Real-World Education for Modern Marketers

Join Over 600,000 Marketing Professionals

Start here!
Text:  A A

Where Does Google Make Its Money? Top 20 Google AdWords Keyword Categories

by Vahe Habeshian  |  
July 19, 2011

The insurance category fetches the highest cost-per-click (CPC) rates in Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: nearly $50 per click, according to new keyword research data from search marketing software provider WordStream Inc.

Its findings revealed the top 20 high-volume keyword categories and their CPC rates. Those keywords are how Google makes the majority of its profits, Wordstream said.

In the last four quarters alone, Google made $32.2 billion in total advertising revenue--97% of that from advertising, according to the findings.

The top five high-volume keyword categories that demand the highest costs per click are as follows:

  1. Insurance. Top CPC: $55 (example keywords/keyphrases are "auto insurance price quotes" and "buy car insurance online)
  2. Loans. Top CPC: $44 (examples: "consolidate graduate student loans" and "cheapest homeowner loans").
  3. Mortgage. Top CPC: $47 (examples: "refinanced second mortgages" and "remortgage with bad credit")
  4. Attorney. Top CPC: $47 (examples: "personal injury attorney" and "dui defense attorney")
  5. Credit. Top CPC: $36 (examples: "home equity line of credit" and "bad credit home buyer")

What the Data Means

Some conclusions that can be drawn from that keyword data, according to Wordstream:

  • In Google AdWords, the minimum bid per keyword is $0.05, but in highly competitive categories Google can make up to $50 per click. Despite its diversified product portfolio, PPC accounts for the vast majority of Google's billions in annual revenue.
  • The keyword categories with the highest volumes and costs are used by businesses with very high lifetime customer value. Accordingly, those industries can afford to pay lot to acquire a new customer. Lawsuits, mortgage applications, and server hosting are among those business types.  Some high-volume keyword categories have lower CPCs because advertisers have slimmer margins to expend on PPC advertising.
  • Not surprisingly, Google has rolled out product comparison ads in the loans and mortgage keyword verticals. Google will likely release more such ads, and similar innovations, in the other top keyword categories, according to Wordstream.

The results of the study are illustrated in an infographic of the most expensive keyword categories (partial image below):

Sign up for free to read the full article.Read the Full Article

Membership is required to access the full version of this how-to marketing article ... don't worry though, it's FREE!


We will never sell or rent your email address to anyone. We value your privacy. (We hate spam as much as you do.) See our privacy policy.

Sign in with one of your preferred accounts below:


Vahe Habeshian is the director of publications at MarketingProfs and a long-time editor. Reach him via

Twitter: @habesh

Rate this  

Overall rating

  • This has a 4 star rating
  • This has a 4 star rating
  • This has a 4 star rating
  • This has a 4 star rating
  • This has a 4 star rating
4 rating(s)

Add a Comment


  • by Michael Thu Jul 21, 2011 via web

    My favorite tip would have to be optimizing your landing page. This is one of the best options for small businesses who may have a more difficult time breaking into the social media realm. Nice, clean infographic. Thanks for sharing.

MarketingProfs uses single
sign-on with Facebook, Twitter, Google and others to make subscribing and signing in easier for you. That's it, and nothing more! Rest assured that MarketingProfs: Your data is secure with MarketingProfs SocialSafe!