The 20 Most Expensive PPC Segments

Fahrenheit Marketing
Fahrenheit Marketing in Design

97 percent of Google’s revenue comes from their advertising platform, which generated more than $32 billion last year. When we try to imagine the most expensive keyword groups, we probably think of legal and financial terms. But according to a new report issued by Wordstream, the top 20 most expensive PPC segments include keyword sets for cord blood, conference calls and electricity / utilities.

Below is a list of the most expensive keyword groups in terms of their estimated overall revenue. This was calculated by looking at the 10,000 most expensive keywords and how frequently keywords or keyword strings associated with an industry appeared in that list:

1. Insurance: 24 percent / $54.91 top CPC
– No surprise here: insurance is a highly competitive industry with millions of dollars spent online. This segment is nearly twice the size of the next largest set of keywords.
2. Loans: 12.8 percent / $44.28 top CPC
– Financial products represent a very lucrative industry, so much so that Google has gotten into the financial lead generation sector (to the ire of competing companies).
3. Mortgages: 9 percent / $47.12 top CPC
– The top three terms are financial products and make up more than 45 percent of the total frequency among the top 20 keyword groups.
4. Attorneys: 3.6 percent / $47.07 top CPC
– After mortgages, there is a steep decline in frequency among keywords. A second level of one to four percent starts at #4, then a third level of frequency below one percent after the #10 keyword group. Attorneys is a term that is searched more commonly than its pair word lawyers because of grammatical use.
5. Credit: 3.2 percent / $36.06 top CPC
– Financial products and services take four of the top five spots in this lists. This section includes credit cards and other credit related searches like “line of credit” and “bad credit.”
6. Lawyers: 3 percent / $42.51 top CPC
– More Americans search for attorneys than lawyers when they need legal assistance, which is interesting because the terms are often interchangeable. The gap between lawyer and attorney is small on a macro scale, but the difference is more pronounced with keywords that lend themselves to a preferred term.
7. Donate: 2.5 percent / $42.02 top CPC
– This mainly corresponds with keywords related to donating used cars or other high value items to non-profits.
8. Degree: 2.2 percent / $40.61 top CPC
– Online education has become a big business with traditional and non-traditional institutions staking their territory. In fact The University of Phoenix reported 420,000 undergraduates and nearly 80,000 graduate students currently enrolled in their programs.
9. Hosting: 2.2 percent / $31.91 top CPC
– Web hosting and dedicated hosting are big industries. The lifetime value of satisfied client justifies the expense.
10. Claim: 1.4 percent / $45.51 top CPC
– This set of keywords mainly responds to legal claims for personal injury.
11. Conference call: 0.9 percent / $42.05 top CPC
– Conference calls are another industry I didn’t expect to be on this list.
12. Trading: 0.8 percent / $33.19 top CPC
– Trading keywords mainly correspond to stocks and commodities.
13. Software: 0.8 percent / $35.29 top CPC
– This is a more ambiguous set of terms, but the higher CPC amounts represent enterprise software sales.
14. Recovery: 0.7 percent / $42.03 top CPC
– Data recovery is a big business. With the need for immediate service, PPC ads are a big driver of business
15. Transfer: 0.6 percent / $29.86 top CPC
– This might seem like an odd entry, but this corresponds mainly to credit cards where someone has charged a large amount and is looking to transfer it to another company.
16. Gas/electric: 0.6 percent / $54.62 top CPC
– I didn’t realize the level of competition for the electric / gas / utilities sector until I looked at common keywords in this sector which include searches like comparing electricity rates.
17. Classes: 0.5 percent / $35.04 top CPC
– This corresponds to degrees, which is the 8th set of keywords on this list. Online education is a large and continually growing sector, so it’s no surprise it made the list.
18. Rehab: 0.5 percent / $33.59 top CPC
– This is directly related to alcohol, drug and addiction treatment which can have high sale prices. A month of rehab at a professional facility can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
19. Treatment: 0.4 percent / $37.18 top CPC
– It is no surprise that treatment and rehab are next to each other in the rankings as the services can be interchangeable, but treatment can also correspond to medical searches like cancer treatment.
20. Cord blood: 0.4 percent / $27.80 top CPC
– This set of keywords surprised me because I didn’t know that cord blood banking was such a large and expensive industry. From what I have seen, the cost of banking cord blood can be in the thousands of dollars. Any industry featuring a large per-item price and many competitors will drive high prices in PPC advertising.

I was surprised to find a number of traditional high dollar keywords weren’t in the top 20 including searches related to DWI (though lawyers/attorneys were on the list), Forex, hotels and generic travel terms.