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Average CTR: Your Guide To Click-Through-Rate

There's no question that search engines place a premium on an excellent click-through rate. This trend makes sense as in the PPC business model, the more people click, the more money search engines make.

Click-through rate is arguably one of the most common metrics to optimize in digital marketing ad campaigns, and for good reason! Average click-through rate tells you the number of people that clicked on your ad relative to the total number of people that saw it.

Simply put, this metric gives a rough idea about the effectiveness of your online ads at not only attracting attention but also influencing the audience to take action.

Obviously, no one works hard to be average. The majority of small businesses aim for an above-average CTR in order to maximize their digital marketing ad spend. As a result, click-through rate is the first step in the process of improving ad relevance and generating your desired actions.

In this guide, we'll discuss everything you need to know about CTR, including the factors that influence it and how to improve CTR over time.

What Factors Affect Your Average CTR?

Numerous factors can affect the click-through rate of your ads. From the headline, the ad copy, and other trust factors. Since getting all these right can result in a signifcant increase in leads, let’s dig deep into each these factors further.

The Headline

Your main headline is a crucial aspect in PPC ads on the Google search network. The headline is usually 60 characters long and divided into two parts that are separated by a dash.

Since this is the first interaction with your target audience, you'll want to ensure it stands out and is straight to the point. A dull headline can negatively affect your average CTR since a majority of visitors will read it and simply move onto the next search result. Altering your headline to something compelling and gripping can have a major impact on increasing your average CTR.

Ad Copy

Just below an ad’s main headline is the ad copy, also referred to as the description. In this section, an advertiser has only 80 characters to persuade visitors to click on their advertisement. Usually, the ad copy follows the theme of the headline while also expanding several benefits and finishing with a call-to-action (CTA).

In the ad copy section, it is essential that you give more details about the service/product you’re promoting and why you’re the best option. General information about your company won’t compel users to click your ad. Rather, you must offer solid reasons why they choose to learn more about your service.

Ad Rank

An often ignored click-through rate factor in Google Ads is the position of your ad on the search engine results page. Obviously, Google and Bing won’t fit everyone’s advertisement on the first page, so an auction system is used to determine the ad that shows at the top.

And as you can imagine, the first ad typically receives the highest CTR, which is why people will pay more to remain at the top of search engine results. By optimizing both your ad copy and headline, you can also increase your ad ranking in SERPs without increase your bids.

The Ad Creative

If you use Google’s display network to show ads on third party websites, your ad creative will likely take different formats compared to the regular search results. The display network ads use an image format, otherwise known as the creative.

Contrary to the organic search ads, ad creative is more like a virtual billboard. This means that the advertiser has more control over what exactly is displayed to searchers. An advertiser can choose their own color scheme, font, and how much text is displayed.

The Device

Click-through rate also varies depending on the device being used mainly due to the ad rank. Mobile click-through rate is usually higher than what’s attained on tablets and desktops since mobile screens are relatively small and ads occupy most of the screen space before a user can scroll down.

Your Call-to-Action (CTA)

Your call-to-action is often the difference between getting users to click through or ignore your ad. The nature of your CTA will determine the number of clicks you receive for any ad campaign. For examle, it is always advisable that you steer away from demanding and generic CTAs like “click here.” Instead, you should focus on mentioning the benefits customers will get once they click the link, like “Get a free download.”


According to Vero, campaigns with images have a 42% higher CTR than those without. And the reason behind this is pretty straightforward; images can be incredibly powerful at engaging and enticing users. The quality of your campaign won’t improve by throwing a bunch of pictures in your ads. Instead, you’ll need to choose images which not only fit your message but also appeal to your readers. Also, be sure to include alt texts just incase the images fail to display.

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Calculating Average CTR

Understanding how to calculate the average CTR is essential since that knowledge could help an advertiser better interpret the overall engagement of their ad campaigns. CTR can also be used to assess how well keywords and PPC ads are performing.

Here’s how to calculate Average CTR:

CTR equation

What is a Good Average CTR

So, what’s a good CTR? The answer to this question, as with a majority of aspects in PPC is “it depends.” That said, a good average CTR is often relative to:

  • The industry

  • Individual marketing campaigns within the PPC account

  • The keywords you are bidding on.

It isn’t anything out of the ordinary to see a double-digit average CTR on branded keywords when searchers are looking for brand name. Similarly, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see average CTRs of less than 1% on non-branded keywords on certain platforms.

Average CTR on Facebook: According to Wordstream, some industries struggle with low CTRs and CPC on Google Search Network but receive impressive click-through rates on Facebook. Data on Facebook ads industry benchmarks shows that the industry average click-through rate is 0.90%. As mentioned earlier, different industries have different average CTRs, with the legal sector having the highest (1.61%). It shouldn’t be a surprise that some industries’ ads perform better on highly visual channels like Facebook since they typically feature high-quality images.

Average CTR on Google Ads: The average CTR for search ads is 1.91% and 0.35% for Google display network. Looking at these figures, you’ll note that there’s a big difference in CTRs from display and search ads. Despite the different industries, search ad CTRs are higher than those of display ads mainly because of the higher search intent of users who are viewing the ads. On Google search ads, the advertisements are displayed based on relative keyword searches alone.

On the display network, search engines like Google and Bing try to display your adverts on relevant sites but might not always get it right. As a result, you could get hundreds of impressions on your adverts but receive no clicks. Ultimately, this greatly reduces the overall CTR, which is the main reason display ads don’t perform quite as well.

Average CTR for Email: Of all email marketing benchmarks, the average click-through rate is arguably one of the most important metrics for understanding the health of all your email sends. And according to industry benchmarks, the average click-through rate is 2.69%, which is arguably higher than what we’ve seen with other paid ads.

How To improve Your CTR

Improving your CTR will again vary across each platform. That said, for this example we'll explain some simple steps to improving your Google Ads average CTR.

1. Utilize All Types of Ad Extensions

There are numerous ad extensions you could use to make your advert stand out. Ad extensions increases the size of your ads while increasing their relevance, ultimately improving CTR. Here are a few ad extensions to check out:

  • Sitelink ad extensions. This extension is just an additional line of text which displays when an ad appears in the top three positions. Up to 4 sitelinks can display below your ads but you could create more and Google will choose which ones to display. Adding a sitelink description or ad group lets you add two more lines of text below every sitelink heading. This feature increases CTR by making your adverts stand out and pushing down others in search results.

  • Location extensions. These extensions encourage searchers to come to your physical location by showing its location on Google Maps. This feature is best suited for physical store locations looking to drive more local traffic.

  • Call extensions. Adding call extensions makes it a breeze for people to reach out, especially for businesses where customer calls are mandatory in the sales process. People can choose to call using their phones or by software like Skype.

  • Structured snippet extensions. These could be created to display product data under the advert description lines. Snippets could be created for Brands, Amenities, or Neighborhoods, etc. and you could add up to 10 values per snippet.

2. Write Compelling Ads

It might sound quite straightforward, but if you don’t take time to write engaging ad copy with strong CTAs, your ad performance will be average at best. Look at what your competitors have and write an ad copy that stands out by assessing the unique selling points of your business.

3. Include Target Keywords in the Advertisements

This also may sound quite obvious, but if your ads do not include keywords you’re bidding on within the ad copy, then you’ll likely have a poor CTR and pay more than you should. Be sure to include your target keyword in the main headline, within the ad copy, and within the display URL.

4. Include Keywords You Are Bidding on In the Ad URL

Including the keyword you are bidding on in the ad URL is a great way to help build trust with searchers seeing your ads. By inserting the keyword in the ad's display URL, you’re letting your readers know that the ad, as well as the landing page, are relevant to their search. Searchers will take comfort in knowing the advert will give them what they were looking for.

5. Add Strong CTAs

A strong CTA in any ad copy could work wonders for your click-through rate. Once people view your ad, they immediately want to know what the next step will be. By being clear about what they need to do, you’re guiding them on the journey to conversion. A strong call-to-action helps you profit from a searcher’s curiosity by giving them reasons to click.

Wrapping Up

CTR is a crucial PPC search metric that marketers should monitor and understand. Optimizing Google Ads for click-through rate, while at the same time optimizing for other PPC metrics will result in successful paid ad campaigns.

Google Ads campaigns report

If you're looking track the average CTR across all of your campaigns, check out our prebuilt PPC reporting template to automate the process.

Written by

Lisa Raehsler

Lisa is a self-published writer and editor who has worked in the PPC/Search Engine Marketing niche for years. As a search engine marketing expert, she has led hundreds of paid advertising accounts for search engines, mobile, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. When she's not writing, she can be found with her nose stuck in a book.

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