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How To Increase CTR: A Simple and Practical Guide

How to increase CTR
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You may have read a hundred and one other articles on how to increase CTR, but this one is different, I swear! My goal is to provide you with a really valuable guide to increasing your click-through rate that you can put to good use and hopefully share with your followers too. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but what I can do is impart some tried and true knowledge and reference some really valuable resources to give a framework on how to increase your CTR.

So, I guess that’s the first lesson in how to increase CTR! Create good content that educates and provides value, rather than focusing on sales.

Click-Through Rate 101

If you’ve come this far I’m going to assume you already know what CTR is, but just in case let’s do a quick recap and discuss some of the basics.

CTR (click-through rate) is the number of times your link was clicked divided by the number of times it was viewed, expressed as a percentage. 

How to increase CTR

In other words, if your link is viewed 10 times and clicked once your CTR is 10%.

Depending on your marketing strategy you and your team may refer to CTR in a number of different ways. It can be the number of clicks on a link in your email, the number of clicks your social media post got, the number of clicks on your paid ad or it could be the number of clicks on a call to action on your blog post that leads to a landing page.

I’m going to address a wide range of factors that will help increase your CTR so no matter what way you refer to it, this guide will give you something you can use.

How To Increase CTR: The Who, The What & The Where

If we want to understand how to increase CTR, first we need to understand what factors affect it. There are three major factors that determine whether or not a link is clicked which I like to call The Who, The What, and The Where. Let’s start with The Who.

The Who

‘The Who’ can refer to two different entities- the person viewing the link and the person/brand providing the link.

The person viewing the link will only click it if it’s relevant and interesting to them. For example, one of my best friends is a veterinarian. He has no interest in marketing or business so the chances are if I sent him this article about how to increase CTR he wouldn’t click it. (Ironic since that’s what this article is all about!)

In other words, know who your target audience is and target the right people. Get specific with your targeting and create a buyer persona for your ideal reader. HubSpot provides a great tool for creating personas aptly named Makemypersona.com that I would recommend using. This helps you to keep your target audience front of mind through each stage of creating content.

how to increase CTR

As for the person providing the link (that’s you), it’s important to make sure people know who you are. Building rapport with your readers and interacting with them will help increase the number of return viewers to your content. I’m far more likely click a link sent to me from a company whose service I use than a link sent to me from a web development agency that ‘found my details online’ and would like to offer me their services. You know the ones! Building credibility with your audience goes a long way to increase your CTR.

The What

Next up is ‘The What’. This links back to my example of being relevant: what’s actually behind your link is incredibly important. If readers see your title, click it and find that the content of your blog post isn’t what the title claims, they’re not coming back again. For example, if you clicked this post titled ‘How to Increase CTR’ and it turned out to be a guide to creating marketing videos you’d be very unlikely to trust my writing in future.

Besides from the trust that you’ve lost with your current readers, you’re also going to suffer from a high bounce rate and low dwell time. (Bounce rate is the percentage of people who view one page of your site and leave immediately. Dwell time is the amount of time that someone spends on your website.) Why do these matter, you might wonder? Both are widely accepted as very important ranking factors for SEO and a good page ranking means a higher CTR.

In fact, Moz believes “Although having a high organic CTR is crucial, having positive website engagement metrics is even more critical.”

how to increase CTR
Infographic from Cognitiveseo.com

The bottom line? make sure your content keeps the promise your title and link have made.

The Where

This is where I want to get into the specifics. Figuring out how to increase CTR depends on where you want to increase your CTR. Each marketing channel requires taking a number of different factors into account.

It could be on social media, through email, paid advertisements, on a blog, on a web page or even offline. I’ve listed the common factors that will affect your CTR across these different marketing channels. Not every factor is relevant to every channel but we should cover all of your bases in this list. 

Copy: Whether it’s on social media, in an email or on your paid advertisement writing great copy is a sure fire way to grab your readers attention and increase your CTR. Outbound Engine wrote a great resource for how to write good copy for social media, while OptinMonster created a helpful guide to writing email copy that converts. Writing good copy for paid advertisement’s like on Google or Facebook can be more difficult as you have far less space to write. However, Unbounce has done a great job explaining how to write copy for paid ads to increase CTR with some really insightful tips.
 
Hashtags: Hashtags now work across Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin. Choosing the correct one will dramatically increase your CTR. Two great tools for researching the best hashtags to use are firstly a browser extension called Ritetag which helps you compare hashtag options to gain instant viewers or to get found over time. The second tool is Hashtagify, which helps suggest related hashtags showing you their popularity and relevance. Using both of these together can help you pick the best hashtags to get found and increase your CTR.

Ritetag increase CTR

Link: An often under utilized factor in improving CTR and obviously our favorite one here at Rebrandly. Whether you’re using social media, email, a blog post or paid advertisements you’re going to be including a link. Many people use generic short URLs from tools like Ow.ly or TinyURL, but let’s face it- they’re anonymous and ugly. Branded links allow you to showcase your brand name on the links you’re sharing and have been found to increase your CTR by up to 39%. I’ve included a limited time coupon below for you to get a free custom domain to try branded links for yourself, so get it while it’s hot.

How to increase CTR

Image: Visually appealing images are a great way to improve your CTR. You may be saying, “But I’m not a designer!” and that’s okay you don’t need to be a Photoshop whiz to create good images for your content. There are tons of great tools that let us more artistically challenged people to create really nice images like Canva and Snappa. I recently compiled a list of some of the best marketing tools available which has a section for design, images and video that you can check out if you need more options.

Title: Last but most definitely not least is the title. This is the most important factor when you’re trying to increase your organic search click through rate but also plays a huge role in all the other channels. You want to approach your title from two fronts, an SEO perspective and a human one. For SEO purposes putting your keyword towards the start of the title is best practice- but you want to make sure you’re not compromising human readability for SEO boosts. In fact, human readability is considered to be an SEO factor so just don’t do it. You can always try out a title generator like the one found at TitleGenerator.com to get your creative juices flowing, but I advise writing out at least 5 versions of your title before deciding on one and don’t forget to bounce ideas off your teammates. 

Need a Summary?

I’ve just given you a lot of information to digest so let me do a quick recap for you. To get a higher CTR there are three questions to ask yourself:

Who: Who’s providing this link and who’s reading it?

What: What does this actually link to and is it relevant?

Where: Where are we trying to achieve a higher CTR? (And then adjust your method accordingly.)

Once you’ve answered those questions you’ll have some clear actionable steps to boost your click through rate. If there are any other elements that need to be considered we’d love to hear from you in the comments section with your suggestions. 

Further Reading:

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  • How to increase CTR
  • How to increase click-through-rate
  • How to boost CTR
  • How to boost click-through-rate
  • How to improve CTR
  • How to improve click-through-rate
Digital Marketer with Rebrandly: Digital Marketing, movie quotes, music and branded links! Linkedin: Rebrandly.Rocks/Ian
  • Hi Ian. I’m Jonah from Hashtagify.me. I’ve just read your article and want to thank you very much for introducing our tool to your readers 🙂

    • Ian Matthews

      Hi Jonah, No problem at all. I love your tool, keep it up!

  • I have a marketing degree, and this article alone makes much of it. Well written, great tools, your links are well placed, and your name is Ian so extra cool points for that. Saving and following, and sharing.

    • Ian Matthews

      A great compliment, glad you found it helpful. Happy to help out a fellow Ian!