Clickthrough rate (CTR) is the percentage of clicks you get from impressions.
CTR itself is one of the essential metrics in web analytics and online marketing and measures your digital marketing strategies‘ performance, whether SEO, paid online ads, and social media marketing.
While CTR itself doesn’t measure sales or conversions, it’s still one of the first steps you need to optimize to gain the most performance of everything you do online to grow your business.
Everything that includes sending your message out there to the world and gaining people back to your goals has CTR as a metric to measure people’s flow.
As clicks are the first step to your end goal in your sales funnel, you need to optimize the number of clicks you get from everything to maximize your sales funnels’ potential.
Every platform has its way of optimizing CTR in its platforms, like changing titles and meta descriptions in SEO or using better images in Facebook Ads. All have the same core function; improve the number of clicks you receive from impressions.
In this article, we are going to explore what is CTR (clickthrough rate) and how to use it to your advantage in:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Email marketing
- Online advertising (search, social, and Display)
- Landing page and sales funnel optimization
But first, let’s understand how to calculate CTR and what CTR optimization is to get a clear picture of the use cases later in this article.
How To Calculate CTR
Calculating CTR on any occasion is simple enough, as you will only need the total clicks you got and the impressions related to those clicks. Most platforms used for marketing will display clickthrough rates easily for measuring.
But here’s the CTR formula for when you need to dig deeper into your clicks to impression ratios.
(Total Clicks / Total Impressions) X 100 = Clickthrough rate (CTR)
For example, you have a YouTube campaign with an influencer but don’t use a platform specifically to run the campaign. You would take the video views counts as impressions, and the received clicks from the campaign from Google Analytics to measure the clickthrough rate.
What Is CTR Optimization?
CTR optimization is the act of improving clickthrough rates across different platforms using the method available in said platforms.
A good CTR tells us whether our advertising offering matches our target audiences’ needs.
Does our content create interest in the target audience enough for them to click on an ad, listing, or our pages on search engine results pages (SERP) on Google?
Improving CTR is the first step every marketer should strive for when growing the performance of online marketing.
As the more clicks you get, the more chances you have in converting visitors into customers and other crucial conversions your business needs.
The goal in CTR optimization is to get the highest CTR possible, and what is a good CTR? A CTR that produces your wanted goals.
For example, while you can get a higher CTR on an Ad that produces many clicks, but then again, the same ad doesn’t create any conversions, is that CTR good?
But that doesn’t mean that increasing the CTR of the better converting ad isn’t necessary.
And in the end, you need to understand that CTR’s are case by case and will fluctuate depending on keywords, industry, type of ads, and every other variable possible.
Therefore, it’s crucial to keep in mind the end goal, the conversions and then optimize the CTR to gain more.
Optimizing CTR without proper goals ends up costing you more, especially in PPC advertising like Google or Bing. Eventually, going from a useful metric to a vanity metric, we want to avoid digital marketing analytics.
Learn more about common mistakes in Google Ads.
High CTR Benefits
There are also plenty of benefits of having a high clickthrough rate across your marketing with different platforms.
The principal benefit of high CTR is that you get more clicks from your actions, thus lowering the cost of all online marketing activities.
For example, say you pay for impressions in Facebook Ads, regardless of how they perform, you have a clear incentive to increase the CTR of your ads at all times, to get more performance with less spent.
But while the most important benefit, it’s not the only one:
- Get the most out of ad spend
- Search-based ads are cheaper to due higher quality scores, and you will get a better ad position if you have a high CTR
- Increase your ranking in SERPS (Google and others)
- Learn what works for your target audiences the best
- More traffic to landing pages
- Increase the performance of email marketing
- Discover new opportunities from high CTR ads
You’ll see these benefits more in-depth again as we go further and start looking into what CTR means on different platforms.
What Is CTR in SEO
Clickthrough rate plays a crucial role in SEO, whether in ranking higher in SERP or measuring your content marketing performance.
In a nutshell, the higher CTR you receive on Google Search, the better chance you have ranking higher.
One thing to remember is that for CTR to have an actual impact on your ranking, you will need to rank higher in the first place. It can make a difference when competing in the top 10 results.
The primary CTR optimization method in SEO is changing, measuring, and analyzing your titles and meta descriptions.
In ecommerce SEO, CTR’s also play a critical role as users with high buyers intent will want to maximize their information before they click on product pages.
But to some extent, your URL length, domain, and website’s favicons impact your CTR from the searcher’s perspective.
For example, if we found a better title after testing that changing it to X gives a better CTR, that would give the article a better ranking chance when competing in the SERPs on Google.
You can track your Google SEO CTR from Google Search Console, and if you actively grow a YouTube channel through video SEO, you’ll find the CTR metrics from YouTube Analytics.
How CTR Impacts Google Ads Results?
In Google Ads, and generally in search engine marketing, CTR plays a double purpose, it helps you measure your Ads’ performance, and a high CTR tells google and the alternatives that your ad is worth clicking and showing.
And that leads you to get higher quality scores that lower the cost of advertising and helps you secure the most sought-after ad positions in Google Ads.
While it’s hard to say what is a good CTR in Google Ads, if you get notified that your ad has lower than expected CTR, you should take that into account quickly.
Like we already said, double down on optimizing Google Ads CTR when you’re sure the campaign produces the goals you want from it.
CTR In Social Media Advertising
Compared to search ads (PPC), in CPM (cost-per-mille) advertising, you want to maximize CTR every time you’re paying for the impressions instead of clicks.
For example, in Facebook Ads, you always want to have a high CTR. If you have a low CTR compared to your past results in Facebook Ads, you will see whether your problem includes targeting, ad creatives, or campaign objectives.
It’s important not to make a quick judgment of bad performance until you know whether it’s comparable to the old results. When treading new waters, always benchmark CTR to the overall conversion performance.
To improve CTR in social media marketing, you need to optimize your ad creatives, targeting, and campaign objectives.
Campaign optimization does take time, but if you know what you’re doing, you’ll see whether you need to change things up.
In Display and social advertising, CTR tells you if the audience you’re targeting likes and reacts to what they are seeing. If you always have a low CTR in your campaigns, perhaps it would be time to make drastic changes in your advertising on these platforms.
The same concepts go in every CPM-based advertising platforms:
- LinkedIn Ads
- Pinterest Ads
- YouTube Ads and Display
All the platforms mentioned here show you the clickthrough rates of your ads in their respective dashboards when using them.
How CTR Makes Landing Pages Convert More?
Usually, when we talk about CTR in the context of a landing page, we mean the CTR of traffic sent to landing pages, but we can get deeper.
By definition, a landing page has a single purpose of converting a user to an action. But if your funnel includes multiple steps before converting, you can use CTR to measure traffic flow in the funnel until converting.
By optimizing the steps to increase CTR across your funnels, you will end up with a more converting landing page in the end.
You can optimize for
- Better content (copy)
- Stronger call to actions
- Better images
Learn more about landing pages.
CTR In Email Marketing
CTR in email marketing either means:
- The percentage of people clicking on your emails to the number of emails you sent.
- The percentage of people clicking the links within your emails.
But the same principles we have shown in this article earlier still applies to emails. You always want to maximize your CTR to get more views for your emails and get more clicks to whatever you’re trying to achieve with said emails.
The main method for increasing CTR in emails comes down to optimizing your
- Sending emails to the right audience and properly segmented email lists
- Making sure your emails don’t go into spam
- Have interesting subjects and preview texts
- Optimizing the “who” sends the email from your organization
And if you’re optimizing to get further clicks within the email, then remember to be clear about what you want to achieve with the email and have a firm but clear call to action to drive the users to click.
Learn more about the benefits of email marketing here.
Using CTR as a metric to track, analyze, and optimize marketing campaign performances helps achieve the highest growth rates possible for your business.
Understanding the clickthrough rates in every marketing strategy you deploy and benchmarking CTR’s across different campaigns on different platforms helps you discover more opportunities for future marketing campaigns.
We hope you got a better feel for what CTR is, how to use it in online marketing, and what it can tell you about your marketing campaigns.
CTR itself is just one of many metrics that helps marketers gain more from existing campaigns and understand how their customers perceive the marketing efforts targeting them.
So the next time you see clickthrough rate displayed on a dashboard, now you’ll know what it means depending on the context.