What is the advertising metric CTR (Click-Through Rate)? Introduction to the formula, average by medium, and improvement methods



  • ‘What is CTR as a metric?’

    ‘I was told by my senior to learn about click-through rates.’

    If you are reading this article, you may also have such concerns, right?

    CTR (Click Through Rate) is a crucial metric for achieving success in web marketing.

    This is because low CTR results in fewer accesses to the web page, affecting conversions such as inquiries and brochure requests.

    However, without knowing the basics like ‘the definition of CTR’ or ‘average CTR for each medium,’ optimizing conversions would be challenging.

    So, in this article, we will explain the following about CTR:

    Topics in this Article

    • What is CTR (Click Through Rate)?
    • How to calculate CTR
    • Average CTR for Ads and SEO
    • Ways to improve CTR

    By reading this article, you will gain insights into CTR, providing clues to enhance access to your company’s web pages.

    Especially for those who are new to web and advertising roles, and those involved in media and advertising, please refer to this information.

    What is CTR (Click Through Rate) in the First Place?

    CTR (Click Through Rate) refers to the click rate.

    It is an advertising metric that indicates the ratio of the number of times an ad was clicked to the number of times it was displayed (impressions).

    By looking at CTR, you can understand ‘how many times the ad was clicked out of the number of times it was displayed to users.’

    Since CTR is nearly equivalent to the number of accesses to the web page, a higher CTR results in more users accessing the web page.

    In other words, ads with high CTR are likely to be ‘attractive ads that users can’t help but click.’

    Therefore, improving CTR to increase the denominator of web page accesses is crucial for web marketers.

    Now that you have grasped the basic information about CTR, it would be challenging to use it in practice without knowing how to calculate it. Let’s learn how to calculate CTR in the next section.

    Calculating CTR (Click Through Rate)

    CTR indicates the number of times users clicked on an ad out of the total times the ad was displayed (impressions).

    In other words, CTR can be calculated using the following formula:

    • Number of Clicks ÷ Number of Impressions = CTR

    For example, if a certain Search Ad had 10,000 impressions and 500 clicks, the CTR would be calculated as follows:

    Example of CTR Calculation

    CTR = 500 clicks ÷ 10,000 impressions = 5%

    This way, CTR can be quickly calculated when you know the number of impressions and clicks.

    However, if you are using Google, you can check the click-through rate of ads and content from Google Ads or Google Search Console without calculating it yourself.

    But even if you understand your own CTR, it’s challenging to determine whether you need to improve it without knowing other ads or averages. Therefore, in the next section, we introduce the average CTR for ads and SEO.

    Let’s compare it with your company’s ads to see if CTR improvement is necessary.

    Average CTR (Click Through Rate) for Commonly Used Ads

    CTR varies depending on the medium and placement of the ad.

    In this section, we introduce the average CTR for commonly used advertising media.

    Ads Introduced in This Section

    • Search Ads
    • Display Ads
    • YouTube Ads
    • Facebook Ads
    • Twitter Ads
    • Instagram Ads

    Check each click-through rate and compare them with your company’s data.

    Average CTR (Click Through Rate) for Search Ads

    Let’s start with the average CTR for Search Ads.

    According to a survey by WordStream, a marketing support company in the United States, the CTR for Search Ads is reported to be approximately 2-6%.

    【Industry-wise】​Average CTR for Search Ads (Google Ads)






    Consumer Services


    Dating & Personals






    Employment Services


    Finance and Insurance


    Health & Medical


    Home Goods


    Industrial Services




    Real Estate




    Travel & Hospitality


    Reference: Google Ads Benchmarks for YOUR Industry [Updated!] | WordStream

    Search Ads are advertisements displayed on the search results page of a search engine.

    Due to the nature of appearing in response to user-searched keywords, Search Ads tend to have a higher click-through rate than the Display Ads we will introduce later.

    However, keep in mind that the CTR for Search Ads can fluctuate based on the placement and ad copy. Even within the same industry, it may be lower or higher than the average click-through rate introduced in this survey.

    Average CTR for Display Ads

    Next, let’s take a look at the average CTR for Display Ads.

    According to a survey by WordStream, the CTR for Display Ads is reported to be around 0.3-1%.

    【Industry-wise】Average CTR for Display Ads (Google Ads)






    Consumer Services


    Dating & Personals






    Employment Services


    Finance and Insurance


    Health & Medical


    Home Goods


    Industrial Services




    Real Estate




    Travel & Hospitality


    Reference: Google Ads Benchmarks for YOUR Industry [Updated!] | WordStream

    Display Ads primarily target the latent audience whose concerns and desires are not yet manifested.

    Therefore, compared to Search Ads, the CTR tends to be significantly lower.

    Average CTR for YouTube Ads

    According to a study by ADSTAGE, a company based in San Francisco, the median CTR for YouTube ads is reported to be 0.65%.

    AdStage Q1 2020 PPC Benchmark Report

    YouTube ads primarily consist of video format advertisements.

    Since video ads are used for the purpose of increasing awareness, the CTR is inevitably lower. Therefore, it can be said that the CTR is lower compared to other media.

    Facebook Ads

    Due to the variety of ad types on Facebook, this article only introduces the CTR for feed ads.

    According to ADSTAGE’s research, the median CTR for Facebook ads is reported to be 1.11%.

    AdStage Q1 2020 PPC Benchmark Report

    Twitter Ads

    According to ADSTAGE’s research, the median CTR for Twitter ads in the first quarter of 2020 is 0.86%.

    AdStage Q1 2020 PPC Benchmark Report

    Instagram Ads

    According to ADSTAGE’s research, the median CTR for Instagram feed ads is reported to be 0.22%.

    AdStage Q1 2020 PPC Benchmark Report

    Considering that Facebook feed ads have a CTR of 1.11%, it can be observed that Instagram tends to have a lower CTR when looking at CTR alone.

    AdStage Q1 2020 PPC Benchmark Report

    Additionally, the median CTR for Instagram Stories ads is reported to be 0.33%.

    While Instagram is often utilized in the D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) sector, it may surprisingly have relatively fewer conversions through advertising.

    Five Steps to Improve CTR (Click-Through Rate)

    CTR is significantly influenced by the ad copy and ad creatives that users see.

    However, improving CTR is difficult if ads and content are not created with appropriate steps beforehand.

    Therefore, we will introduce the five steps necessary to improve CTR.

    Five Steps to Improve CTR

    1. Define the target clearly
    2. Decide on the appeal content based on the target
    3. Create appropriate creatives based on the appeal content
    4. Set appropriate targeting for ads
    5. Include a CTA (Call to Action) to encourage clicks

    We will explain each step in detail, so be sure to try them in your company.

    Step 1: Define the Target Clearly

    To increase CTR, it is essential to first define the target clearly.

    Points such as having ads and content make users feel, “This product or service is for me,” are crucial.

    Without a clear target, you won’t accurately convey to users, “What problems does the product or service solve for whom,” making it difficult for users to relate.

    For example, even when selling the same beauty serum, the ad copy and design would differ depending on whether the target is male or female.

    Defining the target is the foundation for all future measures you will take. It aligns the understanding among project members and allows for the development of more effective strategies. Start by defining your target.

    Step 2: Decide on Appeal Content Based on the Target

    Once the target is defined, decide on the appeal content, i.e., what message to convey to that target.

    Appeal is simply persuading users to want to buy something.

    Deciding on appeal content means conveying the attractiveness of your company’s products to users.

    Generally, the following three appeal contents are frequently used:

    Commonly Used Appeal Contents

    • Low prices
    • High quality
    • Comprehensive support

    You’ve probably seen ads that include one of these three during your internet surfing, right?

    Decide what to convey to the target, make the ad stand out, and stimulate the user’s desire to purchase.

    Therefore, align the appeal content with the “characteristics and data of the decided target” and the “features and strengths of your product or service.”

    It’s recommended to focus on one appeal content. Don’t overload with various appeals because users don’t meticulously read ads from corner to corner. Narrow down the appeal content to convey essential information.

    Users genuinely interested in your product will want to know more information and naturally click on the ad.

    Indeed, your product has many attractions, but restrain yourself and approach users with one compelling feature in your ad.

    Step 3: Create Appropriate Creatives Based on Appeal Content

    Once the appeal content is decided, create advertising creatives that align with the target and appeal content.

    The creative format varies depending on the ad type, so you need suitable creatives based on the ad type.

    For example, in the case of Search Ads, the creative is text, so you need to think about an appropriate ad copy.

    In the case of Display Ads, the creative format includes banners, videos, text, etc., so you need to adjust the amount of information according to the format and create creatives.

    However, even if the creative format changes, there are many common elements.

    While this is just one example, being aware of the following elements can significantly impact CTR:

    Elements That Could Affect CTR

    • Make the ad stand out
    • Include words used by the target
    • Include specific numbers

    Ads are meaningless if they are not seen by the target. First, create an advertising creative that catches the target’s eye.

    Also, to make the target relate to it, it’s essential to include words used by the user. For example, avoid using jargon and use words familiar to the target.

    Just doing this increases the likelihood that the target will identify with it. For instance, if the target is someone other than a marketer, avoid using terms like CTR for click-through rate or CVR for conversion rate.

    If you want to emphasize trust, quality, or results, showing specific numbers is also crucial. Users will perceive it as supporting information that your company can be trusted.

    Step 4: Set Appropriate Targeting for Ads

    If you want to improve the CTR of your ads, appropriate targeting settings are crucial.

    By defining the target clearly and setting appropriate targeting, you can show ads only to those who want to know about your product, increasing the potential for improved final conversion numbers (sales).

    Targeting methods vary, such as region, age, gender, device, etc.

    For example, it’s easy to display ads only to users in their 20s who live in Kanagawa Prefecture and use a computer.

    Web ads are updated significantly each year, so you can display ads only to users with the target you set or similar attributes. First, understand the available targeting options and choose targeting that suits your target.

    Step 5: Include a CTA (Call to Action) to Encourage Clicks

    Including a CTA is essential to increase CTR.

    CTA refers to a call to action, where you place wording or images that encourage the action you want the target to take.

    Common CTAs include “Read More” and “Continue on the Web.”

    By including a CTA, users can easily imagine the next action, making it easier for them to actually take that action.

    Write CTA as specifically as possible because users find it easier to imagine their actions. Avoid using abstract language.

    For example, if you want to encourage access to the inquiry page, include a CTA with wording like “Inquire Here.”

    Moreover, for better results, CTA should clearly indicate the user’s path to the inquiry. For example:

    Example of a Path to Inquiry

    1. Click the banner
    2. Fill in the inquiry form fields
    3. Click the inquiry button

    Even if the banner is clicked, it’s meaningless if it doesn’t lead to a conversion. Therefore, detail each path as much as possible.

    I’ve prepared an example sentence below.

    Example Message to Increase CTR and Inquiries

    Click the banner below to inquire about our Search Ads operation service and access the linked page.

    Please fill in the five items in the linked inquiry form: ‘Name,’ ‘Company Name,’ ‘Email Address,’ ‘Phone Number,’ and ‘Request Details.’

    After filling in the fields, clicking the inquiry button completes the inquiry.

    By making the desired user action as clear as possible and presenting it, users can judge what action to take and how much effort is involved. This lowers the hurdle to inquiries, leading to an improvement in CTR.

    As a result, this contributes to the improvement of CTR.

    [Summary] Improve CTR and Enhance Website Access

    This time, we found that by seeking CTR, we can understand the value of the ad.

    CTR can be considered as user evaluation of the ad.

    Therefore, if the actual CTR is below average, improvement is necessary immediately.

    After modifying the ad, don’t forget to check whether CTR has increased or decreased compared to before the modification.

    Utilize CTR effectively to create better ads.

    However, if you are handling ad operations for your company, and despite improving CTR, it does not lead to inquiries, then honestly, that strategy is not effective.

    In such cases, entrusting ad operations to an advertising agency is also an option.

    By entrusting ad operations to an agency, you can not only improve CTR but also optimize ad impressions, design the guidance of the linked web page, and consistently request from attracting customers to acquiring potential customers.

    If you feel that you are reaching the limits of handling ad operations in-house, please feel free to consult with our company.

    Clicking the button below will link to our inquiry page.