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The State of PPC – Global Report 2024: Insights from the PPC Community

By Team Swydo
9 April 2024

It’s official! The second edition of The State of PPC—Global Report 2024 has been released! We are pleased to share some compelling insights from one of the most extensive surveys of PPC specials worldwide. 

A group of digital marketing solution providers helped drive this survey initiative to uncover PPC professionals’ unique challenges. Survey partners included Swydo, DataFeed Watch, God Tier, Optmyzr, ProductHero, smec (Smarter Ecommerce), and TrueClicks. 

Respondents included digital agencies employees, brand/advertiser team members, and freelancers. We saw a whopping 110% increase in participants over the 2022 edition, with 1135 verified surveys submitted.

The key categories of questions included in the survey were as follows:

  • Expectations for 2024 ad budgets
  • Goals, priorities, and challenges of PPC professionals
  • Adoption of PPC software
  • Adoption of AI per activity and time savings
  • Adoption and satisfaction of platform features

What follows is an overview of data points drawn from the survey that would provide valuable insights to improve data-driven decisions, communication, and client-agency relations. 

The questions we’ve chosen to highlight fall into four categories: ad platforms and campaigns, management and reporting, client relationships, and the impact of AI on the PPC processes. When possible, we’ll also compare survey results against the 2022 survey to identify potential trends.

We hope this data from your peers will highlight opportunities to increase your productivity, improve client relationships, and manage and grow your business. 

The survey respondents also had the opportunity to vote on the top 50 PPC influencers for 2024. Keep reading to check out who your peers selected!

Now, let’s dive in! 

Overview – Who Took the Survey

First, let’s get to know the PPC survey participants. Where do these PPC professionals live, and what type of organization do they work for? The full survey provides more details about company and team size, experience, and roles.


The largest concentration of respondents hail from EMEA with 57%, followed by North America with 30%, APAC with just under 10%, 2% based in Latin America, and 1% “other.

The three key reasons behind this distribution are:

  • Many of the survey partners are headquartered in Europe.
  • The survey questions were in English.
  • There were several questions about Google Ads.

Respondents from outside of English-speaking countries hail from areas with a high proficiency in English and a digital marketing landscape dominated by Google Ads. These factors and the survey partners’ locales could be the main reasons for the limited number of participants from Russia, Japan, and China.

Type of Company

Over half of the participants work at an agency. Adding the number of freelancers and advertisers as part of an in-house team brought the total up to 95% of responses. The remaining 5% represents brands hiring an agency for PPC marketing. 

Participants who work at an agency also shared the type of agency as follows:

  • 51% work at a boutique agency <25 employees
  • 38% work at a local or national agency greater than 25 employees
  • 11% work for an agency that’s part of an international network

Digital Platforms and Campaigns

This section delves into the ad platforms respondents regularly leverage and whether the popularity of specific channels have changed in the last two years. We’ll also cover current monthly ad spend and take a look at changes to planned ad spending in 2024

Diversification of Ad Platforms

It is crystal clear from the survey data gathered that most participants advertise on multiple platforms. The chart below reflects how often respondents mentioned a platform but does not reflect spending. You’ll need to download the full survey report for that information.

As you might expect, Google Ads and Facebook Ads lead the list. What’s more compelling is to compare the 2024 and 2022 survey results for the same question in the table below.

Microsoft (Bing)60%67%12%
Twitter (X)14%15%7%

While the increase in survey respondents could be responsible for some of these differences, the key takeaway is that audience growth for platforms like TikTok and Pinterest encourages PPC professionals to diversify their marketing efforts.

Total Monthly PPC Spend

There was a wide range of PPC monthly ad spend for the survey respondents. Some key breakdowns:

  • 31% spend $50k or less per month
  • 39% spend between $50k and $500k on average
  • 30% spend over $500k monthly, with the top tier of 4% spending more than $20 million.

Ad Platform Budget Expectations for 2024

What is the expectation for ad platform spending in 2024? We asked survey participants to provide input for at least one platform/segment, but they could include additional insights.

Advertising budgets should increase this year for over half of the campaign types listed, with Facebook/Meta and Google most significantly. Google’s Performance Max platform leads the pack with a 63% expected increase, which could indicate a preference for automated PPC campaigns. According to these results, Twitter(X) ads and Google Display ads will see a dip in spending. 

Operational Insights

Next, we’ll explore findings based on the daily activities of running a digital marketing agency or team, their challenges, and the reporting tools they may deploy.

Agency Management Challenges

We asked agency and freelance respondents to rate common agency management issues.

Highlights include:

  • Finding and keeping employees is clearly an issue, with 68% rating hiring as often/very challenging, and 39% selecting retaining talent as difficult. Training and coaching those employees signify another challenge, as indicated by 41% of respondents.
  • “Changes and support from the ad platforms” also ranked as a significant challenge at 61%. This topic appears in other survey responses, including the previously discussed question regarding multi-platform ad campaigns. 
  • Not surprisingly, client-related issues also dominated the responses, including acquiring/retaining clients, and meeting expectations. We’ll explore these issues further in the next section.

Challenges Advertising Across Multiple Platforms

We asked respondents to name their top three challenges with multi-platform advertising. 

Key takeaway: The top challenges in managing multi-channel PPC campaigns are attribution, difficulties with data sources, and cross-channel reporting.

Fortunately, business tools like Swydo can help solve these challenges. Handling multiple data integrations and aggregated reporting across multiple channels is a breeze with Swydo’s automated reporting platform. Our centralized report and monitoring dashboards enable you to quickly identify issues and opportunities, optimize where necessary, and reallocate budget. 

Leveraging Reporting Solutions 

Let’s delve into reporting and data visualization solutions essential for aggregating data from various platforms, analyzing that data, and providing campaign performance results. These solutions facilitate effective communication of insights, improve efficiency, and enhance decision-making processes.

We asked survey respondents if they used a third-party tool for reporting and data visualizations and, if so, which tools they used.

We asked respondents who don’t currently use a third-party solution for reporting for the reasons behind that choice. The common denominator for the leading answers is clearly cost. 

We’re satisfied with spreadsheets and/or Looker Studio47%
We don’t believe the added value justifies the price35%
We don’t spend enough to warrant it14%
We tried in the past, but it didn’t deliver13%
We have privacy/security concerns9%
We don’t have the bandwidth to evaluate them8%
We weren’t aware of (most of) these solutions7%

While Excel and Looker Studio are technically free options, they also have some shortcomings. Compare Looker Studio and its alternatives.

2024 Goals for PPC Campaigns and Accounts

Let’s see if our PPC Survey participants have the same or similar goals you’ve set for your agency this year. 

Efficiency is the name of the game in 2024:

  • 72% are looking to grow but with established efficiency targets.
  • An additional 19% plan to grow with the same budget – meaning productivity will be key.

Key takeaway: PPC Survey respondents hoped to achieve higher efficiency by cutting wasted spending and automating processes.

Client Management Insights

Several survey questions delved into examining the dynamics between agencies and clients, covering topics such as client management challenges, pricing, passing on software costs, and the influence of AI on billing.

Challenges with the Agency-Client Relationship

The survey included several open-ended questions, essential to understanding what keeps PPC professionals up at night. We asked agencies, “What’s your primary challenge concerning the agency-client relationship?” The answers appear in the following word cloud.

Managing expectations is, without a doubt, the top issue for agencies when dealing with clients. 

“Mastering the client-agency relationship entails managing expectations and being transparent with reporting and communication. Regular, insightful reports demonstrating progress, highlighting successes, and addressing setbacks help foster transparency and trust. 

Coupled with a commitment to accountability — taking ownership of results and proactively addressing concerns — agencies can solidify their position as reliable partners dedicated to driving mutual success.”

Jeroen Maljers, Swydo Founder & CEO

Trends in Client Pricing Models

Has there been a change in how agencies price ongoing PPC management? To answer that, let’s compare The State of PPC 2022 edition vs. this year.

Based on billable hours25%19%-24%
Based on a percentage of spend under management12%8%-33%
Performance based5%2%-60%
Flat fee based on other variables12%11%-8%
It’s fully custom for each client14%16%14%
Flat fee based on monthly spend range (tiered model)17%20%18%
Flat fee + percentage of spend11%15%36%

The billable hours model significantly dropped 24% in the 2024 results. One explanation could be the impact of AI, which we’ll delve into further in the next question.  

With agencies abandoning billable hours, we see a shift to other preferred models, including: 

  • flat fee based on monthly spend
  • flat fee + percentage of spend
  • custom per client.

The performance based model also took a hit, which is even more interesting considering that 39% of those surveyed in 2022 saw a possible trend in clients preferring to switch to performance based pricing. 

Impact of AI on Billable Hours PPC Pricing 

The respondents who selected “billable hours” as their most common pricing model were asked a follow-up question regarding the impact they believe AI will have – or not have – on this pricing model. 

Key takeaway: Given AI’s growing popularity, agencies might want to consider how this could impact future pricing strategies.

Do Agencies Charge Clients for Software?

In this article, we’ve already examined the adoption of PPC reporting tools. Now, the question is: Do agencies pass off any cost for these tools and others to their clients? 

PPC Survey participants primarily consider software costs as part of their overhead. Just shy of one-third of respondents charge clients for software in some way, either by specific platform or through an overall technology fee.

There’s clearly more than one way to approach the issue of software and reporting costs. You may want to consider if you should charge for client reports.

Challenges and Opportunities of AI

So, are PPC marketers utilizing AI? And if so, for which activities? And are the satisfied with their results? Let’s check the data.

PPC Professionals and AI – Usage and Frequency

Based on this chart, most PPC professionals surveyed aren’t significantly leveraging AI – YET. We expect this will most likely change, especially as AI improves. 

We asked participants who indicated that they deploy AI for PPC-related activities how satisfied they are with the results.

These results indicate a pretty high satisfaction rate for potentially time-consuming activities like writing content, editing scripts, and keywords research. Will AI evolve enough for PPC marketers to be more comfortable handing off additional activities to improve efficiencies? This is something interesting to explore in the next PPC Survey. 

Survey Takeaways

  • Audience growth for platforms like TikTok and Pinterest encourages PPC professionals to diversify their marketing campaigns.
  • The top challenges in managing multi-channel PPC campaigns are attribution, difficulties with data sources, and cross-channel reporting.
  • Increased efficiency through cutting wasted spend and automation is a key goal for PPC professionals in 2024.
  • Insightful reporting can help address the most common agency-client relationship challenges, such as expectation management, transparency, building trust, and client education.
  • The growing popularity and evolution of AI could impact agency pricing strategies and daily operations, improving productivity, 

We’ve only covered a subset of the survey data, highlighting the challenges and trends we thought would be most valuable to digital agencies. We hope you’ve gained insights and ideas for opportunities to improve your client relationships, boost productivity, and grow your business.

Download The PPC Survey – Global Report 2024 for further details, data points, and insights. And you can check out the list of the top 50 PPC influencers here!