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SEMrush Study: Most Expensive States to Advertise In (+ Breakdown by 17 Industries)

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SEMrush Study: Most Expensive States to Advertise In (+ Breakdown by 17 Industries)

Julia Olennikova updated
SEMrush Study: Most Expensive States to Advertise In (+ Breakdown by 17 Industries)

Local PPC is here to stay, but many advertisers still believe it is not important for them. It is widely thought that only location-bound businesses, like brick-and-mortar stores or food deliveries, should focus on local PPC. However, even for businesses operating completely online, tailoring their campaigns to a specific location can help optimize their advertising spends, as is proven by our new study.

To find out if and how advertising costs differ in the United States, SEMrush analyzed over 86,000 keywords from 17 industries, including both offline and online businesses — from automobile dealerships to cryptocurrencies.

The first version of this study was published in February 2018. After we got a lot of positive feedback and requests to share more details, we decided to turn this data into an interactive tool. This is how CPC Map appeared. Our newest SEMrush tool is a map displaying average cost per click in a particular region for a particular vertical. What you will read now in this article is only a small part of the data the new tool provides:

  • 10 more countries, including the UK, India, Australia, and Brazil.
  • State-wide overview. You can compare costs across 17 verticals in a chosen state at a glance.
  • CPC graph displaying how the cost was changing during last 4 months in a particular niche and state.

Be sure to check it out for tons of actionable insights for your PPC strategy!

Discover local CPC data

With SEMrush CPC Map tool

Please specify a valid domain, e.g., www.example.com

Below you can discover which states are the most and least expensive for advertisers in general and for specific verticals in particular.

SEMrush Study: most expensive states to advertise in

Texas and Florida lead the game. Texas is the state where the most investment is required if you work in Insurance, Real Estate, or Home & Garden. On the other hand, Florida is the most expensive state to advertise in Online Education, Online Banking, Automobile Dealerships, and Pharmaceuticals.

Across 17 industries explored, California is the most expensive state for advertisers from as many as six verticals: Legal, Marketing & Advertising, Internet & Telecom, Fitness & Health, Fashion Retail, and Electronics. Keywords related to Travel and Beauty & Skincare have the highest CPC in New York, while for those involved in Cryptocurrency and Jewelry it will be most expensive to advertise in New Jersey.

Breakdown by Industry

When analyzing different verticals in different states, we noticed that not all niches are equally location sensitive. In some industries the CPC range is quite small, while in other niches the average CPC differs significantly. According to this specificity, we divided all the categories into two groups.

More Location-Sensitive Industries

The first group contains industries where the CPC depends heavily on location.

We found out that the CPC range in the Insurance category is the largest one — from $19.14 in Texas to $5.51 in Alaska. What’s more, Insurance is one of the most expensive niches for PPC; in more than half of U.S. states the average CPC is higher than $10. And the “cheapest” click in this industry costs even more than the most expensive average click in a range of niches, such as Internet & Telecom ($3.89, California), Real Estate ($2.38, Texas), Travel ($1.67, New York), Cryptocurrency ($1.43, New Jersey), Fashion Retail ($1.08, California), and others.

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Insurance

Other categories where the average CPC differs significantly by state are Online Education, Legal, Marketing & Advertising, Online Banking, and Internet & Telecom:

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Online Education

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Legal

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Marketing & Advertising

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Online Banking

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Internet & Telecom

Less Location-Sensitive Industries

As for the rest of the industries, the cost per click in these niches is less dependent on location. For example, in Electronics the average CPC ranges from $0.81 in California to $0.09 in Montana.

Below you can see how the average CPC differs by state in industries where the most expensive average click costs no more than $2.5:  

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Automobile Dealership

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Real Estate

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Home & Garden

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Travel

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Cryptocurrency

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Fitness & Health

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Fashion Retail

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Beauty & Skincare

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Electronics

It’s curious that Pharmaceuticals and Jewelry are the two categories with the smallest CPC range — from $0.64 Florida and $0.09 in South Dakota for Pharmaceuticals and from $0.84 in New Jersey and New York to $0.44 in North Dakota and Wyoming for Jewelry.

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Pharmaceuticals

Most and least expensive states to advertise in - Jewelry

How You Can Apply this Data to Your Campaign

Leveraging local strategies is a great way for marketers to succeed with their PPC campaigns, as it helps to increase the performance of every single ad and optimize spends throughout an entire campaign. However, there is no universal recipe: you should explore how advertising spends differ in your industry and plan your activities based on this data.

The new and more precise local keyword metrics in SEMrush’s CPC Map tool will help you reveal new opportunities for your PPC activities and shift your focus to potentially lucrative regions in order to increase the return on ad spend.

Discover local CPC data

With SEMrush CPC Map tool

Please specify a valid domain, e.g., www.example.com

Methodology

To conduct this study, we picked 86,000 random keywords from 17 industries (both high-volume and low-volume keywords were included, as well as short-head and long-tail keywords). Search queries mentioning cities were removed (for instance, “PR consultant” was included and “PR consultant Boston” was excluded). The data in this article, for the 17 groups representing industries, was found by calculating the mean CPC in each of the states.

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Product Marketing Manager for PPC toolkit at SEMrush. Migrated from journalism to digital marketing and je ne regrette rien.
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hi I work for an Insurance Agency in Florida, this is great supporting evidence that I can use for superiors who don't understand my struggles. Much appreciated! but
Michael Zima
It is safe to say the Google ban around crypto is going to sway the numbers a little. What I am garnering from these demographic breakdowns doing more campaigns to layer them into different markets. Of course, the big 5 States have the highest clicks but the attention is still available in different Stages. I liked this take away the most.
Terral Lawrence
Perfect reason to hassle my boss to release some funds to start using SEMRush - THANKS!
Julia Olennikova
Terral Lawrence
Haha glad to hear that! I'd say it's just one of the 33 reasons, because this is the 33rd tool we released in the SEMrush toolkit.
Great new tool but medical practices are underrepresented when you couple them with Fitness. Gym and Fitness absolutely offset medical practices like dental. WordStream (which I don't use their tools they're always trying to sell) published a similar graph for PPC industry standard and they're better organized.
Julia Olennikova
Walter Avalos
Hi Walter, glad you liked the tool! Do you refer to this Wordstream study? https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2016/02/29/google-adwords-industry-benchmarks
faisal saleem
Julia is a real expert
I work for an Insurance Agency in Florida, this is great supporting evidence that I can use for superiors who don't understand my struggles. Much appreciated!
Prem Nath Vishwakarma
Good Analysis & Stats. Very close with real statistics.
Interesting and use full keep it up.
Hey Julia, thanks for the breakdown!

Could you go a little more into how the mean CPC was calculated?

I have always wondered how SEMrush got CPC numbers without access to actual Google data on CPCs.
Julia Olennikova
Jon Davis
Hi Jon, thanks for reading! We get CPC data from third-party providers.
Julia Olennikova
Thanks for info! Can you give an example of one of the third party providers or a link to a Help article that goes into more detail?
Julia Olennikova
Jon Davis
Sure, we have an article explaining how the data is collected: https://www.semrush.com/kb/52-collect-data, but the providers are not mentioned there as we can't disclose this information.
Julia Olennikova
Thanks for info Julia! Link you shared worked a couple days ago for me but just went back to check it out and goes to error page now, is there a new URL to reference?
so this data will help marketer to traget product or service in Local area which have low CPC .
Jan van der Meer
Very interesting. Is there any change you can do this for Europe? See the differents between the countries?
Julia Olennikova
Jan van der Meer
Thank you Jan! Some of our regional teams are now working on similar studies, will keep you posted.
Chris Weatherall
That's interesting to break it down locally. I haven't used SEMrush for its PPC data so I'm wondering if this is all Google focused or can we use it for Bing and others potentially in the future?
Julia Olennikova
Chris Weatherall
Thank you Chris! We have a Bing database for the US, but our Google databases are more extended. We're also planning to add more networks to our display advertising analytics.
I readout this article and found it is highly informative, useful and interesting, keep it up.
Awesome breakdown here. Very interesting article. SEO for any website is getting tougher day by day..
Julia Olennikova
Apoorv S
Thank you Apoorv! The numbers say it's time to launch an SEO agency in Hawaii :)
Very interesting, thank you so much
I readout this article and found it is highly informative, useful and interesting.
Julia Olennikova
Abdullah Jan
Thank you Abdullah, my pleasure!
Pankaj Gupta
Hmmm.... this means there is huge competition for SEO too and it will be harder to get rank for these industries keywords or websites in that particular regions...

Great post... after long time, I have read such a good blog with some great data.. thanks for sharing.. :)
Julia Olennikova
Pankaj Gupta
Glad to hear that, thanks Pankaj! Marketing & advertising niche being so "location dependent" was the biggest surprise for us as well.
Zachary Ankeny
Pankaj Gupta
I was also thinking of the organic SEO implications of this. I tend to always take into account the geographic location surrounding my keywords anymore. Seeing the costs per state was very helpful.
This is a great article that really show the investment difference a regional and wide client would need to make in each city throughout the US.
Julia Olennikova
Thomas Clark
Thank you, Thomas! Even for bitcoins and online services the cost per click is so different across various states, and this is incredible.
Very interesting, thank you so much! Do you have similar data for beauty industry (skincare) ?
Bryan Bloom
Dar Bal
I think you could do this yourself with not too much work.. I am actually considering this in my industry.
Bryan Bloom
Bryan, you are right. I'm just new to semrush and did not look to complete functionality.
Julia Olennikova
Dar Bal
Thank you, Dar! As Bryan already said, you can run a similar analysis on a smaller scope of keywords with our tool. Just one thing though - the local data is available to paid accounts only. Let me know if you have questions and need a walkthrough!
Bryan Bloom
Fantastic article, very timely.
great tool

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