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8 Ways to Improve Your AdWords Click Through Rate (CTR)


8 Ways to Improve Your Google Ads (Previously AdWords) Click Through Rate (CTR)

Ah, the click-through-rate!

Good old CTR.

There’s no conversions without clicks!

Now, it’s possible to get a little too hung up on your CTR, but this is still a metric that’s worth caring about and it’s a very good idea to do all you can to improve it.

This blog will give you some tips on how to improve your AdWords click-through rate. And, if you can then combine your high CTR with a landing page that’s optimised to boost conversions, you’re laughing!

What is CTR?

The click-through rate, or CTR, is best summed up as a measure of the number of clicks your ads received per the number of impressions your ads receive.

It’s calculated by dividing the total number of clicks on your ad by the total number of impressions for your ad.

Why is a high CTR important?

Because the more people click on your ads, the more potential conversions you can look forward to!


But it goes deeper than that. The CTR of your ads directly influences your Quality Score.

Essentially, if Google sees that a lot of people are clicking on your ad, they reasonably assume that your ad must be useful and engaging to your target audience. The result is a better Quality Score, which means that your ad will rank higher in the search results and that you’ll be able to maintain that good ad position for lower costs.

That’s right. Generally speaking, the higher your CTR, the lower your cost-per-click!

What’s a “good” CTR? It depends on who you are and what you do. The benchmark for the average CTR varies from sector to sector. But if you want a good rule of thumb, the average CTR in AdWords is just under 2%. So, a “good” CTR to aim for might be something between 4-5%.

How to improve your AdWords CTR

Make your ad text as persuasive as possible

Let’s get the obvious one out the way first.

Of course people are more likely to click your ads if they’re well written, but what does a well-written ad look like?

You want to make your ad copy more compelling than your competitors’. So, ask yourself: What’s your USP? Why should people choose you instead of your competitors?

Search for your target keyword on Google to see the ads your competitors are running. What sort of things are they saying? Is there any way you can gain an edge? With a special offer, perhaps? Or free shipping?

Writing good ad copy is a fine skill. There’s a lot more to it than simply making your ads better than those of your competitors. Plus, there’s a range of text limits and other rules to consider.

So our advice? Split test at least two adverts in every ad group, each with slightly different ad copy. Compare how each performs and use this information to hone your copy until you have something that you can be sure will stand out from the competition.

Use target keywords in your ads

You know those keywords you’re bidding on? You need to use them in your ads – in the headline, in the ad copy and in the display URL.

That last one’s particularly important. The target keyword is likely to be just the thing that users have searched for. If they see that keyword in the display URL of your ad, then they’ll trust that you’re truly offering whatever it is they’re after.

Video software specialists Wistia analysed over 500,000 AdWords ads. They found that a third of them were not using keywords in their display URL and that those that did had a much higher CTR than those that did not.

Get the call to action (CTA) right

So, we’ve established that your ad copy has to offer something truly outstanding and that it must feature your target keyword, the third important thing to get right is that call to action (CTA).

This is the part of the ad that compels you to take action. “Buy now!” That sort of thing.

Not all CTAs are created equal. Some are so overused that they’ve essentially become white noise. Savvy shoppers barely even register them as words. “Click here” for example.

But the right CTA can make a huge difference to your CTR. And if you want to write a good CTA, you need to get into the head of your customers. You need to ask yourself – what do they want? And when do they want it?


Read our guide to writing a good CTA for AdWords.

Get to know your audience

You might have noticed that all of the tips we’ve shared so far depend on having a good idea of who your customers are and what they’re looking for.

The better an idea you have of who you’re trying to sell to, the better you’ll be able to sell to them.

You’ll know what keywords to target because you’ll know what sort of language they use to talk about your products. You’ll know what sort of USP to highlight in your ads because you’ll know what truly matters to them. And because you’ll know what your customers want and when they want it, writing that perfect CTA will be second nature.

How can you get to know your customers? By talking to them! Product reviews and online forums can also provide some critical insights into the sort of things that truly matter to your customers.

Here’s a good guide to the steps you can take to better understand your target audience. Developing a detailed customer profile takes time, but it’s invariably time well-spent as the insights you glean can inform almost every aspect of your marketing!

Countdown Timers

There’s nothing quite like a sense of urgency to encourage people to click.


In short, if you can make users feel like they’ll miss a fantastic offer if they don’t click right now, then they just might click!

To add a countdown timer to your ads, just add this little snippet to either your headline or your description: {=

Do this and you’ll see a pop-up that lets you choose a start date and an end date for your special offer.

Does it work? It can do. On the official AdWords blog, Google mentions how Clarks shoes saw a 32% boost to their CTR thanks to countdown timers.

But will this work for you? It depends on a number of factors. Obviously, it’ll only work if your special time-limited offer is truly irresistible. 50% off for the next two days is more enticing than 5% off for the next year, for instance.

Also, it might help to save your use of countdown timers for those times when you know your customers are likely to be looking for good deals, such as when Christmas shopping, during the January sales or on Black Friday.

Make your ads stand out with symbols

Oh, there’s many ways you can make your ads stand out, but one of the most effective ways also happens to be one of the simplest:

Use symbols.

See, many ads are purely text based. And because they’re appearing on top of or alongside search results, you’re effectively asking your potential customers to single out your text from amid a sea of text.

The human brain can switch off when confronted with too much text, but symbols are different. Because they’re not as common as numbers or letters of the alphabet, they pop out and so will your ads.

A symbol, used correctly, can make your ad stand out from the rest. And if your ad stands out, then people are more likely to pay attention to what you’re offering, which makes them that little bit more likely to click.

The good thing about this technique is that they can encourage users to click your ad over that of your competitors even if they’re ranking higher than you.

Now, not all symbols are relevant and you need to take Google’s advertising guidelines into consideration. Generally speaking, you’ll only be allowed to use one symbol and one exclamation mark per ad. But if you can add a “%” here or an “®” there, you might well look forward to more clicks.

Use capitalisation

Capitalisation works in pretty much the same way as symbols: It can make certain words – and, by extension, your adverts – stand out from the rest.

Here’s a handy online tool you can use to automatically capitalise your ad’s headline. Just paste your headline into the box and it will instantly get capitalised based on your choice of stylistic standards. Your headline will look more professional, more noticeable and more right in a moment!

You might be tempted to capitalise your ad copy too. While this might make it stand out that little bit more, it may also make it that little bit harder to read. So, this is yet another area where it pays to test!

Use Google AdWords Ad Extensions

Oh boy, do we love AdWords extensions! They allow you to add additional information that will make your ads stand out in the results, and they can make a significant difference to your CTR. And the best thing is that they can be added to your campaign at no extra cost.

Many different ad extensions are available. Location extensions, for example, simply show your business’s address. A study by 3Q digital found that location extensions increased the CTR on their ads by 25%


But that’s nothing compared to what’s possible with callout extensions. These allow you to add the sort of unique offers and selling-points we mentioned above. You can add up to 6 such callouts in addition to your existing ad text, and one PPC specialist reported how using callout extensions enabled her to increase her CTR by 221%.

Want to improve your AdWords CTR to get more conversions?

When it comes to boosting your AdWords CTR, we’ve got quite the bag of tricks!

We can fine-tune your ads to improve not just your CTR, but also your conversions. Get in touch to find out how we can help.



Chris is a unique hybrid of business acumen, technical know-how and digital marketing acumen. The 'Geek' in PPC Geeks, academically Chris always was on the business side and went on to manage major software implementations before setting up his own digital marketing agency.

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