20 ways to improve your ad CTR

This is the dream of every digital advertising expert – To improve your ad CTR. You have unmatchable content in your website, but unless this great content that you’ve put together translates into clicks on the advertisement listed on your web page, they don’t bring you any money. CTR, short for Click through rate is one of the conventional metrics to determine the performance of an ad, thought over a period of time, many more specific measures have come into effect.

What is CTR?

CTR stands for Click Through rate. Statistically, it is the ratio of the number of visitors who click on specific link on the webpage, the number of visitors of that page. This formula can be applied to links on online advertisements or even an email. The Click through rate is a measure of the interest an ad invokes. It is considered as the measure of success of online ad campaign as well as e-mail campaigns. The CTR only measures the immediate response to the ad or e-mail campaign.

Why is CTR Important?

CTR gives the advertiser the broad view of how good your ads attracts the visitors of the website. A more accurate definition of CTR would be number of time an advertisement is clicked (Clicks)  divided by the number of times it was displayed (Impression). Here, it is notable that CTR only give you a base of the visitors who may or may not translate into potential converts. If your website or ad has a high CTR but less conversion it would be a case to worry about as you are attracting unqualified traffic (visitors). If the CTR is low, the impact would be negative, churning less volume while the cost being on the higher side. Well, Google says that a CTR of 2% to 5% is good enough.

improve ctr

Ways to improve your ad CTR

The world of marketing has innumerable ideas to improve a metric. Any metric like the CTR can be improved in two ways, either you increase the numerator which is the optimistic way or reduce the denominator which could be a more conservative approach. This decision solely rests on the individual who strategizes. We take a look on 20 ways to improve your Ad CTR, that you may employ selectively based on your judgment.

1. Keyword Selection

This is the most basic requirement for your ad to be relevant. The keywords that you bid for has to be relevantly chosen. If you are going to use words that are not commonly used or that are too far-fetched you will find less number of users searching for them. If you choose irrelevant keywords, then even if your ad is displayed in priority, the user may most likely ignore it, reading the other contents that are shown. Too many keywords may improve the impression but only relevant ones stand the chance of being clicked, while too little keywords would mean less impressions. Striking the right balance is important here.

2. Keyword Density

Keyword density is the percentage of number of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page to the total number of words on the page. In the system of search engine optimization keyword density is widely used as a factor to evaluate whether a web page is relevant to a particular keyword or keyword phrase.

3. Extended headlines Usage

First introduced by Google in 2011, this feature has been used to entice customers by giving additional information about the offers on a particular product or service. An extended headline houses additional text separated by a hyphen, the text after that indicating the description. They have a higher chance of improving the Ad CTR.

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4. Ad extension usage

The text right below the ad-headline is meant for Ad extension wherein you can add additional information that can improve the chances of a user clicking the link. There are various ways you can use this space to generate clicks to the links, thereby improving the Ad click through rates.

5. Trademark usage


Trademarks are a mark of authenticity and trust. It capitalizes on the already created brand image. When it comes to standing out in the competition, the brand image has a bigger say. Today’s customers are brand-savvy. This has something to do with the efforts by the marketing team to build successful brands as well due to the plurality of the advertising networks. The fact that anybody and everybody can advertise has made customers rely on branded goods and services.

6. Include discount rates instead of the price

Who cares about the price as long as they believe that they have found the right deal. Studies indicate that you can expect more click on Ads showing discount rates instead of actual prices. In this price-sensitive market, customers want more for the price of less. An Ad that indicates that the customer has something to gain and lets them do the math would go well. Including a discount percent should help you improve your Ad click through rate.

7. Be less elaborate  – to the point

The contents of your ad has to be more specific – to the point, only highlighting the essentials. Else, you run the risk of not being able to bring the key factors of your product or service to the viewer. Customers are a busy bunch of people, they do not spare the time to read irrelevant and boring stuff. So, be specific in your content and the visitor will appreciate the crisp details. The result would be better click through rates.

8. Clear Call to action

Clarity has always been for the better. If your ad has a clear call to action the chances of improving the CTR is also higher. Be sure about what you want the visitor to do. Lack of clarity on this can result in the visitor just viewing the ad and moving on. On the contrary if you have a clear call to action, the visitor knows well what he or she has to do next.

9. Use negative keywords aptly

The use of negative keywords improves your chances of driving relevant traffic. These negative keywords tend to filter out irrelevant search queries and hence directly reduce the number of unqualified clicks. The use of negative keyword prevents your ad from appearing in the search results if the search terms consists of any one of the negative keywords.

10. Appropriate Ad Placement

The placement of the ad is something you should always take proper care of. The Ad has to look like ads and not like the content of the webpage. Don’t become too excited and fill in the page with your ad. The Ad is supposed to be a marketing medium and not a replacement for the content on the website. Your ad should not be a distraction to the visitor that he chooses to skip it or leave the page altogether resulting in a bounce.

11. Right Ad Size

The size of the ad on any web page is quite important. If your ad is too small, you may end up losing visibility and if it is too big, it can serve as a distraction. Depending on the position of the ad and the contents, the size can be decided. With experience you will realize that even with respect to the ads size does matter, in fact right size more!

12. Use Review extensions

The use of review extensions is relatively new but still quite effective. This adds value to the product or service that you are selling. Just be sure that the reviews are from third-party websites and not your own. This is a credibility booster that can improve your click through rates remarkably. A nonpartisan review that recommends your product or service would do well to serve your cause.

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13. Use Call extensions

call extension

Adding a call extension that has your toll-free number is an additional boost to your company’s image. While viewing on a mobile phone, users can directly click on the call button and call you to get more information about the product or service that is being offered. Some may even place a phone number that can be dialled from a Skype app in a desktop. This not only increases your CTR but also boosts the conversion rates. Just be sure about the time frames from and till when you need to run these campaigns. These ads have to be shut down after office hours.

14. Use location extensions

If your Ad is applicable only to a particular location or region, you can use the location extension to target the audience from that particular geographic location. This will not only ensure better CTR, but also improve the chances of conversion. In fact, you can further customize the extensions based on other demographics as well.

15. Have multiple campaigns in place

Diversification is the buzzword here. Do not invest heavily in a particular ad campaign. Create multiple campaign that run with different, but related keywords to identify the ones that are generating more interest. This gives you more control over the use of keywords and results in better click through rates for each campaign. You can also configure to run the ads based on certain time constraints to check the best time intervals that generate maximum click throughs.

16. Restructure low performing ads

Ads that are not performing well need to be restructured. Rewrite the poor performing ads by using the right keywords. However, before going through this, do check if there are enough impressions as well as the bounce rate of the website or webpage. Restructuring is the first steps towards improving the performance of your Ad.

17. Stop low performing keywords

We are dealing with performance management here. If a keyword is chronically not helping your cause, you should be ready to stop it altogether. It is better to focus your efforts on other keyword campaigns so that you get the required clicks and your spending also remains less.

18. Increase mobile bidding

mobile bidding

Studies have proved that increasing the CPC (Cost per click) for your mobile bidding also increases the click through rate. Mobile campaigns are known to generate a higher CTR compared to the traditional desktop or even the tablet devices. Moreover the cost per click for the mobile bidding is relatively lesser than that of the Desktop. I guess we are looking at the future here. Mobile advertisements are already on an increasing trend and investing in this is definitely a good idea.

19. Use dynamic keyword insertion

Dynamic keyword insertion, usually referred as DKI is a feature offered by most popular ad networks, including Google that allows you to customize the Ad according to the user’s search string. This method is particularly useful as it creates a more targeted Ad in bold text that catches the user’s attention immediately.

20. Focus on benefits

You ads should focus on what the customer wants and finds value in. High tech specifications mean little to the customers. They would be more interested in the benefits that they are bound to have in owning a product or service. So, it is important that the content of your ad is planned well and drafted accordingly. You should be able to list out as much as possible, the customers stand to gain from the product or service to attract a click.

Well, this sums up our journey into 20 ways to improve your Ad CTR. This is not an exhaustive list and there are plenty of other options to help increase the click through rates. Running an ad campaign is not an easy thing as it appears to be. To get started it is definitely easy, but to ensure that your Ad performs well and generates revenue as expected you should constantly look at the reports and other analytics that is available at your disposal. Using these tools you will be able to determine the performance of your ad and take appropriate corrective measures as required. This calls for sustained efforts and an untiring eye for detail.


Amit Acharya
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