11 Legitimately Scary PPC Stats Every Advertiser Should Know (+Survival Tips)

11 Legitimately Scary PPC Stats Every Advertiser Should Know (+Survival Tips)
11 Legitimately Scary PPC Stats Every Advertiser Should Know (+Survival Tips)

11 Legitimately Scary PPC Stats Every Advertiser Should Know (+Survival Tips)

11 Legitimately Scary PPC Stats Every Advertiser Should Know (+Survival Tips)

Each October, my friends and I meet throughout the month to watch scary movies leading up to Halloween. But while it’s cool to be spooked in the fun times, it’s not cool to be spooked when you’re running a PPC account.

And unfortunately, there are some truly concerning stats out there that give us advertisers reason to be. So, in the spirit of Halloween, I’m sharing with you 11 actually scary stats that every PPC advertiser should know, and why you should be concerned.

But don’t worry! I’m going to turn these spooky statistics into not-so-scary tips that’ll save you from a PPC nightmare.

1. 94% of people skip over search ads

You read that right. 94% of searchers fly right by your search ads and onto organic results. On top of that, 41% of paid clicks go only to the top three ads on the page.  This means that your ad copy and ad rank matter more than ever.

What you need to do

  • First, make sure you're regularly testing your ad copy. The responsive search ad format helps out with this, but it's still important to run A/B tests. The right copy will have a higher click-through rate which will improve your ad rank. This will increase your chances of being a part of the percentage of ads that do pull in clicks, and make folks who usually jump to organic results stop in their tracks.

(It also goes without saying that you should have a strong organic SERP presence too.)

2. 96% of iOS users have opted out of app tracking

Last year, just thinking about the infamous iOS14 update that would give users this option was scary. Now that the update is rolled out, it’s even scarier to know that 96% of iPhone users in the US have actually opted out!

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What’s scary about this is that it makes the Facebook pixel far less effective, which leads to inaccurate tracking data, which messes up your conversion tracking and targeting. Even worse, audience sizes are shrinking, causing CPMs to rise.

What you need to do

To work around this issue, be sure to:

3. 80% of advertisers rely on third-party cookies

Most paid advertising strategies are built around the third-party cookie. These cookies capture behavioral data which allows you to see how your ad clickers got to your site, what they did on your site, and what they did afterward—making it essential for conversion tracking and retarging audiences. Cookies also enable platforms like Google and Facebook to offer new audiences to target based on interests. 

With the eventual deprecation of third-party cookies, reporting and targeting as 80% of advertisers know it will be no more. Google, Facebook, publisher sites, and other platforms are coming out with new tools and technology to help advertisers navigate this shift, but you should be preparing now.

Here's what you need to do

  • Strengthen your first-party data collection. Create lead magnets and build your email list with creative calls to action.
  • Set up the Google Ads tag on your site to track first-party data—even if you have tracking set up through an import. Go to Tools & Settings > Shared Library > Audience Manager>Audience Sources.
  • For Facebook, implement the Conversions API as mentioned above.
  • Get familiar with Google FLoC—which is scary in and of itself.

4. 60% of consumers intentionally provide bogus form info

Bad news for your lead qualification efforts. On top of this high percentage of form fakers, 81% of people have also abandoned at least one online form, and most won’t return to complete it. 

What you need to do

5. There are ad blockers on 615M+ devices worldwide

Due to more and more devices having VPNs or built-in blockers set up, that number of 615 million is most likely going to continue rising.

What you need to do

Sadly, there’s really no way of getting around ad blockers. However, a multi-channel strategy can make up for your losses by catching your audience elsewhere. For example, OTT ads can’t be skipped or blocked by ad blockers.

6. 40% of advertisers say their PPC budget is lower than they want it to be

Odds are, you’ve been in this position at some point on your PPC budgeting journey. With the demands of digital ads constantly changing, advertisers are feeling the heat. 40% of them say it’s getting harder and harder to maintain a competitive budget in such a heavily saturated space.

What you need to do

While slapping on more budget isn’t feasible for most, you can still get crafty to make your budget stretch further. Depending on your needs, you may need to:

For more PPC budgeting help, head to the following:

7. Only 10% of advertisers optimize their Google Ads accounts each week

Plus, 20% of account managers do nothing on their accounts within a single month. The bad news with this one? You could be a part of this statistic! The good news? Your competition could be, too

What you need to do

  • Kee an eye on your account and consistently make tweaks to prevent any unwelcome surprises from popping up.
  • Get into a PPC routine and be sure to audit your account regularly. To start, try scheduling just a few minutes per week, per month, and per quarter to check on specific areas of your account.

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Don’t know what to optimize? Find out in a minute with our Free Google Ads Performance Grader.

8. Online ads are the least-diverse media type in the U.S.

Only 9% of people claim digital ads are the most diverse media encounter they’ve had. In comparison, network TV ranked much higher at 43%. Moreover, 54% of people don't feel culturally represented in online ads. From all angles, PPC is clearly lacking diversity in a major way.

What you need to do

People are attracted to brands that represent them—not just their pain points and lifestyles, but their cultural background too. We as advertisers can make an impactful change by implementing accessibility and inclusivitiy in our advertising. Plus, the more diverse your ads are, the more people you can connect with and attract. To do this:

9. 96% of consumers don’t trust ads

Remember earlier how I mentioned that the paid ad space is heavily saturated? We may have even done ourselves dirty according to this statistic.

Paid ads have been on the rise for a long time—so much so that people are becoming desensitized to them. And with 96% of consumers not trusting ads, advertisers have to work harder to prove their credibility.

What you need to do

  • A great way to start is by providing social proof. When you make a claim in an ad, people aren’t going to just take your word for it. They will, however, trust the word of a friend, family member, or fellow consumer. That’s why online reviews and reputation management are so important when running paid ads.
  • Another tactic is to include credibility “stamps” in your ads when possible. For example, you might include “NASSM-certified,” or “family-owned” in your ad copy.


  • You can also include awards and partnership badges in your landing pages. Moreover, try to opt in to attributes available to you, like woman-owned, black-owned, or veteran-owned to achieve that more personal, trustworthy touch.

10. 67% of people say that once a brand loses its trust, there’s no gaining it back

In addition to people being more skeptical of your ads 67% of consumers will lose trust permanently in a brand once said trust is broken—whether it's due to false claims, damaged goods or services, a poor customer experience, or an uninentional mistake.

What you need to do

Don’t lose their trust, of course! But how can you do that?

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11. “Near me” searches increased 100% between 2019 and 2020

This stat is only scary if you're a national or online brand. The sharp increase, of course, is due to lockdowns from the pandemic, but odds are that “near me” searches will continue increasing. We can use this statistic as a clue to understand today’s consumer habits.

What you need to do

Don’t fall victim to these scary statistics

Leave the screaming to the horror flicks and prevent your account performance from catching you off-guard. Awareness of these shocking data points is the first step to prevention. Like I always say, friends don’t let friends run bad PPC ads. So, to recap, here are my tips to avoid becoming a part of these scary PPC stats:

  1. Always be tweaking and testing your ad copy so your ads won’t get skipped over.
  2. Use the Facebook Conversions API to prevent data loss from iOS14 App Tracking Transparency.
  3. Start collecting first-party data, and try Facebook’s conversion API.
  4. Keep your forms concise and use lead forms to avoid fake form fills.
  5. Leverage a multi-channel strategy to manage around ad blockers.
  6. Get creative with your bidding and targeting to avoid budgeting shortfalls.
  7. Get into a PPC routine and stick with it to keep your account optimized.
  8. Cater your ads to everyone in your target audience so they will feel better represented.
  9. Use social proof, partnerships, and unique identifiers to prove credibility.
  10. Maintain brand consistency to safeguard against losing trust (forever!).
  11. Always approach PPC from a small-scale, local perspective to keep up with consumer trends
Maggi Pier

Maggi Pier

Avid gardener, artist, writer, web designer, video creator, and Google my Business local marketing pro!