Brad Geddes / PPC Geek
Official AdWords Seminar Leader.
Author of Advanced Google AdWords.
Co-Founder, Adalysis.
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Brad Geddes's Theories on Marketing Q&A: What is a good Click Through Rate?

Q&A: What is a good Click Through Rate?

This is one of the most common ‘it depends’ question where the answer ‘it depends’ is reality. I’ll try to explain why that question can not be answered without additional definition.

Consider these two words : ‘TV’ or ‘Samsung 63 1080P Plasma HDTV FP-T6374’. Which is more specific?

Consider these two words: ‘mysql database optimization’ or ‘mysql database hosting’. Which is more commercial?

Specificity and commercial intent are two major factors when considering how high your CTR should be. Yahoo has even offered a commercial intent search engine with Mindset. Microsoft adLabs has a nice commercial intent tool.

For the keyword ‘TV’, someone could be looking for:

  • TV guide
  • TV repair
  • How to choose a HDTV
  • How far should my new HDTV be from my couch
  • What is the best plasma TV

For the keyword ‘Samsung 63 1080P Plasma HDTV FP-T6374’, someone could be looking for:

  • Product guide
  • Where to buy that specific TV
  • What accessories go with that TV

We can quickly see that the more specific keyword is more focused around that specific product; where ‘TV’ is a very undefined query.

If you received a 2% CTR for the keyword ‘TV’ you could be doing exceptionally well (especially if it’s broadmatched). If you have the top position for ‘Samsung 63 1080P Plasma HDTV FP-T6374’; you may see a CTR well above 10%.

While CTR is a major component for quality score; (QS factors chart)  CTR is normalized by position (i.e. Google examines expected CTR of position 1 vs 2 vs 3 etc and looks at your CTR as it relates to your keywords position – you are not penalized for not being in the top ad position).

It is more important for you to test your ads so you can improve on your own results than worry about trying to benchmark your own keywords.

So, what is a good CTR?

A keyword with a very high commercial intent and is very specific – 10%-20% from ad position 1 (or 5% from position 5 on the side) can be seen.

A keyword with a low commercial intent and is non-specific might gather less than a 1% CTR.

In both the above instances, you could have a nice CTR from a quality score standpoint.

So, what is a good CTR?

There isn’t a good answer – it really does just depend.

14 Comments

  1. Jon Clark
    October 19, 2008 at 2:07 pm · Reply

    Great post on a question that probably gets asked at least by one client every day! haha I think something else to consider in the answer is the search engine being advertised on. Each engine has their own usage statistics and accordingly differnet products/messaging will perform differently.

    Again, nice work on the post! I’m def. going to utilize this line of thinking going forward!

  2. Daniel Szalok
    February 28, 2010 at 7:31 pm · Reply

    I think a CTR with a value more than 10% is exceptional. An average website owner is very happy with lower, let’s say 2-3%, CTR as well.

  3. Criss Ittermann
    February 28, 2010 at 8:52 pm · Reply

    Thank you for not just saying “it depends” and rambling about why it depends. You gave some reasonable examples that have some numbers in them. I’ve seen other sites where the article in question never even puts a % in the article at all. When you first start a campaign, just like when you first start a business, you might expect a rush of activity. Giving people SOME clue-in as to reasonable CTRs is better than none at all. Thank you!

  4. GWS Media
    August 23, 2010 at 5:09 am · Reply

    Agree with Criss, this is a really succinct and clear way of describing the “it depends” issue. Thanks!

  5. adwords_agentur_semdeutschland
    April 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm · Reply

    I absolutely agree. But I would also mention that the ads of the other advertisers on the same position gives an answer about what is a good ctr. When I have the best ctr comparing to the other advertieser I will get the best QF.

  6. justinvaira
    May 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm · Reply

    I believe it is also important to look at the quality of the traffic. While you may get a high CTR for the term “TV” resulting in a large amount of traffic due to the fact it has a high search volume that does not necessarily mean there will be a high conversion rate. As mentioned the people searching for the term TV may be looking for television repair or TV guide so what good is that traffic going to be to you if your website sells television stands.

  7. brad
    May 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm · Reply

    @justinvaira

    Completely agree. In fact, I wrote a SEL article about bounce rates in a similar vein: http://searchengineland.com/should-your-paid-search-account-care-about-bounce-rates-73503

    High bounce rates usually mean low conversion rates (but not always).

  8. zserjkian
    December 7, 2011 at 7:36 pm · Reply

    Hello!!
    thanks for the info.. Just registered with our site…I see it very useful..
    what i learned to you is this,

    “Specificity and commercial intent are two major factors when considering how high your CTR should be.”

    but, i still confuse of ctr, i must read more about ctr.

  9. kirk
    June 4, 2012 at 11:21 am · Reply

    If you are able to get a 10% clickthrough rate, that’s incredible. Perhaps it’s just the industry which I’m trying to get a decent clickthrough rate for, and my low budget, but I’m happy to see above 1%. That’s also with quality scores typically in the 6 or 7’s. Sometimes I have 10’s, and sometimes 3’s, but 6 and 7 is most common.

  10. ppcproz
    September 20, 2012 at 12:54 am · Reply

    truthfully, i see double digit ctr only on search brand campaigns. missing was a discussion on ctr for display vs search. i’d say that 1% ctr on a display campaign would be amazing, granted it might be remarketing 😉

  11. brad
    September 20, 2012 at 7:06 am · Reply

    @ppcproz – here’s one of our non-branded search campaigns: https://bgtheory.com/blog/ignore-magical-ad-writing-systems-27-65-ctrs-are-attainable-on-adwords-with-just-good-testing/

    I think I work with about 5-6 accounts with large spends (and they all spend more than $500k/month) that have overall account averages for non-brand terms over 10%. I work with several small ones that have over 10%; but its hard to brag about a 32% CTR when you only get 1500 impressions/month.

    They are the exceptions – not overly common – but what they have in common is a strong keyword to ad relationship and stringent ad testing methods.

    For display, I think I have one account that is running a 1.2% CTR on display (without remarketing); but generally I try for a 0.5-1% CTR on display for placements or placements + keywords, and 0.2-0.5 for topic/interest/etc.

  12. brad
    September 20, 2012 at 7:48 am · Reply

    @ppcproz – FYI – was just looking through some YouTube campaigns, and the average YouTubeverlay CTRs that are in the 1.5%-2.5% range. Overall, YouTube CTRs for overlays are higher than the typical display it seems.

  13. ppcproz
    September 20, 2012 at 7:58 am · Reply

    thanks for the insights Brad

  14. Wilf Staton
    August 3, 2014 at 10:44 pm · Reply

    The problem with clickthru rates is justifying them to the customer.

    I recieved the following from mine.

    our freind eric you met 6 months ago with shaun regards domain names thinks that your ad words is pretty shocking and not correct at all very poor

    Yet when I look at the adwords analysis I find that the clickthu rates for some products
    are

    “Travertine Tiles” 4.24%
    “Marble Tiles” 7.3%
    “pool Tiles” 2.65%
    The lowest is “bluestone Tiles” 2.36%

    Considering that I have restricted the maximum bid to 96cents I would have thought that these figures very good.

    This is a very competitive area in Australia.

    I took this over from a previous person who simply took the google suggestions and achieving less than 1% clickthru this cheeses me off.

    I know that the level of clickthru rate can depend on the competition and the product area.

    But how do you respond to a customer that suddenly recieve outside advice especially when a customer really does not know anything about what goes on in this area.

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