How to improve your CTR in Google Ads

Click-Through Rate (CTR) is a commonly overlooked metric in Google Ads that can actually be the key to a successful search campaign. By improving your CTR in Google Ads you can save money, achieve more conversions and have high performing ads overall.

CTR is basically the percentage of times your ads were clicked on out of all the time they were displayed to a user. E.g. if you ad was shown 100 times – i.e. got 100 impressions – and was clicked on 10 times, your CTR would be 10%.

It’s arguably one of the most important metrics to monitor – particular when setting up your paid ads for the first time – since it is a direct reflection of a) how well-targeted your ads are and b) how appealing your ads are to your target audience.

So how can you improve the CTR of your Google Ads campaign?

Check your targeting

If your targeting isn’t spot-on, you’re likely to see a low CTR since the audience your ads will appear in front of won’t find them relevant. Make sure you’ve developed your target personas before creating your ads so you know what keywords to target in order to reach them.

Beware of the match types you’re using when building your keyword list as these can lead to massively different audiences. E.g. targeting the term “second-hand books for children” with phrase match will only display your ad if they’ve searched for some variation of that phrase such as “children’s second-hand books”. However targeting “second-hand books for children” with broad match means that your ad could show whenever any of the words in the selection are used such as “second-hand toys for children” – which isn’t necessarily relevant to your ad.

Use the negative keyword list to eradicate irrelevant impressions. The negative keyword list allows you to specify what search terms you don’t want your ad to appear for – this can save you a lot impressions for irrelevant searches. E.g. if you’re selling “iPhone cases” you won’t want to appear in searches for “iPhone repairs” since your ad is very unlikely to get any clicks from this search. By adding the term “repairs” to your negative keyword list, you’ll ensure that your ad doesn’t show up for these irrelevant search queries. You can see exactly what queries your ads are showing up for in the Search Terms report – check this at least once a week to make sure you’re catching any irrelevant keywords.

Remove keywords resulting in high impressions but low clicks. Even if your keywords seem relevant to your target audience, if they’re not leading to clicks on your ads they’re likely not the right terms to be using at this stage. Remove them and consider replacing them with new terms – you can do this by reviewing competitors and the Search Terms report.

Make your ads more appealing

Once you know your ads are reaching the right audience, you need to ensure that your audience actually feels compelled to click on them.

Are you using the right ads for your audience – are search ads the best way to achieve your goal? If not, you may want to look at another type of Google Ads campaign or consider a different platform altogether.

If you’re certain that Google Search is the place to be, consider the impact of your ad extensions. If you’re looking to make a good impression you might want to use Seller Rating Extensions or if you want to give the user options about where to go next you could use Sitelink extensions. By including ad extensions, you can improve your CTR by 10-15% according to Google.

Review your ad copy – if you ignore everything else in this article, just remember this one point. Your ad copy is the most prominent part of your search ad so it has arguably the biggest impact on your CTR. If your ad copy is boring or doesn’t seem relevant to the user, they’re not going to click on the ad. Make sure you:

  • Use the keywords in your ad copy (and change them when they’re not working for you!)
  • Highlight the benefit to the user or the problem you solve
  • Be clear on what sets you apart from other websites in the search results (both organic and paid)
  • Include an incentive (or Call to Action) to click on your ad – e.g. “Reserve your slot now”

Tip: Use responsive search ads to test multiple copy options and create expanded text ads out of the top performers.

By improving your CTR you can achieve better results from your Google Ads campaigns – whether that’s a more relevant audience, a better use of budget or more sales and leads. While the popular metrics like CPC, Clicks and Conversion Rate are all important, don’t forget about the difference you can make by simply paying attention to CTR.

For more help getting started with Google Ads, get in touch with our team or check out our recent articles on LinkedIn.

Are you an advanced Google Ads user? Check out this article from Databox with even more expert opinions on how to improve CTR.