Google AdWords mistake 6 – Low (CTR) Click-Through Rate

Success of a well optimized Google AdWords campaign depends upon Quality Score which in turn depends upon Click Through Rate (CTR).

High CTR leads to higher Quailty Score which leads to better account performance however a low CTR reduces the effectiveness of the campaign and you ended up paying higher Cost-per-Click.

A higher CTR tells Google that your ad is relevant to its audience and that’s very important because Google wants to show the most relevant ads in order to provide a better user experience.

A low CTR leads to lower Quality Score because if few people click you ad, Google analyse that it is not much relevant. So whenever you noticed low click-through rate in your AdWords account, action should be taken to correct that.

Generally 2-3% CTR or above is considered good and below 1% can be considered low CTR. Let’s understand the reasons for the low click-through rate and also the possible solutions.

(1) Low ad rank / very low position and hence low CTR

If you ad is ranking very low than perhaps CTR would also be less. Just like in the case of organic search the first results on the SERP get majority of click (say 30 to 60%) and then onwards CTR reduces and on the second page CTR could be around 1 %, in a similar way In case of Google AdWords The top results above organic search receives around 85% of the click and bottom AdWords results around 2%.

Solution: To improve your ad position either you increase: your Cost-per-Click bid or your keyword Quality Score

If you still have low ad position than perhaps better to pause those keyword. If you are in position 5 or 6 your ad will display on the right or at the bottom of the search results and
are less likely to get clicked. The low Click Through Rate will have negative effect on the rest of your campaign, bringing your average CTR down.

(2) Ad groups
Options in the Google AdWords encourage advertisers to add multiple keywords into your Ad Groups. However the problem with this is that relevancy is lost when having 20+ keywords in any ad group between the advert text and keywords.

The end result is that the click-through rates, quality scores of your keywords and adverts are adversely affected. Solution is keep only 5 to 10 keywords at the max in each Ad group.

(3) Irrelevant / Poor Landing Pages and hence low CTR

Most common mistake is that often the link from the ads is connected to Home Page which may not be relevant for all keywords.

When your ad becomes eligible to show, Google will crawl the landing page and evaluate its relevancy. This evaluation is part of the Quality Score and if Google think that your landing page is irrelevant to the target keyword then your Quality Score will be lower which will lead to lower ad position and hence low CTR.

Avoid using your homepage as a landing page for all keywords except for the branded keywords such as your company name.
Specific landing page relevant to the keywords should be linked in the ad.
Ideally landing page should includes your keywords or it will result in a low Quality Score

(4) Not using Google Ad Extensions

Ads extensions such as Call extensions can increase CTR by 6% on average or Sitelinks can increase CTR by 20% on average and must be used to increase CTR.

A site link is an extra line of text that displays generally when your Google ad appear in the top two positions. They look similar to organic search site links that appear when you search for a company names.  

(5) Boring or irrelevant Ads and hence low CTR

User most likely to click on an ad if it exactly matches what they’re looking for.


Ideally target keyword should be there in the title, description and display URL for all your ads. The bold keyword in the search results will add extra emphasis to your ad.
Ideally run two ads in each ad group for split test and decide the better one. 
Identify your unique selling points and include them in your advert copy. Use creative wording so ad should stand out from the rest of the competitors.

(6) Display URL 

Solution: The display URL should be used effectively to reinforce the keywords used in your Ad Groups rather than just displaying your website home page address. 


(7) Over relying on DKI

DKI Dynamic Keyword Insertion is a PPC feature that allows Google to customize elements of your ad text to better fit a query. Which means a single generic ad can be used to target multiple keyword terms so relevancy will be less and hence low quality score which finally leads to low rank and hence low CTR. 

Solution: If you are beginner stay away from DKI.

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