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. You can calculate it in a few different ways, depending on the type of digital marketing campaign you are running, including the following:

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 similar 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 to write copy about 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
  • Leveraging 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 likely Google and Bing are to show 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

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