Monthly Industry Snapshot – December 2023

Breaking down monthly trends across digital channels by industry category

This analysis builds on the Monthly Paid Media Snapshot to look at changes in spending and ad prices by industry category. As with any benchmark, your results may vary, but we hope this provides more context for you as a marketer as you navigate the ups and downs of your program’s performance.

Methodology: Only Skai accounts with spend above a minimum threshold for the previous three months are included for these benchmarks. Where applicable, categories are assigned through a combination of algorithmic and manual methods, both at the account level and the Skai profile level. Please note that the selection criteria used here differ from the Skai Quarterly Trends Report and subsequently may not be consistent with those results in all cases. Starting in November 2023, paid social data has been expanded to include Meta, Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

How to read these charts

The x-axis represents month-over-month (MoM) changes in ad pricing–average cost per click (CPC) for paid search and retail media and average cost per thousand impressions (CPM) for paid social. The y-axis represents MoM changes in total ad spending for the category. The size of the bubble represents the CPC or CPM for the category. Larger bubbles have higher pricing.

The diagonal line indicates spending changes that are completely described by the change in pricing. Bubbles above the diagonal mean that ad volume—clicks for retail media and paid search, impressions for paid social—grew faster than pricing, while bubbles below the diagonal mean that volume grew slower.

Paid Search 

Overall paid search spending decreased by 19% in December, while average CPC dropped by 9%.

Just as spending in nearly every category went up in November, most categories dropped back down in December. Spending in the Health and Jobs & Education categories bucked the trend, growing month-over-month investment just slightly. The biggest decreases came from the same categories that rose the most last month as well–Home & Garden, Hobbies & Leisure, Beauty & Personal Care, and Apparel.

Click prices were also down for the majority of categories as well, with Home & Garden CPC down the most. Only Computers & Consumer Electronics and Occasions & Gifts cost more per click in December than in November.

Jobs & Education continued to command the largest bubble on the chart with the highest CPC, while Hobbies & Leisure and Apparel were among the lowest ad prices.

Social Advertising

Overall, paid social spending dropped 37% in December, while average CPM decreased 22%.

Social media also saw the majority of industry categories experience both lower spending and lower ad prices after the opposite was true last month. Health was the lone standout on spending, while Jobs & Education was the only segment that didn’t see lower CPM. Sports & Fitness saw the biggest drop in spending, more than 50% lower than the previous month.

Sports & Fitness, along with Finance and Jobs & Education, had relatively high CPM, while Health still had the lowest.

Retail Media 

Overall, retail media spending decreased by 14% in December, while the average CPC dropped by 5%

The Food & Groceries category was the only segment that did not drop in December, which stands to reason as it is perhaps the least gift-oriented. Computers & Consumer Electronics fell the most, with spending down 30% from its November peak. Home & Garden and Health also saw big downturns in December. Every category except Family & Community paid less per click compared to November, with Health showing the biggest decrease in CPC.

The largest bubbles on the chart, which correspond to the largest CPC, go to Family & Community, Health and Beauty & Personal Care. Apparel, Home & Garden, and Hobbies & Leisure had some of the lowest click prices.

Check out more resources from Skai

Come back next month for the most up-to-date data. Until then, you can dive into more of our research via our Skai Research Center or Quarterly Trends Reports hub.

And please visit the Skai blog and Whitepaper Library for ongoing insights, analysis, and interviews on all things related to digital advertising.