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Three Ways to Achieve Strong Click-through Rates

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Friday, August 15, 2014 |

Click-through rate, or CTR, is one of the metrics used for measuring the performance and effectiveness of an online advertising campaign for a particular website. Search engines use CTR to determine which ads get shown and which ones don’t. Search marketers have only a vague understanding of how CTR increases as an ad moves higher up on the search results page. The whole concept is wrapped in mystery.

Why does CTR matter? Click-through rate measures the amount of traffic a particular ad, or campaign as a whole, is driving to your website. For this reason alone, CTR deserves your attention. Furthermore, it directly affects your quality score - Google's rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and ads - and a high quality score allows you to improve or maintain ad position for a lower cost.

Tips to improve CTR on your ads


Entrepreneur shares three simple steps to improve clicks on your ads:

1. Improve the position of your ads. An important principle in conversion optimization is that what is seen immediately once the page loads is more likely to grab the user’s attention, whereas page elements that the user needs to scroll to see are less likely to receive attention.

Same goes for the search engine results page and how the position of your ads determines your click-through rate - the higher an ad appears, the more clicks it will receive. Because users spend more time reading ads at the top of the page, you’ll want to get a premium ad placement - the investment could be worth it.

2. Keep your ad copy and keyword phrases alike. Although search marketers are aware that the closer the similarity of an ad copy to the searcher’s keyword phrase, the higher the click-through rate, only a few realize the important role an ad copy plays. In premium positions, an optimized ad copy’s CTR can go up as much as 160% - and this increase applies to ads at the bottom of the search engine results page as well, with CTR as much as three times higher.

3. Select low-competition keyword phrases. An underappreciated factor that affects click-through rate is the degree of competitive bidding for the search phrase. This is measured in a number of ways:

  • Actual number of advertisers bidding on the phrase
  • The estimated cost per click for the top ad position
  • The competition level as presented by the search engines
  • The number of words in the phrase

It would be wise to target a large number of specific search phrases in your campaigns instead of just a handful of broad terms. There will be less competition, and as a result, a bigger bite of the cherry. Also, this kind of niche keyword targeting benefits advertisers appearing in low positions more. So for those who can’t afford to bid as much as your competitors, it’s essential that you find less competitive keywords to target.

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