Cost Per Click (CPC)

Date created: Dec 9, 2019  •   Last updated: Sep 23, 2021

What is Cost Per Click?

Cost Per Click (CPC) is the price an advertiser pays a publisher for each click on a link. The publisher is typically a search engine (search advertising) or website owner (display advertising) where users are directed to the advertiser’s website each time their ad or link is clicked.

Alternate names: Pay Per Click, PPC

Formula

ƒ Sum(Total Advertising Costs) / Count(Clicks)

How to calculate

If your ad receives 10 clicks in total, and 2 of the clicks cost $0.50 each, 3 of them cost $0.40 each, and the remaining 4 cost $0.20 each (for a total cost of $3.00), then your Average Cost Per Click would be; $3.00 / 10 clicks = $0.30 CPC.

Cost Per Click

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What is a good Cost Per Click benchmark?

The global average Cost Per Click is $2.69 for search and $0.63 for display advertising, while the average Facebook Ads CPC is $1.72.

Average Facebook Ads Cost per Click by Industry

Average Facebook Ads Cost per Click by Industry

WordStream, 2020
Cost Per Click (Search) by Industry

Cost Per Click (Search) by Industry

WordStream, Aug 2019
Cost Per Click (Display) by Industry

Cost Per Click (Display) by Industry

WordStream, Aug 2019
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More about this metric

The term Cost Per Click (CPC) is often used interchangeably with Per-Per-Click (PPC), though PPC is generally thought of as the advertising model whereas CPC is the specific dollar cost.

It's important to know the difference between the two major PPC types - Search and Display. Search, which displays advertisements within the context of search engine result pages, is a high-intent, higher-cost advertising medium. Display has a broader context in that ads will get seen significantly more but, because user intent is weaker, Click Through Rates (CTR) will be lower. As a result, CPC for Display will be lower than for Search.

It’s important to know what type of visibility or clicks you are aiming for. Are you looking for brand visibility or "ready to buy" users? Make sure you test your messaging and your landing pages and invest the time to improve your quality score (a system Google has developed to reward "good" advertisers).

Recommended resources related to Cost Per Click

Google on how it calculates Average Cost Per ClickAn excellent article on CPC by WordStream