Ten Ways to Improve Your AdWords Click-Through Rate (CTR)


One of the best ways to save money on your AdWords campaign is by improving your click-through rate (CTR), or the percentage of viewers who actually click on your ad.

A higher click-through rate leads to a higher Quality Score -- a grade Google applies to your AdWords keywords and ad groups. When you have a high Quality Score, you pay less for better ad spots.
Here are 10 steps you can take to improve your AdWords click-through rate:
  1. Include promotional offers, attractive adjectives, and calls to action in your ads. People are more likely to click on your ad if you tout a special promotion, like free shipping. Also, words like “save,” “easy,” and “new,” and calls to action like “buy now,” “reserve today” and “call now,” can prompt a click.
  1. Put your keywords into the body and title of your ad. The keywords people type into Google appear in bold when found in search results. People are more likely to click on ads that contain the keywords they have just typed than ads without them.
  1. Include your price in your ad if you are selling a product or service for a good value. Not only may it incite more people to click on the ad for more information, but it also could lead to more conversions down the line.
  1. Make sure your keywords are highly relevant to your product or service. If they aren’t, people won’t click on your ad. For example, if you sell red wine vinegar but your keywords are just “buy” “red” and “wine,” don’t expect many landing page hits. People searching for “buy,” “red” and “wine” are more focused on finding that perfect bottle than your vinegar.
  1. Use negative keywords to limit untargeted impressions. Say you sell brand new cell phones. You don’t want your ad to appear when people search for refurbished cell phones. Thus, by setting “refurbished” as a negative keyword you can keep that from happening.
  1. Simplify your ad. If your ad is too wordy people won’t want to read it. Try to pare down the copy in a way that doesn’t compromise a sufficient description of your product. Get rid of words like “Click Here” and “See (a specific link).”
  1. Capitalize the words in your display URLto make them more readable. If you are a distributor of Swiss chocolate, for example, and your website is wesellswisschocolate.com, write the display URL as WeSellSwissChocolate.com. People are more likely to click on your ad if they immediately know what you’re selling.
  1. Test out different types of ads (text, banner, local business), different keywords, and different layouts, to see which features generate the highest click-through rates. Once you have this information you can focus on using those ad characteristics.
  1. Get rid of abbreviations, unless they are obvious. Advertisers may shorten words so they can fit more of them into an ad. But in doing so they compromise users’ ability to easily understand the ad, and their desire to click on it.
  1. Try using a seasonal headline in your ad, even if you offer your product or service year-round. That may give customers a sense of urgency and newness, prompting them to click the ad. If your company sells wrought iron furniture, for example, your headline could be “Thanksgiving Wrought Iron Furniture Sale.”

 Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amagill/3366720659/

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Feb 02, 2010

Using PPC, the Tip of the Iceberg

Thanks for the article, always useful being reminded of PPC fundamentals.

I sometimes think that clients who ask for PPC help have at least seen the tip of the iceberg of their online marketing problems. Clients wonder why their website isn't being found on the Internet, PPC is the quick answer to being found. (It's a quick answer, but it's thorough implementation is a small science unto itself.)

But underneath the tip of the iceberg is SEO. Any client who asks for PPC for a certain term needs to know where their company ranks for those keywords in Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

And even when potential customers come to a web page will the web page convert them into a customer or a prospect? Is it measured? Is the page tested and optimized? Does anyone know what conversion science means?

And finally, back to the iceberg. The same clients who know what PPC means are learning what social media means. Twitter and Facebook are easy to see, and to understand. As subjective stories of social media successes are read by C-Level executives, they're learning that you can sell with Twitter, or that they can prevent reputation management fiascoes by monitoring social media.

Is it just me or does seeing the iceberg of online marketing in its entirety often begin with companies recognizing their need for pay per click advertising?

Thanks again for your article.

Tom Demers
Feb 13, 2010

Hi Richard,
Yeah I think because of the immediate returns and the capacity to track ROI PPC is definitely appealing to executives, and often in "old school" organizations the success of the channel can gain buy in for things like SEO and Social which take longer to see results.
Thanks for comment Richard!

How to Improve AdWords Click-Through Rate (CTR) | WordStream
Feb 03, 2010

[...] more here: How to Improve AdWords Click-Through Rate (CTR) | WordStream Share and [...]

Bill Nolan
Feb 08, 2010

Do you have anyone to recomend to manage a Google Ad Word campaign?
Thanks for your prompt reply. BN

Tom Demers
Feb 13, 2010

Hi Bill,
We actually offer AdWords management services in addition to our software. Shoot me a note at tdemers (at) wordstream.com and I'll be happy to put you in touch with someone who can help.

Alan Mitchell
Feb 13, 2010

Some great tips. Especically agree that prices and numbers in ads can be extremely affecting in grabbing attention, since they appear more credible and tangible than more generic ads. Call to actions are also essential.

Guess the art of a PPC professional is to find a balance between incuding enticing elements such as prices, special offers and calls to action in ads, versus including the users search terms for Quality Score and 'highlighting' benefit. With only 95 characters to play with, this can be a challenge, making regular testing and optimisation all the more important.

Tom Demers
Feb 13, 2010

Hi Alan,
Definitely agree: testing and constant refinement are keys to great PPC returns.
Also just took a look at your blog (http://www.alanmitchell.com.au/) and really enjoyed it. If you ever want to guest post on the blog let us know :).
Thanks Alan!

Aug 02, 2010

Nice list. I think negative keywords are probably the most important concept to master when looking for a higher CTR. I think that mentioning match types (broad, phrase, and exact) is relevant too though...

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Sep 27, 2010

[...] Using PPC tools  and conversion rate optimization to split-test your paid ads to improve your AdWords click-through-rate [...]

Oct 08, 2013

Keeeping prices affordable, will allow more businesses to place ads, this will allow them to attract more customers, it's return ,it will allow businesses the funds to place more ads , its a win win for everybody 

Emily Moult
Nov 17, 2014

Thanks for the article!It was really useful, I work in a PR agency, and it's always helpful to understand how to make our Ads even more successful - even simple things like making them more seasonal is useful.Will certainly follow these tips in future!

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