• John Walker

Digital Marketing Performance: 3 Sets of Benchmarks You Need to Know



How well did your last banner ad campaign perform? The report shows your ads got a lot of impressions and a decent number of clicks, but is that good? What about your Facebook ad campaigns, and your email marketing? How do you judge performance?


The way you judge is by measuring campaign performance against industry benchmarks. And that goes for digital ads, email marketing and social media advertising, too. Here are three sets of benchmarks to help you.


Digital Banner Advertising Benchmarks

These are the ads you place on websites and they come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They also called “digital display” ads. One of the leading ways to place digital display ads is through the content network offered by Google. As a result, Google has lots of data about performance benchmarks, so that’s where this data comes from- ads that ran on the Google content network (Q1 2020 from eMarketer):


· Cost-Per-Thousand (CPM): This is the cost to deliver 1,000 ad impressions. The average is $1.53.

· Cost-Per-Click (CPC): The average is $.31. So that means this advertising method will cost you $.31 for every visitor you drive to your website or landing page.

· Click-Through-Rate (CTR): The average CTR for a banner ad (across all sizes and types) is .47%. So that means you have to deliver ads more than 100 times to get one click.


Facebook Advertising Benchmarks

There are a lot of places to deliver ads on Facebook including the audience network, Marketplace, on the News Feed, and in the right-hand column. But let’s just look at advertising benchmarks for the audience network (Q1 2020 from eMarketer).


· Cost-Per-Thousand (CPM): The average is $8.71.

· Cost-Per-Click (CPC): The average is $.78.

· Click-Through-Rate (CTR): The average CTR for an ad is 1.11%.


So let’s compare Facebook ad benchmarks with digital display ads. Digital display ads are much cheaper to run- you get lots more impressions for your dollar than on Facebook. But the click through rate is a lot lower too. This makes sense because we know that Facebook ad targeting is second to none; it’s not surprising that you’ll pay more for ads on Facebook.


Which type of campaign will perform better? You might need to test and compare, or run both to maximize your reach across platforms. And just so you know, both these types of advertising are much cheaper than TV advertising which commonly costs about $20 per thousand!


Email Marketing Benchmarks

Now let’s look at a very different type of marketing, email. And for email marketing, the types of benchmarks are different. This data comes from Campaign Monitor’s Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2021.


· Open Rate: The average across all industries is 18%.

· Click-Through-Rate (CTR): The average CTR is 2.6%.

· Unsubscribe: .1%


Let me put these in context based on my experience. While the average open rate for emails is 18%, a good in house list should have open rates higher than that. I see lists that are well managed with the proper opt-in and opt-out mechanisms in place having open rates as high as 40%. And I also see open rates as low as 8% for emails to lists that are acquired through brokers.


Knowing this unsubscribe benchmark is helpful as one measure of the strength of your list and a reflection of the quality of your content. If you see unsubscribe rates consistently higher than this average, you may be acquiring names for your list in a way that users don’t like or you may have email content that’s not connecting. As an aside, all of this assumes you are following the regulations of the CAN-SPAM Act which governs how you may legally use email for marketing.


I hope this provides a good start in thinking about how to use benchmarks to measure the performance of your digital marketing campaigns. And of course you can find benchmarks for other types of campaigns like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and more. Good luck!


This post was written by John Walker, Principal Consultant at J. Walker Marketing. Contact John to discuss your digital marketing campaigns.


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