What is Click Through Rate? Learn How to Increase It in 6 Steps

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A marketing campaign with a low click-through rate (CTR) isn’t going to provide you with the return on your investment (ROI) you’d expect.

Only when your prospects are clicking-through can they progress through the rest of your marketing funnel.

While your conversion rate may calculate how much you’re spending on cost per lead and how much you’re earning in ROI, your click-through rate is a litmus test of how your campaigns are performing overall.

A low click-through rate typically means something is wrong and unless it’s fixed, your campaigns won’t earn as many leads or as much revenue as is required for you to be successful.

What is a Click Through Rate?

A click-through rate measures how many people click on a link or advertisement. Your CTR is one of your key performance indicators (KPIs), and is commonly used to determine the success of digital marketing campaigns.

A CTR can be used to measure the effectiveness of emails and digital ads.

In the case of online advertisements, such as Google Adwords and Facebook advertising, a higher CTR will lead to a greater Quality Score or Relevance Score. This can help you save on cost-per-click rates and lead to more visible ad positioning.

But be careful.

A high CTR doesn’t always mean that your ads or emails are effective. If your ads aren’t targeted, all those click-throughs could end up going nowhere, costing you big and leading to very little progress for your digital marketing campaigns.

Instead, you’ll want to achieve high CTR and greater conversions, which will be the ultimate sign that your campaigns are targeted, effective, and valuable for your audience.

How to Calculate a Click Through Rate?

A campaign’s click-through rate is actually a ratio of how many people clicked through a link to visit a page or other digital medium compared to the total number of people who saw the campaign.

The more click-throughs you have, theoretically, the more targeted your campaigns are and the more they seem to speak to your prospects’ needs.

Of course, just because someone clicks through a link to land on a page doesn’t mean they’ll browse, linger, and buy. A prospect could easily click through and bounce. That’s why you should never use this KPI by itself to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Your CTR does matter, however, and the greater the number, the more successful your ads are deemed to be, or emails, or whatever else you’re using to measure the CTR.

Click-Through Rate Formula

Before we begin breaking down the average click-through rate, so that you can determine how your campaigns are performing against the national averages, it’s important to learn how to calculate CTR all on your own.

For this, we will use a simple formula.

Click Through Rate = Number of Click-Throughs / Number of Impressions x 100 (to get the percentage)

When working with email, we won’t use impressions, but the number of tracked messages delivered. The rest of the CTR calculation will remain the same.

For example, if your ad campaigns list 1000 impressions and 23 click-throughs, your formula will look like this:

CTR =  23 / 1000 x 100 = 2.3%

Is that a good or a bad CTR? Let’s find out.

What is a Good Click-Through Rate?

Now that you know how to analyze click-through rate, you might wonder how your campaigns measure up.

For paid digital ads, Wordstream reported that the average Adwords click-through rate is 1.91% on search and 0.35% on display.

Facebook Ad click-through rates range from 0.5% to 1.6%.

When it comes to email CTRs, Mailchimp reported that email click-through rates vary widely by industry. For example, restaurants show a CTR of 1.25% while the hobbies sector ranges around 5.13%.

Real Life Examples of Measuring Click-Through Rates in Marketing

Digital marketers everywhere are attempting to improve their campaign click-through rates. Let’s look at a few examples of how they’re doing so.

Email Click-Through Rate

Out of all the challenges email marketers face, suffering from low click-throughs seems to top the charts.

Most Challenging Obstacles to Email Marketing Success



SuperOffice is one such company. They report a higher-than-average email open rate of a whopping 40%. Yet, the organization’s CTR is only 4%.

You know how they figured out how to improve click-through rates? Simply by sending their emails on different days of the week.

Effect on Day of the Week Click Through Rates


By changing the days, the brand managed to increase CTRs by more than 100% on Saturdays and Sundays.  

SuperOffice further boosted their click-through rates by segmenting their audience, which made their emails more highly targeted for more clickable success.

38% click through rate in email marketing campaign



Look how Keap managed to increase CTRs just by altering the send times of each email.

email performance by hour


Calculating Email Click-Through Rates

As we covered earlier, measuring CTRs for emails is the same as it is for advertisements, you’ll merely switch “Impressions” with “Number of Emails Delivered.”

For instance, if you send an email to 250 subscribers and 20 clicks on a link contained within the email, your CTR would be:

CTR = 20 / 1000 x 100 = 2%.

The more people who click on the email’s links, the more successful the email is said to be.

In fact, CTR is seen by email marketers as one of the most critical KPIs for measuring email marketing success, second only to open rates and delivery rates.

email marketing metrics


Benefits of Increasing Your Email Click-Through Rate

When an individual opens an email, they do so because of two primary factors. 1) They recognized the recipient 2) The email’s subject line reeled them in; and most probably both.

Once inside the email, the information had better be targeted and relevant, or else most won’t read to the very bottom. And the bottom of the email is typically where the link resides.

At any rate, a great email not only attracts readers, but it also entices the click.

More click-throughs simply means that your email marketing efforts are paying off.

Of course and once again, email CTRs are only part of the story. Your readers could click through your emails only to bounce from your landing page. That’s why your entire marketing message has to be consistent and cohesive.

But excellent CTRs for your emails is definitely an excellent start to an effective digital marketing campaign.

How to Boost Organic Click-Through Rates

A search engine optimization campaign has the ultimate goal of jumping to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). Getting to the top of Google’s first page for your primary keywords is quite a feat, but only if your click-through rates rise along with your rankings.

What good is an organic listing if few leads click on it? Instead, you’ll want to work on improving your organic click-through rates to keep the leads flowing in from Google and other search sources.

Advanced Web Ranking has created a chart that shows the average Google click-through rates according to the use of both mobile and desktop devices.


Notice how the click-through rates are highest for the first position of the Google SERPs.

The click-through rates are 29.79 for desktop and 22.32 for mobile, respectively, as seen below.

A mere one spot drop leads to a drastic reduction in CTRs. For desktop, the second spot leads to a CTR of 14.96 for desktops and 13.95 for mobile.

So, you can see that attaining the top spot in Google is key if you hope for maximum traffic and engagement.

Even if you don’t achieve top positioning, you can improve your CTRs in the following ways.

Microsoft found that organic listings performed better with regards to click-through rates when the URLs were descriptive.

This way, people actually get to see where they’re about to end up, making your link much more enticing to click.

how to improve organic ctr descriptive urls


You can also increase your click-through rates by writing descriptive meta descriptions and making sure they’re unique for each page.

You are also encouraged to use Schema markup, which outlines your organic listings for clearer selections and a more prominent attractive Google profile.

Benefits of Increasing Your Organic Click-Through Rate

The largest benefit of a higher organic CTR is that you could potentially earn more prominent Google rankings.

Wordstream found through research that increasing click-through rates led to higher organic rankings. If you want to move one spot, for instance, you need to increase your organic click-through rates by 3%.

It makes sense, as Google wants to deliver to its users the most valuable pages possible and a high CTR indicates that you’re offering exactly that.

Turns out, increasing your CTRs also improves your conversion rates.

This also makes sense, as the more traffic you earn, the higher your chances of converting those folks into paying customers.

PPC Click-Through Rate

When you manage to create relevant and quality ads that speak to your prospects’ needs, you’re more likely to get a click-through.

You can increase your PPC CTR like ducttapemarketing by using trademark and registered symbols in your ads. Doing so conveys credibility and trust, which users prefer if they’re going to click your ad.

How to Increase PPC CTR with These Quick Tips


Other tips include using sitelinks. Like Schema markup for organic listings, sitelinks give prospects more choices by outlining your site so they can make the exact selections they need.

How to Increase PPC CTR with These Quick Tips


And a strong call-to-action. If you want them to click-through your ad, you might as well tell them what they’ll get once they do so. In this case, book your ticket is a great way for Clear Trip to get its ad audience to act.

How to Increase PPC CTR with These Quick Tips


Benefits of Increasing Your PPC Click-Through Rate

If you can manage to maintain a good click-through rate, your Quality Score will rise. This tells Google that you care about quality and want to deliver the best ad experience possible to your users. This puts you head and shoulder above anyone just starting out on the Adwords platform, and with seniority comes many benefits.

One benefit is that you’ll be able to save on your cost-per-click rates. This is Google’s way of rewarding you for keeping up the good work. With these savings, you can compete for all your high-value keywords while spending less of your ad budget.

Google will also reward you with greater impression share. This is how often your ads show up for your audience.  For example, on the Google Search Network, a mere one-point increase or decrease could massively impact the impression share of all the ads you have in place.

The thing is, you likely don’t have to improve your click-through rates that much. The national average for Adwords CTR is only 3.40% at its highest for the dating and personals category and .84% at its pinnacle for technology.

Yet, no matter where your CTR is right now, keep the number rising if you can for greater savings and engagement for all your Adwords and other PPC campaigns.

what's a good ctr in adwords


How to Increase Your Click-Through Rate in 6 Steps

You already have a few simple-to-implement techniques that are sure to boost your click-through rates for your organic listings, PPC ads, and email messages.

Here are some other ways you can increase your click-through rates for all your other campaigns.

#1 Optimize Your Headlines

Aside from images, headlines tend to catch people’s eyes the most. If the headline doesn’t entice them to click, chances are nothing will.

For that reason, you need to ensure you’re really bringing your “A-game” when it comes to headline writing.

When attempting to write the most engaging headlines, try to aim for emotional impact. If you can hit your audience right in the feels, you’ll be more likely to get them to act, which includes a click through.

Look at the emotions listed in the infographic below and the headline examples. Notice how each one is emotionally driven for a particular effect and audience.


Once you have a few headlines in mind, plug them into Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer, which can help you develop engaging and emotionally-driven headlines that urge prospects to click.

Let’s take a look at the headline of this particular article.

A 66. Not too shabby, but there could always be improvement.

You are encouraged to write several headlines for each digital property you’re writing for, be it a landing page, email, or PPC ad.

Jon Morrow famously wrote 100 headlines per day during his time at Copyblogger.

You don’t need to write that many, but it helps to practice.

If you can become a headline writing machine, you’ll have no problem getting your audience to click through.

#2 Use Copywriting Techniques for Your Ads

In order to write effective ad copy, you must know your audience.

By knowing your audience, this means that you should be familiar with who your prospects are, how they describe the services you offer (in their own words), the ways they select and compare products and offerings as they relate to your industry, and what your prospects want.

You should also remain cognizant of what your prospects don’t care about so that you can omit any mention of those things in your ad copy.

There are several ways to get to know your audience so that you can write engaging ad copy that always hits its mark.

You can talk to and/or survey your customers. This helps you get their likes, dislikes, and the way they talk about your industry in their own words. This is important because the closer you can get to their own way of thinking and speaking, the better your ad copy will perform.

You are also encouraged to pay attention to online reviews, such as Amazon book reviews. By searching for reviews in your industry, you can pick up customer lingo, common issues that must be overcome, and what drives your audience emotionally.

Only when you know your audience inside and out can you hope to develop effective ad copy that resonates with your prospects and customers.

What is effective ad copy? It’s attractive, emotionally compelling, and efficient.

Some top tips for writing ad copy that gets results include keeping it simple so that anyone can easily understand and to use direct numbers and discount offers in your headlines and throughout your ads.

You are also encouraged to speak directly to the reader and be empathetic by speaking to their needs.

You may not get your ad copy exactly right the first time around. That’s perfectly fine, as long as you strive to fix your copy over time.

That means that, whenever you have ad copy in play, you should be testing your ads continuously until you find just the right combinations of words that helps your click-through rates rise.

#3 Keyword Research and Optimization

Take the time to research your keywords carefully. You should be using Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, and a tool like SEMRush, which can tell you which keywords your competition is using.

In addition, use Google Analytics and Search Console to determine what keywords people might be using to find your site. Perhaps they’re using keywords you never even considered.

Once you know which keywords are hot with your audience, use them directly in your ads to positively influence your click-through rates.

Ideally, you will want your keyword to appear in the URL of your ad. This continues to build trust and, once again, lets prospects know where they’ll be going once they click through.

Improve AdWords CTR by inserting keywords in URLs


You are also encouraged to use your keywords throughout the rest of your ad copy.

Increase AdWords CTR by Including keywords in all areas of your advert copy


However, don’t just focus on keywords. You’ll also want to pay attention to any relevant negative keywords.

Negative keywords are those that prevent your ads from being displayed for relevant search queries.

For example, if your organization sells automotive equipment through an online portal, you’ll obviously want to steer clear of any keywords relating to car dealerships or oil change businesses, for example. You might also want to avoid the keyword “Free Automotive Equipment,” as yours is a retail business.

Here is another example of Google Keyword Planner being used to locate and identify any negative keywords that could derail your CTR efforts.

Negative Keyword Planner


You can also test your keywords using a Google search. If any keywords show up for your searches that aren’t relevant, you’ll have more negative keywords to add to your list.

To help even further, Wordstream offers a Negative Keyword Tool that can help you distill through all the nonsense in order to reach the most interested prospects and customers.  

#4 Make Use of Emojis

You may be used to adding emojis to your text messages and social media posts.

These smiley faces and other ideograms are becoming increasingly more popular all the time. In fact, Oxford Dictionaries named the Face with Tears of Joy as the 2015 Word of the Year.


Turns out, emojis can also help with email click-through rates.

It’s said that 45% of consumers prefer brands that don’t take themselves too seriously.

Well, emojis allow you to show your fun and laid-back side as you compose your email messages.

Here are the top ten emojis most likely to boost click-through rates, according to Hubspot.


With nearly 3,000 emojis to choose from, start putting your imagination to good use to show your audience just how relaxed you can be for a major boost to your CTRs.

#5 Answer the User Intent and Search Intent

We already mentioned how audience segmentation can help with email click-through rates, but segmentation can help with all of your digital campaigns.

Segmenting prospects according to levels of interest and other important qualities can help you sharpen your marketing message for greater effect.

Once you have your audiences segmented into tightly-knit groups, you can then target those prospects with ads meant just for them.

The same applies to email and organic SEO.

For instance, if you offer medical training, you might choose as your keywords “best medical training” or “highest rated medical training.”

You can also discover user intent by searching for your keywords in Google. The search engine places a partition under each query box that is reserved for “Users Also Ask For.” These snippets can be a goldmine when it comes to user intent.

This is Google’s machine-learning technology at work. By knowing that other users are asking for, you can implement those tidbits into your PPC ads, emails, and organic listings for a boost to engagement and higher click-through rates.

#6 Understand Your User Behavior with a Heatmap Tool

Maybe you’ve done everything on this list correctly and your click-through rates are still suffering.

If that’s the case, a heatmap tool can help.

A heatmap is a visual representation of all the actions a person takes on your website.

crazy egg feature


Through the design of thermal imaging, you can see where users click on CTA buttons and where they may get hung up during the conversion process.

If you notice, for example, that most users are only filling out two questions of your form before leaving, you’ll know to make your form fields more concise to potentially improve conversions.

With click-through rates, another valuable tool is a scrollmap. You can search for any areas where visitors are halting their scrolling or failing to proceed. Your copy may be too long, short, or not informative enough, for example.

All of this data can be used to make your website more streamlined and better prepared to solve the needs of your prospects and customers.

Take Advantage of Crazy Egg Features

Crazy Egg was the original innovator of heatmap technology. Today, the brand offers even more innovative tools to help you improve all aspects of your digital footprint, including your click-through rates.

Website Snapshots and Visitor Recordings, for example, allow you to see how your visitors are reacting to the various elements of your site in real time.

The best part is that you can A/B and multivariate test elements on your web presence at any scale, and as often as you want.

The great news is that Crazy Egg offers a 30-day free trial. This allows you to try all these amazing tools to boost your website, including your CTRs, without having to commit right away. You can see how these tools work for you, and then decide if you want to keep the tools later.

By signing up with Crazy Egg, you’ll join hundreds of thousands of websites who have already boosted their conversions and click-through rates using heatmaps and the other tools.


Your click-through rates are typically a litmus test for how your web campaigns are performing.

Low click-through rates indicates that something’s not right. Either your message isn’t relevant or your ad copy is lacking, or you haven’t utilized the proper negative keywords to keep your ads appearing for interested prospects.

By segmenting your audience, speaking to their needs with effective headlines and ad copy, and using emojis to show your more laid-back side, you could see a significant boost to your click-through rates.

You’re also encouraged to pay attention to the proper keywords, even negative ones, and user intent so that you’re getting the most from your web marketing efforts.

Finally, use Crazy Egg heatmaps, recordings, and other innovative tools to help you boost your click-through rates even higher.

Once your ads, emails, and organic listings are targeted and dressed up for a boost in CTRs, your campaigns will improve and your conversions should also rise in kind.

Jason is highly-skilled in search engine optimization, inbound marketing, and digital marketing for B2B & B2C. He has written for USAA, Vonigo, SEMRush, and many other top brands around the world.

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