How to improve CTR - Cover

(Editor’s Note: We recently discussed a few experiments we did at LeadSquared to increase Adwords CTR. To carry the conversation further, here are a few insights from our guest author Vishal Kataria, the founder of Aryatra discussing how to improve CTR for your PPC campaigns further.)

The digital world is no longer what it used to be. Just half a decade ago, you could have a website, bare minimal content and safely assume that at least some of your target audience will find you. Today however, millions of social media status updates and blog posts are published every single day. Just take a look.

How to Improve CTR - Content published

Data Sources

Visibility is a challenge for every business, even for the popular ones.

Everyone is talking. So, how can you make others hear (and pay attention) to you?

Some might say it’s simple enough. Through paid advertising – not just on search engines but social media too. But, is it really that simple?

Many businesses make the mistake of just allocating a budget for paid advertising. But, without right targeting and proper optimization, you might not achieve the goals that you have set for the campaign.

One of the metrics that will get you closer to your goal of high quality leads is a good Click-through-rate (CTR), given the targeting is right. Below are five more hacks to help you with them.

How to improve CTR for your campaign?

1. Get Feedback

I’m not talking about feedback from your boss. (Okay, protocol might demand that you must get it from them.) The most important feedback source is your existing customer base.

Ways to get this feedback:

  • Create a survey for them.
  • Fill it with open ended questions like “What questions did you have before buying?” and “What ultimately convinced you to buy this product?”
  • Offer a lucky draw as incentive, and
  • Reward the winner with a big prize.

The money you spend on the prize will pale in comparison to the goldmine of information you receive. Utilize this information to create effective ads for potential customers.

Focused, relevant ads that run based on customer feedback, will enhance your CTR, CPC, and increase your conversion rate.

(Bonus: Read this very entertaining guide to help you with your impressions)

2. Use Specifics

Run a quick search for the keywords you are trying to rank in paid search for (you can use Google’s ad preview tool).

How to Improve CTR - Ad preview

Most ads would seem similar to each other. What should you do then to rank higher than your competitors in paid search results? Not only that, but how can you also enjoy a better CTR than your industry average? Here are a few tips:

Include Numbers

They make your benefits more tangible. ‘Save up to 30% on the latest running shoes’ will outperform ‘Buy the latest running shoes from us.’

Include a timestamp

If your company has been around for quite a while, highlight that. This will instill confidence in your target audience.

A medium-sized business we handle has been functional for twelve years. They benefited tremendously with this tip. One line on the ad had text like:‘Providing [benefit] since 2004.’

The ad didn’t just get a double digit CTR, but also returned an eight to nine percent conversion rate. Not bad eh?

(Watch this Google AdWords Tutorial for more tips).

3. Speak the Audience’s Language

Picture this: You go to a gym to get fitter. One instructor uses complex terms and boasts about how good his regime is. The other uses simple terms to explain how specific exercises will help you achieve your goal of getting fit. Which instructor will you trust more?

How to improve CTR - Comic

Image Source

Nothing works better than speaking to your target audience in their language. Focus on your product’s benefits over features. And offer your benefits in a language your target audience uses. The first point (getting feedback from customers) would help you a bit in this regard.

  • Set alerts in Google for your keyword.
  • Track what media and other websites say about it.
  • Use Warble, Mention and Hootsuite to track what people say about your category, not just your product.
  • Google’s auto-suggest is also an underutilized avenue to discover your audience’s preferences.

How to Improve CTR - Auto suggest

Accordingly, customize your ads to match their needs.

4. Use Pareto’s Law

80 percent results come from twenty percent actions. Most of you might already know about it in various contexts: 80 percent sales come from 20 percent clients, or 80 percent of errors occur due to 20 percent causes.

In paid ads also, 80 percent clicks will originate from 20 percent of your ads. This makes A/B (and C/D/E) testing important. If you write ten different ads, two will generate maximum clicks.

Wordstream founder Larry Kim suggests to create eighteen different ads – not refurbished text, but different ads. Out of the eighteen variants, four will get you 80 percent clicks. To optimize your budget and clicks, pause the fourteen non-performing ads and continue with the four successful ones.

5. Leverage Quality Score / Relevancy

In the ‘Keywords’ section of your ad group is the ‘Quality Score’  column. The higher the relevance of your ad to the keyword (therefore, higher CTR), and better the landing page experience (and therefore better conversion rates), higher the Quality Score would be. It helps your ad rank better, and reduces your cost of conversions. Now, if your quality score is high, this means that your “keyword to ad” relevance and therefore the CTRs are probably already good. However, it again amplifies the CTRs further, by pushing the ads higher up.

Increase Conversion Rate- Adwords tool

However, when you see low quality scores, you need to find out what’s causing it, and try to improve it.

Maybe the keyword is not relevant to you, maybe the ad copy doesn’t match what the user is searching for, or maybe your landing page is completely different from what you conveyed on the ad copy. 

All of these things can bring down the user experience, and therefore the Quality Score. After trying to improve all of these things, even if your Quality Score doesn’t go up, you should pause the low score keywords. This would improve the overall performance of your campaigns.

Likewise, social media platforms offer a Relevancy score which you can make use of.

How to Improve CTR- Relevance Score

Use these metrics to improve the quality of your ads. Ads with good relevancy scores and high QS keywords deliver better CTRs and lower cost of conversion.

[BONUS] The Significance of the Landing Page

Despite all your precautions to optimize your campaign to drive traffic, it would all be for nothing, if you do not have a good landing page . The key aspects of an effective landing page today are:

Mobile friendliness:

We ran a campaign for a landing page which was not mobile friendly. The results were dismal. When we revised the landing page and restarted the campaign, we saw a 400 percent increase in clicks. If your landing page is not mobile friendly, search engines and social media platforms will limit the visibility of your ad, regardless of the quality of text. Use this free tool to detect whether your landing page is mobile friendly. More and more people are adapting to mobile devices, as shown below.

How to Improve CTR - infographic

Just looking at the reach that mobile devices have, running only desktop based ads seems short-sighted.

Message match:

Your landing page should offer what your ad promised. Else your visitor will instantly hit the back button. This indicates to ad platforms that your landing page is not relevant for visitors. That harms your ad’s visibility and increases your CPC.

Distraction free:

Your landing page should have just one call to action. Don’t get tempted to add more. Too many CTAs will confuse your visitor. She will leave without taking any action. Remember the old saying ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth”? That is exactly what would happen if you add too many CTAs.

(Additionally, learn about bad landing page habits that kill conversions)

In conclusion:

CTR is not a metric just for your data sheets. It is an insight into your audience’s needs, preference and behavior. A good CTR shows that your audience likes what you offer. A mediocre CTR means there is scope for improvement.

Keep improvising and try permutations and combinations. You never know, you might just become a rockstar in the online marketing world. Trust me, the scope for high value services is still massive.

Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on your landing page conversion rate, as this could affect your CTR and CPC.

What are your best practices for paid campaigns? Do share in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

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