What Is A Good CTR? (Paid & Organic Traffic)

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by

Daniel Wade

 / 

June 28, 2021

You can have the best performing landing pages and most irresistible offers, but if your click through rate is terrible, what good is it?

Click Through Rate — or CTR, as it’s sometimes called — is one of the best markers to evaluate a campaign’s performance. It indicates how many people are “clicking through” an ad to a page. Numbers can vary, but 2% is considered “good” for PPC ads, while 3-5% for organic searches is above average.

No matter whether you’re monitoring a paid ad campaign or organic listings for your blog posts, there are several things you can do that will cause your CTR to improve. And even for the most experienced marketers, the tweaks you will need to make may not be the most intuitive, but can nevertheless pay huge dividends down the road.

Since this can be such a technical subject — and one that can vary from industry to industry — we’ve looked far and wide to find the best resources that will apply almost universally. Many of these resources are gleaned from years of experience, allowing you to benefit from other people’s experience without investing a ton of your own money.

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What is CTR?

First things first, what is CTR? As stated above, CTR simply means “Click Through Rate,” and determines the rate of people that view your post or ad and then “click through” to the sales page, blog post, or some other digital asset. This is why marketers spend so long on their snippet or sales copy: If it’s not interesting enough, nobody will click through to the page and take the desired action.

Calculating it is very simple, but changes slightly depending on whether or not you’re dealing with organic traffic or a paid ad campaign.

Determining CTR for a Paid Ad Campaign

For paid ad campaigns, like those on Google, Facebook, or Youtube, having a solid understanding of your CTR could be the difference between thousands — or even millions — of dollars in revenue.

Fortunately, it’s remarkably easy to calculate. The basic formula is clicks divided by traffic, so find out how many times your ad has been clicked, divide it by the number of impressions that particular ad received, and voila! You’ve just discovered your click through rate.

It’s important that you measure this regularly, but not so much that you account for reporting errors. Most paid ad campaigns don’t update click and traffic numbers continuously, so once a day should suffice to give you a good idea of your average CTR.

Determining CTR for Organic Traffic

As demonstrated above, finding out your CTR for a paid ad campaign is relatively straightforward, made easier by the fact that most of those numbers are provided to you with just a few clicks. Determining your CTR for organic traffic is admittedly a little tougher, but still can be accomplished with minimal effort.

The basic approach for organic traffic is the same for paid results: Divide clicks by impressions. If your blog post had 1,000 impressions last month, and 50 people clicked on it from the search engine, then your click through rate would be 5%, which is above average. You can do this with any individual webpage, from blog posts, to product pages, to static landing pages, and even home pages.

Why is CTR So Important?

CTR is such an important metric than many marketers rank it above most other measurements like PPC and overall traffic numbers. Why? Because your CTR is a perfect reflection of copywriting and audience targeting. In other words, if your CTR is high, it means you’re not only targeting the right people (with the right keywords or audience selection), but you’re also finding the right words that your audience wants to hear.

Without a strong CTR, your funnel remains a disjointed mess. You can have the most amazing product or service in the world, and the best ad copy on the planet, but unless those two are synergistic in nature, you’ll never be able to bridge your audience from one to the other. Click through rate is the one number you can look at to see if people are interested in what you’re offering.

Is a Low CTR Always Bad?

All that being said, CTR is not the be all and end all of the marketing world. If your only goal was to drive a high CTR, you could have an ad or a blog post that advertises “FREE BITCOIN.” I guarantee you your CTR would be through the roof, but unless you’re actually giving away free Bitcoin on your landing page, you’ll have a lot of unhappy audience members and possibly even a few penalties as well.

When viewed holistically through your overall marketing funnel, a low CTR may actually be indicative of highly specific targeting. If your search terms are too broad, a bunch of people may be clicking through to your page, but if they don’t find what they’re looking for, they can bounce off. Low CTR could mean that you’re only reaching the exact people that you want to reach, which means more qualified leads for you and lower cost per sale.

What is a Good CTR?

So, how do you determine what is a good CTR for your campaign? Unfortunately, there’s no one answer here; even the numbers given above (2% for paid ads, 3-5% for organic search) were mainly based on averages and can change from business to business. Below are a few factors that you should consider when trying to determine your ideal CTR.

Industry

What field you’re in and what kind of competition you have can make all the difference in the world when it comes to CTR. Highly competitive industries like auto insurance and attorneys will always have some of the most enormous CTRs in the world, but they also command some of the highest revenues as well. As such, high CTRs can be justified since the profit margin is higher.

Intent

Every good marketer will have multiple stages to their funnels running at all times, and what is considered a “good” CTR for one stage could be deplorable at the other. A top-of-the-funnel marketing campaign will have a very low CTR, since you’re running to a primarily cold audience, whereas a bottom-of-the-funnel campaign that is retargeting a warm audience should see a much higher CTR. It all depends on the intent of the campaign and what stage of the funnel you’re monitoring.

Platform

Paid ads perform differently on Youtube than they do on Pinterest. Also, local service ads tend to get higher CTRs on Google than they do on Facebook. The type of platform you are advertising on can impact what kind of CTR you will see, especially if you’re trying to run a product or service to a certain generation that doesn’t use it. Hearing aid ads generally don’t perform very well on Tik-Tok’s advertising platform, for instance.

Likewise, all of the different search engines will show results differently. Even though Google is the resident behemoth, Bing has a completely different algorithm to show their results. Moreover, the difference between desktop and mobile is noteworthy, too. Location-based queries generally show slightly different results on a smartphone than they do on a desktop, which means you’ll have to examine CTRs differently per platform.

How to Improve Your CTR

Unless you’re running a top-of-the-funnel campaign or targeting an extremely niche keyword, having a high CTR is almost always a great thing. So how do you improve your CTR for your campaigns?

Get the Audience Right

It’s nearly impossible to overstate how important audience is to your CTR. If you don’t have a key understanding of who you’re targeting (demographics, interest, geography, etc), then your CTR will not nearly be as high as it could be. Craft your ideal customer and craft an ad — with the right targeting — specifically for them.

Be Specific

What is it that you’re hoping to obtain from your campaign? Are you wanting people to download a freebie? Are you hoping to get people to subscribe? Purchase a product? Schedule a service? The more people know about your offer in the ad copy itself, the more you’ll be able to separate the people who will be interested from those who will click off your page.

Tighten Up Your Ad Copy

Anyone who’s ever had to write ad copy knows that trying to condense your message into a few hundred characters is much harder than it sounds. You can write a book on your product or service, but if you can’t capture people’s attention in the first five seconds, you might need to start all over again.

Adjust Your Bidding

From a purely practical side, if you want to improve your CTR, one of the best things to do is enable smart bidding. Take advantage of Google’s smart services that will only enter you into auctions that you have a higher chance of winning (Facebook does something very similar with it’s detailed targeting expansion). For organic search, tighten up your keywords and make sure that you’re trying to rank for the ones you want, rather than broad matches that don’t reflect the content of your page.

What Is A Good CTR? (Paid & Organic Traffic)

About THE AUTHOR

Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts, spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.

Learn more about SparrowBoost