It may not seem like a huge deal anymore, but whenever you search for something on Google and you see those (sometimes perceived as annoying) ads along the top and right side of the search results, those ads play a huge role in Google’s profit each year.

For example, in 2011 alone, Google generated $37.9 billion in revenue, of which 97% came from Google Adwords revenue.  That is, advertisers like you and me who are spending a few dollars per click.  Pretty impressive, huh?

What’s always interested me is who – what businesses & industries – are actually spending the most money on Google Adwords.  This information is great to have because it can give you some new perspectives and insights into your business strategies.  But equally intriguing are the keyword phrases these businesses and industries are targeting and spending the most money on.  These keyword phrases  are gold because they add the revenue and profits directly to the bottom line of the business who deploys them.

Top overall Google Adwords cost per click keywords

I want to start the list by highlighting some of the keyword phrases that businesses are willing to spend the most money per click to connect with – or at least have a chance at connecting with – a new customer searching on Google.

I went ahead and linked directly to the Google search results for each of these keyword phrases – just in case you were interested in seeing what companies’ ads are showing up on the first page of Google.

So let’s have a look at 2011 and see what industries, businesses within those industries, and the specific keyword phrases used by the biggest spenders in Google Adwords.

10 Biggest Google Adwords spenders in 2011

I’ve decided to go in reverse order here so that we analyze this thing from the ground up.  So let’s start with #10.

#10 – Occasions & Gifts industry

The gift & floral shops come in at number 10 on the list of the top 10 biggest Adwords spenders in 2011.  Flowers and gift baskets are a huge industry to say that least.  And you might be surprised what the highest paid keyword phrase is for this industry (see below).

Top 5 businesses in “Occasions & Gifts” on Google Adwords

Top 5 keywords & cost per click

  • funeral flowers arrangements – $20.95 per click’
  • flower deliver – $3.88 per click
  • wedding gift registry – $3.85 per click
  • gift baskets – $3.53 per click
  • bridal registry – $2.56 per click

I bet you weren’t expecting to see that businesses were spending $20.95 per click for the keyword phrase “funeral flower arrangements”.  This is huge niche obviously, and it’s something that customers are willing to spend a ton a money on because, after all, flower arrangements are the last thing in the world you want to worry about when having to orchestrate a funeral.

#9 – Business & Industrial

This category directly targets what I would call the small to medium sized business market.  Those who needs things like business cards, new printer ink, and foam packaging.  I’m only guessing at this of course, but the larger corporations typical have contracts in place for suppliers of the products and services that are targeted in this niche.  Let’s take a look, and let me know what you think.

Top 5 businesses in “Business & Industrial” spending on Google Adwords

Top 5 keywords & cost per click

  • custom business cards- $13.83 per click
  • cheap office supplies – $10.28 per click
  • label printing companies – $10.01 per click
  • foam packaging – $6.07 per click
  • office furniture – $4.34 per click

Along with targeting the small and local business market, with the most money per keyword spent on “custom business cards”, then this industry looks to also be targeting the entrepreneurs and starts up.

#8 – Internet & Telecom

I was actually surprised to see this industry come in at number eight on the list of highest spending Adwords customers.  Especially since customers who spend money on the products and services in this industry are the same customers are who own the smartphones and tablets that are pretty much redefining our world.

Top 5 businesses in “Internet & Telecom” spending on Google Adwords

Top 5 keywords & cost per click

  • high speed internet deals – $26.74 per click
  • pre paid cell phones – $25.38 per click
  • domain registration – $20.13 per click
  • fios availability – $19.99
  • cable internet providers – $8.60 per click

Again, companies like AT&T and Verizon who are leading this category are the same giants in the mobile device sector.  But what was a bit surprising to me, and perhaps because I just don’t ever think about it, is that domain registration is such a huge market.  This tells me that if so many people are buying up domains, then they’ll also need things like website development and hosting.  Unless, of course, people are just buying these domains with the hope of reselling them one day.

#7 – Vehicles

The auto industry is huge when it comes to generating business online.  And as you can see from who stands at the top of this industry, car dealers are willing to spend big to generating new customers.  What surprises me in the Vehicles category is that there aren’t as many online auto dealership type sites in the list.

Top 5 businesses in “Vehicles” spending on Google Adwords

Top 5 keywords & cost per click

  • cheap hybrid cars – $15.57 per click
  • certified used cars – $8.54 per click
  • bridgetstone tires – $5.03 per click
  • discount tires – $3.67 per click
  • emergency roadside assistance – $2.75 per click

I would be willing to bet that a large percentage of the people searching for emergency roadside assistance is coming from mobile phones.  It makes sense – if someone’s broke down on the side of the road, your mobile phone is about all you got to connect with someone who can help.

#6 – Computers & Consumer Electronics

This is another category where I saw data that I wasn’t expecting.  First glance at the companies in this category who are spending the most on Google Adwords didn’t line up (for me anyway) with the top keywords being targeted.

Top 5 businesses in “Computers & Consumer Electronics” spending on Google Adwords

Top 5 keywords & cost per click

  • online video conferencing software – $35.53 per click
  • ink cartridges discount – $26.79 per click
  • email marketing software – $22.18 per click
  • pc memory – $13.13 per click
  • anti virus programs – $11.89 per click

Who would’ve thunk it… online video conferencing software is tat the top of this industry for amount spent per click in Google Adwords.  Even more interesting is that Apple is now the most valuable company on the stock market (market cap), yet they’re only spending $17.9 million on Google Adwords.  I guess the Apple fan base is so strong that the folks in Cupertino don’t see a need to spend too terribly much of their massive cash reserves on Adwords.

#5 – Home & Garden

Take a look at the real estate market in the U.S. and it become obvious why this industry is booming.  People simply are having a hard time selling their homes.  So instead of going to through the process of trying to sell, they are simply investing money into fixing up what their current homes.  Items like home air conditioners is a great place to start if you are looking to upgrade your home and invest some money that will actually ad value to your property.

Top 5 businesses in “Home & Garden” spending on Google Adwords

Top 5 keywords & cost per click

  • home air conditioners – $8.67 per click
  • replacement windows cost – $8.03 per click
  • appliance repair – $7.06 per click
  • cabinet refacing – $6.07 per click
  • window installation – $5.55 per click
Another keyword phrase that indicates people are looking to upgrade and remodel, opposed to possibly selling their homes, is cabinet refacing.  Fixing up your cabinets is a great way to add value and equity to your home, along with some new windows (i.e. window installation).

#4 – Jobs & Education

One look at the jobless market tells you that people are trying to find anyway they can to get back to work.  Companies are actually starting to bring jobs back into the United States from overseas.  Except  our workforce in the U.S. is lacking the technical training that companies need in this age of high tech industry.  So with that in mind, the education industry is booming – and they’re spending millions on Google Adwords in order to connect to a new student (i.e. customer).

Top 5 businesses in “Jobs & Education” spending on Google Adwords

Top 5 keywords & cost per click

  •  accredited online college degrees – $34.87 per click
  • online nursing degree – $18.11 per click
  • online certificate programs – $14.02 per click
  • unemployment benefits – $1.37 per click
  • entry level jobs – $1.31 per click

The drop off is sharp – in case you didn’t notice.  The scale goes from online certificate programs at $14.02 per click to unemployment benefits coming in at only $1.37 per click.  It’s hard to believe actually that there aren’t some more keyword phrases in between.  But still, the fact remains that the lackluster jobs’ market is having an impact both on those who are looking to get back to work, and those who are needing assistance while unemployed.  And truth be told, a lot of these same searches could easily be coming from the same people.

#3 – Travel & Tourism

Not only is the travel and tourism industry huge, and spending big bucks on Google Adword, but it’s interesting to find someone like Kayak on this list who doesn’t really sell anything.  Instead, they are simply aggregating deals from all of the other travel sites.

Top 5 businesses in “Travel & Tourism” spending on Google Adwords

Top 5 keywords & cost per click

  • new york hotels – $7.68 per click
  • plane tickets – $6.95 per click
  • cheap hotels – $5.94 per click
  • rental car deals – $5.37 per click
  • last minute flights – $2.46 per click

Again, these businesses are spending huge money to connect with new customers who are searching for great deals on hotels and plane tickets.  But Kayak doesn’t even sell anything – what they do offer is a great service making it easier for customers to find great deals among all the other travel sites.

#2 – Retailers & General Merchandise

The king of the web is none other than Amazon.  The are, and have been literally since day one when they started back in the 90’s, the #1 online retailer in the world.  It’s no wonder they are spending millions of dollars on pay per click – and eager to do so.  Because as you probably know from experience, once you’re on Amazon purchasing something, you are very prone to buying something else you don’t even need.  It’s like Walmart, but on the web!

Top 5 businesses in “Retailers & General Merchandise” spending on Google Adwords

Top 5 keywords & cost per click

  • zumba dance dvd – $5.18 per click
  • proform treadmill – $3.80 per click
  • lego activity tablet – $3.02 per click
  • weber grill accessories – $1.95 per click
  • barbie doll – $1.20 per click

Interesting enough, the top two keyword phrases in this list pertain to the health and fitness industry.  Yet, that industry as a whole isn’t even close when it comes to total spending on Google Adwords.

#1 – Finance & Insurance

And now for the big guns!  Spending in excess of $150 – $200 million per year as an industry on Google Adwords, is Finance & Insurance.  The profits margins are huge per customer, and the amount that companies are willing to spend is far and above any other industry on Google Adwords.

Top 5 businesses in “Finance & Insurance” spending on Google Adwords

Top 5 keywords & cost per click

  • self employed health insurance – $43.39 per click
  • cheap car insurance – $33.97 per click
  • affordable life insurance – $28.53 per click
  • credit cards for bad credit – $19.64 per click
  • refinance mortgage – $8.15 per click
As you can see, companies spending on Google Adwords to connect to new customers is no joke.  Over $43 per click just to have a chance at connecting with a new customer is impressive, to say the least.  It also goes to show just how profitable the insurance industry is as a whole.
source & data:
Robert Holland is also the founder and main contributor at Tablet Crunch.