This is the first installment from our PPC Love series for this month.  For the purpose of today’s post, we’ll be discussing click through rate and offer up a few ways to improve CTR in your own accounts.

Ooh baby, I’m hot just like an oven

I need some [CTR] lovin’

And baby, I can’t hold it much longer

It’s getting stronger and stronger…

Click through rate is an important metric to consider when optimizing any PPC account. And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it would only seem fitting to crack open a fresh bottle of wine and allude to Marvin Gaye with some CTR Healing. Right…? Regardless of whether or not you think I’m crazy at this point, I’d like to focus on click through rate and offer up a few ways to improve CTR in your own accounts.

What is click through rate?

Essentially, click through rate is the rate at which users click on your PPC ads. This value is calculated by taking the total number of ad clicks divided by the number of impressions that particular ad received. CTR can therefore be an excellent way of gauging the relevancy between your ads and keywords.

Why is click through rate important?

Improving click through rate can achieve a variety of things, but most importantly, optimizing CTR can lead to higher ad positions and cheaper click costs. We know this because CTR is one of the elements the AdWords system considers when calculating Quality Scores. Therefore, since AdRank = Quality Score x CPC bid, higher QS’s allow advertisers to maintain optimal ad positions for less cost. So if saving money and gaining more visibility are of interest to your business and/or client, then this article is for you.

Improving CTR With Keywords

  • Choose Relevant Keywords

The first step to achieving an optimal click through rate is making sure you’re targeting only relevant terms. Your keywords should be closely related to your landing page and the product/service being offered. If you are keeping a close eye on your Quality Scores, this can be a quick way to determine the relevancy of a given keyword. If Quality Scores are low, you may want to consider finding additional keyword ideas using the AdWords Keyword Tool.

  • Capitalize on Long-Tail Keywords

As marketers, it’s our job to find the lowest cost option for our businesses or clients. Overly broad terms can be good if you have the budget to back them and want to generate more traffic, but they can also be very competitive and expensive as well. Therefore, focusing on long-tail keywords instead of broad terms can help boost your CTR. With a long-tail keywords, there are far fewer searches on those terms, but it becomes much more likely that users who search on those terms will be interested in exactly what you’re offering and click on your ad when they occur.

  • Create Tightly-Themed Keyword Groupings

Keywords should be grouped according to similar themes, which can play a big role in achieving optimal click through rates. By segmenting your keywords into closely related groupings, this allows your ad groups to work as efficiently as possible because you can then create targeted ad copy that relates to the keywords in a particular grouping. Not only will effective keyword groups improve your Quality Scores and save you some cheddar, but they will also yield higher click through rates as well. No wonder this is considered a best practice!

Improving CTR With Text Ads

  • Extend Headlines

One easy way to increase CTR is to manipulate your ads to show extended headlines. To do this, your ad needs to first appear above the organic results. Secondly, the first description line must end with a period. Google will then take the ad’s description line 1 and append it to the headline, as demonstrated in the example above. Although this tactic isn’t guaranteed to increase your click through rate, it certainly helps your ad to stand out from the crowd and entice more clicks.

  • Incorporate Credibility Symbols

Credibility symbols are also a great way to improve click through rates, which include the Trademark ™ and Registered ® symbols. Not only will they make your text ads appear more professional, but they can also help establish consumer trust and confidence surrounding your brand. To include the Trademark symbol, hold down Alt and type 0153. For the Registered symbol, hold down Alt and type 0174.

  • Enable Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are another great way to improve upon existing click through rates. Essentially, these help your ads become more visible by taking up more real estate on SERPs, but they also enable your ads to reveal some of the specific products/services offered by your business or client. This tactic can improve CTRs because your customers can more easily find what they are looking for by simply clicking on the particular link they’re interested in. For more information, check out our series on ad extensions.

  • Include a Call To Action

One of the most important components you can add to your text ads is an effective call to action. Typically, this is included in the second description line and encourages viewers to act in a certain way after viewing your ad. In other words, it indicates what the user should do next and therefore encourages higher click through rates. A few examples of solid calls to action include: Buy Now, Apply Online, and Get More Info.

  • Specify Incentives

Offering incentives directly through your ad copy can also boost your click through rates. Ads containing incentives usually receive more attention simply because consumers are always looking for deals. For example, you might try and offer an exclusive discount or free shipping to those who see your ad. Regardless, incentives like these act as excellent bait and helps improve CTR.

As you can see, there are many ways to go about increasing CTR in your own accounts. Be sure to stay tuned for Felicia’s post tomorrow on uploading negative keywords into Bing. Feel free to leave any commentary below, thanks for reading.