Monthly Industry Snapshot – May 2024

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 in 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.

Retail Media 

Retail media spending grew 6% in May, while average CPC increased 1%.

Most categories are sitting in a vertical band on our bubble chart that’s close to the channel’s overall growth. This is primarily due to the extra day in May versus April. But a few categories stand out in both directions, with Apparel and Hobbies & Leisure growing faster than average and Business & Industrial, which can include office supplies and some parts of home improvement, shrinking monthly budgets.

Business & Industrial also saw the largest drop in CPC from April to May, while Family & Community–which also has one of the highest CPCs by category–saw the largest price increase.

Paid Search 

Total paid search spending grew 5% in May, while average CPC increased 8%.

Paid search proved to be a bit of a challenge for our preferred data visualization, as big increases in CPC and Spending from the Travel & Tourism segment blew up the scale of both the X and Y axis, while Beauty & Personal Care saw an even larger increase in CPC while spend dropped by 15%.

Even with all of those other bubbles squashed together, you can see a mix of categories that saw smaller increases in both spending and CPC in the upper right quadrant, including Home & Garden, Internet & Telecom, and Hobbies & Leisure, as well as some categories where both spending and CPC decreases month-over-month, like Apparel and Computers & Consumer Electronics.

Social Advertising

Overall, paid social spending stayed level in May, while average CPM decreased 1%.

Almost half of the named categories in our analysis saw higher CPM but lower spending in May, with Jobs & Education tacking more towards the “higher CPM” dimension while Sports & Fitness was firmly in the “lower spending” camp. Both Food & Groceries and News, Media & Publications saw robust spending growth.

Apparel saw a big drop in CPM, while all other categories with enough data for analysis were on or to the right of the Y-axis, meaning that CPM was either flat or slightly up.

Since our analysis began, the News, Media & Publications segment has yielded the highest CPM across categories by a wide margin, and prices are still rising.

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.