Click-through rate (CTR) has long been a standard measurement of success for paid search marketing campaigns, whether they be on Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing (RIP), Bing, or any other pay-per-click marketing platform.
Lately however, many experts have indicated that CTR is not a good measurement of campaign success.
So, which advice should a paid search newbie heed? As with many things, the truth is somewhere in the middle…
Click through rate can be a very valuable metric when determining the effectiveness of the ads you have written IF the ad groups you have constructed are narrow in their focus, with highly relevant keywords.
For example, I’m marketing for an ecommerce store that sells Guinness pint glasses, and this is the only variety of pint glass that the store sells. Let’s assume that I’ve constructed two ad groups; one very narrow in scope, to capture traffic from people searching specifically for “Guinness pint glass” phrases, and one to capture traffic from people that aren’t specific in their desire for a “guinness” pint glass, but where we are certain that a percentage of those people would be interested in a Guinness branded glass.
In the first case, I’m likely to create a very specific ad group that targets only “Guinness pint glass” related terms, such as:
– Guinness Pint Glass
– Guinness Glass
– Authentic Guinness Pint Glass
– Licensed Guinness Glasses
and the list goes on…
In this case, I’m presenting an ad such as this one:
Guinness Pint Glasses
Direct from St. James Gate
Buy one today, only $9
In the example above, you’re targeting product specific terms, with an ad for that specific product. If your CTR is bad, it’s a pretty good indication that your ad needs some work in attracting a click. After all, you’re presenting them with exactly what they want (and who doesn’t want a pint of Guinness?). If they aren’t clicking, you’ll want to take a look at your copy and call to action.
If, on the other hand, you use this same ad in your second ad group with broader search terms, your CTR becomes far less important, and is not typically a good indicator of the effectiveness of your ad.
For example, if I present this same ad to searchers using keywords such as “pint glasses”, “beer glasses”, “beer mugs”, I’m still going to get some people who click, and those clicks will still be valuable to my business, but I cannot expect everyone who searches for those terms to be interested specifically in Guinness related products. Therefore, I must assume that my CTR will be low.
Takeaway: CTR is a great measurement when you’ve applied maximum relevancy to your ad groups. If however, you’re intentionally being a little broad in scope, a low CTR can be ignored to an extent.
On the flip side, if I’m selling a variety of pint glasses at my store, I wouldn’t want to be targeting broad terms with such a specific ad anyway, but that’s another lesson entirely. In later blog posts we’ll get into more detail ensuring you maintain relevancy throughout all facets of your campaigns as well as CTR’s effect on your campaign’s Quality Score.
Now, off to grab a pint 😉