10 Ways to Improve Click Through Rates

Lorna Wills - Head of Client Services

Lorna Wills

22nd March 2013

There are plenty of reasons why your click through rate (CTR) is important. The obvious one is that a better CTR means more clicks on an ad. CTR also plays a big part in AdWords’ quality score calculations too, and the better your quality score is the less you’ll pay for clicks.

Bearing the above in mind, this week’s blog post gives you ten tips on how to improve your CTR.

1. Choose the right keywords and make good use of negatives
Your ad will never achieve a good click through rate if it appears for search queries it is not relevant to. Run search query reports to see what keywords are generating ad impressions. Look out for queries that are not relevant to your ads and add these as negative keywords. Take a search for “motorbike rider insurance” for example; the ad highlighted below is for equine insurance, not motorbike insurance.

Petplan could easily avoid appearing for motorbike insurance searches by adding negative keywords like “bike” and “motorbike” to their PPC campaign. Read more on negative keyword optimisation.

2. Make ad text relevant to your keywords
Simply making sure your ad text contains the keywords you are targeting will increase your CTR. It’s useful to remember that keywords will become bold if they are present in your ad text. It will catch people’s eyes if they see the keywords they just typed into Google in bold and in ad text.

3. Highlight offers and USPs
All too often we see ads that give people little reason to click on them. The space you have to write your PPC ad is small but there is plenty of room to detail what you’re offering and to highlight your USPs. For example your ad text should mention if there is an end of season sale running, or if you offer free delivery and/or returns. These are the kinds of things that entice people to click.

4. Include a strong call to action
If you ask people to do what you want them to do in your ad your CTR will improve. Ask them to “Get a Quote Now”, or “Buy Online Now”, or “Sign Up Today” – but never write “Click Here”!

5. Tell potential customers what’s in it for them
This goes beyond highlighting USPs and including calls to action, instead it's about wording ad text in a way that tells someone what’s in it for them if they click through. For example, in an ad offering gym membership you could just say: “Sign Up for Membership Now” or you could say “Sign Up & Get That Bikini Body”. In reference to a design software download you could say: “Download Design Software Now” or you could say “Download & Increase Productivity”, if you are selling sales training you might say “Book Your Sales Training Now” or you could say “Increase Sales Numbers – Book Now!”

6. Make the most of ad extensions
CTRs are higher for ads where ad extensions are in place. Even though the ad extensions might not be clicked, an ad with an extension in place occupies more space on a search results page thus drawing the eye in. Take a look at the ads below; Littlewoods is occupying way more space with all its ad extensions enabled in comparison to the Ecosoftware ad that goes unnoticed:

8. Increase position
An ad that is always at the bottom of the search results for highly competitive terms will ultimately have a lower CTR. It is worth considering increasing bids to increase your position – if you do this it’s important to monitor your ROI closely.

9. Check your ad settings
AdWords’ default ad settings mean ads with better CTRs are displayed more often; however, during ad tests for example, you may choose to rotate your ads evenly. It is possible that these ad setting changes have been forgotten and ads with low CTRs will be showing as often as those with much better CTRs. It’s always worth double-checking your ad settings.

10. Test, test, test!
One of the beauties of online marketing, and in particular AdWords PPC campaigns, is everything can be monitored and tested for true effectiveness. You should test ads with different promotions, calls to action and USPs to see which ones achieve the best click through rates. When looking at ads with the best CTRs try to figure out exactly what is about that ad that generated the better click through rate - was it an offer or a call to action – then factor this knowledge into your new ad text. Pause ads that have lower CTRs and always remember to set reminders when running ad tests to make sure you revisit them to check the results. It’s also a good idea to make a note of what you were testing, for example, a call to action.

If you want a hand, or some advice, on running a successful PPC account, including increasing CTRs, then we’d love to hear from you: contact us.





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