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September 27, 2022Importance of CTR For Adwords

This is a question we often hear from clients. They know what CTR – Click Through Rate – means. They’ve been told it’s important, but they just don’t get why. Many clients state, “our CTR is high, but our revenue doesn’t correlate??” – with questions like this, you can see why a potential business owner might write off the entire conversation as nonsense. Hopefully this blog post helps clarify some of that!

First, let’s set some definitions straight. CTR is the ratio of ads which are clicked, to impressions. That means, the purpose of the CTR is to determine the # of clicks vs impressions for your campaign, for each keyword.

What a low CTR means financially

Low CTR’s are a huge issue. First, low CTR’s reduce your Quality Scores and therefore, you might pay more for the same click. In addition, in order to retain your average Adwords position, you might find yourself having to increase your bids. Financially, it’s a terrible thing to be living with a low CTR. So this alone should be reason enough to look at it, constantly evaluate it, and find ways to improve it.

Low CTR is a signal that your advertisements aren’t relevant to your potential ad viewers. They simply aren’t motivated to click on your advertisement, and therefore visit your landing page. In other words, Google’s showing your advertisement and a click isn’t happening.

This is bad for a few reasons.

  • Google looks bad. Google is showing an irrelevant ad to a user, and it makes Google look ineffective. That’s a P.R. issue and that’s why items like Quality Score are very important. It helps Google reduce the visibility of poor performing advertisers who are weighing the system down.
  • By having a low CTR – it means you’re not getting clicks. The lack of clicks has a direct implication on Google’s bottom line — it means they aren’t getting paid! It also means, Google wants to put a different advertiser in your place who might be more relevant to users, and who will also get clicks (which is Google’s goal).

What about a high CTR?

Having a high average CTR can be great on paper – it doesn’t always mean you’re successful. It’s simply one indicator that can help you identify that your campaign is successful. However, if you have high CTR’s with few/low conversions, that can mean you’re spending money attracting the wrong people. For example, it could mean your keywords are targeting too broad of a market – or the ad copy needs to be improved to be more specific. While having a high CTR can result in a higher quality score – it can lead to financial ruin if you’re not converting those clicks into leads/sales.

Average CTR’s impact the performance of future advertisements. Google uses historical data in order to calculate your expected CTR. Better targeting of keywords, and improving your advertisement copy – can help reduce wasteful spending, and improve your CTR and quality score.

What’s an average CTR?

The average CTR for Adwords, according to Wordstream is about 2%. Having said that, this can vary industry to industry. Here’s great infographic from Wordsteam that helps showcase the differences.

Each industry is different. For example, within the legal industry – criminal lawyers have been observed to have a higher CTR than bankruptcy lawyers. Since criminal defense clients have an urgent need they are more likely to click on a lot of attorneys to find the best one.

If you’re CTR is really low, then here are some ways to improve your Adwords CTR

Ways to increase your CTR

Here are the 8 most effective ways to immediately increase your CTR and increase the chance of getting a click.

Add sitelinks to your campaign

Sitelinks are a type of ad-extension, which take people to a specific part of your website. These sitelinks appear in addition to your original website URL, and make it so that you get an additional opportunity to get a click. Depending on whether a user is on a computer, or tablet/iphone, the number of links can vary. On mobile devices, up to 4 links are shown.

Here’s an example Google search that shows sitelinks. In this case, the firm has 4 additional sitelinks that take you to it’s supporting landing pages for slip and fall accidents, pedestrian accidents, etc. I’ve appended red arrows to help showcase where the sitelinks might appear.

According to Google, adding sitelinks can boost your CTR by 10-20%

  • The sitelinks increase the overall amount of real estate your advertisement take up.
  • The sitelinks enhance your advertisement, depending on where you link to.


Example of sitelinks


When you setup these sitelinks, make sure to have at least 6 setup for desktop, and 4 setup for mobile. You can go up to 20, per ad group or campaign. Sitelinks allow for up to 25 characters. According to Google, shorter sitelinks are the most effective.

Reviewing their success

When reviewing the stats for sitelinks, remember to computer them to one another – not the overall ad performance. It’s crucial you always look at the sitelinks in comparison to one another, in order to find which sitelink is performing well, and which one is not.

Here’s an example screenshot taken from that shows their sitelinks, and how they perform versus each other. This is the exact type of format you should be looking at when comparing your sitelinks and how effective they are.

*** Your #1 priority should be to look at the number of conversions and CTR that came from each of the sitelinks, and improve the sitelinks which performed the best.

Add marketing copy to your display URL

The display URL doesn’t have to be your actual URL. You simply have to include the same root domain in the AD AND SITE URL. Everything after the root domain is considered marketing copy. The display url is 35 characters long – so that’s extra copy space you can use.

  • You can add a product name
  • You can add a feature
  • You can add a perk of working with your company
  • Add something creative that differentiates you
  • Make it funny

Just do something to NOT be boring.


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