Average CTR (or average click-through rate ) is the ratio of ad clicks to impressions in your AdWords campaigns. While basic CTR  measures the rate of clicks on each ad, average CTR calculates the amount of clicks vs. impressions across your campaign, or for each individual keyword.
A low CTR is problematic, as it can drag down your Quality Scores and affect future ad placement. Low CTRs signal a lack of relevance for your ad viewers, who aren’t inspired to click on your ad and visit your landing page to learn more about your offer or take the desired action.
On the other hand, a high average CTR – either across your campaign or for a specific keyword – doesn’t always mean success. It is one indicator that, when combined with other KPIs (key performance indicators) can point to the success of your campaign. However, high average CTRs with low conversions may actually mean that you’re wasting spend by attracting people less likely to convert. This may be caused by targeting that is too broad, irrelevant ad copy, or a combination of both.
Average CTRs can also affect future ad performance, as Google uses your historical data to calculate their Expected CTR , how likely they think it is your ads will get clicks when shown for specific keywords. Better keyword targeting and negative keyword discovery can help you improve your CTRs, thereby reducing wasted spend and improving your Quality Scores.
What Is the Average Click-Through Rate for a PPC Ad?
According to Google, the average click-through rate on AdWords paid search ads is 2%. Accordingly, anything over 2% can be considered an above average CTR .
However, it’s important to note that average CTR, as well as other key metrics, like conversion rate, can vary widely by industry, because some industries are more competitive than others. So the best way to know if your CTR is higher or lower than average is to look at industry-specific benchmarks.
How Does Your Average CTR Stack Up Against Competitors?
Our newly updated AdWords Performance Grader Plus  analyzes your account against 60 different factors, offering insight for improvements across major KPIs including Quality Score, account activity, wasted spend and average CTRs. You’ll also see how your performance in these areas compares to other advertisers in your industry, for the most accurate view into your competitive edge.
In seconds, see how your top 200 keywords perform against industry benchmarks, gleaned from our analysis of over $3 billion in AdWords spend. Drill down into specific keywords from your campaigns for impressions and average CTR data, then get to work implementing our personalized recommendations.
In the above image, from an AdWords Performance Grader Plus account analysis, you can see that the average CTR for each of the advertiser’s top 200 keywords is indicated with a green circle. Hovering over each one, you will see impressions and clicks data for that keyword. The yellow line indicates the typical curve, giving you valuable insight into how your CTRs compare to the average CTR in your industry.
AdWords Performance Grader Plus helps you understand how keywords are performing against others in your campaign, as well as your competitors. See which keywords are weighing down your Quality Scores with low average CTRs and learn how to bring in more leads with better ad targeting.
Reduce Wasted Spend & Increase Relevance with AdWords Recommendations for Average CTR
Keeping an eye on Average CTR can help trim wasted spend, especially when your CTRs are acceptable or even high, yet conversions are low. Our analysis and recommendations will highlight opportunities to improve targeting, raise or lower average CTRs and increase conversions using ad copy, negative keywords, or other strategies.
In addition to a simple visualization of your top performing keywords within AdWords Performance Grader Plus , you’ll find recommendations to help optimize your average CTR for more effective and relevant ads, more leads and a higher Quality Score. Our free tool also shares the expected impact of recommended changes.
You’ve always been able to see an overall average CTR score within your AdWords Performance Grader dashboard, but with the release of our new “Plus” version, you can see how your performance trends over time. Every 30 days, your account is automatically evaluated, with historic performance information available from the dashboard.
Understanding your Average CTRs is critical for reducing wasted spend, recognizing how PPC keywords and campaigns translate to leads and sales, and optimizing your campaigns for greater conversion and overall effectiveness. See how your campaigns rate in eight key areas and learn how to make the necessary improvements using our free AdWords Performance Grader Plus .