Click-Through Rate (CTR): Definition & How to Improve

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CTR, or click-through rate, is an indicator that shows the percentage of total users that click on an ad while viewing it. Click-through rate is used to analyze the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, keywords in Google Ads and Google Search Console, advertising and video advertising.

What does the click-through rate mean? In short, the higher the CTR, the more advertising or organic traffic you get, and vice-versa – if the indicators are low, the ad is not of interest to site visitors. On paid web advertising platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, Linkedin, Twitter, and Google Ads, CTR is also a measure of ad relevance.

What factors affect CTR? There are many, including thoughtfulness and relevance of headlines, keywords, quality of descriptions and advertising content.

Click-Through Rate vs. Conversion Rate

Click-through rate is an external action metric, while the conversion rate measures visitor action within the site. Unlike CTR, the conversion rate shows what percentage of site visitors make a specific action – a purchase or a subscription. How are the differences between these two indicators manifested? The following points can be highlighted:

  • A high CTR is not indicative of ultimate profitability. If descriptions or keywords are poorly chosen and do not clearly explain the product/service to users, they may go to the site by mistake. As a result, there is no conversion due to such transitions.
  • CTR shows the number of visitors who “came from the ad,” while the conversion rate shows the number of users who made a purchase.

Both indicators demonstrate the effectiveness of the chosen marketing strategies.

How to Calculate Click-Through Rate

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The following formula is used to calculate the click-through rate:

CTR = Total Clicks / Total Impressions ∗ 100

For email newsletters, the number of impressions refers to the total number of recipients of promotional emails.

The final result may depend on the niche, circumstances and other factors – but an average of 2% is a good result.

15 Ways to Improve Click-Through Rate

Sometimes ads do not bring the desired result, and the available clicks, despite the high percentage, do not bring sales. What to do in this case? Consider the current methods for correcting the situation.

Use Heatmaps to Improve Site Clicks

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Heatmaps are a quick and easy way to understand which elements are clicked on the most, which areas motivate users to leave the site, and which go unnoticed.

Why is it important to consider the results of heat map analysis? The more bounces you have, the lower your site will rank because the search engine perceives such sites as useless. Heatmaps allow you to see what can be improved and avoid such ranking issues.

Heatmap tools from Plerdy will help you analyze and see how users behave on the site.

Improve your Quality Score

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Quality Score is tracked in Google Ads using Keyword Score. Each of them receives from 0 to 10 points, where the following factors are taken into account:

  • Relevance and quality of the advertisement.
  • Google’s prediction of whether someone will click on your ad.
  • An estimate of what users get when they visit your site.

The higher your score, the higher the ranking, the lower the cost per click, and the higher the CTR. Google has provided a guide – it has answers to all questions regarding Quality Score.

Utilize smart bidding strategies

When setting bids, Google automates the delivery of ads to get to those auctions that are more likely to receive clicks. Thus, more accurate and targeted auctions will increase CTR. One of the most significant benefits of AI bidding is automatically adjusting bids for keywords on each auction.

Test different ad types

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Don’t stop with expanded text ads. Statistically, responsive ads drive more clicks because they reach the right audience. Their advantage is that they use more than three title fields and two description fields. Accordingly, the chances of being shown for a more relevant search query are significantly higher.

Create tightly themed keyword groups

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The more keywords in the group, the less likely it is that a person will find a phrase of interest to him in the ad. By forming smaller and more specific topic groups, you will increase the chances of meeting user requests.

Highlight pricing in ad copy

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Ads with a price in the text description are more specific and give you an edge over your competitors. Especially if the price is below the market average, a buyer will click on an ad faster than a competitor with a higher cost if they are side by side. In addition, such a description immediately answers one of the main questions without first clicking on the link.

Why is it so effective? You simplify the task for buyers; their opinion of you will improve and encourage them to take action.

Use remarketing audiences

With the help of a remarketing campaign, you will select the target audience and set up ads according to user requests. In addition, using data about user actions and their interests, you can weed out those who will not bring you profit. Your ads will be tailored to specific users. For example, knowing that a visitor has viewed a particular product, you can target ads based on that visitor’s views.

Use Long-Tail Keywords

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Long-tail keywords are more descriptive and specific. Users will more quickly click through to an ad or link in a Google organic listing when they realize that your ad contains exactly what they are looking for. For example, if the keyword is “furniture,” then the chances that the ad will get into the view of a potential buyer are minimal. There are thousands of ads! But if you add specifics – to clarify – “modern-style sofa,” then the chances of hitting the target will significantly increase.

Write Effective Meta Descriptions

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Use keywords in the meta description to help a person understand that he will solve his problem by clicking on the link. How exactly can you improve your meta description to improve click-through rates? Here are some ways:

  • Answer the main questions. Try to fit in 160 characters a clear answer to the user’s query.
  • Make it specific and relevant — relevance and clarity, no water in a short description – plus the willingness to follow the link.
  • Use strong language. Try to convince the reader that he should visit the page. For example, use emotionally charged words and phrases.

Make a mini-presentation of sorts.

Create Posts With Images

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Creating posts with images is a traditional method that can significantly increase click-through rates. Bright images displayed in the search attract the attention of users. In addition, it will increase traffic to the site from image searches.

Use Descriptive URLs

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The URL is one of the key pieces of information. Make it more understandable. Add a keyword to it, thereby reinforcing the relevance of the content. And write as short as possible – such addresses are quickly read and catch the eye faster.

WordPress users can do this in the permalink settings.

Localize Your Content

If you have a business that is provided localized, this method will narrow down the display to real potential customers. So you can target those who are specifically looking for your product or service and get active customers.

How to do it? Add a mention of your location to the content. Also, post your company information on Google My Business (GMB) to add you to the map.

A/B Test Headlines on Social Media

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Share an article on social networks, wait a few days – and change the title. Then wait the same amount of time and compare which headlines had a higher engagement percentage. This way, you will see which option will be successful among a larger audience.

You can optimize title using the CoSchedule tool.

Optimize Site Speed

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Google’s priorities are Page Experience and Web Core Vitals. They are essential ranking factors. And even if the user clicks on your link, a long wait time will prompt him to leave the page without waiting for the entire load. According to statistics, waiting times up to 3 seconds increase the number of failures by 32%, and up to 5 seconds – by 90%.

Build High Converting Landing Pages

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Well-designed landing pages are an effective source of traffic. The following improvements will help you achieve your goal:

  • Understand the anatomy of a landing page. A concise and understandable title, high-quality visual design, an exciting video, and a call-to-action text are the components of a good website. Users notice him, and he “knocks out” in the first positions of the search.
  • Optimize UX. Fast loading, ease of use, understandability of the interface are the essential properties of a website for users.

These factors will increase the conversion rate as well as your click-through rate.


When improving CTR, remember that data analysis must go hand in hand with conversion rates, as net CTR is not a measure of profit. Use available optimization methods and regularly improve your site to avoid wasting money on unprofitable impressions in the search engine.

Article by:
CEO Andrew Chornyy

CEO Plerdy — expert in SEO&CRO with over 11 years of experience.

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