The 5 Best AdWords CTR Strategies

by Adrian Key May 18th, 2015 


You calculate click-through-rate (CTR) by dividing the number of times your ad is clicked on by how often it is shown.

But why is this statistic such a vital pointer to your campaign's overall health and how can you improve it?

The closer your keywords and ads relate to each other and your business, the more likely it is that someone will visit your website. Your CTR can therefore be a strong indicator of how relevant your keywords and ads are to people searching for your products or services.

CTR can vary a lot between advertisers and the keywords you choose. It is therefore only possible to generalize on what is a good rate. What might be a good for a general keyword with lots of impressions could be poor for a targeted keyword with few impressions.

However, when using AdWords, you should be aware that Google expects your ads to obtain a CTR of at least 0.5%  Fail to meet this basic target, and AdWords will start to show your ads a lot less often than you would like.

Any relevant keyword or ad should be able to achieve a CTR of at least 1%. In fact, Google has been unofficially quoted as stating that a CTR of 2% should be possible as an average for most campaigns.

Why Should You Care About Your AdWords CTR?

The whole success of your campaign can be defined by how good your AdWords CTR is.

It can:

  • Show you, which keywords and ads are not performing and are in need of optimization.
  • Increase the number of visitors to your website, providing you with more opportunities to make a sale
  • Increase your Quality Score, allowing you to lower your bid

How To Improve Your Click-Through-Rate

You now understand what CTR is and realize how important it can be to the success of your AdWords campaign.

However, if your CTR is very low, what can you do about it?

1. Dynamic Keyword Insertion

With Dynamic Keyword Insertion, your keyword is automatically inserted into your ad. This is particularly useful when you have a number of closely related keywords as they can trigger the same ad without loosing their individual relevancy.

However, this feature of AdWords should be used with caution as it can create some very strange ads.

2. Increase Your Bids

The amount you bid on any keyword can effect the position your ad appears on the results page. Increase your bid and it will move your ad into a higher position. Typically, ads in the higher positions are clicked on more often.

After a couple of days, review your changes. If your keyword does not show a higher number of conversions or is costing you too much, then lower your bid slowly.

3. Highlight Your USP In Your Descriptions

Include features in your descriptions that separate you from the crowd, e.g. price, free shipping, money back guarantee, certain product features etc.

4. Split Test Your Ads

Write two ads for each ad group. Google will automatically rotate your ads. After a few days, remove the ad that is under performing.

Repeat, learning the lessons from previous tests.

5. The Golden Rules Of CTR

  • Do not become obsessed with increasing your AdWords CTR. An increase does not always mean more sales.
  • Give priority to those tasks that produce more conversions over those that improve your CTR.
  • Use those techniques that provide a better return-on-investment over those that improve your click-through-rate.

* Leader image via nicholasjon

Adrian Key

Adrian Key is a professional AdWords consultant and editor of the AdWords Adviser, a blog dedicated to making AdWords profitable for small business.

Adwords Adviser

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6 Responses to “The 5 Best AdWords CTR Strategies”

  1. […] The 5 Best AdWords CTR Strategies, Search Engine People […]

  2. munaz says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on AdWords CTR. I'm however little not convinced that Google expects min. 0.5 CTR. Long tail keywords may not have even 0.5% CTR but yet they yield more than 100% return @ much below CPC. What's your take away from this.

    True, CTR is important as far as quality score is concerned but what Google also wants to bid high to gain quality score irrespective of CTR. The more money you spend on Google AdWords, the more respect (quality score:) or keyword bidding history you will build.

  3. Anon says:

    Can you cite sources for AdWords expecting a CTR of .5% and an average of 2%?

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  5. […] is the magic of dynamic keyword insertions. It’s a neat trick, and an AdWords managers best friend when writing out […]

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