For your business to succeed with Google Ads, people have to click on your ads.

The exception might be a branding campaign, but even that needs to generate clicks for the ads to keep showing.

The simple fact is that Google only makes money from a click. You might bid 100 dollars on a keyword, but if no one clicks on that ad, they make 0.

In fact, Google will stop showing your ad if its not getting clicks no matter how much you bid.

Conversions are the ultimate goal of your campaign, but you can't convert visitors if they don't visit your site or landing page. Or use click to call.

This is why click through rate is an important metric to a successful campaign.

Your click through rate is critical to your campaign's success

Click-through rate or CTR is the percentage of people who clicked on your ad out of the total number of impressions of the people who saw it.

In a previous blog I tried to answer the question, What is A Good Click-Through Rate on Google AdWords. As I tried to demonstrate, this answer varies dramatically from industry to industry and is also impacted by the device being targeted.

In this article I will demonstrate how to improve click-through-rate, no matter the industry or the device being used.

Why CTR Helps Determine Your Rankings and Cost

First, let me remind you of the importance of a good click through rate. It’s one of the factors, and, probably the most important factor, in determining Quality Score.

Google and Microsoft Ads don't use highest bid with their platforms. Instead, it's your bid times your Quality Score times your bid, which results in your AdRank.

If you have a low Quality Score, not only will you have to pay more for your bids, it could ultimately prevent your ads from showing. This is why you see warnings in your account about low Quality Score.

Likewise, if you have a high Quality Score your ad could appear above a competitor who actually is bidding higher.

Here are some easy fixes to improve your click-through rate.

Start By Cutting Down On Impressions Through Match Type

One of the easiest ways to improve click-through rate is simply to lower the overall number of impressions.

This doesn’t mean cutting down on potential opportunities for your business.

It means stopping your ads from showing for phrases that won't benefit your business.

The keyword match type will impact how many phrases your ad show up for.

Using broad match with your keywords often triggers a number of words that don’t apply to your business.

It even results in your ads often showing up for competitor’s names.

Changing these phrases to either phrase or exact match will lower your impressions significantly right away.

To understand the difference between the match types you have to understand how they work.

For example, you're targeting the word plumbing repair with broad match. This could result in your ad showing for a variety of terms including household repairs, plumbing videos, bathroom remodeling.

With phrase match, the phrases that your ads target have to include both plumbing and repairs in that order, but with additional words, as well.

The phrase plumbing repair would work, but not repair plumbing sounds like its someone doing it themselves.

Adding Negative Keywords To a Campaign

Even with the match change, your adcould still be trigger words that don’t apply.

As mentioned your ads might appear for a competitor’s name. Adding that competitor’s name as a negative keyword would block this from happening.

If the competitor’s name is Acme Plumbing, just add Acme as a negative.

You can also block phrases.

In the previous example, regarding repair plumbing, then add “repair plumbing.” This will ensure your ads still show for plumbing repair.

You can find the actual words that triggered your ads in the search term report.

Review that regularly to look for phrases that don't apply to your business and add these to your negative keyword list.

Through changing match types and adding negative keywords will result in your impressions going down dramatically. As a result, your CTR will improve.

Imagine you have gone from 1500 impressions a day to 750. Even if your number of clicks remain the same, the CTR has doubled.

Ensure You Are Targeting Just Your Specific Market

Another simple way to lower impressions is to make sure that you're targeting only the market you serve.

When you set up your campaign you may have overlooked Location Options in Settings.

The default setting is Presence or interest: People in, regularly in, or who've shown interest in your targeted locations (recommended)

What you might not realize is that this setting results in people outside your targeted market being shown your ads. Not just people nearby, but potentially in other countries.

A campaign targeting Georgia could have impressions from people in Russia, China or countries you never heard of.

The better option is Presence: People in or regularly in your targeted locations

This way your ads show for people who are legitimately in your market. Or often are.

For example, your ads will show for people who live outside your market, but are a regular visitor, such as an office worker.

Evaluating Your Keywords

You need to review each of your words to looks for issues.

Look for words that your getting a number of impressions for, but little to no click.

Can you do more to improve the results. If not, pause these words.

One way to improve results is to make sure the ads in the ad group are appropriate for that specfic keyword.

Have Multiple Ad Groups

The tendency by people setting up a Google Ads campaign is to choose as many words as they can, then dump them all into a single Ad Group.

It’s easier to do, but seldom effective. It means all of these words are triggering the same ads.

Grouping your ads by similar phrases and having ads that incorporate the targeted phrases make a difference.

Tossing plumbing repair and sewer repair in the same ad group, may be convenient, but not very effective.

Break them out in their own ad groups and have the ad copy incorporates the words in the actual text.

An added benefit is that when people type in words they will be bolded.

improve CTR in Google Ads in 2020 through keyword phrases in ads
Search terms included in ad text are bolded.

Make Your Ads Stand Out

Google Ad extensions help to make your ad more prominent and stand out.
Ad extensions help to make your ad more prominent

Using ad extensions such as location extensions or sitelinks, make your ads stand out more and as a result encourage prospects to either click your ad or click to call you directly.

In the ads to the right, you can see one ad stands out more because it utilizes more extensions.

Google is constantly revising the extensions they offer so it’s best to pay attention to what is new.

If you can incorporate a new feature before the competition, it could really stand out.

There are dozens of extensions, but often only a few will apply to your business.

According to Google's own studies, using four or more sitelinks in your campaign will have a 10-15% increase in click through rates.

Also, consider making your ad look different from the competition.

If all the ads currently running for a phrase look remarkably similar, then try a different approach.

If all the ads boast of free shipping, then adding that won’t really set you apart.

Focus on different benefits or maybe have shorter ad copy.

Always Be Testing

One important way to impact CTR is through the ads you run. You should always be running 3-4 ads for each ad group. This way you can compare the click-through rates of each ad.

With my accounts I typically have 2 expanded text ads and one responsive in each ad group.

Having multiple ads also impacts Google's algorithm.

Citing their own studies, having 3 or more expanded text ads running in an ad group will result in up to 15% more clicks. This was prior to responsive ads so now you campaigns have literally dozens of variations.

Don't take a set it and forget it approach to your ads. No matter how much you love your ads, its the market that determines their success.

Constantly introduce new ads to an ad group.

If one ad is doing noticeably better than the other, pause the poorer performing ad and create a new one to try to beat your most successful ad.

If this does better than your original leader, then pause that one and create another.

I suggest making sure an ad gets at least 100 impressions before making a determination on it

Optimized Ad Rotation

Optimized ad rotation can increase your click through rate.
Optimized ad rotation means your best ads show more often

This is one Google strongly recommends from the beginning, but which I'm often cautious about until I have enough data or at least that Google has enough data.

In your campaign settings, you can choose between having your ads run evenly indefinitely and Optimize: Prefer best performing ad.

The idea is that they'll then show the ad that the searcher will respond to the best based on their specific history.

The problem I have with clicking optimize right away is that they'll focus on one ad immediately and beginning to show it at the expense of all the others.

This is why, as I mentioned with the testing, is to ensure your ads have had enough impressions for Google's algorithm to make a true determination on which ads perform best.

Yet, if Google is to be believed, an optimized setting will result in 5% more clicks and conversions.

Bid Higher, But Bids Alone Don't Guarantee Success

The position of your ad is another determining factor.

The top position will get significantly higher click-through rate then the second spot.

If you’re ad consistently shows up in the lower positions, then people won’t pay attention to it. You'll still be generating impressions, but almost no clicks.

Don't think you have to bid to be number 1, however. By bidding lower you can get more for your marketing budget.

If your getting warnings that your Below First Page Bid, but still getting significant clicks, then don't be concerned.

Although below first page bid, these keywords are getting clicks

If your not getting clicks, however, and few impressions, then you have to consider bidding higher or pausing that keyword.

Remember that in the beginning I stated that a high bid did not guarantee a high position.

If your ad is bad or not relevant to your keyword, then you need to do the work to improve it.

Why You Might Not Want a Hight Click-Through Rate

I do have clients where the goal of their ad is not to have a high click-through rate.

They’re actually trying to dissuade some people from clicking on their ads.

The reason you might now want everyone clicking on an ad is that not all customers are the same for them. 

For example, if you offer a luxury item, you don't want just everyone clicking on the ad if not all of them can afford your product or service.

By adding a price in the actual ad copy you hopefully keep some from clicking the ads. The ones who can't afford your product or service.

I also have clients that sell B2B products or services but use terms that are also used by consumers. Making the focus of the ad business related will hopefully keep consumers from clicking.

These are only a few of the ways you can improve your click-through rate.

One of your main objectives is not just to drive traffic, but to get the most out of your advertising dollars.

This is why hiring an agency or consultant who is fully trained in Google Ads or Microsoft Ads is often a good investment, despite their fees.

If you're looking to improve your click-through rate or more importantly, your overall business, then contact a Google Ads Consultant such as myself.