AdWords CTR – Is yours a Trick or Treat?

About Click Through Rate (CTR)

Click Through Rate, otherwise known as (CTR), is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by impressions (Clicks / Impressions). CTR is a performance indicator for how well your ads are received by your potential customers. This metric plays a large role in your account performance as CTR plays a big part in the quality score calculation. Google uses CTR data to gauge the relevance of your keywords to ad text by letting the end user tell Google, and us, how relevant the ad copy is to the keywords that triggered the ad. Google wants us to provide a good user experience by delivering relevant search results and the CTR metric let’s us know if we are doing our job right.

Why should I care?

You should care because Click Through Rate (CTR) is one of those metrics that can be worked to increase quality score. Low CTR indicates room for improvement. High CTR indicates you are working with relevance and ad messaging that resonates with your target audience.

Is my CTR good or bad?

CTR will differ between the Google Search and Display Networks. Search Network generally achieves a higher CTR and that is due largely in part to the Search Network often driving traffic with higher intent to convert behind their search queries. While I can’t say exactly what is “good”, because it varies from network to network and vertical to vertical, I recommend that one gives attention to Search Network CTR under 1.5% and Display Network CTR under 0.05%.

My CTR is low – Why?

Perhaps potential customers found your ads accidentally due to poor/irrelevant keyword selections, maybe your broad match keywords are expanding to irrelevant searches, maybe your ad text is lame, and perhaps your rank is just too low and your ads are poorly positioned on search results pages allowing for impressions but not enough visibility for the click. Below are some tips to help evaluate CTR.

● Keywords – How relevant are your keywords? What match types have you implemented?  Are you using negative keywords?  Keyword selection and maintenance are an important process. Don’t get lazy here because this can be your downfall. Research tools are out there to help with your keyword research so take advantage of them.

● Account Structure – This is a biggie. Start with taking the keywords that are relevant to your product or service and breaking them up into groups around a relevant theme. These tight, highly relevant keyword groups are going to become your adgroups. You can then pair up relevant ad messaging and select a landing page on your website that is relevant to this adgroup theme.

● Evaluating Ad Text – How well written is your ad copy? Is it relevant? Does it contain a compelling message and a strong call to action? Considering all the messaging going on in an average search result page it is important to put effort into your ad copy. Long story short, don’t be lazy when it comes to ad copy.

● Evaluating Ad Position – What do your ad positions look like? Do they need to be evaluated? Ads that are position that is too low, for instance below the fold (requiring users to scroll down) will receive impressions because they are on the first page but will likely not be clicked as often as ads above the fold resulting in low CTR. If you find you have a low CTR check your ad position. If you find it is low on the first page you may want to consider raising your position by adjusting bids.

Some Extra Treats that can Improve CTR

Ad extensions have been proven to improve CTR. Here are a few ad extensions that can give your ads a boost.

● Hands down Sitelinks increase CTR. Sitelinks have limits to length and each need their own unique destination URL.  Sitelinks can be implemented on a Campaign or Adgroup level and really boost an ads visibility and ability to message your target audience.

● Location Extensions are a plus if you are trying to get the attention of a local audience. Seeing a map, directions and location specific information can boost CTR.

● Offers Extensions allow advertisers to let potential clients know about a special or discount they are offering.

● Social Annotations can boost confidence and increase CTR.

 The takeaway here is that CTR is incredibly important.  CTR it is a major player when it comes to AdWords Quality Score formula and when you maintain a healthy CTR you enjoy treats like better resonance with your target audience, lower costs per click and ultimately overall better account performance and conversion rates.


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