CTR (Click-through rate)

Reading time:  5 min

What is CTR?

Click-through rate (CTR) is a ratio of users who click on a hyperlink to the number of total users who see the link.

It’s a key performance metric in digital marketing when evaluating paid advertising, search engine optimization, email campaigns, specific CTA (call-to-action) elements on a website and other campaigns.

How is CTR calculated?

CTR is the total number of clicks divided by the total number of impressions. The result is multiplied by 100 to get a percentage.

CTR = (clicks/impressions) * 100


Let’s say that 1,000 users saw your website in the Google SERP. 200 of them clicked on it. The CTR is calculated as it follows:

CTR = (200/1000) * 100 = 20%

Why is CTR important?

CTR is one of the key performance indicators that informs you about the potential of email campaigns, ads, website snippet in the SERP, CTA button on a website and others.

The fewer users click on the hyperlink, the fewer conversions are made. The goal is to increase the CTR as much as possible to generate enough quality traffic with the potential to make conversions.

Click-through rate reveals the strengths and weaknesses of:

  • Title tag
  • Meta description
  • URL friendliness
  • Ad copy
  • Images
  • Website design
  • CTA elements
  • Targeted keywords
  • Website forms
  • Checkout process

How to optimize CTR

Optimizing the CTR is all about appearance, content, value and targeting the right people. Even if you create a catchy headline with an amazing value it may end up with a below-average click-through rate. That’s because of wrong targeting of the campaign.

Examples of targeting mistakes causing low CTR:

  1. Geographical targeting – Local business in New York targets the entire USA
  2. Demographics – Barbershop for men targets both males and females or a skate shop targets all age groups
  3. Platform – When the target audience is mostly on Instagram, but the campaign is launched via Google Ads
  4. Behavior – Targeting users who already made the conversion with “buy now” or “finish your purchase” message

Once you target the right audience, it’s important to optimize the campaign content accordingly. This includes:

  1. Title tag, meta description
  2. Catchy ad copy and headline
  3. Catchy images
  4. CTA element
  5. Skipping spam words in email campaigns

CTR and paid advertising

The click-through rate directly influences the quality score (relevance score) of PPC campaigns in Google Ads or Facebook Ads.

Google Ads can predict the average CTR for targeted keywords. The quality score is a metric based on many factors such as ad relevance or landing page experience and the CTR is an important factor influencing the overall success of paid campaigns. If the relevance score is low, your ads may not show at all.

CTR in Google Ads screenshot

Similar to Google Ads, Facebook uses the Relevance Score that “estimates how well your target audience is responding to your ad. This score is shown after your ad receives more than 500 impressions.”

Relevance score in Facebook Ads screenshot

It’s based on the ad performance, the number of clicks, video views, installs and negative feedback.

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