The Price of a Click

Wordstream is a company whose goal is to help other companies use online ad campaigns to improve business. This article on Wordstream’s blog lists the 20 most expensive keyword categories. These are not the most searched terms, but the 20 most expensive terms for advertisers.

An important thing to know when looking at this is that there are two factors being measured here. One is price per click, but the other is search volume. As this follow-up article says, “mesothelioma” is the most expensive word, due to its value in lawsuits, but it isn’t searched enough to appear on the list.

When we talked about the auctions in class, I thought the prices would be a few cents per click. While I’m sure that for a lot of keywords the prices are that low, the big ones, where the advertisers stand to make a lot of money from new customers, come with pretty steep prices.

A few of the words won’t be surprising. “Insurance”, highest price per click $54.91, can justify a high price because a new customer will pay for several clicks each month. “Loans” ($44.28), “mortgage” ($47.12), and “attorney” ($47.07) can similarly pay for themselves pretty quickly. The presence of the word “donate” reminds me that there is an industry behind charitable giving and charities are competing for money.

The strangest term on here is “cord blood”, which I’ve never heard of before today. The follow-up article addresses this, but basically, cord blood is blood from an umbilical cord. It contains stem cells and could possibly help cure diseases the child may face later in life. It’s an extremely profitable industry because there is a high collection and storage fee associated with it.

I found the prices of these words surprisingly expensive, but most of the words themselves make a lot of sense.


2 thoughts on “The Price of a Click”

  1. This is a pretty cool concept. And there is a direct correlation between the amount of money a click is worth, and the industry that is associated with the word that is being click. Obviously Insurance, Loans, and Mortgages create lucrative business returns, so it only makes sense to charge them to scale. I was unaware of the entire concept though, I had no idea that advertisers charged by the click, and for key words no less. Obviously the online-advertising business is not going anywhere.

  2. What I found most interesting about this article and post was that ‘donate’ is among the most expensive words. Words like insurance and mortgage have a conceptual justification for costing so much per click because revenue is made as a result, but donating does not produce the kind of profit that the other words do.

    I also thought it was strange that some of the terms are so specific, like cord blood. Words like insurance and mortgage are broad, but cord blood is a very specific term that would involve a very specific search. It’s interesting to me that the term is searched often enough that it would lead to such high per click costs.

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