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What Is Considered A ‘Good’ CTR?

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I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard this question in some variation – “What should my goal CTR be?” “What’s considered a good CTR?” I also can’t tell you how lame I feel saying “Well, that depends…”

I’m in PPC, aren’t I supposed to have all the answers!? For starters, no account manager has all the answers but even then – some questions just don’t HAVE answers.

A ‘good’ click-through rate is relative: do you mean good as better than it was before? If so, when is this “before” you speak of? And maybe you don’t mean better necessarily. Perhaps you just want to know if what you’re sitting at now is acceptable or if you’ve sorely missed the boat. Are you looking for what a goal CTR could/should be for your industry…or do you mean PPC in general?!

And now you see why I hate answering this question…I end up in a rabbit hole of qualifications to make sure I provide the right kind of averaged out estimated number range. See that? I still even said ‘range’ because giving anyone a single number comes dangerously close to that number getting logged in their head as a goal. Even if you don’t formally say “We will work towards a CTR of X,” that client, prospect or supervisor is going to note that figure and they will ask about it down the road.

The other reason I don’t like answering this question is because it just seems silly to me. So what if there IS a ‘good’ CTR for your industry, vertical or business? Are you ok with halting any performance improvement techniques related to that metric once you hit that number? I don’t know how you do things, but when I set a goal and hit it – I set a new one. Unless your CTR is 100% (and even then you may have a problem…), your CTR may be all right but it isn’t flawless – keep going!

Which leads me to my response to this question from now on:

 

A good CTR is one that is consistently improving and being optimized.

 

Click-through rate isn’t just a metric to show you how successful you’ve been in selecting keywords, writing ad copy, and pleading your case to customers as to why you’re a better choice than the competitor. Click-through rate is a leading indicator to conversion rate optimization needs or improvements, and it also factors in to Quality Scores, which can then help you save money down the line on an individual keyword CPC basis.

Rather than focusing on getting to some ultimate, Holy Grail CTR, I try to focus on what’s been tested to try and progress that metric before and what there still is to try. Here are some of my favorite ad copy/click-through rate tests that you can try to keep that KPI consistently moving up and to the right for overall account improvement:

 

  • Change up your call to action or where the call to action is placed in the ad copy itself (first or second line).
  • Likewise, when was the last time you swapped out your benefit or value-add statement? If there’s another tag line that makes you stand apart from your competition, try it out to see if your customers have wanted to hear that all along!
  • Extend your display URLs to include ‘/keyword’ at the end to further show relevance to your potential customer of what you have that they’re looking for.
  • Include an expiration date for the offer you’ve got on the table so the prospective customer knows they need to act fast!
  • Use those exclamation points you’re allowed to use when/if they make sense! People love to feel excited about your product/service! Aren’t you more excited right now just reading this with all the exclamation points?!

 

Sean and I are pretty nerdy about ways to improve your ad and CTR performance, so make sure you check out those two (and more extensive) checklists, too!

What do you think? Do you have a target CTR set for your account? If so – how often do you bump it up after hitting it? Or do you leave it at the same goal and work around that only if it dips below that threshold?

How often do you hear this question? What response do you give? And of course share any ideas you have for improving CTR in the comments section below.

 

Thanks for reading!

About the Author

Kayla Kurtz

Kayla Kurtz is currently the Paid Search Consultant for Hanapin Marketing, with vast experience as an Account Manager with the agency before taking on her current position. Her account work includes ecommerce and lead generation, with accounts spending between four and six figures monthly. Kayla is a graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington who frequently uses her Education degree to teach her peers the ins and outs of paid search marketing. When she's not working, she enjoys Colts football, White Sox baseball, Hoosier basketball and wine. Find her on Twitter @One800Kayla or on her Google+
  • sandy

    I agree.there is no ultimate answer for this question. At least, i can’t answer this question .i would rather focus on what i am seeing and it if can be improved further with little testing like you suggested above.

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com/ Kayla Kurtz

      My thoughts exactly, Sandy. Thanks for reading and for commenting!

  • Raju Paliwal

    A good CTR is one that is consistently improving and being optimized (y)

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com/ Kayla Kurtz

      Thanks for the seal of approval, Raju!

  • Chris Cornwell

    CTR is obviously important for a host of reasons. However I am more interested in what I am doing with the traffic that I do get. What’s the conversion rate? If the conversion rate is good, then optimizing CTR is even more important.

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com/ Kayla Kurtz

      Excellent call, Chris. CTR improving is one thing – but what’s it coming out to in the end? That’s what matters! Thanks for the comment!

  • http://www.digitaldiscovery.com.pt/ Pedro Menezes Pereira

    Good article :) – Cheers :)

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com/ Kayla Kurtz

      Thanks, Pedro!

  • chelsey walsh

    CTR is incredibly important but you’re right, even if you’ve got a CTR of 100% this can be problematic! I’ve experienced cases of CTR going through the roof without compromising my quality score (a perfect 10 in some cases). Sounds great, right? Not when none of these never actually converted down the line, either in ad conversions or later in the funnel. Skyrocketing your CTR and front line stats like this is simply wasted money down the line! Now, I never look at CTR in a silo. I think if you create that really ‘relevant’ experience for the audience, linking keyword to ad headline, to landing page text then you’re on to a winner – not just on CTR but in conversion rates too!

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com/ Kayla Kurtz

      LOVE all of this, Chelsey…and I agree completely! Relying on CTR alone is just not a good idea. Thanks for reading!

  • Gordon Hartin

    When looking at CTR for an Adwords Search campaign, if you are also using the google search partner networks, it is very important that you look at the segment by the Network(with Search Partners). I’ve seen many cases where the Search Partner Network is delivering 90% of the impressions but only 10% of the clicks. Also, your Google quality score is determined by what happens on Google, not the Search Partners. You could have a 10% CTR in google and 1% CTR in the search partners. So make sure to dig a little deeper in your reports and get a better idea of what network your traffic is coming from.

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com/ Kayla Kurtz

      SUCH a great point, Gordon! Same goes with devices…thanks for the comment and for reading!

  • James

    Maybe this question can be better phrased then for what we want. What is the point where if your boss saw the CTR he would be likely justified in thinking you are doing a BAD JOB. That would be a much better question to answer, not going into relativism and all that. Just need to know what I should see as a bad CTR.

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com/ Kayla Kurtz

      Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, James!

      I think the only time your boss is going to get down to looking at CTR is if revenue and/or conversions aren’t coming in and they start pulling back the supporting metrics around it…assuming they’re focusing on the right goal metric, that is.

      I would say if your CTR is pretty steady and then it starts to decline consistently for a month or so – then you might get some questions from the higher ups, otherwise it shouldn’t be the focus anyway.

      Thanks for the great question!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonmanion/ Jason Manion

    I’m going to agree with the commenters who’ve said that the more important metrics are what happens after the click. I’m ok with a CTR that’s going down if that means my clicks are more likely to convert – less clicks = less cost. At the end of the day, clicks and CTR aren’t what’s paying the bills, it’s the conversions to leads/customers that really matter.

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com/ Kayla Kurtz

      Preach it, Jason! Post-click traffic and data is absolutely what’s most important. Thanks for reading and for the comment!

  • Steve Cameron

    Hi Kayla – these are great points – I wrote about just this a little while back – http://advent.es/adventblog/entry/29-its-not-about-clicks – pointing out that we can often be blinded by clicks and also by meaningless conversions.

    A conversion that measures a visit to the landing page (yep – seen those, too) gives you an almost 100% conversion rate… why not 100%? Because some of your visitors are hitting the back button before the tracking code can execute!

    Unfortunately this is where so many less than professional “managers” can blind their bosses and/or clients with pseudo science.

    Meaningful conversions linked back to the click data is essential. Traffic for the sake of traffic is pointless.

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com/ Kayla Kurtz

      *applause*

      Agree 100% (no pun intended) that any completely topped out metric actually causes me to ask more questions that it would if my conversion rate was at around a 5% or something.

      Unless the account is brand new and/or the account or a particular campaign has absolute branding purposes, traffic for the sake of traffic doesn’t do anyone any good.

      Thanks for reading!

  • http://www.mathewporter.co.uk/ Mathew Porter

    As you said it’s all relative to the ad, what level page it’s targeting etc. hard to set a desired CTR when there are so many factors involved and its all about conversion at the end of the day. An ad saying “free iPads” would probably get 100% CTR but would convert at 0% on a site that sells garden benches and does not give away free iPads.

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