Let’s talk about Google AdWords Click Through Rates. Are they really important? Do they affect your account’s ability to generate leads and sales? What do they tell us about the health and performance of our accounts? At AgencyPPC, you can probably guess that Pay Per Click Management is part of our regular diet. By sharing some insight on our collective accounts, we hope to provide some useful benchmarks so that you can assess and improve your own AdWords account.
What is a good CTR for AdWords?
Well, that depends on what you’re advertising and how. In AdWords, there are two networks you can place ads through the Search Network and the Display Network.
In the Search Network, ads are targeted to people who are searching for something on Google (or it’s partner search engines.) Because your ads are a response to their search, Click Through Rates on this network are higher on average. While many agencies and marketers use a benchmark of 2% for a relatively targeted ad, our accounts vary from sub 1% to over 25%.
Across all of our accounts, our average Search Network AdWords Click Through Rate has been 6.35% over the last 30 days.
Lower click-through rates don’t necessarily indicate an issue. If your strategy is to show ads to someone seeking out a similar or loosely related service/product and drive them to your website (i.e., someone searching for an airport ride being shown an ad for a limo service,) a lower CTR is expected. However, if you’re focused on providing an exact solution to their search (i.e., a limo ad in response to a search for a limo), then 2% is probably significantly lower than you can achieve.
With Display Network, ads are being targeted on websites or apps selling ad inventory, Gmail, and any properties that are not part of Google search. The people who see these banner or video ads are also not necessarily searching for what you’re offering. They may be seeing your ad because they’re on a web property that is contextually related to keywords you’re targeting, or because you are remarketing to previous visitors of your website. Perhaps, you’re just targeting them on a variety of sites because their demographics fit your ideal customer. In either case, they’re not asking for your solution. You’re relying on other data points to tell you that your ad might resonate with them.
Because of the methodology of display targeting, you can expect your Click Through Rates to be significantly lower than in the Search Network. Typical Display Network CTRs seem to average in the .1% (may need targeting or creative improvement) to around a 1% (extraordinarily targeted and intriguing ad) CTR.
Across all of our managed accounts, our average Display Network AdWords Click Through Rate has been .29% over the last 30 days.
What is the average click-through rate AdWords advertisers can expect?
So, now that we’ve equipped you with some benchmarks what should your Click Through Rate be? Well, this can depend on what kind of business you are in. How well is your AdWords account structured? Are you asking about a branded campaign (where people are searching you out by name) or an unbranded campaign (where people are searching for products or services that you offer generically.) There are many variables that can affect your CTR, and as long as you’re within the norm of the above mentioned, you should be testing and trying to improve, but not necessarily trying to hit some magic number.
How can you increase CTR in AdWords?
If you have very low Click Through Rates, the good news is that they’re easy to improve. Unlike SEO, Google AdWords provides a ton of great data that can help you hit the mark with some testing. Test out some of the methods below and follow the data to get to a better AdWords CTR. You can also try some of these AdWords Campaign Management Tips to improve the account more holistically.
Some of the best ways to improve your AdWords click-through rates
- Split test your ads (testing one element at a time – i.e., headline 1, headline 2, display URL, description text, call to action) and don’t forget to declare winning variations and pause the losing ad.
- Check your “Search Terms Report”
To make sure that irrelevant queries aren’t triggering your ads. If they’re, add them as a negative keyword. If you find questions/search terms that are performing well and not being targeted on your keyword list, then add them in.
- Test different positions as proximity will have some effect on your ad’s CTR as well. You can test this by raising your keyword bids or improving your Quality Scores.
What else should I know about AdWords CTR?
Using CTR as the primary KPI can set your sights on the wrong metric. If you run a split test where you have two ads running and one has a higher CTR, but the other has a higher Conversion Rate, which ad would you declare a winner? Since we’ll assume they’re both in the same ad group and both are targeting either mobile or desktop (the same for both), the higher Conversion Rate also likely means a lower Cost Per Conversion.
You would probably prefer running the one that converts at a higher rate and lower cost, right? Not only does it convert visitors more efficiently, but you’re saving the cost of clicks that would have converted at a lower rate. This is a crucial example of why optimizing an AdWords account for the best Click Through Rate can often be the wrong approach (depending on your goals of course).
A good way to think about the CTR metric
Your AdWords Click Through Rate is a meaningful metric to tell you how targeted and enticing your ads are to specific viewers. It’s an important metric to make sure you’re not entirely missing the mark with the ads you’re targeting to a particular audience.
It is also a stepping stone in the micro steps that are taken towards conversion. Conversion at an efficient rate is generally the primary goal of an AdWords account. Looking at one metric or the other alone puts analysis into a silo.
Understanding your account’s relationship between Click Through Rate, Conversion Rate, and Cost Per Conversion leads to a much more holistic view, allowing you to optimize to your goals, as opposed to any one of these metrics alone. A high volume of conversion without efficiency is a model for loss. Efficient conversion without volume is a model of marginal gain. And a great AdWords Click Through Rate gets you nothing without conversion or efficiency.
Geoff Gurevich is the CEO of AgencyPPC, a Chicago-based Digital Marketing Agency built on a foundation of ROI-focused Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Paid Social Advertising.