Running ads, but wishing your click-through-rates (CTR’s) were a bit higher? Well, my friend, you’re not alone. This is one of the most common complaints I hear, even from advertisers who have been in the PPC game for a while.

Improving your CTR is critical, not just for driving more traffic to your site, but for saving you money. Here’s how it works: As your CTR goes up, so does your quality score. And a higher quality score tends to mean a lower cost-per-click. Translation: more traffic, for less money.

While low CTR’s can be a pain, sometimes one small tweak can be enough to get you back on track. By doing some basic troubleshooting on your ad copy, match type selection and bidding strategy, you can often bounce back quickly.

Here are 2 common reasons why your CTR’s may be suffering, along with some solutions.

1. Your ad copy stinks.

This may seem like an obvious one, but testing and tweaking your ad copy can have a huge impact on your CTR. And although you can never know exactly how your ad is going to perform until you test it, there are a few best practices that will increase your chances of success.

Let’s start at the beginning: your headline. A good headline can make all the difference, so don’t cut corners here. Your headline should be catchy, should accurately convey the subject of your ad, and ideally should contain your keyword(s). At the same time, it should be different enough from your competitors’ ads that it stands out. Try coming up with a few different headlines, and then ask yourself, ‘which one would I click on?’.

Then comes the body of your ad. With a limit of 70 characters for your description, your copy has to be thorough, yet to-the-point. Remember to focus on benefits rather than features; for instance, if you’re selling a fire alarm, talk about how it can protect your family rather than that it comes in 3 vibrant colours. And always (always!) remember to include a strong call to action. Tell people what you want them to do next, whether that’s to buy, download, click or learn more from your website.

Finally, spend a bit of time crafting your display url. Don’t just think of this as a link; at 35 characters, it’s actually an integral part of your ad. When you include keywords in your display URL, users will know what to expect on your landing page, and will understand exactly what you’re selling or offering.

2. You’re using too much broad match.

Many advertisers get hooked on broad match, and for good reason. When you see the vast amounts of impressions you rack up using broad match, it can feel so darn good!

This good feeling quickly goes away; however, when you realise that even with all those impressions, your CTR is likely to be quite low. Since you have one ad showing up for all sorts of keywords, it’s an inevitable fact that your ad copy won’t be highly relevant to all of those keywords.

Matching your copy to searchers’ intent is key to capturing their interest and getting them to click on your ad. But when you use too much broad match, it becomes very difficult to align your ad with exactly what your customers are searching for.

By switching to phrase or exact match, you’ll likely find that although your impressions go down, your CTR will go up. By focusing on these more precise match types, you’ll find you can make your ad copy far more relevant. And this means not only increased CTR’s, but increased conversion rates as well.

What are some other culprits you’ve encountered that have resulted in low CTR’s? Any biggies that I’m missing? Let me know in the comments below!

By Philip Shaw


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