What is Click Through Rate (CTR) and how to increase it

How do you get someone to press a button? A digital marketing company pays a lot of attention to the Call To Action (CTA) - button. Having such a button seems so simple that many website owners don't spend any time on it at all. But it is one of the most important parts of your marketing campaigns. On your website, in your web shop, your email campaigns and your ads. That CTA button is important for your Click Through Rate (CTR), or click through rate.

What is Click Through Rate (CTR) and how to increase it - MarsConnects

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What does CTR stand for?

CTR means the percentage of people who click on a link that takes them to another page (a landing page or a product page). Simply put, click through rate (CTR) is the percentage of impressions that led to a click.

For example, if your link in an ad had 1,000 impressions and one click, the CTR is 0.1%.
The CTR shows how relevant visitors think your ad is.
A high CTR means it’s very relevant.
A low CTR means the ad is not relevant for your audience.

The ultimate goal of any marketing campaign is to get users from your market segment to your website and for them to perform a desired action (e.g., make a purchase, fill out a lead or contact form, download an e-book, etc.). CTR is the first step in the process of improving the relevance of your marketing campaign and generating the desired actions.

By the way, it doesn’t matter how you get those clicks to your offers. This can be through paid search ads (Google Ads, Google Display, PPC, CPC), retargeting, social media, video, email or any other marketing channel. So we are talking about CTR through paid ads and organic CTR.

Organic CTR

The organic click rate is the percentage of searchers who click on a result in a search engine, such as Google Search or a link on your web page, email, social media post, etc. Organic CTR is largely based on ranking position, but is also influenced by the title tag, description, URL, presence of Rich Snippets and of course SEO of your website.

CTR for PPC ads in Google Ads

PPC click rate is the amount of clicks on your PPC ad. It is the percentage of people who view your ad (impressions) and then actually click on it. The formula for CTR looks like this:

(Total number of clicks on ad) / (Total number of impressions) = CTR

The click rate is important because it directly affects the quality score.

Google Ads and other search marketing platforms offer discounts for ads with high relevance to searchers. One way to do this is to offer higher quality scores to ads with high Google Ads click frequencies.

What do you gain from a higher quality score of your Google ads?

With high quality scores, you can improve or maintain ad position at a lower cost.
In addition, if you are advertising on relevant searches, achieving a high click rate means that you are attracting the greatest possible number of people to your ad.

How is the CTR calculated on different platforms

Different platforms calculate the CTR rate with different variables:

  • Facebook CTR: (total ad clicks) / (total reach) x 100 = Facebook click rate
  • Email CTR: (total number of clicks on links in email / (emails sent – emails not received) = email click rate
  • Google CTR: (total ad clicks) / (total impressions) x 100 = Google click rate

The common part of these calculations is the percentage of clicks your clickable ad, link or CTA button receives. For example, if 20,000 people saw your ad and 1,000 people clicked on it, first divide 1,000 (number of clicks) by 20,000 (number of people seeing it) and multiply by 100: (1000 / 20 000) x 100 = 5% CTR

What is the average CTR?

According to Google, the average Click-Through-Rate is about 2% for Google Search Ads.

For Google Display ads, it is about 0.35%.

The average click-through rate for Facebook ads ranges from 0.5% to 1.6%.

For emails, the average CTR across all sectors is about 2.6%.

The click-through rate depends heavily on your sector, competitors and your ranking position. If you are in position 1 on Google, your CTR will be higher than in position 4.

Average-CTR-per-Industry-2020 - MarsConnects

What is a good click through rate?

A good CTR is higher than the average in your industry and depends on:

  • Your industry/branch
  • Your keywords
  • The (advertising) campaigns you run


It is not unusual to see a CTR of more than 10% on keywords with a brand name, such as Tesla or Apple.

It is also not unusual to see CTRs of less than 1% on broad, non-branded keywords, such as “cars” or “sport shoes”.

If you want a better CTR than the average of about 2% for Google Ads and 0.35% for Display Ads, a good rule of thumb for a good click rate is:

4 – 5% for Google Ads
0.5 – 1% for Google Display

7 reasons why the Click Through Rate is crucial

1. The CTR affects the quality score of your Google Ads

This is one of the main reasons why many marketers spend a lot of time on CTR marketing.
The quality score shows how good the quality of your ad is compared to other advertisers. The higher the score, the more relevant your ad and landing page are to someone searching for the keyword used.

According to Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist, click rate determines 60% of the quality score. So if you can increase the CTR of your ads, Google will reward you with a higher quality score.

2. More impressions through a higher placement of your Google ad


A higher quality score on your Google ads helps you get a higher position for these Google Ads. PPC ads that are shown first in search engines. The higher the ad position, the more likely someone will see it in the search engine.

3. Higher conversion rates

There is a logical correlation between high CTRs and high conversion rates: the more people click on your ad or link, the more likely they are to see your offer. As a result, they are more likely to buy your product or service.

This is why improving your CTR is so crucial: if you can double your CTR, it is not unusual that you will also increase (on average) your conversion rate by 50%!

4. Better organic search results

The more your destination pages/ landing pages pull in the expected organic CTR for a given position, the more likely you are to end up in a higher organic position.

For every higher position in Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page), your organic CTR could increase by 3%.
Conversely, if your landing page produces less CTR than expected for organic search results, your position goes down in the SERP rankings.

Organic CTR is classic search engine optimization (SEO). If your page doesn’t rank better at the expected click rate for a given position, it’s pretty unlikely that your page will show up in a higher position.

5. Drive more traffic to your website for lower costs

An improved quality score has a knock-on effect. Not only do you have a better quality score, but the cost per click (CPC) is lower and you get discounts for placing your ads. As a result, you get more traffic to your website.

6. Higher engagement with your email campaigns

The more people see your emails the more likely they are to open them. A high open rate means a higher click-through rate. A higher open-rate also means that email providers are less likely to let your messages end up in a spam box.

Higher click-through rate means higher engagement.
And when engagement rises, the better customers you can attract.

7. Facebook CTR

For Facebook, the quality score is the ‘Relevance Score’. Here, the benchmark also applies: a higher score results in a higher percentage of ad visibility for the same budget and at a lower cost per engagement.
When someone shares one of your promoted posts, that post is displayed in someone else’s news feed and there is no charge for the additional actions that occur on it.

9 ways to increase CTR

Above are the reasons why click-through rates are important. But how can you increase them? There are several ways to do this:

1. CTA Buttons vs CTA Links

CTA buttons can increase click-through rates up to 28% over link-based CTAs. (CTA = Click To Action)

You use a CTA on your web pages, in your apps, in email campaigns, on social media and in ads. So you’re more likely to have people press your CTA button than a CTA link.

So make sure your CTA button stands out and test what gets more results. The more obvious the action you would like the reader to perform, the higher the click rates.

2. Button texts focused on benefit

A/B testing shows that a CTA button with a text that provides a benefit to the reader gets about 10% more click frequencies than a generic text.
So it’s better to use a button that says “20% off” than one that says “Buy Now”.
Also, a CTA button that indicates an urgency, exclusivity or scarcity will yield more clicks. Think for example of “2 days left”, “members only”, “limited offer”, etc.

3. Placement of the CTA button in the "Terminal Area"

The location where you place the CTA button is crucial. The optimal area for a CTA button is the “Terminal Area”.

Visitors to your website usually don’t read all the text. Instead, they scan the page for parts that they find interesting. In doing so, they move across the page “in a Z shape.
They scan with their eyes the part of the website they see from the top left, to the top right, then to the bottom left and finally to the bottom right.

The primary optical area of a website page – in view – is in the upper left, the terminal area (Terminal Area) is in the lower right. This is the end of the viewing pattern.

An important UX principle is based on psychology: that which you see last, you remember best. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to your CTA button on the bottom right.

Note that the last place the user will look is not linked to the entire page, but rather to the location to which the CTA is related – i.e. what the visitor sees from your page without scrolling.

So you can have multiple CTAs on your pages: one ‘above the fold‘: the part your visitor sees first without taking further action, and further down the webpage in the lower right corner as a CTA related to the content.

Where to place the CTA-button for increasing the CTR - MarsConnects

4. Increase CTR with dynamic Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords)

The CTR increases when you include details about price and time in the ad text. The ‘Extra Space Storage’ in Google Ads can significantly increase the CTR. The Extra Space Storage is used to reach individual customers with relevant, dynamic ads. Targeted marketing campaigns result in greater engagement with your customers and higher CTR performance.

5. Time of day/day of the week affects CTR rates

The day of the week and time of day have a big impact on CTR. You can open an email in the morning, read it quickly and then close it again because you don’t have time to do anything with it. On a Sunday afternoon, you can open that same email again and if you like the offer, click the CTA button to see what it gets you.

It’s best to split up the different time periods and test how your campaigns are doing. For example, when scheduling your social media posts, you can divide the time periods into mornings, afternoons and early evenings and see when they produce the best results.

6. Create extraordinary ads

Ads that are “extraordinary” are generally much more memorable than standard ads. They stand out and people are therefore more likely to remember them. Create ads that are so extraordinary that you don’t think anyone will click on them. Chances are you’ll get positive results, because people are curious about anything different.

7. Use metrics when targeting your audience

When you place PPC ads, you do not want to pay for clicks from people who are not in your target group. Therefore, when targeting, use the option to include or exclude groups.

The more focused your campaigns are on your target audience, the higher your conversion rate will be. Just think about it:

do you want a large reach of 10,000 people per month, for which you pay more and that will get you 10 customers, or do you prefer:

a reach of 100 people per month, for less money and that will bring you 40 people?

8. Don't lose sight of your ultimate goal

It is very difficult to have successful texts for social media ads without defining your goal. Every word in your campaign texts should lead to an action that you have set in your goal.

9. Optimize your landing pages

Landing pages are important for a higher CTR. If you want a better copy for your ads and landing pages that convert, see what we can do for you and contact us!

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