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What is meant by click through rate (CTR)?

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Last editedMay 20212 min read

Click through rate is a metric that measures the number of clicks made on a specific link or a call to action (CTA), compared to the number of times the link is actually seen by people, which is called the number of impressions. The kind of CTA being monitored in this way could include the “Learn More” button at the bottom of an email or the “Special Christmas Deals” link on a web page. 

The click through rate formula is as follows:

CTR = (clicks / impressions) x 100

How the CTR rate works in practice

In practical terms, the CTR rate of a link is relatively simple to work out. If you know, for example, that 200 people have seen an online ad, and that five of those people clicked on the ad to learn more about the product or service in question, then the CTR of that ad is 2.5%.

The CTR is an extremely useful measurement. It can be used to monitor the success or otherwise of pay per click (PPC) search results, the impact of a CTA placed on a landing page and the effectiveness of links embedded in social media posts and email marketing campaigns. 

The importance of CTR

The key to any effective marketing campaign is a thorough understanding of the customer base that you’re trying to reach. The more understanding your business has of its customers, then the better placed you will be to target those customers effectively, using content and branding that is tailor-made to appeal to them. If the CTR of a link or ad is low, this could indicate that the language used in the ad isn’t appealing to the customers you’re trying to reach, or that the placement of the ad means it isn’t reaching the right people in the first place. 

If a PPC ad campaign doesn’t persuade enough people to click through to your website or e-commerce store, for example, then the CTR it generates will provide the clearest metric signalling this fact. By comparing the CTR of different ads, and making that comparison on the basis of the wording of the ads and the places in which they are being seen, your business will be able to refine the marketing content it produces, using the ads that generate the highest CTR as a template. 

Tips for improving CTR

The advice for improving the CTR achieved by your content will vary depending upon the digital marketing channel being used. Maximising the CTR of a social media channel like Twitter might depend upon rethinking the hashtags you’re using to ensure they appeal to your target markets. Here are some more tips.

  • Focus on one or two carefully researched keywords in the headline and copy of any PPC ads you place. Concentrate on creating content that will convince the target market that your business can answer a specific question or solve a particular problem.  

  • Include a direct, simple and persuasive CTA on any content. It needs to invite the audience to find out more about what you might be able to offer them. 

  • Use images to create more attractive and persuasive content. Choosing the right imagery is a highly specialised skill set, so it could prove useful to run test ads on different channels using a range of images, using CTR as a clear indicator of which images are the most effective.    

  • Hashtags are effective across a range of platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s useful to research the hashtags that are currently popular within your sector and industry, and also to relate the hashtags you choose to the rest of the content you produce.

We can help

A high CTR on your marketing could, in an ideal world, lead to an uptick in the number of customers you find yourself dealing with. Working with GoCardless will mean that any increase in the number of payments being processed is handled seamlessly and efficiently.  This includes the more complex aspects such as dealing with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

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