Click-Through Rate (CTR): A Complete 2020 Guide

You might have heard of Click-Through Rate, or CTR, but what do you do with it?

Imagine you’re selling books online. You advertise to sell your books, people click on these ads to come to your website, and they purchase your books. For you to get your money back on advertising and make a profit, you need more people that see your ads to click on them so they can come to your site to make that purchase.

Click-Through Rate is a direct way to measure how many people “click through” from your content they see to the page you want them to land on.

This article will go over what click-through rate is, what they’re used for, and how you can increase it to bring more traffic to your site that leads to more sales.

First, let’s define click-through rate and what this means to you.

click through rate google ads email seo

Definition: What is Click-Through Rate or CTR?

Click-through rate, or CTR, is a percentage of people that click on a certain link from everyone that saw your content such as ad, email, or web page.

Here’s the formula for click-through rate:

(# of clicks / # of times ad is shown or served)*100


(# of clicks / # of impressions)*100


(# of clicks / # of emails delivered)*100

If 100 people saw your ad and 3 of them clicked on it, then your CTR for this ad is 3%.

If 1000 people had your web page shown searching for “best cupcake recipe” in Google (which means 1000 impressions) and 3 of them clicked on it, then your CTR for this page is 3 / 1000 = 0.3%

CTR is an important metric in digital marketing to measure the success of marketing campaigns, such as pay-per-click or PPC online advertising, emails, search-engine optimization (SEO), or landing pages.

Before we go through each use case, let’s talk about what this means to you and your business.

Is click through rate important?

According to Backlinko‘s study, #1 Google search result gets more than 31% of all clicks, and only 0.78% will click on something from the second page. In fact, the top 3 search results will receive more than 75% of all clicks.

It should be no surprise that for your ad or link to get more clicks, you need to rank higher to become more visible and your chance of getting a click significantly drops as your search result rank decreases.

When search engines or advertising publishers determine which content or ad to show, they estimate how likely it is for someone to click on it depending on what they’re searching for. So it’s vital that your CTR remain high to signal that your content or ad is meaningful and valuable to your audience.

Click-through rate is a metric that measures how well your ads, emails, website/web pages, or other marketing campaigns are engaging with your audience by looking at the ratio of people clicking on a specific link to everyone that see your content.

Now that we know what CTR is, let’s look at how to calculate it.

Click-Through Rate Formula- How do you calculate CTR?

CTR = (# of clicks / # of impressions) * 100

It’s as simple as that.

Impressions are how many times your content, whether it be your ad, email, or webpage, is shown or displayed.

What is CTR used for?

Click-through rate can be applied to track anything that involves a hyperlink. However, there are 3 main areas where CTR is primarily used.

1. Ads

When advertising on Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords), Microsoft Bing, Facebook, or any other Pay-Per-Click (PPC) channel, your clicks are more valuable and expensive because you pay for each click you receive. Since each click you receive on your ads directly impact your advertising cost and sales revenue or leads, you need to pay close attention to your Click-Through Rate to measure your ad performance and to make improvements.

A high Click-Through Rate on your ads means that your ads are engaging with your target audience that result in a click.

You may look at a CTR on a specific ad you’re focusing on or look at the average CTR on your entire account to measure and track your performance.

For example, in Google Ads, expected CTR is one of the elements of Quality Score. By increasing your CTR, you can reduce your Cost-Per-Click and increase your ad position.

2. Emails

When you send emails, a certain percentage of recipients will open them. And from those that opened your emails, only a certain percentage of readers will click on a link, Call-To-Action (CTA), or image.

Emails are your way of communicating with your audience. This can be your leads, prospects, customers, or past customers, and your goal is to get them to engage so they take a desired action.

Click-Through Rate in emails measure how many people click on any content in your email out of the number of total emails delivered.

Email CTR= (# of emails that resulted in a click / # of emails delivered) * 100

What is a good Email Click-Through Rate?

According to GetResponse’s study of 4 billion emails in 2019, the average email CTR across all industries was 3.43%, ranging from 1.87% CTR in the Agencies category to 6.46% in the Publishing category.

Use this as your benchmark to determine where you stand with your email campaigns.

3. Website or web page for Search Engine Optimization or SEO

You want your website to be found when someone is searching for your products or services. And when someone does see your website after searching, you want them to click on your link to visit your site instead of one of your competitors’.

CTR in terms of SEO measures how many clicks you receive from people that see your website link in search engines such as Google or Yahoo.

As you receive more clicks, search engines will determine that your content is helpful and will rank you higher, increasing your organic traffic.

What’s the difference between CTR and Conversion rate?

Conversion can be any desired action. Newsletter subscription, submitting a form, calling in to get a quote, making an appointment, or placing an order are all considered a conversion. It depends on your business and what you’re trying to achieve.

Conversion rate is the percentage of people that take that desired action.

So for instance, if your ad has 100 impressions and gets 5 clicks, your CTR is 5%. Of those 5 people, 1 person makes a purchase on your site. Then 1 conversion / 5 clicks or visitors= 0.2 or 20% conversion rate.

CTR determines your visitors and helps you improve your traffic while conversion rate determines your sales or leads.

How to improve CTR?

Users click on a link when they believe it will provide value. So understanding your target audience and what motivates them will help you increase your CTR.

Here are a few things you can do to improve your Click-Through Rate (CTR):

  • Include keywords in your link and title to show its relevance to their search
  • Have a relevant and intriguing meta description for your website or page in search engines
  • Add an attractive offer to your ads (for example, “10% off on all orders”)
  • Show urgency to motivate them to click now (for example, “today only”)
  • Be clear what the link leads to (for example, “click to call” or “click to buy now”)
  • In emails, place your call-to-action link buttons above the fold or near the top of your email
  • Use a call-to-action link button that stands out

Improving your CTR involves testing to see which works or doesn’t. By comparing your CTR before and after each experiment, you can determine if something should be implemented or not.

For example, try different titles or descriptions on your ad copy or a web page and test which one results in a higher CTR.

For your email marketing, try different subject lines, customer segmentation, or send times to choose the best performing one that gives you a higher CTR.

Final Thoghts

Click-Through Rate measures how well your marketing content engages with your audience.

CTR can be used in mainly online advertising, emails, and website SEO, but it can be applied to any other marketing campaigns that involve content with hyperlinks that you want to track.

All your content should have a purpose. Tracking your CTR will help you understand your performance, find ways to increase the user engagement, in order to achieve that purpose.

But knowing your CTR is only the first step.

Testing and making improvements to your content to determine what drives a higher CTA is the most important part. This will not only help you increase your CTR but lead to higher sales, revenue, and profit in the end.

What have you done to improve your CTR and what were the results? Let me know in the comment below!

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