You need benchmarks to determine the success of your paid ad campaigns. One such metric? Click-through rate, otherwise known as CTR. At a glance, CTR can tell you not just if your marketing efforts are successful, but it can also tell you just how successful they are.

Understanding CTR — and how to improve it — can mean the difference between long-term return on investments (ROI) and running in the red.

What is CTR?

Whether your company’s target market fits the B2B or B2C mold, CTR is an important metric that you can calculate in different ways, depending on the type of digital marketing campaign you are running, including the following:

  • Paid search campaigns – Total number of people who are presented with your ad (impressions) / total number of people who clicked on the ad
  • Email campaigns – Number of subscribers who open your email (open rate) / number of subscribers who click through an email link
  • Social media campaigns – Number of impressions for a post / total number of clicks on the post

Today, though, we’re going to focus on click-throughs for Google Ads and Bing Ads.

What is a Good Click-Through Rate?

Defining CTR can be a little ✨nebulous✨; however, most people generally put CTR in the following three categories:

  • High CTR – Any CTR that is higher than the average CTR.
  • Average CTR – A common or expected CTR for your industry or channel.
  • Low CTR – A click-through rate that is lower than the expected CTR.

No matter what is considered “good” for your industry or channel, just remember that the higher the CTR, the better.

Click-Through Rates by Industry

What counts as a “good CTR” can vary vastly depending on your industry and the type of campaign you are running (again: things can get nebulous here). That said, across various industries and platforms:

Good Click-Through Rates for Google and Bing

Google and Microsoft Bing are the two most popular search engines by volume, making them popular platforms for search advertisers. So, just what do click-through rates look like for these platforms? Across all industries, the average for search is between:

How to Get Higher Click-Through Rates on Google and Bing

High click-through rates mean more successful (and more profitable) online advertising campaigns. If you’re noticing lower-than-average click-through rates, the following methods may help your PPC efforts—and bottom line—improve.

1. Create a Stronger Call to Action (CTA)

As the name implies, a call to action asks users to take a certain action. It can be a button, an email subscription box, or something else. For Google and Bing ads, you can add your CTA anywhere, including within one of the available headlines (which we believe is most effective).

No matter what yours looks like, there are plenty of ways to make any CTA stronger, such as the following methods:

  • For both Display and Search ads, include stronger action words while keeping everything short and sweet. For example, try “Save Money Now!” instead of “Learn more about ways to spend less money.”
  • For Display ads, create a more attractive design for your CTA, with more eye-catching colors like green or red
  • Reconsider the placement of your CTA, or consider making it sticky, if you are running Display ad campaigns. After all, an ad is no good if your audience can’t see it

2. Make Sure to Segment Your Target Audience Properly

If your ads are being seen by the wrong audience, your campaigns may as well be dead in the water. And no amount of money will save them.

The key to proper audience segmentation? It starts with identifying user intent.

What keywords are your audience members using on Google or Bing to find the services or products that they need, relative to where they reside in the buying cycle? And do these terms align with those that were used to build your campaigns.

If the answer is no, there’s your issue. Dig no further. This means that your ads are being presented to people who probably have no reason to engage your brand.

3. Create Themes from Ad Groups

The segmentation of your target audience begins and ends with keywords, but how do you best organize what could legitimately be hundreds of terms when it’s all said and done, especially when they all reflect varying levels of intent?

The answer is ad groups.

Both Google and Bing’s pay-per-click platforms allow users to create ad groups using themes centered around like keywords. The benefit of creating themed ad groups is twofold:

  1. It is easier to write ad copy around a subset of terms that fall under one topical umbrella than it is a wide variety of keywords that don’t share much common ground
  2. It increases the likelihood that your ads are more relevant to your audience’s search intent. This relevancy can both decrease your campaign’s costs (no one is clicking on an irrelevant ad that promises a poor experience) and improve click-through rate (the people who do see the ads are more likely to click them) at the same time

4. Improve Quality Score

See how you measure up to the competition with Quality Score when using Google Ads. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best), you can quickly assess the health of your campaign at an individual keyword level. According to Google, this score is calculated using the following metrics:

  • Expected CTR – How well a particular paid ad is expected to perform
  • Ad relevancy – How relevant your ad is to your chosen audience’s intent
  • Landing page experience – The strength of the relationship your landing page has to both the corresponding keyword and ad

If your Quality Score is above average, then congratulations! You’re running an amazing campaign that will likely produce the enviable combination of low costs-per-click and above-average CTRs.

If you’re getting average or below-average marks, well, don’t worry. There are ways you can update your ads and landing pages to earn a higher score (and get higher clickthrough rates).

Besides taking steps to improve CTR, you can also update your landing page and revise your copy (both of which you can learn more about directly below).

5. Don’t Neglect Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

One of the best things you can do for your campaigns is to optimize your landing page for the right keywords. Crucially, make sure to use those keywords the correct number of times. In other words: don’t keyword stuff your web pages. (Leave the stuffing for Thanksgiving and Oreos.)

An optimized page using SEO best practices — quality, topical content, fast load times, clear messaging, etc. — leads to higher Quality Scores, which lead to better ad performance. Better performance from your ads results in more clicks from the right people, who, in turn, provide your company with more growth opportunities through higher conversion rates.

Bonus Tip: If you choose to have your landing page indexed, good SEO practices may even help your page become more authoritative and perform better on Bing and Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), meaning you could earn some organic traffic as well as paid. A real win-win!

6. Revise Your Ad Copy

From headlines — Google and Bing both allow up to three per ad — to the body text, the copy of your PPC ad is critical to getting people interested in what you have to say. More interested people’s eyeballs on your ads mean higher clickthrough rates. Revising your ad copy can take many forms, including:

  • Crafting compelling calls to action for use in the second or third headline fields and in the ad body
  • Using your target keywords in the first headline field and in the ad body
  • Leverage unique characters (!, @, $, &, *, #) to highlight offers, promotions, specials, etc.
  • Using everyday language rather than overly flowery language (state your message plainly)

Clearly, there are lots of ways to spruce up your copy. But which way is best? One method to see which copy works best is to use A/B tests. They can help you better determine what words and overall tone will work best with your chosen demographic.

7. Monitor Bidding Practices To Ensure Ad Position

Location really is everything, whether you’re running Search or Display Ads.

The right keywords act as a sturdy foundation, and the right ad copy provides the curb appeal. But the third part of the equation is making sure you’re bidding effectively with your PPC platform of choice to effectively promote your ads.

Google and Bing each have a vested interest in showing what they deem to be the best-performing ads highest on the page, even if it means placing your ad above that of a competitor who has shown a willingness to bid more money for a click.

This is where the work to improve your campaign quality really pays off, but be mindful that you’re not pricing yourself out of the market for that click by bidding low. Use the tools at your disposal within your Google or Bing Ads account to monitor what the competition is doing and then act accordingly.

8. Use Ad Extensions

The more robust an ad, the more apt Google and Bing are to showing it as much as possible.

This is code for using as many of the built-in features that each platform provides. And no feature has as much of a positive effect on CTR than ad extensions.

Google and Bing both offer ad extensions, and they come in many forms, each with its own little way of promoting aspects of your business.

Some of the most commonly used ad extensions include:

  • Sitelinks (opportunities for users to visit a multiple page of your site from one single ad)
  • Location (local businesses can integrate Google Ads with Google Business Profile to show important address information)
  • Callouts (non-clickable list of unique business descriptors — free delivery, open 24 hours, etc.)
  • Snippets (lists of related attributes pertaining to a business — amenities, brands, models, etc.)
  • Image (attach striking visuals to your ads to showcase projects, products, offices, etc.)

Using these extensions may improve your ad’s visibility and credibility, meaning potentially higher CTRs for you.

👏Get👏Better👏Click-Through Rates👏Today👏

A second set of eyes is always welcome. We (respectfully) could be your second set of eyes on any troublesome campaigns you have on your hands. With our team of experts on your side, you can turn around your online campaigns and see the conversions you’ve been aiming for.

Kristen Greif

Learn more about Kristen Greif

Recent Posts

Google and Bing Search Partner Spam List 2022

UPDATED GOOGLE SPREADSHEET – CLICK HERE  *Last updated 1/11/2022 As Google moves to automate more and more within their paid search platform, it becomes harder to … Read More

Paid Search Metrics That Matter – Demystifying PPC Campaigns

You’ve done your research and launched your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. You have all the data points in the world to measure its success. But if you … Read More

How to Drive Traffic To Your Site

Everybody Asks: How to Drive Traffic To Your Site But nobody asks how your site is doing. (Doing great, thanks for asking!) All jokes aside, online … Read More

Google Core Web Vitals: What They Are & When They’ll Take Effect

Benjamin Franklin once said that the only guarantees in life are death and taxes. Maybe it’s time we add Google updates to that list. If you’re … Read More

Crisis Hero Image

5 Critical Elements of a Recession Marketing Plan

A question on everyone’s mind lately is, “Are we heading toward a recession?” The answer is not always clear but, according to the Associated Press, six … Read More

robot-image

Easy Technical SEO Audit Tips For Marketing Managers at Any Level

Often we hear how daunting SEO can be, even for a senior marketing manager. SEO seems like such an abstract concept because there are so many … Read More

Migration Strategy

When A Website Migration Strategy Goes Awry

As much as we don’t want to admit it, the Digital Strike offices are not always overrun with sunshine, victories, and vintage ‘80s high-five montages. Truth … Read More

The Life of Content: Keep, Add, Combine, or Kill

In a recent newsletter here at Digital Strike, we covered a few topics that made headlines in 2019 and are guaranteed to continue to trend as … Read More

The Google BERT Update: What It Is and What It Means for Your Website

BERT is being hailed as the biggest change in search since Google released RankBrain five years ago.  That fanfare is warranted because it’s going to change … Read More

9 Common PPC Mistakes (and What to Do Instead)

New to Google ads? Our PPC expert, Tommy, breaks down the most common mistakes and how to fix them.

Top SEO Sites to Watch in 2019

Top SEO Sites to Watch [Updated for 2021]

It’s been said that the only constant in SEO is that it’s constantly changing. This is why, to stay on top of our game, we have … Read More

Landing Page vs. Homepage: What's the Difference?

Landing Page vs. Homepage: What’s the Difference?

They’re the same thing, aren’t they? Just different names for the same thing, right? Wrong! Technically, while a visitor to your site can land on its … Read More

Why Automated Bidding is Not Always the Answer

Why Automated Bidding Isn’t Always the Answer

Automated bidding is a popular choice because it seems to promise fewer labor hours by letting an algorithm make your bid adjustments. Sounds easy-peasy, right? A … Read More

How Does UX Affect SEO?

You know when you go to a website and it’s just…bad? You can’t find the navigation menu, the page isn’t loading correctly, or pop-ups are keeping … Read More

Location Page Google Will Love

How to Build a Location Page Google Will Love [Infographic]

Ready to crush your local SEO with a top-notch location page? Hold up, wait a minute. What is a location page? And what is local SEO? … Read More

Content Creation or Link Building

What Should Come First: Content Creation or Link Building?

What came first – the chicken or the links? Wait. No. That’s not right. The content or the links! It’s a question we get asked a … Read More

Why You Should Have a Blog

Why You Should Have a Blog

Creating unique content on your company’s website has benefits you haven’t considered yet. Do you want people to keep coming to your website? Are you working … Read More

Organic Search Opportunity

Organic Search Opportunity is Changing (Again)

Is SEO opportunity actually shrinking? Organic search opportunity has always been a constantly changing field.  Algorithm changes send everyone into a tizzy a few times a … Read More

How to Write Headlines

Here’s How to Write Headlines Like a Pro (You’re Welcome)

Once you know how to write headlines, you can pretty much rule the world. First impressions are crucial, right? If you make a bad impression in … Read More

How long does SEO take to work?

How Long Does SEO Take to Work?

TL;DR: SEO results take more time than you think. Almost every SEO client we have asks us, How long does SEO take for my website to … Read More

digital strike building

How We Approach Problem Solving [Case Study]

Client A is a nationwide telecommunications company. They provide TV, internet, and phone services to customers across the country, primarily in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Missouri, … Read More

When Should I Use a Canonical Tag or 301 Redirect

When Should I Use a Canonical Tag or a 301 Redirect?

It’s a phrase knowledgeble SEO specialists say all the time – “canonical tag.” Or maybe they say “rel=canonical” and you’re sitting in the meeting like: Then … Read More

Does PPC Affect Organic Rankings?

A Digital Marketing Misconception: Does PPC Affect SEO?

In the digital marketing world, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths (myth-conceptions, if you will) about how organic search engine optimization and pay-per-click campaigns work together. We’ve heard and seen it all. … Read More

Why You Shouldn't Trust Yoast 100%

Why You Shouldn’t Trust Yoast 100%

Are you going crazy trying to get all of the dots on the Yoast SEO plugin to turn green? Do you have nightmares every night of … Read More

“How is HubSpot different from SEO?”: An honest answer to an actual client question

“Have you heard about inbound marketing?” This is how a recent client call started. Then, to make things worse, they proceeded to ask, “How is HubSpot … Read More

Design responsively: The importance of mobile-friendliness to your site redesign strategy

Back in 2014, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches, and search engine optimization was never the same. What does this mean for your company? First and foremost, … Read More

Why you aren’t ranking first in Google for [INSERT KEYWORD] … And why that’s okay

You might be wondering: “Why am I not ranking first in Google for [INSERT KEYWORD]?” It’s not a bad question—it shows you value your business’ position … Read More

Local SEO ranking factors: What gets you into the game, and what makes you stand out

Just because you’re on the track doesn’t mean you’ll win the race. Maybe you bought the shoes and paid the entrance fee, but if you didn’t … Read More

5 Must-Have Elements of Every Small Business Online Marketing Plan

Image Credit Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but the following could be considered the most conducive to the budget of even … Read More