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How to increase your CTR and get more people to BUY NOW

9 Tips to Help Improve Your Click Through Rate (CTR)

When running a Google Ads campaign, how can you increase or improve your Click Through Rate (CTR) to maximise conversions?

If you’re spending all that money on Google Ads (previously known as Adwords) you want to be sure that you’re going to get lots of conversions. After all, those click’s don’t come cheap! There are some techniques that you can use to improve your click through rate (CTR) on your Google Ads and other PPC campaigns.

In this article we’ll take a look at some techniques that are proven to deliver some good results when improving your CTR. Most of them simply come down to well written ads and a few clever little uses of urgency.

Before we start looking at how to improve your CTR, there are a few things that you need to take care of on your site.

  • Make sure you have a good landing page for your product, service or offer.
  • Understand what type of bidding strategy you’re using and how that can affect your CTR.
  • Do research on your target demographic.
  • Understand what the end goal of your offer is.

If you want to know more about click through rates, or PPC bidding strategies, you’ll find lots of information on our ClickCease blog. However, we will take a brief look at both of these in the context of this article.

Explain CTR to me like I’m five

The click through rate, or CTR, is the amount of times you ad is clicked on against the amount of times it is viewed. For example, if your ad shows up in results 10,000 times, and has 250 clicks, that is a CTR of 2.5%.

The average CTR for a Google Ads PPC campaign is around 2%, so if you’re above that, you’re doing well. 

If you’re looking at anything below 2%, then of course there is room for improvement. And, these tips to help you improve your CTR should help you fix that!

Does it matter what bidding strategy I use?

In short, no, not really. Your bidding strategy is more determined by your budget and your marketing goals. 

However, not all PPC campaigns are focused on conversions. For example if you’re running a brand awareness drive, such as with a CPM campaign, you may not need to focus so much on your call to action, or CTA. 

The standard PPC campaigns available in Google and Bing include:

  • Cost per click
  • Cost per acquisition (or conversion)
  • Cost per mille (per thousand impressions)

There is a whole other world of options when it comes to video ads, most of which focus on the cost per impressions mode. 

But we’ll look now at some of the key tips to help you improve your click through rate on text or image ads.

1. Know your audience

Although this was mentioned briefly at the top of this article, you cannot underestimate how important your audience research is. If you know your target persona, or at least your demographic, half the work is done for you.

How so? 

If you’ve done your research right you’ll know key factors such as:

  • Understanding what kind of language your target demographic uses
  • What they’re searching for and what words they use
  • Are they’re more likely to search from mobile or desktop? 
  • What is most likely to make them buy?
  • The time of day or year that they are most likely to search for your service

Although many of these might seem obvious to you, and the language may not be particularly specialised in some instances. But having your target personas and demographic research should always be the first step before optimising your content for CTR.

2. Embrace the call to action (CTA)

Clever wording will help improve your click through rate (CTR)

If you’re running a PPC ad campaign, don’t be afraid to use that call to action. Some people think it’s cheesy or unnecessary, but the truth is, consumers expect a CTA in ad copy. 

With a CTA it also makes it clear what you expect people to do with your ad. Some examples of good CTAs are:

  • Sign up now
  • Get a free quote
  • Download your free copy
  • Join today
  • Learn more

There are a few words in the English language that have a peculiar effect on the reader and can be very effective carrots in closing a sale. These are known as power words, and using some of these in your CTA can’t harm.

  • You
  • Now
  • Free
  • New
  • Increase
  • Offer
  • Easy
  • Bargain
  • Hurry

Now, you definitely shouldn’t use all of them in one CTA, but one or two could make a very persuasive case for the viewer to click your ad.

Of course, your CTA comes at the end of a compelling sales pitch. Talking of which…

3. Make your copy very appealing

Obviously, right? There is no getting around it, your copy is probably the biggest driver of a successful CTR. But, it is very easy to do your content badly…

Let’s look at some examples. I ran a search for ‘hotels’ which returned the following result (I’m in Spain, so one of the results is in Spanish).

An example of hotel search results for improved CTR

The top result,, although it might be probably the best known of all the companies on the list has a very wordy ad. As a copywriter, I’d drop words like ‘Get’ from instant confirmation, or ‘Read’ from real guest reviews. There’s also a long number in there that just doesn’t read if you scan the ad, so that’s a wasted word count right there. 

By comparison, the second result is succinct and hits a couple of power word sweet spots.

“Find the perfect hotel for you”

You might remember that the word ‘you’ is a powerful word for conversions and a good one to use in any CTA.

If you’re trying to improve your CTA, look at the words your using and how your ad scans. People don’t sit there and read a whole ad. They cherry pick the information they need. You don’t need to read ‘Over 2,541,000 hotels’ (What even… Is that 254 million? No, 2 million..?). Just say ‘Choose from millions’.

One more example of a great CTA…

A PPC search result for sales force and zoho

After searching for ‘Salesforce’, this result for Zoho comes up. 

They’ve done a couple of clever things in there. They’ve used some power words, including ‘leader’ and ‘better’. But they’ve also used the name of the competitor in explaining what they do. Then, their copy is short, sweet and tells you everything you need to know in 0.05 of a second.

Sign me up!

4. Use ad extensions

If you’ve not heard of ad extensions, you might find these a nice way to give your ad that extra oomph. These little extras can add some extra weight to your PPC ad with additional information about features such as customer reviews, location, average prices and even little incentive points like ‘24/7 callout’ or ‘free delivery’.

So how do you use these extensions?

Well, it is in Google’s interests for you to get more ad engagement, and these little add ons do help. So Google sometimes adds relevant extensions to the end of your PPC search engine result, normally phone numbers or weblinks.

You can also add manual extensions to your PPC ad, which you can do when setting up your campaign. The options for additional extensions in Google Ads are:

  • Location
  • Affiliate (other branches) locations
  • Callout extensions (those ‘free delivery’ type endings)
  • Call extensions, i.e: phone number
  • Message
  • Sitelink – taking visitors to a specific page
  • Price highlights
  • App extensions – linking directly to your app

These are all free to use, and can really help improve your click through rate. Although you do pay for clicks on your ad as normal, clicks on some features such as seller ratings don’t count towards your PPC budget.

Seller ratings only show on your PPC ad in specific circumstances which include:

  • Over 100 ratings on certain review sites* over the past 12 months
  • Must be in a qualifying country, and
  • Google needs to have done an evaluation of your site

*(Reviews sites include Google, TrustPilot, Feefo and a whole list of other sites).

5. Add a countdown timer

If you’ve seen a James Bond movie recently, you’ll know that nothing gets the pulse going quicker than a countdown timer. Adding one of these clever little clocks to your PPC ad is a great way to trigger that FOMO feeling in your potential customers and improve your CTR.

Best of all? It’s relatively easy to add to your ad. 

Using a countdown timer can help to improve your click through rate

To add a countdown timer, simply:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account and go to Ads and Extensions
  2. Choose the text ad that you want to add the countdown to, or click the plus button and then choose your text ad
  3. Fill in the ad text (if you haven’t already)
  4. You can then insert the countdown timer into the ad by clicking where you want the ad to appear and then adding a { symbol
  5. You are then given a dropdown, select countdown and edit the time until the offer expires
  6. If you like, you can make it a specific date and time, or if left blank it will expire at midnight on your chosen date
  7. Add the start date, or, if left blank, it will start 5 days before the end date
  8. Bear in mind that your countdown clock will take up some of your ad space, so allow up to 8 characters in your text
  9. Click Apply to save the ad, then Save new ad or Save new version

Et voila! A countdown timer to get those itchy mouse fingers ready to click through to your fantastic offer… 

It’s a simple method, but one that really does help improve your CTR.

6. Use negative keywords

If you’re not familiar with the term negative keywords, they can be a powerful and very useful tool in the quest for an optimised click through rate. Used correctly, they can be used to minimise the exposure of your PPC ad to searches that aren’t quite relevant to you.

For example, if you run a language school, teaching Spanish in a classroom setting, you might want to show up in the search results for terms such as:

  • Learn Spanish in (my town)
  • Spanish lessons near me
  • Spanish tutor in my city

But, if you don’t do online lessons, you might want to exclude terms like:

  • Online Spanish lessons
  • Self study Spanish lessons
  • Free Spanish lessons

By excluding the search terms that you definitely don’t want to show up for, you’re excluding the possibility that your ad might display 

If you want to find out more, we have a whole article all about how to use negative keywords.

7. Capitalise First Letters

Run a search for pretty much anything and you’ll notice that all the PPC ads have the first letters of almost every word capitalised. The reason is, it’s so much easier to scan and read

Compare the visual impact of these two PPC ads:

Spanish lessons capitalised with ad optmised to increase ctr

The second ad, for SpanishPod101, jumps out at you and is much easier to read and scan. Note that they’ve also managed to get all their content into one line, and get their message across. Which one would you choose?

8. Work that headline

A headline is an important factor in improving your CTR
Image by PDPics from Pixabay

The first thing anyone will notice is your headline, so make it a thing of beauty. OK, that might be asking a bit much, but getting your message across in the headline can really increase that CTR on your Google Ads campaign.

These headlines for gyms in London are some good examples of attention grabbing headlines optimised for click through.

PureGym™ London | 50% Off Your First Month Now‎

ClassPass® Studios in London | Start a Free Trial Today‎

Notice that the brand name is included and that they also include the location. The divider splits up the brand name with the call to action on the other side. 

You might also have noticed the heavy use of those power words: NOW! FREE TRIAL! Makes you want to go to the gym, right? Well. Almost.

9. A/B Testing your ad copy

One way to work out what works best for your click through rate is to do some A/B testing. Run multiple versions of the same ad, with different headlines and content, and see which one performs best.

A/B testing your PPC ads might imply just running two ads, but you can run as many as you can afford or manage. If something isn’t working, hit the pause button and divert your funds to the better performing ad.

Other things to bear in mind when optimising your CTR

Although most of these actionable tips can really improve your CTR, there is no magic bullet for boosting your Google Ad return on investment. And although you might improve a click through rate, that doesn’t necessarily translate to conversions and purchases.

Another thing to bear in mind is that anything up to 50% of clicks on paid links can be either accidental or fraudulent. This can come in the form of anything from web scrapers and bots, to genuinely vindictive parties who are trying to deplete your marketing budget. 

One way to be really sure that only real people are clicking on your ad is to use anti-click fraud software, such as ClickCease. If you think that some of your traffic looks a bit fishy, you can try out ClickCease, obligation free for 7 days. 

Find out more about click fraud and ad fraud right here on the ClickCease blog.

The title image for this article is created by katemangostar –

Oli Lynch

Since working for ClickCease, Oli has become something of a click fraud nerd, and now bores people at parties with facts about click farms and internet traffic stats. When not writing about ad fraud, he helps companies to optimise their marketing content and strategy with his own content marketing business.


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  • Effectively, as you write, the CTR is very important. It is the main indicator to Google of a quality campaign. These are all excellent points that you mention and well explained with great examples, well done!

    Personally, I like to add a lot of negative keywords, one word: -free, -online, -pdf etc.

  • Adwords can be very dangerous if you just start a campaign and hope for results, you’ll lose a lot of money and end up bitter that way. Make sure you constantly watch and adjust your campaign. Another huge aspect to PPC is monitoring what happens after those clicks. Make sure you understand what people are doing on your website and make adjustments to it in order to maximize actions like purchases, downloads or the things that’ll help you scale up your business. Survey your website visitors or use providers like usertesting and then listen to what your users are telling you and make changes accordingly.

Block click fraud from ruining your campaign!

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