How To Increase CTR And Why You Should Do It

This week, I want to explore one of the most basic metrics of PPC marketing – click-through rate (CTR). The basic formula is your total clicks divided by total impressions. Some folks over-analyze their CTR, and some folks ignore it completely. I think that it’s not something to obsess over, but it is something you should pay attention to in your account.

So what exactly is a good CTR? My personal rule of thumb is 2% for a search network campaign, and 0.2% for a display network campaign. Of course, these optimal CTRs will vary depending on your product categories, keyword selection, match types, and many other factors. If you’re slightly below 2% in a category that has low customer engagement, don’t sweat it. But if you’re managing a 10+% CTR in a niche category, don’t take all the credit for yourself either.

If you’re not satisfied with your current CTR, here are a few things you can do:

Remove high-impression/low-click keywords

Sometimes a keyword that you think is relevant to your product turns out to be not so relevant at all. We all make bad guesses from time to time, so that’s what PPC stats are for. If you see a specific keyword is getting thousands of impressions but hardly any clicks, you may need to pause it so that it doesn’t bring down the CTR for the rest of your ad group and campaign. If the keyword had such a low CTR in the first place, then it probably wasn’t a very valuable keyword for you in the first place.

Add some negative keywords

If you use phrase or broad match types for your keywords, you’re bound to attract some irrelevant traffic. Run a search query report and look for any queries that don’t match something that you offer. You can add these queries (or just the word in the query that doesn’t match what you do) to filter our all those junk impressions that are driving down your CTR.

Revise your text ads

Making text ads is really more of an art than a science. No one ever gets it right the first time, but a lot of people persist in leaving their first ad up indefinitely. If your CTR sucks, take another look at your text ads. If your ad is too generic, not descriptive enough, or just plain unappealing, users won’t click on it. That could be your trouble right there.

Any one of these three options is going to take some effort, so why should you bother? There are two good reasons. First, increasing your CTR is going to help you increase your traffic (and potential customers) without you having to increase your bids or add new keywords to your account. So that could save you some work in either of those areas. And secondly, historical CTR is a major factor in Google’s Quality Score calculation. Better quality scores equal a lower required bid for a higher position. So, better CTR = better quality score = lower bids = better return on ad spend. It all starts with CTR, so it’s worth your while to take some time to fix it.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
This entry was posted in Display Network, Google AdWords, Keywords, Microsoft AdCenter, PPC Basics, Quality Score, Text Ads. Bookmark the permalink.

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