Spending and Pricing Trends Across Paid Search, Social Advertising, and Retail Media
Advertisers continued to stay the course in March across digital publishers, with ad prices holding steady and daily volumes mostly in line with the previous month.
The total volume of spending increased across all channels, but with three extra days in March compared to February, that led to different outcomes when those extra days were taken into account. Overall retail media spending grew 15% overall, while average daily spending rose 4%. Paid search spending increased 11% overall but was flat when averaged by day. Paid social budgets rose by 8% in total but declined 3% as a daily average.
Meanwhile, the average cost per click rose 2% for retail media and did not change for paid search. The average CPM for paid social also did not move from February levels. Nearly one-quarter of accounts in each channel saw both spending and ad prices increase compared to last month.
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 – March 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 spending 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 grew 11% in March, while the average CPC stayed level. Average spending per day was flat.
- 56% of search accounts spent more in March than in February compared to 21% who spent less, and the average price of a click increased for 34% of accounts and decreased for 32%, with the remaining share for each metric seeing no change.
- The largest segment was where both spending and CPC increased, which comprised 26% of all paid search accounts in the analysis.
Overall, paid social spending increased by 8% in March, while the average CPM did not change. Average spending per day dipped by 3%.a
- 55% of social accounts spent more in March than in February compared to 33% who spent less, and the average price of one thousand impressions increased for 48% of accounts and decreased for 24%, with the remaining share for each metric seeing no change.
- The largest segment accounted for where both spending and CPM increased, which comprised 25% of all paid social accounts in the analysis.
Overall, retail media spending grew 15% in March, while average CPC increased by 2%. Average spending per day rose by 4%.
- 65% of retail media accounts spent more in March than in February compared to 20% who spent less, and the average price of a click increased for 37% of accounts and decreased by 19%, with the remaining share for each metric seeing no change.
- The largest segment accounted for where both spending and CPC increased, which comprised 28% 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.