There are many terms to keep track of when you have your own website and want to monitor its performance. One of those terms is click through rate or CTR. What is it, and why should you be aware of it?
The click through rate is a useful means of gauging how well your ads are performing, as it represents how often the people viewing your ad end up clicking on it. It is determined by dividing the number of clicks that your ad receives by the number of times it is shown, then multiplying by 100 to receive a percentage. For example, an ad viewed 200 times, producing 10 clicks (10/ 200 X 100) has a CTR of 5%.
Your CTR is an important metric, especially in regards to PPC advertising, and is one that you should be seeking to optimize. A high CTR indicates that your link or ad is getting attention and bringing traffic to your site. It also influences ad placement. Google uses your CTR data to predict your future CTR and this can impact your Quality Score and Ad Rank.
If your CTR is low, it is indicating weak performance. This may result from several different factors, such as ineffective copy or headlines. It can also result from a poor choice of keywords or even factors that may be beyond your control such as your industry, channel, or target audience.
All of this makes it difficult to definitively say what is a “good” click through rate. Your CTR is going to vary from campaign to campaign and even according to keyword. You are always going to aim for a “high” click through rate, but what is good and what is high will always come down to a single answer:
Click Through Rates By Industry
The definition of a good click through rate will vary by industry. Looking at the following data from WordStream reveals the differences in average click through rates according to industry, on both the display network and the search network:
|Industry||Display Network||Search Network|
|Travel & Hospitality||0.47%||2.18%|
|Health & Medical||0.31%||1.79%|
|Finance & Insurance||0.33%||2.65%|
|Dating & Personals||0.52%||3.40%|
It’s clear that the average CTR for ads on the search network is much higher (1.91%) than the average CTR for those on the display network (0.35%). This can be attributed to the fact that search network users are actively seeking content, whereas those on the display network are viewing your links passively without an existing desire to click.
Click Through Rate by Channel
It should come as no surprise that the channel on which your link is displayed will have an effect on the click through rate as well. Those who are browsing their Facebook feeds will respond differently than those using Google search, for example.
Generally speaking, the highest click through rate belongs to Twitter at 2.0%, while LinkedIn takes the lowest spot with 0.06%. Instagram and Facebook fall in between at 0.94% and 0.72%, respectively.
What makes these numbers somewhat misleading is the fact that Facebook offers multiple ad types with individual CTRs. Their link ads may have a CTR of 0.72%, but video ads have a click through rate above 2%, beating Twitter’s average.
Other means of connecting with your audience also have a range of results according to industry. For example, the highest CTR for emails belongs to the hobbies industry at 5.13%. Its closest competitor is media and publishing at 4.70%, while the restaurant industry trails far behind at 1.25%.
Click Through Rate By Search Position
There is constant competition for the top spot in the search engine results page (SERP) and that is because it is well understood that when a user is searching for something, the top three results that Google and the other search engines provide get the lion’s share of clicks.
The results page often feature ads at the top, followed by the most relevant results for the user’s query. According to 2022 data from FirstPageSage, the CTR for the top ad is 2.1%, while the second ad sits at 1.6%. Moving to the actual results for the search, the top position typically generates a CTR of 39.6%. The second position’s CTR is less than half of that, at 18.4%, while the third-place result has a CTR of 10.1%.
The results here strongly indicate why you should be making every effort to reach the top of the search engine results page. When you are able to achieve a top organic ranking, your click through rate leaps far ahead of what you will achieve with your paid ads.
Your click through rate is just one of the many metrics that you can use, and while it can prove highly useful, it does have some limitations. You will have to look elsewhere for information about conversion and revenue, for example, and you may find yourself gaining a high CTR due to unqualified prospects, uninterested customers, or even bots.
While it’s true that you will be hoping for a high click through rate, the definition of high will vary based on your industry, the channel, your audience, and many other factors, some of which may be out of your control.
Determining what is a good click through rate does not boil down to one simple answer. But measuring your CTR does give some insight into the performance of your site, and in particular, your PPC campaigns.