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!