5 Steps to get better CTR in Google Adwords

5 steps to get better CTR in Google Adwords by a ‘hellofalot’

We all know the importance of a High CTR. Not only does it mean a lot more traffic to your site but it also means these warm and fuzzy things:

1. Higher Quality Score
2. Lower CPC
3. More traffic
4. More conversions

So what are the things that you can do now to improve and increase CTR tomorrow? I suggest you give these a shot. They are all easy to do and can lead to a drastic improvement to the performance of your campaigns.

1. Ad extensions.

Since there isn’t enough complexity in Google’s Adwords ranking system, towards the end of 2013 Google decided to change how it calculates its Adrank. Yes your bid is important. You bet your quality score is important but there is now another factor in the mix.

This third component is, quoting Google directly, “the expected impact from your ad-extensions and formats”. And yes… it is truly as vague as how it sounds. What is ‘expected impact’ exactly? Is there a KPI, a target, goal number.. anything? Well what you need to know is that a good Impact of your extensions = good Adrank. Good Adrank means ads are higher on the page (duh) and therefor CTR will most likely be higher too. Easy right?

Although the usage of extensions is quite vague, its quite easy to do and there are so many these days they will undoubtably improve the performance of your campaign. More real estate is a good thing especially in the ultra competitive Adwords market. Sitelinks, callout extensions, call extensions, location extensions and review extensions are easy to setup. A little more about them here.

2. Negatives

Negatives, negatives, negatives. Ok so you know the deal so let me keep it simple:

1. Add the right negatives -> 2. Your ads become more relevant -> 3. your quality score goes up -> 4. CTR Improves. More clicks, lower CPCs and higher CTR. Brilliant.

A lot of marketers tend to jump to conclusions when they see a low ctr, immediately increasing bids or tailoring their ads. Ensure the right people are seeing your ads first.

If you find you are constantly adding negatives then maybe your keyword selection and match type is too broad. Maybe you need to tighten that up by adding more adgroup themes and making your keyword groups a little more granular. On top of that ditch the broad match types for the modified versions.

3. Use Pricing.

Do you use pricing in your ads? Have a go at this little experiment:

Try using a price in your ad.. and then no price.. now see what happens. See that? Pretty cool right?

I have read elsewhere not to use price but I disagree especially if that is your USP. If you are selling design services then people know they have to pay something.. be clear and give people what they want and a price they are willing to pay for it. Can’t go wrong!

Another great thing about using price is that generally you get a more qualified visitor to your website. Someone coming in looking for a budget solution maybe baulk at your enterprise pricing solution. On the flip side someone looking for a corporate solution may perceive your product is not the best option for their needs (whether its right or wrong). Qualifying your prospects at the impression level will provide you with better optimisation data and a CTR that leads to a positive and profitable experience for both the user and your business.

4. ™, ®, $, !, ©, €

Huh? Did that get your attention? Want to know more? Well then why wouldn’t you want your ads to have the same effect? Using symbols can drastically improve CTR by helping your ad attract the eye. Obviously, you cannot use all of them as Google does limit the number of symbols you can use however testing symbols in the headline could be what gives you that extra % (see what I did there?!!).

Using symbols not only help with improved CTR due to their eye catching nature, they can also increase the real estate you are able to use within the ad. From the headline, line 1, line 2, through to your sitelinks and callout extensions, using symbols can save you characters length and allow greater and more powerful messaging for your ads. Win – win on this one.

5. Left of field

None of the above are particularly ‘new’. There are other things you can do as well such as putting Capitals for Each Word so They Stand Out. You can play with your display URL. You can even make the thing rhyme. However sometimes you really need to think left of field.

A few years ago when I was advertising my PPC management business I was really struggling to get traction on my ads. The market was extremely competitive and when I got a click I was paying a cool $15 minimum per click. Even with such a grossly high avg CPC I still couldn’t hit a budget of just $100 a day, let alone $50. So I decided to go left of field and wrote a really odd ad that look something like this (see if you can spot our ad!):

Creative Adwords Ads

Believe it or not, CTR went from under 1% to over 3% by doing this. More surprisingly, conversions went through the roof as people were simply interested to hear from us. We were different and caught their attention.

I’m not suggesting to go out and create shock factor like I did, but compared with the other ads on the page, ours really stood out. It grabbed peoples attention because it was unique, triggered peoples inquisitive nature and was actually kind of funny. It was very different to the ‘matter-of-fact’ advertising styles from the other companies.

This is probably a little extreme but its an example of thinking outside the box.

Next time your are running through your search campaigns and see some low CTR’s have a think about your users, your setup and the actual ads themselves. I always refrain from getting trigger happy and simple increasing bids in order to increase CTR. In most cases, the bids are not the problem. Use the points above to test different ways you can improve the user experience and take advantage of Google’s rules when it comes to Adrank. An increase in CTR without increasing your click costs is super rewarding and if you are running the campaign on behalf of a client, its much more appreciated than simply driving up costs.

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