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How do I improve my CTR (Click Through Rate)?

Improving your CTR is a great way of increasing your advertising revenue with CTR-based campaigns and making your advertiser happy. Below are some suggestions on how this can be accomplished along with some fundamental information about CTR.

What is CTR?

Before we go into how to improve CTR, let’s be sure that we understand exactly what it is. CTR is defined as the ratio between the number of clicks an advertisement gets and the number of times the advertisement is shown (impressions). If an ad is clicked 1 time for every 100 times it is shown, it has a CTR of 1/100 = 1%.

What is considered a good CTR?

What is considered a good CTR depends on many factors, of which, two are worth discussing. First, your website’s industry plays a significant role in the expected CTR. For example, CTRs are known to be low in the technology industry and high in the travel industry. Second, the format of the advertisement can drastically change the expected CTR. For example, data shows that email campaigns have the highest CTR (between 2% and 20%) while display banners have the lowest CTR (an average of 0.25%). Since many websites use the Google AdSense/AdWords Pay-Per-Click program, it is worth mentioning that the average CTR for AdSense ads is around 2%. Lastly, a typical CTR for a video ad is between 1% and 2%. At any rate, no matter what your current CTR is and how it compares to the averages, you will want to improve it with the tips below.

Targeting

To have any chance of having a high CTR, your advertising campaign must target your website’s visitor demographics. If you display barbie doll advertisements on a hunting page, you will never get a reasonable CTR. Make sure you understand your audience and what their interests are. Moreover, using a powerful ad server like AdSpeed, you can target visitors by country, time of day, language, demographics such as sex or age, among many other things. You can even target certain ads to visitors that have arrived to your website using specific keywords during their search engine query. Ad targeting is very powerful and necessary if you want to see a significant improvement in your CTR.

Placement

The location of the ad places a large role in its chances of getting clicked. We recently wrote an article on the best locations to place an ad and you can view it here. As a quick summary, advertisements above the fold and close to navigational aids tend to be more successful. Also, advertisements close to rich content or at the end of articles typically get clicked more.

Size

Yes, in this case, bigger is better. The bigger the ad is, the better chance that it will be seen and hence clicked. Yet, never forget about esthetics. Do not compromise the look of your website for a higher CTR. This could cause a decrease in your traffic. Although your CTR may go up, less visitors coming to your website will ultimately mean a decline in your overall advertising revenue.

Repetition

Showing an advertisement multiple times to a visitor can increase its CTR. Although most studies and experts do not provide an exact frequency for which an advertisement should be shown for optimal performance, statistics show that displaying an ad more than five times increases its CTR. It is also important to consider “banner burnout”. Showing an ad too many times can cause a visitor to ignore the advertisement altogether resulting a decrease in its CTR. An ad server can solve this problem with frequency capping allowing you to maximize your advertising revenue.

In summary

A powerful ad server can help you experiment with different setups to see which one increases your CTR and overall advertising revenue the most. Use the ad server to do the following:
  • Target your visitors with appropriate advertising campaigns
  • Place your ads in the optimal locations
  • Consider bigger ads and see what effect that gives
  • Try different frequency caps ensuring the ad is shown at least five time

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