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Click-Through Rate (CTR)

What is click-through rate (CTR)?

Click-through rate (CTR) is a digital marketing metric used to measure ad performance in terms of the number of clicks received on the campaign against the number of views (impressions). Mostly, it is measured as a percentage rate.

Although CTR can be measured for most digital marketing channels, commonly it is used to track PPC, SEO, paid social, and email campaigns. It is ideal for such campaigns as they share a common goal of directing users to specific web pages. Common examples where CTR is measured are:

  • Links on landing pages
  • Email links
  • CTAs
  • PPC advertisements
  • Facebook ads
  • Website elements such as buttons, images, etc.

As a metric, CTR shows the relevance of an ad to the users. If the CTR is:

  • High – users find the ad to be highly relevant.
  • Low – users find the ad to be less relevant.

Formula to calculate CTR

CTR is calculated as the percentage of visitors who view an ad (impressions) and then actually click the ad (clicks). The formula for CTR looks as below:

Why is CTR important?

CTR is an important metric for advertisers to understand and monitor for the below reasons:

  1. Measures the success of an ad in grabbing user attention: Informs on what works and what doesn’t for the customers.
  2. Direct impact on the quality score: The score is measured through the ads’ CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience to the users. A higher CTR will lead to higher quality scores.
  3. Ad rank: A high-quality score would result in Google charging less per ad click while placing the content at a higher rank.

What is a good CTR?

Many advertisers and marketers may ask – what is a good CTR? The answer to this is “it depends”. CTR is relative to:

  • Type of industry
  • Set of keywords 
  • Various individual campaigns within a PPC account

Below are the CTR benchmarks in Google Ads across some common industries:

Average CTR
Image source: WordStream

Click-through rate vs Conversion rate

Having a high CTR tells that a lot of users are clicking on the ads but it doesn’t tell about the total number of conversions. Simply put, an ad may have a high CTR with a very low conversion rate resulting in a high cost per conversion (CPC) for the advertiser.

Conversion rate is the metric that measures the percentage of the clicks that lead to actual sales. Hence, it is a vital metric to track an ad campaign’s success.

Factors affecting CTR

Some factors that can affect the click-through rate are:

  1. Content relevancy: The content for any ad, email, or campaign should have a similar message as on the landing page. This is not only important for CTR but the website’s bounce rate and finally conversions. 
  2. Ad rank: PPC CTR is also affected by the placement of the ad on the webpage. The ad rank is dependent on the quality score, relevance, and CPC budget.
  3. Other factors such as imagery, keywords, CTA copy, and ad positioning.
  4. Industry competition
  5. Audience and type of targeting
  6. Display URL
  7. Types of offers in the campaigns

Tips to achieve an improved CTR

No set number indicates a good CTR. However, many factors influence the CTR. To improve and achieve a high CTR, the below techniques can be of help:

  1. Understand the audience: Knowing more about the audience will lead to the creation of more targeted ads. Use tools such as VWO Insights to know what exactly the users want. Take a free trial today
  2. Perform keyword research: Before creating any PPC ad, research to know the right keywords to target. It saves time and money and helps in determining the click potential.
  3. Include CTAs: Nudge the visitors with relevant CTAs linking to a landing page that matches the ad copy.
  4. Symbols: Adding attention-grabbing special characters and symbols will make the ad pop and stand out.
  5. Use ad extensions: Ad extensions such as reviews, site links, locations, etc. cover more space on SERP, hence catching the eye of the visitor.
  6. A/B Testing: Once all factors have been considered which are leading to a lower CTR, testing every step of the user journey is the way ahead. Learn how VWO can help with this. Take a free trial to explore VWO’s testing capabilities

Some key takeaways

Several factors affect the likeliness of someone clicking on any content or ad, therefore, affecting the CTR. Still, it is a useful indicator and shouldn’t be used just as a performance metric. It should be used in conjunction with the below metrics to get the best performance evaluation of any campaign:

  • Bringing the campaign to the target audience (impressions)
  • Keeping the visitors on a page after getting clicks (bounce rate)
  • Encouraging visitors to take the desired action (conversion rate)
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