2021 Benchmarks Report

Retail Industry Ad Performance on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Pivoting in the New Era of E-commerce

In many ways, 2020 was a balancing act for most retail marketers. The end of Q1 saw restrictions placed on physical storefronts as remote work became the new normal. Meanwhile, online commerce boomed at the height of COVID-19. Juggling each of these variables and making successful business decisions was no easy task.

It remains no easy task in 2021. Managing campaigns across Google, Facebook, and Amazon is growing more complex. While each ad platform expands its capabilities, savvy retail marketers must recognize that each platform can—and should—provide a specific value to their business. They must continually adjust their mix to generate the most value from these major platforms.

Sidecar’s 2021 Benchmarks Report aims to help retail marketers find the advertising white space. We looked at hundreds of retailers’ ad accounts across Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon to deliver the most comprehensive multichannel performance benchmarks to date. 

Among our research, we found: 

-9%
YoY Google Shopping CPC Reduction
31%
YoY Google Paid Search ROAS Growth
18%
YoY Facebook AOV Growth
6%
Average Amazon CVR in 2020

Methodology

Sidecar examined hundreds of U.S. retailers with active ad campaigns on Google Shopping, Google paid search, Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon. This report analyzed data from thousands of campaigns across these five ad platforms.

Retailers advertising on Google, Facebook, and Instagram had active campaigns for the full years of 2019 and 2020. Amazon advertisers had active campaigns for the full year of 2020. All campaigns are managed by Sidecar’s technology and team. The analysis took place in February 2021, when the standard attribution window of each ad platform had closed.

Sidecar examined retailers of varying sizes and verticals. Analysts removed major outliers from the study, aggregating a sample of retailers that most closely represents the majority of e-commerce retail business profiles in the U.S. Some major segments include apparel and accessories; automotive parts; books, music and video; computers and electronics; health and beauty; house and home; pet care; and sporting goods.

Sidecar also examined retailers’ monthly ad spend in each channel. Analysts grouped ad accounts by three monthly ad spend tiers and calculated the performance of those groupings. Monthly spend tiers include: <$5,000; $5,000-<$25,000; and $25,000+.

Sidecar has produced its annual Benchmarks Report since 2017. 2021 marks its first analysis of Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon performance benchmarks. Sidecar’s Benchmarks Report continues to be the most comprehensive study on multichannel ad performance in the retail industry. The report carries the Marketing Excellence Award from ITSMA, a global marketing association. 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1

Google Shopping

Jump to another platform

CHAPTER 1

Behind the Benchmarks: Google Shopping

Several big players like Amazon and Walmart pulled back budgets on Google Shopping at the onset of the pandemic across many verticals. These retailers were focused on getting essential items to their customers. Many other retailers dropped their bids in the channel, contributing to lower CPCs. Retailers were still able to convert traffic efficiently in this new normal and grow conversion rates and ROAS in many verticals.

Google Shopping CPCs were lower year over year in the majority of examined verticals. This was likely the result of many retailers rethinking their spend in the channel during the pandemic. Increased search volume created higher demand for online products, which also helped lower CPCs. 
AVERAGE CPC ON GOOGLE SHOPPING DECREASED 9% YEAR OVER YEAR IN 2020.

Google Shopping Benchmarks

By Monthly Spend Tier 2020

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.28

 CVR - 2.24%

CTR - 0.82%

ROAS - 8.30

AOV - $101.97

CPA - $12.16

$5,000 - <$25,000

 CPC - $0.32

 CVR - 2.47%

CTR - 0.87%

ROAS - 8.03

AOV - $105.09

CPA - $13.24

$25,000+

 CPC - $0.61

 CVR - 2.74%

CTR - 0.83%

ROAS - 6.26

AOV - $144.07

CPA - $22.41

RETAIL AVERAGE

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 0.84%

ROAS - 6.43

AOV - $134.96

CPA - $21.00

Google Shopping Benchmarks YoY Change

By Monthly Spend Tier 2019-2020 

<$5,000

 CPC:  -8%

 CVR:  +13%

CTR:  -1%

ROAS:  +3%

AOV:  -16%

CPA:  -20%

$5,000 - <$25,000

 CPC:  -5%

 CVR:  +7%

CTR:  -7%

ROAS:  +13%

AOV:  0%

CPA:  -12%

$25,000+

 CPC:  -9%

 CVR:  +2%

CTR:  -6%

ROAS:  +2%

AOV:  -8%

CPA:  -10%

RETAIL AVERAGE

 CPC:  -9%

 CVR:  +3%

CTR:  -6%

ROAS:  +3%

AOV:  -8%

CPA:  -11%

Step 1: Review This Research. Step 2: Identify Your Top Growth Opportunity.

CHAPTER 2

Google Paid Search

Jump to another platform

CHAPTER 2

Behind the Benchmarks: Google Paid Search

Google sent waves through the retail industry when it announced limited visibility in its search terms report in September 2020. The company is also expected to ban third-party cookies beginning next year, so retailers will need to be even more flexible with their paid search campaigns.

One of the major ways Sidecar has adapted with its customers is by doubling down on audience segmentation strategies. These strategies can be a significant source of efficiency gains. Google paid search CPA was down in nearly every vertical year over year while CVR, CTR, and ROAS improved. 
AVERAGE ROAS ON GOOGLE PAID SEARCH WAS 13.76 IN 2020.

Google Paid Search Benchmarks

By Monthly Spend Tier 2020

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.46

 CVR - 5.56%

CTR - 3.40%

ROAS - 20.6

AOV - $168.12

CPA - $8.32

$5,000 - <$25,000

 CPC - $0.45

 CVR - 5.82%

CTR - 3.67%

ROAS - 14.59

AOV - $113.06

CPA - $7.99

$25,000+

 CPC - $0.67

 CVR - 6.51%

CTR - 5.47%

ROAS - 13.26

AOV - $137.03

CPA - $10.51

RETAIL AVERAGE

 CPC - $0.62

 CVR - 6.33%

CTR - 4.85%

ROAS - 13.76

AOV - $134.51

CPA - $9.77

Google Paid Search Benchmarks YoY Change

By Monthly Spend Tier 2019-2020 

<$5,000

 CPC:  -18%

 CVR:  +22%

CTR:  +50%

ROAS:  +79%

AOV:  +21%

CPA:  -32%

$5,000 - <$25,000

 CPC:  -7%

 CVR:  +3%

CTR:  -5%

ROAS:  +23%

AOV:  +10%

CPA:  -11%

$25,000+

 CPC:  -15%

 CVR:  +8%

CTR:  +28%

ROAS:  +30%

AOV:  +2%

CPA:  -21%

RETAIL AVERAGE

 CPC:  -14%

 CVR:  +8%

CTR:  +21%

ROAS:  +31%

AOV:  +5%

CPA:  -20%

Step 1: Review This Research. Step 2: Identify Your Top Growth Opportunity.

CHAPTER 3

Facebook Advertising

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CHAPTER 3

Behind the Benchmarks: Facebook Advertising

Advertising on social media is essential for retailers who not only want to grow in-store and online sales, but also develop brand loyalty with consumers. Facebook reported 1.85 billion active daily users in Q4 2020, emphasizing just how much reach retailers have on the social channel.

We took a deeper dive into the performance of five verticals on Facebook: apparel & accessories, automotive parts & accessories, house & home, mass merchant, and toys & hobbies. We then compared these verticals to the average performance across all verticals on Facebook to understand how different retailers responded to a unique 2020.
FACEBOOK CPC FELL 18% YEAR OVER YEAR, WHILE ROAS INCREASED 29% YEAR OVER YEAR.

Facebook Advertising Benchmarks

By Monthly Spend Tier 2020

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.57

 CVR - 5.33%

CTR - 1.78%

ROAS - 10.57

AOV - $139.04

CPA - $13.16

$5,000 - <$25,000

 CPC - $0.92

 CVR - 5.69%

CTR - 1.00%

ROAS - 5.53

AOV - $81.91

CPA - $17.34

$25,000+

 CPC - $0.50

 CVR - 6.98%

CTR - 1.36%

ROAS - 12.36

AOV - $88.94

CPA - $7.19

RETAIL AVERAGE

 CPC - $0.57

 CVR - 6.57%

CTR - 1.32%

ROAS - 10.69

AOV - $91.96

CPA - $8.60

Facebook Advertising Benchmarks YoY Change

By Monthly Spend Tier 2019-2020 

<$5,000

 CPC:  -40%

 CVR:  -52%

CTR:  +53%

ROAS:  -19%

AOV:  -1%

CPA:  +23%

$5,000 - <$25,000

 CPC:  -18%

 CVR:  -23%

CTR:  -1%

ROAS:  +95%

AOV:  +109%

CPA:  +7%

$25,000+

 CPC:  -18%

 CVR:  -5%

CTR:  +4%

ROAS:  +32%

AOV:  +14%

CPA:  -14%

RETAIL AVERAGE

 CPC:  -18%

 CVR:  -11%

CTR:  +6%

ROAS:  +29%

AOV:  +18%

CPA:  -9%

Step 1: Review This Research. Step 2: Identify Your Top Growth Opportunity.

CHAPTER 4

Instagram Advertising

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CHAPTER 4

Behind the Benchmarks: Instagram Advertising

With a reported $13.86 billion in earnings in 2020, Instagram is one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms. Instagram allows retailers to not only build their following in unique ways, but also leverage high engagement rates, as the data below shows.

While Instagram owned higher CPCs than Facebook, CVR was 23% higher on Instagram in 2020. When looking at performance by spend, retailers spending upwards of $25,000 monthly were best positioned for success. This group owned the lowest CPCs and CPA along with the highest CVR and ROAS. 
Q3 OWNED THE HIGHEST AVERAGE CPC OF THE YEAR AT $0.95, THOUGH CVR AND ROAS REMAINED STRONG.

Instagram Advertising Benchmarks

By Monthly Spend Tier 2020

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.90

 CVR - 4.61%

CTR - 0.77%

ROAS - 5.25

AOV - $102.29

CPA - $19.47

$5,000 - <$25,000

 CPC - $1.16

 CVR - 6.46%

CTR - 0.84%

ROAS - 8.71

AOV - $156.52

CPA - $17.97

$25,000+

 CPC - $0.78

 CVR - 8.91%

CTR - 0.52%

ROAS - 9.44

AOV - $82.76

CPA - $8.76

RETAIL AVERAGE

 CPC - $0.86

 CVR - 8.07%

CTR - 0.58%

ROAS - 8.83

AOV - $93.60

CPA - $10.60

Instagram Advertising Benchmarks YoY Change

By Monthly Spend Tier 2019-2020 

<$5,000

 CPC:  +27%

 CVR:  +61%

CTR:  -17%

ROAS:  +37%

AOV:  -17%

CPA:  -22%

$5,000 - <$25,000

 CPC:  +1%

 CVR:  +53%

CTR:  -5%

ROAS:  +209%

AOV:  +104%

CPA:  -34%

$25,000+

 CPC:  -3%

 CVR:  +7%

CTR:  -7%

ROAS:  +36%

AOV:  +24%

CPA:  -9%

RETAIL AVERAGE

 CPC:  +1%

 CVR:  +6%

CTR:  -11%

ROAS:  +11%

AOV:  +6%

CPA:  -5%

Step 1: Review This Research. Step 2: Identify Your Top Growth Opportunity.

CHAPTER 5

Amazon Advertising

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CHAPTER 5

Behind the Benchmarks: Amazon Advertising

We segmented our Amazon findings by single- vs. multi-brand performance, spend tiers, and monthly KPI performance for the full year of 2020.

Single-brand retailers had a higher CPC than multi-brand retailers. However, CVR for single-brand retailers was higher and CPA was lower compared to multi-brand retailers. This high engagement rate coupled with lower CPA could indicate stronger loyalty to single-brand retailers on Amazon.

Looking at monthly performance, note how stable CVR was throughout the year. As CPCs increased and click-through rate fluctuated, CVR stayed above 5% in all but one month of 2020. A strong Q4 CVR performance showed how confident consumers were spending during the year-end holiday season.

Amazon Advertising Benchmarks

Single vs. Multi Brand 2020

Single Brand

 CPC - $0.47

 CVR - 7.79%

CTR - 0.28%

ROAS - 7.94

AOV - $48.09

CPA - $6.06

Multi Brand

 CPC - $0.24

 CVR - 2.99%

CTR - 0.31%

ROAS - 7.99

AOV - $65.21

CPA - $8.16

RETAIL AVERAGE

 CPC - $0.39

 CVR - 6.03%

CTR - 0.29%

ROAS - 7.95

AOV - $51.20

CPA - $6.44

SINGLE-BRAND RETAILERS OWNED A NEAR IDENTICAL CLICK-THROUGH RATE AND ROAS COMPARED TO MULTI BRAND RETAILERS IN 2020.

Amazon Advertising Benchmarks

By Monthly Spend Tier 2020

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.39

 CVR - 3.70%

CTR - 0.33%

ROAS - 6.68

AOV - $58.26

CPA - $8.72

$5,000 - <$25,000

 CPC - $0.35

 CVR - 3.84%

CTR - 0.27%

ROAS - 6.50

AOV - $58.71

CPA - $9.04

$25,000+

 CPC - $0.45

 CVR - 9.06%

CTR - 0.31%

ROAS - 9.41

AOV - $46.95

CPA - $4.99

RETAIL AVERAGE

 CPC - $0.39

 CVR - 6.03%

CTR - 0.29%

ROAS - 7.95

AOV - $51.20

CPA - $6.44

Step 1: Review This Research. Step 2: Identify Your Top Growth Opportunity.

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UNUSED CONTENT BELOW THIS POINT

Keeping Up With Google: A Sidecar Point of View

Keeping Up With Amazon: A Sidecar Point of View

Keeping Up With Facebook: A Sidecar Point of View

Are you hitting your Google Shopping benchmarks?

We’re here to help. Sign up for a no-cost, no-obligation performance analysis with Sidecar. The results are free and yours to keep.

Reach your potential in Google paid search.

We’re here to help. A free analysis with Sidecar will uncover new areas of opportunity in paid search. The results are free and yours to keep.

Stay on top of your Facebook performance.

From search ads to dynamic ads, we know how to get the most out of your Facebook campaigns. Your no-cost, no-obligation performance analysis with Sidecar awaits.

Engage your Instagram audience with purpose.

Learn how you can improve your Instagram performance with Sidecar.

Questions about your Amazon performance? We can help.

Our Amazon experts are ready to speak with you. Learn how you can improve your campaign strategy with Sidecar.

Questions about your Amazon performance? We can help.

Our Amazon experts are ready to speak with you. Learn how you can improve your campaign strategy with Sidecar.

Chapter 1

Google Shopping

Google Shopping

Table of Contents Headline

Chapter 1

Google Shopping

Google Shopping

Chapter 1

Google Shopping

Google Shopping

Chapter 1

Google Shopping

Google Shopping

Table of Contents Headline

Google Shopping
Google Paid Search
Facebook Ads
Google Shopping
Google Paid Search
Facebook Ads

Google Shopping

Google Paid Search

Facebook Ads

Instagram Ads

Amazon Ads

MONTHS OF PERFORMANCE

Google Shopping

Google Paid Search

Facebook Ads

Instagram Ads

Amazon Ads

MONTHS OF PERFORMANCE

Google Shopping

Google Paid Search

Facebook Ads

Instagram Ads

Amazon Ads

MONTHS OF PERFORMANCE

AVERAGE CPC ON GOOGLE SHOPPING DECREASED 9% YEAR OVER YEAR IN 2020.
9%
YoY Google Shopping CPC Reduction

Callout: Average CPC on Google Shopping decreased 9% year over year in 2020.

Average CPC on Google Shopping decreased 9% year over year in 2020.

Average CPC on Google Shopping decreased 9% year over year in 2020.

-9%
YoY Google Shopping CPC Reduction
31%
YoY Google Paid Search ROAS Growth
18%
YoY Facebook AOV Growth
6%
Average Amazon CVR in 2020

Reach your potential in Google paid search.

We’re here to help. A free analysis with Sidecar will uncover new areas of opportunity in paid search. The results are free and yours to keep.

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.28

 CVR - 2.24%

CTR - 0.82%

ROAS - 8.30

AOV - $101.97

CPA - $12.16

$5,000-25,000

 CPC - $0.32

 CVR - 2.47%

CTR - 0.87%

ROAS - 8.03

AOV - $105.09

CPA - $13.24

$25,000+

 CPC - $0.61

 CVR - 2.74%

CTR - 0.83%

ROAS - 6.26

AOV - $144.07

CPA - $22.41

All

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 0.84%

ROAS - 6.43

AOV - $134.96

CPA - $21.00

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

<$5,000

CPC - $0.56
CPC - $0.56
CPC - $0.56
CPC - $0.56
CPC - $0.56
CPC - $0.56

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

AOV - 2.68%

CPA - 2.68%

ALL

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

AOV - 2.68%

CPA - 2.68%

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

AOV - 2.68%

CPA - 2.68%

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

AOV - 2.68%

CPA - 2.68%

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

AOV - 2.68%

CPA - 2.68%

ALL

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

AOV - 2.68%

CPA - 2.68%

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

AOV - 2.68%

CPA - 2.68%

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

AOV - 2.68%

CPA - 2.68%

<$5,000

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

AOV - 2.68%

CPA - 2.68%

All

 CPC - $0.56

 CVR - 2.68%

CTR - 2.68%

ROAS - 2.68%

AOV - 2.68%

CPA - 2.68%

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&lt;$5,000
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$5,000 - $25,000
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$25,000+
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<$5,000
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$5,000 - $25,000
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$25,000+
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CHAPTER 1 - SECTION TITLE

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