Spending and Pricing Trends Across Paid Search, Social Advertising, and Retail Media
With the holiday season now in the past, ad prices and spending have both come down from seasonal highs across all channels on the Skai platform.
The dip in spending was similar for retail media and paid search, coming in at 15% and 18% less than December levels, respectively. Paid social spending only dropped 5% in aggregate, but social also saw a smaller boost for the holidays and has seen rapid growth in impressions to offset lower prices.
With regard to those prices, more than half of accounts in all three channels paid less for ads in January, led by paid social, where 85% of accounts saw a month-over-month decrease in CPM of more than 10%.
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 – January 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 18% in January, while the average CPC dropped by 10%.
- 36% of search accounts spent more in January than in December compared to 47% who spent less, and the average price of a click increased for 19% of accounts and decreased for 62%, with the remaining share for each metric seeing no change.
- The largest segment was where both spending and CPC decreased, which comprised 37% of all paid search accounts in the analysis.
Overall, paid social spending dropped by 5% in January, while average CPM decreased by 15%.
- 31% of social accounts spent more in January than in December compared to 58% who spent less, and the average price of one thousand impressions increased for 12% of accounts and decreased for 85%, with the remaining share for each metric seeing no change.
- The largest segment was with accounts where both spending and CPM decreased, which comprised 49% of all paid social accounts in the analysis.
Overall, retail media spending decreased by 15% in January, while the average CPC dropped by 3%.
- 37% of retail media accounts spent more in January than in December compared to 52% who spent less, and the average price of a click increased for 17% of accounts and decreased for 65%, with the remaining share for each metric seeing no change.
- The largest segment was with accounts where both spending and CPC decreased, which comprised 40% 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.