Spending and Pricing Trends Across Paid Search, Social Advertising, and Retail Media
*A previous version of this post had incorrect values for social CPM due to an erroneous formula. Fixed as of 5/16.
Advertisers ever so slightly slowed the pace of campaigns in April, as seen through a minor dip in spend and scale, as ad prices experienced a gradual increase in two out of the three primary digital channels.
Much of the change in spend levels across paid search and retail media can be chalked up to the extra day in the month of March vs. April. However, paid social saw a more significant change. Overall both paid search and retail media spend decreased by 5% in April compared to March, while spend across paid social dropped by 17%.
Meanwhile, the average cost per click rose in retail media and paid search by 2%, while CPM for Paid social dropped 7%.
How do you measure up? Check out these benchmarks to see if your programs are on par with your industry peers or if you’re ahead or behind the curve.
This is a continuation of our monthly paid media snapshot series. As with any benchmark, your mileage may vary, but we hope this provides a bit more context for you as a marketer as you navigate the ups and downs of your program’s performance.
Monthly Paid Media Spend Snapshot – April 2023
Methodology: For these benchmarks, only Skai accounts with spend above a minimum threshold for the previous three months are included. Starting with the January 2023 release, spending benchmarks will once again use total monthly spend to ensure consistency across chart segments. Please note that the selection criteria used here are different from the Skai Quarterly Trends Report, and as a result may not be consistent with those results in all cases.
How to read these charts
Accounts are divided into four segments based on increases or decreases of at least 5% in monthly spending and CPC for retail media and paid search or CPM for paid social. Those segments are then plotted on a bubble chart where the x-axis represents the month-over-month (MoM) percent change in pricing for that segment, and the y-axis is the MoM percent change in total spending. Bubble size represents the percent of total Skai accounts.
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.
Overall paid search spending decreased by 5% in April, while average CPC increased by 2%. Average spending per day dipped by 1%.
- 30% of search accounts spent more in April than in March compared to 43% who spent less, and the average price of a click increased for 40% of accounts and decreased by 28%, with the remaining share for each metric seeing no change.
- The largest segment was where both spending and CPC decreased, which comprised 19% of all paid search accounts in the analysis.
Overall, paid social spending dropped by 17% in April, while average CPM decreased by 7%. Average spending per day dipped by 14%.
- 31% of social accounts spent more in April than March compared to 50% who spent less, and the average price of one thousand impressions increased for 34% of accounts and decreased for 41%, with the remaining share for each metric seeing no change.
- The largest segment was accounts where both spending and CPM decreased, which comprised 22% of all paid social accounts in the analysis.
Retail media spending decreased by 5% in April, while average CPC increased by 2%. Average spending per day dipped by 2%.
- 31% of retail media accounts spent more in April than March compared to 48% who spent less, and the average price of a click increased for 41% of accounts and decreased by 22%, with the remaining share for each metric seeing no change.
- The largest segment was accounts where both spending and CPC increased, which comprised 18% of all retail media accounts in the analysis.
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 Quarterly Trends Reports hub.
And please visit the Skai blog and Research & Reports page for ongoing insights, analysis, and interviews on all things related to digital advertising.