I could sit here and write about the CTR formula all day, or to be more precise, for three whole minutes. But let’s be honest, the last thing you want is a mathematical equation. So, what is this CTR everyone is talking about?
CTR is, in essence, what tells Google if you’re attracting clicks. The higher your CTR, the more people perceive that your ad is relevant to them. But who cares about relevancy? Google does.
Google places an intrinsic amount of importance on relevancy so, in turn, you get clicks from an audience that is relevant to your business and will generate a return on your ad spend. Everybody wins. Below you can find 13 ways to make sure you increase this extremely important metric in your AdWords campaigns.
1) First Things First: Campaign Structure
Make sure your ad group structure is well organized and follows a common theme. If you have a couple of ad groups that you believe follow a common theme, you’re doing it wrong. Every ad group should have a clear and concise idea to communicate.
Look at Keyword + Ad as a long term relationship. Does your keyword seem to have a long-term, lasting relationship with your ad, or do they look like they’re not meant for each other? Make sure keywords have their own and unique ad, tailored specifically to the keyword it represents.
Pro tip: It’s ok to use Dynamic Keyword Insertion with miscellaneous and location ad groups. For instance, if you want to be relevant for 50 different locations, zip codes or cities, you can have an ad group with all these different location keywords and use DKI. Make sure that the ad that is most relevant to what your users are searching shows first.
2) There’s More to Life than Broad Match
In fact, I only recommend broad match in very rare, special cases (if not at all). On some instances, it can be useful for keyword research and to lower your CPCs. However, broad match will almost always give you a lower CTR.
The problem with broad match is that Google will show your ad to searches related to your keywords, and what Google considers related might vary. You can even show for searches that do not include any of your keywords, and this, if not used properly, can bring a lot of irrelevant traffic.
To address this, take a look at your search terms that have good key performance indicators, and add them as keywords in more restrictive match types such as phrase, exact, or even broad match modifier.
In the end, nobody wants to pay for irrelevant traffic. If you are advertising for bacon, make sure you don’t have any vegetarian search queries you are paying for due to the match types you are using.
3) Write Compelling Ads
The most important part of your ad is the headline. After all, your headline is in bold, so you should make sure this part of your ad catches your potential customer’s attention for them to engage even more with the ad. Remember that users have a very low attention span, so you need to get creative and capture their attention from the get-go.
Be bossy using call to actions. Tell me what to do with your ad after I process the information. What is it that you want me to do after I read it? Do you want me to book an appointment, call you, or marry you? Whichever it may be, deliver the punch line.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. If I’m looking to rent a cabin, what’s most important to me? Is it that cabins are pet-friendly, that you offer free Wi-Fi, or that you have the lowest prices? Whatever it is, that’s what your potential customer will click.
4) Test Your Ads
Spice it up, try different ad copy. The best approach to this is delivering different messages across different ads. Finding out what’s most important to your customer and what they find more valuable will allow you to find that sweet spot in ad performance.
“But I already have an ad that’s performing.” Awesome! Now, make it even better, since there’s always room for improvement. Replicate it with a different headline, description, you name it. You don’t have to turn into a poetic writer every time you split test a new ad; you can just change a small part of it and see which one works best.
5) Highlight That Special Something
Tell people why they should choose you, instead of all of those other ads that are competing against you for their attention.
Believe me, they will have options.
To increase the likelihood of people clicking on your ad, use promotions, offers, incentives, etc. Do you offer free quotes? Do you give out free bacon? If so, make sure to highlight it in your ad.
6) Write An Ad, Not a Thesis Statement
Take a look at these two ads below. Which ad looks better?
Proper grammar certainly doesn’t apply here. The second ad is much more pleasing to the eye.
Make sure your ad flows smoothly and doesn’t have unnecessary or excessive pauses. Don’t. Do. This. On. Every. Part. Of. Your. Ad. You get the idea. Your ad should flow with rhythm and be clear for me to understand the idea.
7) It’s 2015, Use Ad Extensions
Seriously, there are 12 Manual and Automated Ad Extensions you can use. There’s no excuse anymore. After all, these are additional ad real estate that Google provides to you for FREE. You have an entire list to choose from, so you’re welcome.
The 3 Ad Extensions you have to make sure to include in your campaign are site links, call extensions and callout extensions. Sitelinks allow you to have more links to your website in a creative way. If you take calls, make sure to include call extensions. And lastly, if you only offer your services or products locally, create a Google My Business and link it to AdWords to have a location extension in your campaign.
Automated extensions include Consumer Ratings, Previous Visits, Seller ratings, Dynamic Sitelinks, Dynamic Structured Snippets and Social Extensions. The advantage here is that you don’t even have to set them up!
8) Stalk Your Competitors’ Ads
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this. If you find a lot of people using the same description line, chances are it works.
Find out a common theme that your competitor’s ads highlight and make sure to highlight this in your ad as well. In addition, add something even more enticing and use it to your advantage.
If your competitor is offering a free consultation, you can highlight that you not only offer a free consultation but also a 15% off discount just because it’s Tuesday. I can guarantee you people will click on the ad that has the added value because everybody wants more for less money.
Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it. You don’t have to go through the hassle of brainstorming for days to come up with something to highlight on your ad, you can just adjust things that have a proven track record of working for competitors.
9) You Can’t Go Wrong with Negative Keywords
They’re kind of a big deal. These not only increase your CTR, but they also save you money. Hence, if you don’t have a list of negative keywords that you can apply to any campaign, you’re not setting yourself up for success. Here’s a pretty solid list you can use. I got you.
Pro tip: add ad group level negative keywords so that traffic for one ad group doesn’t get triggered by another ad group. i.e. +catering +services vs. +wedding +catering +services. In this case, you would add “wedding” as an ad group negative keyword to your catering services ad group.
10) Raise Your Bids
An average position is extremely influential on your CTR, and a way to influence this quickly is raising your bids where it makes sense. It’s pretty simple. A higher position means more visibility and an increased number of people being exposed to your ad.
You might be underbidding for some keywords. Re-evaluate your bidding strategy and make sure you improve your position where you see the opportunity by raising your bids.
11) Use Your Ad Group’s Main Keyword in Your Ad
Including your keyword as a part of our ad increases the chances of people clicking on it, since it delivers a message tailored to what they were initially looking for.
The challenge here is to not be repetitive. Despite the fact that we want to highlight the main keywords, make sure the ad flows and is understandable.
Make sure you don’t sound as bad as this: “10 people died in the Bronx last night due to a fire that killed 10 people in the Bronx last night during a fire.”
12) Change Your Device Targeting Strategy
Segmenting device bid strategies will help you achieve higher CTRs across different platforms. If you have a low CTR for mobile devices, consider increasing bids, or if they’re not performing, you could opt out of these as well.
This will allow you to track CTR across devices and make bid adjustments when you see areas of improvement in either desktop or mobile devices.
13) Trim that Search Partner Fat
When was the last time you segmented search partners to see how performance was doing? If you don’t recall, you need to do this ASAP. CTR for search partners in your account could be reporting lower numbers than your Google search CTR, which would, in turn, hurt overall performance. This should be an easy fix to increase your CTR.
Of course, performance will vary across an account, this is why it is extremely important to give these enough time to gather data and monitor their performance frequently before excluding altogether.
Let’s Wrap it Up
Although CTR is an extremely important KPI to measure your campaign performance, I strongly encourage you to track conversions and monitor Google Analytics data to get a full grasp of the performance of your campaign.
In the end, it’s a numbers game. Higher CTR means more relevant clicks for less money, and more clicks mean more potential leads, which in turn reduces how much you pay for every lead.