Improving your click-through rate can help your business achieve significant increases in brand awareness, customer engagement, and, ultimately, sales. Here’s how to make it happen.

In digital marketing, CTR stands for ‘click-through rate’. It’s an important metric that measures how many people clicked on your link or ad after seeing it.

Is the click-through rate important?

Click-through rate is an important metric because it helps you figure out what kind of messages matter to your customers. A low CTR, for example, may indicate a need to rethink your strategy and do a little fine-tuning of your keywords, audience targeting, or ad offer. 

CTR also directly affects your quality score on advertising platforms like Google Ads and Facebook, and therefore plays a big part in determining both your ad rank and your cost per click.

What is a good click-through rate?

It really depends. According to Wordstream, the average click-through rate on AdWords paid search ads is about 2 per cent. As such, anything over 2 per cent could be considered to be an above-average CTR. To quickly see how your CTR fares against your competitors, test out their easy-to-use CTR calculator here.

What affects click-through rate?

There are several factors that affect the click-through rate, including keywords, call-to-action copy, imagery, and ad positioning. Here are some of the main ones:

Ad Position

Ads that are in top positions on a search engine results page (or SERP) will understandably have higher CTRs than ads that rank at the bottom (in fact, the number 1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR of 31.7 per cent!). 

Ad positions are determined by ad rank, which is a score that Google calculates based on your bid and quality score.

Here is the formula to calculate your ad rank:
Ad Rank = Maximum Cost Per Click Bid x Quality Score

Ad Rank Formula

Ad Relevance

The more relevant your ads and landing pages are to the user’s search queries and interests, the more likely they are to click on it. So ensure that your keywords and ad content directly relate to each other, as ad relevance plays a big part in your overall quality score. Remember, the better your quality score, the less you have to pay for your ads.


Keywords, whether they be short-tail and broad, or long-tail and specific, are integral to your CTR strategy – so long as they are relevant. So be sure to include them in your URL, your title tag, and your meta description. We recommend using long-tail keywords, as these are more focused, and therefore much more likely to bring highly targeted traffic. Avoid keywords that are too competitive or too obscure.


As mentioned earlier, your ad rank is determined by 2 factors: how much you bid and your quality score. By increasing your bid on your desired keywords, you will improve your ad’s position, significantly heightening your chances of achieving a good CTR. Be careful with this strategy, however, as raising bids can cost you in terms of higher CPC.

How do you calculate the click-through rate?

To calculate the click-through rate, simply divide the number of unique clicks by the number of ad impressions, and multiply that number by 100 to get a percentage.

For example, if you had 7 clicks and 100 impressions, then your CTR would be 7 per cent.

Click Through Rate Formula

8 ways to improve your click-through rate

1. Put your main keyword in your display URL

This is crucial. The display URL is an often overlooked element of ad copy – and one that you should certainly take advantage of! The display URL is different from the destination URL. It’s there to help users get an idea of where they’ll arrive after clicking on an ad. Incorporating your chosen keyword in your display URL can help to reinforce it, improving both ad relevance and, in turn, your quality score.

Not convinced? Well, according to backlinco, URLs that contain a keyword have a 45 per cent higher CTR than URLs that don’t contain a keyword. So start incorporating!

2. Optimise your headline 

More often than not, headlines are what grab people’s attention the most, so you’ve got to make them as enticing as possible. Be sure to include your main keyword in the first part of your H1 heading, as Google reads them from top to bottom and from left to right. It also makes your ad more relevant to the user, increasing your odds of clicks. Finally, try incorporating power words like ‘you’ and ‘now’ and emotional triggers into your headline to get the best results. You can even play with symbols to make your headline stand out from the crowd.

3. Try adding a special offer in your headline

Who doesn’t love a good deal? As a rule of thumb, users are more likely to click on an ad that offers savings than one that doesn’t because, well, common sense.

Some of the most common examples include:

• Buy one, get one free
• Flash sales
Giveaways or free samples
Coupons or discounts
Pre-launch or exclusive offers
Loyalty points or rewards
Seasonal offers
Regular daily, weekly, or monthly deals

4. Create relevant and strong CTAs

Ensure that your call to action is compelling and direct. Focus on highlighting the benefits a customer will get by clicking your link, such as ‘Get your free eBook’.

Need help driving conversions? These call-to-action phrases will help you get the results you want.

5. Improve your content

If you want your audience to click on your ad, then your ad’s copy must be perfectly tailored to their needs and interests if you’re to strike a chord with them and grab their attention. Get personal with your copy and create content that truly resonates with them. Only then, will you see results.

Some tips for optimising your meta tag:

• For your meta title, you should include your chosen keyword and keep the length between 50-60 characters. Make sure that each and every post has its own unique meta title as search engines encourage originality.
• Your meta description is another great opportunity to convert casual scrollers into intrigued clickers. Keep it short and sweet (around 155-160 characters), and be sure to incorporate the necessary keyword in it. 

6. Update your visual elements

Humans have remarkably short attention spans – that much is certain. A striking visual, therefore, can make all the difference to your CTR and, ultimately, your campaign’s success. In fact, according to Vero, the use of images in your campaign can increase CTR by up to a whopping 42 per cent in emails. 

With that in mind, take another look at your visuals and ask yourself these questions:

• Are you using the right colours?
Is your value proposition clear?
Are your images attention-grabbing enough?
Are your images high enough quality? Or have you relied on over-used, low-quality stock images? (If yes, consider editing them or creating an original graphic instead.)
Could your image be simplified somewhat?
Are your images the optimal size for sharing on this particular channel?
Would your image benefit from including text in the visual? Perhaps a call-to-action or persuasive information like “free!”.

7. Re-evaluate your target audience

If your CTR is low, it may be because you’re not targeting the right people. If this is the case, then you need to go back to the proverbial drawing board and re-evaluate exactly who your target audience is. 

To do this, we recommend honing in on who it is that would benefit the most from your product because that’s the person you should be marketing to. Once you’ve landed on your ideal customer, you need to ferret out their likes, their dislikes, their pain points, and their goals. Only then can you start creating copy that really speaks to your audience and their needs.

To figure out your target audience, you can also try:

• Creating a customer persona
Conducting a user survey/audit
Using analytics (Google, Facebook, Instagram…)
Monitoring your social activity

Remember, audiences will naturally grow and develop over time, so be sure to keep monitoring changes in your customer data and adapting as you go.

8. Use ad extensions to increase visibility

This tip comes Google recommended! Ad extensions allow you to show additional information on your Google ads, such as location, site links, and reviews, which can make a considerable difference to your ad rank and CTR. However, given the number of options out there, it’s crucial that you choose the right ad extensions for your goals. As with everything, relevance here is key, as it contributes to your overall quality score. So don’t just go about adding ad extensions for the sake of adding them!

Last but not least, don’t forget to test! A/B testing can make all the difference to your ads’ CTR and is imperative for any effective marketing strategy. And – even when you think you’ve cracked it – be sure to remember one thing: there’s always more testing to be done.


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