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What Is A Good CTR For Google Ads?

May 15, 2020
Mark Neale
written by Mark Neale
Head of Paid Media
Illustration of a click to represent CTR

Click-through rate (CTR) is a common metric in Google Ads analysis, but what can it tell on its own, and is there a “best” CTR? We found out.

With any Google Ads campaign, it’s important to improve your KPIs where possible. But how do you know if your campaign is performing well or not if you don’t have anything to compare it to? There are reports that can assess your campaign performance but if you don’t know the average CTR for your industry, you could be running campaigns that just aren’t hitting the mark like they should.

What does CTR stand for?

CTR stands for click-through rate and it measures the percentage of clicks an ad gets based on its total number of impressions.

Example: for an ad that gets 1,000 impressions and 75 clicks, the CTR would be 75 ÷ 1000 = 0.075%

CTR is used as a better metric over clicks because it shows the rate of success. 1,000 clicks is a lot for a campaign with 5,000 impressions but not so good for a campaign with 500,000 impressions.

Why is CTR so important?

There are further benefits to a good CTR that tie into the success and cost-effectiveness of a PPC campaign:

  • CTRs are linked to Quality Score – the higher your CTR, the better your Quality Score and the cheaper it is to maintain ad position
  • CTR is also a factor in a keyword’s expected CTR, which is part of Ad Rank

It’s a continuous cycle and click-through rates are a tangible measurement that keep it turning.

Average CTRs by industry

A CTR might look good on its own or even in comparison to other campaigns within an account but what about industry competitors? Defining your CTR by industry is important because they can differ significantly.

The average CTR across all industries is 5.90% for search and 0.5% for display when it comes to Google’s industry benchmarks for 2020. Some of the best performing industries include:

  • Travel and tourism (7.83%)
  • Vehicles (7.35%)
  • Dining and nightlife (6.63%)
  • Real estate (6.19%)

So what does this data tell us? Well, it shows you a benchmark to compare yourself to. Your CTR might not have seemed so high in isolation but if it’s performing higher than the industry average, that’s cause for celebration.

It’s also important to note that if your CTR percentage is suffering, this could be an issue with your audience targeting, or perhaps you’re not picking the right keywords. There are a whole host of factors that can impact your CTR and disrupt its performance.

For a deeper analysis of what could be causing a low CTR, try our Funnel Report.

Is there a “best” CTR?

The problem with averages is they’re affected by outliers. If a campaign over/underperforms, the average is pulled up or down, and those anomalies could be due to things like seasonality or unexpected events like the COVID-19 pandemic affecting searches.

The “best” CTR depends on several factors, specific to your business and the ad campaigns themselves. You also want to focus on your industry and to check what the average is so that you have a good benchmark to work off of when trying to improve your CTR percentage.

But don’t use that average as a hard-and-fast rule. It’s one of many guides to assess your performance but ultimately, your own set goals should be your priority.

Why click-through rate doesn’t tell the full story

A drawing of a sign that says "to be continued"
The PPC story continues…

CTRs are helpful metrics but they don’t tell the full story on their own.

A click doesn’t necessarily equate to a sale or signup – they have to go all the way through the conversion funnel. So you could still get a good CTR and a low conversion rate. Also, a CTR only measures the performance of an ad. A poor quality landing page could ruin all that hard work.

You also have to consider that people don’t always convert on first visit, which is where remarketing comes in and you’ll want to maintain that high CTR so the second visit is a successful one.

Differences between ad types

There are different ad types that are definitely worth considering when it comes to improving or diversifying your attempts to improve the CTR of your campaigns.

Static Display Ads

This is one of the most typical ad types in that they remain stationary, and it doesn’t change. Static ads are something that tends to perform better than animated ads because the brand logo on a static display tends to be viewable straight away. With animated ads, they usually display a series of images before referencing the brand.

Interactive Ads

These types of ads are good for increasing brand loyalty and reputation. It can be in the form of custom reviews, mobile apps, and social media. It can provide a more emotional experience for your customers and can increase click-through rates as a result.

Animated Ads

Animated ones can take more time to create but can be a more eye-catching advertisement and give you more freedom in terms of what you can produce.

How to improve your CTR

Improving your CTR can be done in a number of ways. As explained above, improving your ad copy can certainly help, and keywords can count if you’re more specific. Reaching a more targeted audience can help to place your ad campaigns in front of the eyes of those who you want attention off. Testing is important, and nothing is more effective than A/B testing. Knowing your audience can, of course, help in improving your CTR, whether that’s learning their language and jargon to talking to your customers directly to see what they want.

Other metrics to consider

Click-through rates aren’t the only metrics you should be focused on either when it comes to your advertising campaigns. For a better understanding of metrics and how they can affect your Google Ads campaigns, read our article on PPC data, but at a quick glance, think about the following:

  • Bounce rate, average time on site, and session duration on your landing page are important to metrics to track as they might tell a better story if your CTR is good but the conversion rate isn’t
  • Social shares and an increased social following can also help to build traffic and spread awareness of your brand
  • CTR on other platforms may also be beneficial as an ad might do better on Facebook Ads rather than Google Ads depending on the content.

The definition of a good CTR is all dependent on what your goals are, the industry you’re in, and the quality of your ads, but it’s not the be-all-and-all. To get the most out of your Google Ads, you need to explore other metrics and types of contents.

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Mark Neale

Mark Neale
Mark has over 10 years experience in paid marketing working agency side, utilising his experience of paid search and conversion rate optimisation to deliver high performance campaigns. Mark's an avid drummer and regularly gigs in his band Urban Riff.

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