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Friday, 18 September 2015

What Is A Good Click Through Rate (CTR)?

What is a good click through rate?

It’s the age-old question asked by PPC managers and clients alike. Though we can agree that higher is better, much debate remains as to what constitutes a good vs. subpar account CTR. Below, I’ll give a definitive answer, though I acknowledge that many factors are at play. Additionally, I’ll be answering this question only in regards to Google AdWords and Bing Ads.

What Are These Factors?

Network – Search Network text and Google Shopping campaigns will, for the most part, have significantly higher CTRs than Display campaigns, although remarketing campaigns do have the potential for better CTRs than other types of Display campaigns.

Relevance – This factor combines the complete search experience from query to landing page.

Image of PPC relevance priority

Instead of listing them individually, I include bid, keyword match type, negative keywords/audiences, quality score, and ad copy as part of the overall relevance factor. All of these items need to work together in order to yield a higher CTR.

Ad Rank – Even with high relevance throughout, ad position will sometimes be low. Take into consideration both Google Shopping ad units and ad extensions and the prominence of a standard text ad diminishes greatly. Finally, if your ad is below the fold on searcher browsers, you’ll potentially accrue many impressions without the ad ever being seen!

Device – Dovetailing off ad rank, CTR will vary by device. I generally find mobile CTR to be higher than desktop and tablet. However, volume tends to be much lower. Mobile ads will also take up much of the screen, often giving users only paid options before having to scroll.

Image of mobile ads

Data – My general rule of thumb is to have at least 100 impressions on any given campaign, ad group, keyword, or piece of ad copy before optimizing. There are always exceptions, but this threshold is a good baseline, as it gives the specific item a fair chance to succeed.

Vertical – CTRs will vary by vertical, especially when considering competition. For example, “lawyer” related terms are often extremely expensive and have vast search volume. Any of the above factors may be influenced, causing fluctuations in CTR.

So What’s The Verdict?

Based upon these factors, a good account CTR is 2%.

Others would argue that 2% is too low. I’m not advocating that once you hit 2% CTR, you’re in the clear. You should constantly strive to improve CTR in conjunction with your cost per conversion and conversion rate goals. My stance is that with all factors considered in today’s PPC world, a 2% account CTR should be deemed good.


When I say a 2% account CTR, there will most likely be individual campaigns with better CTRs and those with worse. For example, your branded and Shopping campaigns may have CTRs much higher than 2%, while others may be below this percentage. In addition, Display Network campaigns will accrue many more impressions at lower CTRs, weighing down the overall account CTR more than search campaigns. With these considerations, my stance remains that a good account CTR is 2%.

Clients will inevitably ask how their CTR compares to others in their vertical. My answer tends to be cautious, as there are no definitive studies comparing CTR across verticals. There are studies, but none with conclusive data that I would be comfortable standing behind.

Using Google’s native tools, we are able to glean competitive data, but these figures are only estimates. The Auction Insights report provides interesting data comparing metrics such as impression share, average position, and overlap rate to your competitors.

Final Thoughts

Both clients and managers will also constantly question how to improve CTR. At the basic level it all comes down to one of the factors outlined above, relevance. Create a well-structured account that easily gives searchers answers to their questions (queries).

You should always be striving to achieve a higher CTR. A 2% CTR is good, but continually improving this metric will make your account great.

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