Running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns through Google AdWords can boost traffic to your website, but how can you tell if your ads are performing well enough to be worth the investment?
You need to understand how click-through rate (CTR) works.
Gauging success through CTR differs from other metrics because what seems like a low number may be just right for your type of business or even higher than the average.
Once you know how your ads stack up, you can start making changes to boost clicks and get better payoffs from your AdWords campaigns.
What is Click-Through Rate?
Google defines CTR as “a ratio showing how often people who see your ad end up clicking on it” and determines the percentage by dividing the number of clicks by the number of times an ad is seen. Both your ads and the keywords you use have their own CTR, helping you determine how well each part of your campaign is working.
Your CTR is one of the factors affecting Quality Score, a measurement Google assigns based on the performance and relevance of ads. A higher Quality Score means an ad enjoy better visibility and campaigns are cheaper to run. Low CTR can push ads into less desirable spaces in search results and increase your cost per click (CPC).
When an ad’s CTR suffers, it usually means there’s something wrong with the ad copy or the keywords you chose for the campaign.
A combination of high impressions and low CTR indicates your ad doesn’t relate to the searches potential customers are performing. Users may completely ignore marketing messages because they see no connection between your offers and their needs.
What Affects the CTR for AdWords?
If there was one magic formula for the perfect CTR, every business would hit the top spots in searches for relevant keywords. However, there are many influences at work affecting the number of clicks an ad receives:
• Ad position – Ads at the top of pages receive 85 percent of clicks compared to 13 percent for sidebar ads.
• Relevance – Performance is better when ad keywords closely relate to search terms.
• Use of extensions – Top ads gain access to additional ways to improve visibility and encourage conversions.
• Device use – Smaller mobile screens display fewer ads above the fold.
• Landing page – Google considers the relevance and layout of landing pages when determining Quality Score and ad placement.
• Network type – Ads appearing in different places around the web using the Google Display Network will have different CTR numbers depending on the target audience.
If you have ads in multiple locations, the CTR for one network may be higher than others and have more to do with the audience of the network than the quality of your ads.
Low CTR across networks points to the need to update your campaign.
Is Your CTR on Par with Your Industry?
Industries such as dating enjoy some of the highest CTR percentages.
This is likely because of the popularity of what’s being offered, and it means your CTR may fluctuate depending on demand for the types of products and services on which your company focuses.
However, if your CTR is consistently poor and doesn’t match up to what a business in your niche should be experiencing, it’s time to work on improving your campaign.
Letting your CTR stay low for too long not only wastes your marketing budget but also has a negative impact on your Quality Score.
If you don’t take action to bring the score back up, you could fall into a cycle of poor visibility, fewer click-throughs and more money spent per click.
Top Tips for a Better CTR
Are you ready to bring your AdWords CTR up to industry standards and beat out your competitors in search results?
Improving CTR doesn’t require any fancy methods or an in-depth understanding of every factor Google considers when determining Quality Score and ad placement.
If you’re familiar with optimising for SEO, you should have no trouble making the changes necessary to boost CTR for all your PPC ads.
Make sure the main keywords appear in both the headlines and the display URLs of your ads. This creates a sense of trust by proving the ad is relevant to a user’s search terms.
Giving users more information about your business and adding the option to contact you right away provides additional opportunities for clicks.
A strong call-to-action combined with engaging ad copy prompts users to click on your ad. Include a discount in your headline to entice consumers to make purchases before time runs out.
A good CTR means the effort you put into your ad campaigns is paying off and you’re not investing more of your marketing budget than is necessary to reach your target audience.
Improving CTR boosts your Quality Score, lowers your CPC and helps to bring your ads to more people.
Assess your current campaigns to see where your approach could be improved, and start developing smart AdWords techniques you can apply to all future PPC campaigns.