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AdWords Click Through Rates (CTR) - Evaluating and Improving CTR

What is CTR and why is it so important?

Click Through Rate, otherwise known as (CTR), is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions (ad views).  CTR plays a large role in  your keyword quality scores. Google uses CTR data to gauge the relevance of your keywords to ad text by more or less letting the end user tell Google how relevant the ads were to the search term they used to find your ad.  Ads that are more relevant usually get a higher rate of click throughs to their website.

 

When an advertisers includes a new keyword in their account it is assigned a quality score based on the keyword performance within the Adwords system for other advertisers, as well as its relevance within your account.  The quality score assigned can then be raised or lowered from that point based on the Click Through Rate (CTR) score that the keyword accrues within your account. 

 

CTR has a large impact on quality score so raising CTR, and in-turn Quality Score, will result in you being able to improve ad rank (position in the auction) or if you choose to stay at the same ad rank position you can potentially reduce your bids while maintaining the same position in the auction.

 

What is a ‘good’ CTR?

Not the easiest question to answer because there are a lot of moving parts to consider, and such a wide variety of advertisers on Google.  CTR will differ (sometimes greatly) between the Google Search and Display.  I suggest continually evaluating CTR and doing maintenance but in my opinion take special note on Search Network CTR under 1% and Display Network CTR under 0.05%.  CTR is a Key Performance Indicator for how well your ads are received by your potential customers.

 

How do I evaluate and Improve CTR?

A low CTR indicates room for improvement.  Perhaps potential customers found your ads in error due to poor keyword selections, perhaps your broad match types are expanding to irrelevant searches, maybe your ad text is boring, and perhaps your rank is just too low and your ads are below the page fold allowing for impressions but not enough visibility.  Below is more detail on evaluating CTR at the keyword, ad text and rank levels.

 

  • Evaluate Account Structure - A good account structure is a must.  By creating multiple adgroups, each around a keyword theme you can deliver ad copy that is relevant to the search query used to trigger your ads.  You then can use the destination url of your ads to target the most relevant page on your website about any given product/service, i.e. graphic design firm - adgroup A: logo design, Keywords about: logo design,  Ad Copy about: logo design, Destination URL about: logo design.  Planning an account structure is easy with these three simple steps

 

  • Evaluating Keywords - Are your keywords too generic? If you are a personal trainer you may be tempted to select a keyword like ‘fitness’ but think of all the other applications that the word ‘fitness’ can apply to; fitness diet, fitness equipment, fitness supplements, fitness clothing, to name a few.  If your ads appear for your personal training program when a person searches for fitness supplements then you are not going to appear relevant, will not receive the click, and your CTR will suffer.  Are your keywords in the proper match type?  There are different keywords Match Types and selecting the right match type for your account is important. Learn more about Keyword Match Types.  

 

  • Evaluating Ad Text - Is your ad text well written?  Ad text needs to be honest, compelling and contain a call to action.   If you offer specials let people know.   Your ads appear amongst many other advertisers, ad text that stands out and grabs a potential customer’s attention is important.

 

  • Evaluating Ad Position - Does your ad position need to be evaluated?  Ads that are below the page fold (requiring users to scroll down) will receive impressions because they are on the first page but will not actually be viewed as often as ads above the fold.   If you find you have a low CTR check your ad position.  If you find it is low on the first page you may want to consider raising your position by adjusting bids.  To identify approximately what you need to pay for higher positions learn more about first page bid estimates and top of page bid estimates.

 

Contributed by:  +Kim Clinkunbroomer

about Kim Clinkunbroomer

Owner, Clink Digital Marketing, Google Partner, AdWords Top Contributor 2006 to present. Our goal is to provide our Clients with the highest level of service to help reach their goals and grow their businesses. Contact: kim@clinkdigitalmarketing.com 847-361-3057 http://www.clinkdigitalmarketing.com

Comments
April 2013

Very good and informative artical

Thanks for that

William H
September 2013

In calculating quality scores, would Google be so foolish as to give the same credit to a 2% CTR for an ad at the top SERP results, to a 2% CTR of an ad way down in the results?

 

No? Well then, it seems to me that to make sense, the credit given would have to be relative to the average CTR for the positon of the ad. 

 

Is there any place one can go to get some official or authorative showing of the actual math used in calculating a Quality Score? Everything explanation if can find is lacking.

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