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CTR (Click Through Rate)

CTR (Click Through Rate)


CTR (Click Through Rate)

Quick Description = Clicks as a percentage of Impressions

Calculation: Clicks ÷ Impressions

Referred to as = CTR

This describes the relationship of Clicks to Impressions and is calculated like this:

Clicks / Impressions = CTR

CTR is shown as a percentage (%) most of the time as it represents a ratio, hence the result of the above formula can be easily turned into a %. A result of 1 = 100% and a result of 0 = 0% so to provide example; if you had 10 Clicks and 200 Impressions

(10/200 = 5/100 = 0.05), which is 5%.

Below we have listed some important features, behaviour, and information on CTR below:

  • The aim is to have a CTR be as high a percentage as possible; this indicates a strong relevance between your keyword and ad.
  • Historical CTR is a major factor in calculating Quality Score (QS) for all keywords except in campaigns that use CPM bidding. This can improve Ad Rank and reduce average CPC (Cost Per Click)
  • Poor CTR can indicate a lack of relevance and can negatively impact QS, Average CPC and Ad Rank.
  • CTR is defined the same way on both the Search and Display networks.

CTR By Network

Although calculated the same way on either the Search or Display Network, average Click Through Rates will typically be very different due to the nature of the way in which ads are served to users. The Search network will be more likely to see CTR range between 3% to 5% for relevant non-brand terms, whereas the Display network typically see CTR well below 1% (between 0.05% to 0.2%).

CTR can vary wildly between keywords, campaigns and accounts depending on a huge range of factors but the Display network has a characteristically lower CTR than the Search network. The vastly higher volumes of Impressions the Display network receive balances out the low CTR.

Aggregating CTR

Aggregating CTR across to many campaigns, networks, devices, products, ad groups, etc can ultimately lead to a less useful metric. Where CTR intrinsically differs such as between devices (mobile and desktop) and networks, there is often no reason to aggregate CTR in this way.

For example; a Display Campaign may receive 1 million Impressions & 1,500 Clicks (CTR = 0.15%) compared to a Search Campaign that received 50,000 Impressions & 2,500 Clicks (CTR = 5%)… If we look at the combined CTR we get (1,000,000 + 50,000) ÷ (1,500 + 2,500) = 0.38% CTR.

CTR is best looked at when you have segmented data by both network, device and brand vs. Non-brand campaigns. Due to large variations between CTR across these segments will result in a metric irrelevant to all segments.

Reporting & Analysis

CTR represents a relationship between Clicks and Impressions and is hence a good measure performance, consequently this metric is included in all reports that include both Clicks and Impressions.

We would also advise that you consider how much data your CTR is based on; on the search network we would consider anything less than 100 impressions as not enough data to make a decision or access performance. Ideally, we like to see a minimum of 500 impressions when split testing ads but anything over 1,000 impressions would be ideal.

The Display network typically has much lower CTR and consequently we would look to increase the numbers for Search by a factor of 50, so:

5,000 = minimum number of impressions
25,000 = Preferred number of impressions
50,000 = More than adequate number of impressions

The table below shows multiple combinations of the above impressions and common CTR on the display network. This should provide some idea of how many impressions you need at these CTR’s to get just some clicks:

CTR (Click Through Rate)

What is a Good CTR?

This is an age-old question and one without a straight answer unfortunately. Different industries have huge differences in CTR, meaning that you will need to find a study relevant to the industry you operate in to find some meaningful comparison data.

More Information

CTR on its own shows very little, 100% CTR of 3 impressions isn’t as useful as 10% CTR from 1,000 impressions! So, you may also be interested in the following guides that describe metrics relevant to CTR:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions


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