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Targeting Click-Through-Rate and Why is it Important?

Targeting Click-Through-Rate and Why is it Important?

by Philip Armstrong14th November 2014

Click-Through-Rate is used to show how often people click your Ads when they are shown to them.

Clicks / Impressions = CTR

Every keyword and Ad within your campaign has its own CTR which can be used to gauge how well they are performing.

A high Click-Through-Rate is important not only because it shows that our Ads are generating our website a lot of traffic, but because our CTR contributes towards your Quality Score.

The why: CTR helps determine QS and Ad Rank for one simple reason: Google earn money every time someone clicks on one of our Ads. So naturally Google want Ads that generate a large number of clicks, and which generate a large amount of revenue, to be as high on the page as possible.

For this reason it is imperative to work towards attaining a high CTR in order to both bring down costs, and increase the number of visitors to your website through your Ads.

So, how do we improve the CTR for our Ads?


If I increase my Max CPC in order to get a higher position on the page, and get a higher CTR position will I get a high QS as a result?


Here’s what Google says, in their own words:


“Your Ad’s Placement on the Page: Doesn’t Matter”


While it’s great to have a high position on the page, doing so doesn’t increase the

expected CTR rating of your ads. The expected CTR is normalized for your actual position on the page. The top position is expected to receive more clicks than the third position on the top, and so on. We also normalize for other factors that affect visibility, like ad extensions and other ad formats.

You don’t need to bid for higher positions to increase Quality Score, so you’re free to bid

to performance: the clicks, conversions and costs that work best for your business.


If our Ad Rank is mediocre, i.e. our Ad is the middle position (5-8) on the first page, you can expect your CTR to be quite low as compared to if your Ad was appearing at the top of the page.

For this reason you should not necessarily expect your Ad to have a CTR of 3% if you are appearing in 5th place. If your Ad has an avg position of 1.3 for a keyword, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you CTR is as high as 15%.


Also, remember that our Expected CTR is compared to our competitor’s – although you may believe your CTR to be low… it may actually be higher for that keyword than your competitors’.

For each keyword, hover over the speech bubble in the Status column to see how your CTR compares, on average, to you competitors:

1 - Competition

How to Improve Our CTR:

The best way to create Ads which attract a high percentage of clicks, is to firstly understand what exactly it is, that web users typing in your target keyword are looking for?

Let’s say for example, we have an e-commerce website that sells pushup bras and we’re bidding on the keyword: “pushup bras”, what are some of the things we should include in our Ad Text to try to maximise our CTR?

Pushup Bras

  1. Retain the keyword scent

Including the keyword that users have typed in services two purposes: firstly, users are naturally looking for the keyword that they have searched for, and so are drawn to the Ads which contain this keyword; and secondly, Google naturally highlights the keyword where it appears in the search results – even if it is in your Display URL, drawing the users attention towards your Ad even further!

2 - Retain Keyword

  1. Use your own USP’s

Using unique selling points (USP’s) helps to differentiate us from our competitors, and entice users to click on our Ads. The better the deal is for our target user base, the more likely they should be to click on our Ad.

Note: make sure that these are deals/ discounts that you actually offer on your landing page, as if users do not see the offer that they are expecting, they are unlikely to stick around on your website and spend money…

Let’s compare some Ads:

3 - Use USP

Offering users a discount, or free delivery, gives them an incentive to click our Ad. Also, notice that the top Ad compels the user to act now by including “Limited Time Only!” in the Ad Text.

Note: Don’t Compromise Conversion Rate

Keep in mind, that while it is important to strive for a high conversion rate for our Ad Text, it should not be at the expense of our conversion rate. Certain Ad Texts may generate a high CTR, but if our Ad Text does not fully represent what our website is offering/ selling, then users may not make a purchase, and our conversion rate will suffer as a result.

  1. Split Test Ads

By running two or more separate Ads at different times in the day, we can test which Ad gets the higher CTR. This is called A/B testing.

It can be best to isolate and test one feature of the Ad Text at a time, so we can be more certain of which difference the Ad Text is responsible for generating a higher CTR.

Here’s an example:

4 - Split Test

Notice how the only difference between these Ads is the second line of Ad Text. By testing these two Ads against each other for an extended period of time, we can find which USP generates us the highest CTR.

If we’re going to split test two Ads, we have to make sure that we set Ads to Rotate Evenly (or Indefinitely) so that we get a large sample of data for both Ads to compare: Go to Campaign Settings > Advanced Settings > Ad delivery

5 - Ad Rotation

  1. Punctuation

Using commas and full stops helps users to read and understand our Ads, especially when Google often will move the second line of the Ad Text into the first line, or the first line into the title.


6 - Punctuation

Exclamation marks can also improve CTR. You can only use one exclamation mark per Ad, and it can only appear in either the first or second line of the Ad Text.

Also, capitalising the first letter of each word in our Ad Text has been found to increase CTR.

  1. Ad Extensions

There are six types of Ad Extensions to compliment your Ad Text, and each has the potential to boost our CTR:

7 - Ad Extension

Here is an example of an advertiser who has taken full advantage of the Ad extensions available:

8 - Ad Extension 2

Notice how each extension ads additional real estate to our Ad, potentially increasing the chance of a web user noticing it and clicking it.

Google Plus Followers

For businesses with a decent following on Google (100+ “quality” followers), their number of followers may show up next to their Ad:

9 - Followers

Optimising our Ad Text, and maximising the CTR of our Ads should come as a natural consequence of effectively promoting our product to our target audience by doing the following:

  • understanding what our target audience wants
  • formulate our USPs to cater for this
  • attracting our audiences’ attention and convincing them that we can deliver what they are looking for, using all of the tools we have at our disposal in Adwords, including the relevant Ad Extensions that we have available to us




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About The Author
Philip Armstrong
Philip Armstrong is a content writer for the Just SEO newsroom. Having served as an Adword's manager for a number of paid search campaigns, he is an expert in spending money to make money, and regularly contributes in-depth articles on the latest news and updates on pay-per-click (PPC) matters.

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