Improving Google Ads click through rate, or ad CTR is a valuable point of your marketing strategy.
In English, CTR is the total amount of people who saw your ad and clicked on it. Mathematically, it’s impressions divided by clicks. And ultimately, you want to always be improving your Google Ads CTR.
You wanna be the very best.
There are some caveats, and I’ll cover them right…now:
Google Ads Click Metrics
When you open your Google Ads, you’ll see some stats to look at. While some are KPI’s (key performance indicators), your click metrics certainly won’t be. However, they will tell you some important things about the health of your account.
Let’s take a look at the following metrics whose meanings often get confused with each other.
CTR – As defined earlier, ad CTR is your click through rate. (What this article is about.) Simply put, it’s the percentage of people who see your ad and click on it. That’s it.
Avg. CPC – Your avg. cpc is the average amount you pay for a click on your ads. It’s your average cost per click. This is important to keep an eye on so you know how much you’re paying per click because clicks ultimately lead to conversions, if done properly.
Avg. pos. – Your average position is the average spot in the ads where yours appears. A avg. position of 1.0 means your ad more often than not appears at the top top of the page. This can affect your CTR, and we’ll discuss that later.
Search impr. share – Search impression share often gets mixed up with average position. The metrics should go hand-in-hand to be judged together. The search impression share is how often your ad appears in the search results. You certainly want this percentage to be high. We’ll discuss its importance with CTR a little later as well.
Google Ads CTR’s Role In Your Marketing Strategy
Let’s say you paid attention to my statement that click metrics aren’t KPIs. You might then be wondering, “well, why even bother with CTR, then?”
Let’s take a quick look at the ladder of how you’re going to earn more money.
In order to make more money, you’ll want to make more sales. (And improve customer retention, but that’s a whole other industry. Let’s focus on marketing, shall we?)
In order to close more sales, you need a killer sales team and more importantly, leads. Google Ads allows you to define leads as conversions, so logically you want more conversions. Whether these conversions are phone calls, store visits, form submissions, or purchases, we can track them all and get you more.
In order to get more conversions, you need more traffic. Running ads allows you to get more eyes on your company, and that’s kind of traffic, right? But it’s not enough.
Don’t worry, I won’t leave you confused.
You need more visits to your website. Specifically, you need more visits to a landing page designed and optimized for conversions. You need more clicks. You need a higher click-through rate. That brings us to this article.
A strong click-through rate is a solid building piece in your marketing strategy. A strong click through rate may not get you all the conversions on its own, and it may not automatically fatten your bottom line, but it helps.
Plus Google Likes Good Ad CTRs
Companies like Google and Facebook like high CTRs because they mean the advertiser is showing something engaging to their audience. This means Google and Facebook want to show your ad more often. To encourage you to allow your ad to run more often, they may even lower the cost per click you’re getting.
Lower CPCs make me dance.
A lower cost per click means more traffic for less money. If done right, more traffic can mean more conversions. More conversions for less can mean more sales for less. And this is where it all comes together. A solid ad CTR can make you more money for less. So let’s check out these ways you can improve that CTR right away.
1 Use Proper Account Structure
If you’re going to read any of this article, let it be this section. The biggest difference you can make to improve your click through rate is to organize your account properly.
A lot of companies organize their account somewhat in the following way:
Campaign 1: Hats
Ad Group 1: Hats
Keywords: pikachu hat, fedora, flatbrim hat, beach hat, tiara
Campaign 2: Boots
Ad Group 2: Boots
Keywords: rain boots, combat boots, fashion boots, booties, heeled boots
And so forth. While this can keep your account neat, consider the following question. What are your ads written for? If someone searches for a baseball hat, will they a) see an ad for generic hats or b) possibly see an ad for a fedora. Neither ad carries a high chance of being clicked.
Would this be a Pikachu or Ash hat?
Therefore, when you’re structuring your accounts, you want to have more ad groups in your campaigns. Consider the alternative:
Campaign 1: Hats
Ad Group 1: Pikachu Hat
Ad Group 2: Fedora
Ad Group 3: Flatbrim Hat
Ad Group 4: Beach Hat
Ad Group 5: Tiara
Now each ad group will only have keywords related to those ad groups, and each ad group will only have ads related to their chosen subject. (I.e. Pikachu Hat will only have Pikachu hat keywords and Pikachu hat ads.) This brings me to my next point on writing the ads.
2 Be Incredibly, Very Specific
When you, or any consumer, searches something into Google, they want to find what they asked for. Pretty logical, right? Therefore, you want your ads to be as specific as possible.
If I’m searching for summer dresses, I’d like to make sure that where I click on will show me cute summer dresses. In the ads below, you can see who’s being specific in their ads and who isn’t.
And just guess who’d I click on. Although I appreciate their honesty, the first ad isn’t relevant at all. The second ad might be my favorite due to the variety they list in their description text. And the third ad’s offer of free shipping and returns is mad tempting, too.
Whatever ad I end up clicking on, one thing is obvious. The more specific your ad is, the better. And your ads can only be this specific when your account is structured to show specific ads for specific keywords.
3 Keep Up On Your Negative Keywords
Moving right along and staying on the note of keeping your ads specific, you’ll want to take the time each week to look into your search terms report.
In an ideal world, each keyword you bid on shows your ad for one search term: the one that matches your keyword. (I.e. +baseball +hat only shows for the search term baseball hat.) In order to get as close to perfection as possible, you’ll want to go through your search term report.
Each week, pop it open and take a look at what came through for each keyword. Sometimes the keywords are really great. Like if your +baseball +hat has gotten conversions from the search term “utah jazz baseball hat”, then you’ll want to make a new ad group for those Utah Jazz fans.
But sometimes you’ll get search terms that are poor quality, like, “baseball hat for dog”. If you don’t sell baseball hats for dogs, then add that search term to your negative keyword list. That way you’re not wasting money on people who aren’t actually interested in your product. The more relevant your ad is to the user’s search term, the higher your CTR and the more you win!
4 Implement Ad Extensions
If you haven’t heard of ad extensions, then take a look here. We’ve written an A to Z article about them with some pretty great ideas on how to use them.
In a nutshell, Google Ad Extensions are extra text you can apply to your ads. You don’t get a guarantee that they’ll show every time, but if they perform well, they’ll get shown pretty frequently. Google admits that they like Ad Extensions.
As you can see from their very own ad, Google uses them. The ones clearly in use are Sitelink Extensions and a Call Extension. The blue sitelink extensions will take you to web pages related to what they say. The call extension allows you to call Google directly.
Not only are these extensions incredibly relevant and useful to your customer, you’ll notice they also take up more room. This is a mobile ad, and it took up more than half of my screen. Yours can too; more real estate in the search results means more attention. More attention means more clicks and a higher CTR.
5 Raise Bids
Before I go into the strategy behind ad copy, I’ll address the money question. Can paying more to Google guarantee you a higher click through rate?
Well no, but yes. Kind of. Let me explain.
First, your potential customer has no idea what you’re paying for their click. And frankly, they could care less. Even if there was a price tag next to each ad declaring how much a click is costing the company, it would do absolute jack for you. It’d probably do more harm than good. Either way, all the price tags would look pretty close because…
Secondly, the Google Ads auction will only charge you a penny more than your competitors to rank above them. There are a lot of factors that go into why your ad places where and how, and cost is only part of it. Obviously, if you bid too low, your ad won’t show up in the search results at all. Google will inform you of this:
Lastly, the only real benefit you can get by increasing the amount of money you’re giving to Google is raising your average position and search impression share. That brings me to my next point. Just remember that money doesn’t solve everything. (Right?)
6 Increase avg. pos. & search impr. share
As previously mentioned, your average position is where your ad generally appears on the page in search results. There are seven positions. (I searched digital marketing companies because I knew that we’d all be bidding on that keyword thus guaranteeing me 7 ads to show you. Everyone is censored, don’t take it personally.)
There are 4 ads that appear above the organic results, and three below.
You naturally want to appear on the first page, and ideally, you’d like to be in the top four. Raising your bids can help place you higher. However, keep in mind that your cost/conversion is a KPI. If you find that raising your bid and avg. pos. is hurting your cost/conversion, then don’t be afraid to drop your avg. position as long as you’re still getting results.
With your search impression share, you’ll want to increase your budget to allow your ad to appear more often. (Again, that’s not the only factor in how often you show, but it certainly helps.)
With both metrics, remember that your KPIs hold precedence. If your cost/conversion is too high, lower the bids and lower the budget. Hopefully, you won’t have to do too much cost finagling because you’re going to use the strategies I’m about to cover. Ready? Let’s go.
7 Use Your Bragging Rights
When it comes to your company, there’s something special about it. Right? There’s something that makes you stand out above your competitors. Your strong suit, your gold star, your special snowflakeness should be strutted in your ads copy.
This fitness camp brags about their 5 stars and 98% happiness ratings. I don’t know about you, but a place that’s making me sweat and workout is not a place I’d recommend, ever. So this place must be doing something right.
Don’t hold back; let your potential customers know what you can offer them. Whether you can offer free shipping no matter what, or if you can offer free consultations, let people know. You don’t have to have free stuff to tout from the mountaintops either. If you specialize in having the highest quality in the market, announce it in your ads.
8 Sing To Your Audience
Along with using your company voice to stand out, you’ll want to appeal to the people. What I mean by that is simple.
Sing to them like Jigglypuff, people.
When your customers are searching for something, they have a problem. They’re looking to Google to help them find a solution. If they have a broken AC, don’t bore them with ad copy about 5 star reviews.
Inform them that you will fix their AC today. Nobody wants to sit in sweltering heat during the summer. They’re interested in one thing only, can you fix my AC?
But remember to tailor your message. If they’re looking for a new AC unit, assure them of quality. Assure them that your AC unit won’t break, and they have nothing to worry about with your lifetime guarantee. Give the people what they want!
9 Star The Keyword In Your Headline
It’s no secret that people on the internet don’t really read. We’ve kind of mastered the art of skimming to find the information we want. This is especially vital to ads. When you’re writing your first ads for that super-specific ad group I mentioned, you’ll want to start by doing the following:
Do you see it? The first headline has the search term I entered front and center! If your customer is going to read anything, it’ll be the first headline. And if they see their search term in the only place that they read, that relevancy just might earn you a click. Great for your CTR. Testing the keyword in the headline one is a must. But that’s not the only place you should add that search term into.
10 Add It Into The Display URL
A wary person will read the display URL. They might not be aware that the display URL is 100% a lie, but they want to know that the webpage they’ll be visiting is relevant to their query. (Chances are, they’re not even aware that a URL doesn’t even have to be relevant to what’s on the web page. The world is full of surprises.)
But a lie or no, having the keyword in the display URL can do wonders. It’ll look like this:
And it says, “This ad is certainly linked to a page that is absolutely, highly relevant to your search, sir/ma’am/other.” That little bit of trust will increase your CTR from the wary customers.
11 And Place It In Description Line 1
The last kind of customers you’ll want to impress are your detail-oriented customers. They are the ones who read before they click. (Guilty.)
They’ll read the headlines, the display URL, and the description texts. For full relevancy, you’ll want to ensure your keyword is also in the description line one as well.
This nicely ties up your ad for the customer. It also improves your Quality Score with Google. In a nutshell, Google’s Quality Score is how relevant your ad is to your chosen keyword, your ad, and your landing page. A higher quality score can leave you paying less for clicks.
12 Make Your Ads Appealing With Title Capitalization
Remember third grade? Among the lunchroom smell, the beginnings of social comparisons, and kickball at recess, you were taught something. Writing class taught you how to capitalize a title.
Instead of capitalizing the first word of a sentence, a proper noun, and the letter I, you capitalized everything! (That’s the definition I’m running with, ok?)
This capitalization doesn’t just work for titles. You’ll want to use them in your Google Ads as well. Compare:
Having your ad be the one with title caps can go a long way towards making you stand out from your competitors. Speaking of them…
13 Do Your Research
If you’re stumped for writing ads, type in your keyword into Google. Of course, you don’t want to copy word-for-word what others are saying in their ads (because it will look weird), but you can get some useful ideas.
At the very least, you can see what your competitors are saying to entice your potential customers. It’s easier to beat the competition when you can see what they’re doing.
14 Use Your Voice To Stand Out
Just like every Pokemon has a unique voice, every company does too.
After all, everyone knows what this little guy says.
A company’s voice helps its clients relate to them, and it attracts new customers. When it comes to ad writing, don’t be afraid to stand out.
Think of your brand; does it have a friendly tone with a bit of humor? Test writing a joke or a pun into your ad. Whatever voice your company has, use it to stand out and draw attention to your ad.
If a customer sees your ad, has a chuckle, their chances of clicking on your ad is much, much higher than before. If you’re an AC company, tell your customers to beat the heat with you, or ask them not to sweat the bill with your free AC estimates.
Think outside the box here.
Speaking of standing out, there’s no easier way to do so than adding symbols into your ad copy. Now Google does have rules about what you can and can’t do, and you never want to be spammy.
But some brands will put the ® symbol in their ad to stand out. If you’re offering a deal or promotion, you can pop the $ symbol or % symbol in as well. Lastly, the & is amazing. You’ll trade in two characters and draw attention to your ad text with just one symbol.
16 Check The Thesaurus
If you’re scrolling through a bunch of ads, and you read the same words over and over again, you’ll get pretty bored. I can’t tell you how many ads will describe their product or service as “good” or “best” or “top”. Serious yawn.
If you’re struggling to find a way to tell people how spectacular your product is, pop open a thesaurus (or synyonyms.com) and start looking. One of my accounts simply used the word “stellar” to describe a massage, and that ad outperformed any others every time, just by using that word.
Speaking of checking a thesaurus, you’ll also want to do the following.
17 Read More Books
If writing isn’t your strong suit, and if you’re really struggling to even write basic ad copy, then you’ll want to invest some points into that skill.
Power up your writing skills.
The real-world way to level up your writing involves two parts:
First, write as much as you possibly can. It doesn’t matter if what you write is crap, just write. You can always revise, and you can always write more.
Secondly, read as much as possible. Read for enjoyment, read to learn, and read to study the way others put words together. You’ll learn new words, and you’ll see the new words in action. When you read a sentence and think, “wow, that sounds great!”, study what makes it great. Read to write better.
Quality copywriting shines through in your ads, and higher quality leads to higher ad CTR.
18 Demand Action
Some ads can leave you confused. You’ll read them and think that they might offer what you’re looking for. But they aren’t clear about how you get what they’re offering.
You might think, “I see that they’re offering 15% off this service, but how do I redeem that offer?” The lack of a call to action can be detrimental to your ad CTR.
However, you’ll want to keep that call to action down to one, specific call to action. Take this ad, for instance:
My question is this: “If I would like to walk into this chiropractor, can I redeem the $29 in the office? How can I get the offer emailed to me if I walk in?” The double call to action is confusing. People don’t want to click on an ad that’s confusing to them.
Therefore, demand a single action to raise that ad CTR.
19 Strike With FOMO
One of the strongest human emotions that marketing likes to play off of is the fear of missing out – FOMO. Have you ever seen something, declined to purchase it, and had it follow you around in your mind for years because you really, really wanted it? I still have a few items that I’ll never be able to purchase that haunt my dreams.
Pikachu would have a fear of missing out on Ketchup.
A company that can wield that power should not be trifled with, indeed. Strike FOMO into the hearts of your potential consumers, and watch the leads come rolling in.
Two easy ways to do this are limited time discounts and countdown timers. These are best used in unison.
Here is Google’s take on Countdown Timers:
They’re easy to implement, and they increase your Google Ads CTR like mad.
20 Always Be Testing
My last point I’d like to make is to advise you to always, always run tests. You may have an ad that’s performing magnificently, but you shouldn’t be lazy with it. Just because it’s good doesn’t mean that it’s the best it can be.
Even if it brings in 1 more click per 100 impressions, that’s still the opportunity to gain one more sale. That one more sale means more money in your pocket.
A Final Note
Hopefully, these tips can help you improve your click through rate. A higher CTR can certainly go a long way towards helping you reach your marketing goals.
Just don’t forget that your ad CTR is not a KPI. It’s ok to sacrifice CTR for the sake of a higher conversion rate. Hopefully, you’ll be able to build your strategy to compliment both ad CTR and conversion rate.
The feels when you can have it all.
Which of these tactics will you be using? Are there any others you suggest? Let us know in the comments!