013.
  2. Of that $50 billion in ad revenue, Google reported $12.9 billion in net income for 2013.
  3. Total paid clicks on Google and Google Display Network sites were up 31% over the year prior and 13% over the third quarter of 2013.
  4. The most expensive keywords in Google AdWords continue to be insurance and lawyer related with keywords like "mesothelioma lawyers" now costing advertisers well over $200/click.Mesothelioma Average Cost Per Click Amounts
  5. Smartphones and tablets combined for 32% of paid search clicks in Q4 2013 and accounted for 25% of paid search spending.
  6. On Christmas Day an estimated 45% of Google searches worldwide occurred on a smartphone or tablet. This was the highest mobile traffic share day in 2013.
  7. 85% of desktop clicks on Google AdWords ads are incremental. That is, when ads are paused only 15% of searches, on average, will still find their way to your site.Google's Search Ads Pause Experiment
  8. On average, the top 3 AdWords spots take 41.1% of the total clicks on a given results page. This includes both paid and organic results.
  9. The average click through rate for an AdWords ad in the first position is just over 7%.Google Search - Average Click Through Rates
  10. Once free, spending on Google's Product Listing Ads increased 72% in 2013. Retailers who ran both PLAs and AdWords text ads generated 42% of their non-branded traffic from PLAs.
  11. Google removed over 350 million bad ads from AdWords and the Google Display Network in 2013 - a 59% increase versus 2012.
  12. Google rolled out over 1,000 changes to the AdWords ecosystem in 2013. Some of the most important updates include Enhanced Campaigns, an updated Ad Rank algorithm, and a wider variety of remarketing options.

Bonus Facts:

  1. An estimated $52 million of Google AdWords spend in the US was wasted on click fraud in just the first six months of 2013.
  2. An estimated 40+% of clicks on AdWords ads originating from China ultimately get classified suspected click fraud. Indonesia and Iraq sometimes display rates of over 60%!


Last updated: April 17, 2014