What is a good CTR?

increase click through rate rebrandly

CTR or click through rate is the measure of how often people that view an advertisement or come across a link end up clicking on it. CTR is a significant aspect of online marketing for advertisers. In fact, in most pay-per-click channels like Google Adwords, it aids in determining how an ad ranks, as well as how much an advertiser pays per click. Generally, a higher click through rate means lower costs and a higher ranking.

There are many reasons that advertisers strive to optimize their CTR; one of them being that a high average CTR shows your link or ad is drawing traffic and attention to your website. And the more people that you get to your site, the more conversions you are likely to get. CTR not only improves your Google Quality Score but also correlates with higher conversion rates. It is arguably one of the most important metrics to monitor when dealing with PPC advertising.

However, it’s good to note that a high above-average CTR doesn’t always mean an ad campaign was successful. If you find that your CTR is high, but the resulting conversions are low, it may mean that you spent your money and efforts attracting a huge number of individuals who are less likely to convert. This could be as a result of irrelevant ads/keywords to your business offering, an excessively broad target audience, or both. For example, if your ad is about an offer that has already expired – but you are yet to pull down the ad, your site may have a lot of visitors but very few conversions.

Low CTRs are also not a good thing, and they can have a negative impact on your Quality Scores and future placement in ad rankings. A low CTR shows that your audience doesn’t find relevance in your ads or links, and therefore there is no inspiration for them to click and see what you have to offer. CTRs are affected by a wide range of factors that are not necessarily in your control such as industry-specific benchmarks. This means that the CTR for ads in the Auto industry cannot be the same as that of those in the Tech industries.

So, what is a good CTR?

In simple terms, a good CTR is one that is above the average in your specific industry benchmark. We will discuss at length about the average click-through rates for the top industries, but first, let’s take a look at the several factors that impact CTR.

What Impacts CTRs?

1.Network 

Search network text and shopping ads on Google will most likely have higher CTRs than display campaigns. However, retargeting/remarketing ad campaigns often have better CTRs than other types of display campaigns.

2.Ad Relevance

Ad relevance is a determinant of how well an ad relates to the keywords that an advertiser is targeting with the ad. The more closely your keywords and ads relate to each other, the more relevant the ad will be to online searchers and the more likely it is to yield a high CTR. Ad relevance is a great tool to help you identify keywords that are not the best in boosting your ads to perform well.

3. Ad Rank

Ad rank is also significantly crucial in determining your CTR. If your ad is not ranked high on search engines, it will most likely have many impressions but low CTR. According to AccuraCast, ads in a search network vary dramatically by rank, with the top ranking ad on the list having an average of 7.11% CTR while an ad ranked at position 9 only has a 0.55% CTR.

google search accuracast
Source: AccuraCast 2018

4. Device

CTR also varies depending on the device in use majorly because of ad rank. Mobile CTR is often higher than that attained on desktops and tablets because mobile screens are smaller and ads take up much of the space before a user scrolls down.

5. Channel 

The platform where an ad is displayed also affects the CTR. Users on Google are different from those on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and such. For example, Twitter ads have the highest CTR at 2% on average among social media platforms, while LinkedIn has the lowest rate of 0.06%.

What is the average click-through rate for a pay-per-click Ad?

According to a survey by Wordstream, the average CTR across all industries on Adwords paid search ads is 0.35% on the display network and 1.91% on the search network. Matt Umbro from Hanapin Marketing also gave a similar view by noting that 2% is a good CTR for search campaigns both on Google Adwords and Bing.

CTR, just like many other metrics such as conversion rates, varies widely from industry to industry. This is because some industries are more competitive than others, and the target demographic in each sector always has different unique needs. Below are the industry-specific benchmarks that you can rely on to determine if your CTR is above or below average.

click through rate averages by industry
Source: Wordstream 2018

As you can see from the list above, the dating & personals industry has the highest search CTR of 3.40%. This could be because the industry has a massive audience, and individuals here are really interested in finding more about what they search for (say dating advice). The Tech industry, on the other hand, has the highest display CTR average of 0.84%. This is because individuals interested in tech products such as laptops and phones are more enticed by visual ads.

What types of Ads are better to improve your CTR?

If we lost you somewhere, ‘search ads’ refer to those advertisements that appear on top of search engines like Google when a person (potential customer) searches for a product or service you are offering (or a related item/service). You have most likely come across them in most of your searches. Here is how they look:

search ads

‘Display ads,’ on the other hand, refer to the advertisements that appear on a website when you are browsing. They are basically banner ads positioned somewhere within a website – often either at the top or side of the page. These ads often bear attention-grabbing texts and images. Here are some that were targeted to me as I scrolled through Buzzfeed News one morning. 

Both search and display ads have their pros and cons, and they are often best when used for specific marketing campaigns. Generally, though, search ads have better CTR and higher potential for increased conversion rates. They offer more focused audience targeting because they reach searchers who are interested in what they are searching for (that is product, advice, service, e.t.c). These searchers have a higher likelihood of clicking on ads related to their searches because they capture their intent.

Display ads are great for building awareness and creating demand. Unlike with search ads where a searcher has an intention to buy a product or subscribe to a service you are offering, a browser on a site displaying your ad has no intent to do the same. Browsers aren’t actively looking for your product or services. Instead, they are most likely researching their options. Display ads, therefore, work best when you are pushing an awareness campaign and trying to capture a broad audience’s attention.

What types of links improve your CTR?

The type of links you use in your advertising efforts can play a huge role in determining your success rate. If you use some random, jumbled, long URL like “http://www.mylonglink.com/deal/services/looooo-g.html?xyz_source+AcmeAds&xyz_medium=Banners” potential customers will most likely ignore it and jump to your competitor’s link. Instead of using these long links, consider turning your URLs into branded links like the one we used in this search ads.

search ad to improve click through rate

Branded links include your brand name, what you do, and where the link will lead, creating immediate trust with your audience. Since space on both search and display ads is limited and your audience’s attention is precious, the link can also act as the call to action, like we did in this example. Branded links also have the potential to increase click through rates by up to 39% when compared to generic short URLs. Learn how you can customize and optimize your links with Rebrandly.

A good CTR is one that is above your industry average and delivers a high number of conversions. The industry averages listed above are meant to help you set a baseline so that you can know how to improve your CTR with time. Tools such as Wordstream’s benchmarking offerings can assist you in data analysis. Remember, CTR is only one among many metrics that you should work on optimizing- simultaneously – when running an ad campaign.

Further Reading:

This Article is About:

  • How to increase click-through rate
  • Branded links for click-through rate
  • What is click-through rate
  • How to increase the CTR of links
Hannah Harrington
Hannah is the content manager at Rebrandly, a link management solution that empowers users to put their brand name on all the links they share. With a background in marketing and creative writing, Hannah’s passion lies in telling compelling customer stories. You can find this American expat exploring the streets of Dublin or nestled up with a cozy cup of tea.