9 ways to improve Google Ads CTR (click through rate)

Posted on 16/04/2020 by Martin Jones

Read our 9 practical tips that will help to improve your Google Ads Click Thru Rate (CTR) which will save you money, and improve your advertising performance.

Improving Google Ads Click Thru Rate (CTR) sounds easy, doesn’t it? Just write your adverts, add some keywords, enter your card details and watch the sales and enquiries start flowing in, right? Well not exactly, as there is a little more to it than that especially now with Google’s recent changes and the rise of mobile traffic. Gone are those days of throwing money at it and seeing what sticks.

If you don’t structure your Google Ads account well enough or manage it effectively, the click through rates of your adverts could be low and you’re basically giving your competition a helping hand by increasing their ads CTR. You won’t get the traffic, enquiries or sales that you expected and it will hurt your business goals while helping theirs. So how do you improve Google Ads CTR or click through rates? In this post we look at 9 ways you can boost your Google Ads traffic. 

1. Improve your Quality Score

Quality Score is a metric tracked in Google Ads that gives each keyword in your account a score from 0 to 10. It’s a measure of the relevance and quality of your advertising. the likelihood that Google predicts someone will click on your ad, and an assessment of the experience the user will have if they click through to your site.

If you are not familiar with Quality Score, then this has to be the most important place for you to start. Ads with high Quality Scores achieve higher rankings, cost the advertiser less per click, and because they have a more prominent position on the page, are likely to have a higher click through rate. Here is Google’s guide to Quality Score.

There are many factors that influence your Quality Score, from the relevance of your PPC landing pages to the topicality of your ad copy by displaying the keyword in your ad headline, your ad copy, and the ad URL.

In this example, we can see the concept of Artificial Grass appearing in the essential locations in the ad to ensure a high quality score:

Advert with keywords

2. Use the best ad extensions

Currently there are around 10 types of ad extensions. Usually not all of them are applicable to every campaign you’ll run, however if you’re not taking advantage of all the different extensions then you’re missing out. Using the full range of extensions increases the size of your ads and makes them appear more relevant, which you’ve guessed it, improves the click through rate.There are other benefits as well, see 5 ways google ad extensions can improve your Adwords campaigns article here. 

Below are some of the most commonly used ad extensions.

Sitelink ad extensions

A sitelink extension is an extra line of text that displays when your adverts appear in the top three positions. They look similar to organic search sitelinks that appear when you search for company names.

Adding sitelink descriptions to your campaign or ad groups allows you to add two extra lines of text under each sitelink heading and is shown to improve click through rates. By using this feature your adverts stand out and push down other adverts in the paid search results.

JMP Solicitors sitelinks ad

Call extensions

Similar to site links, adding call extensions to your adverts makes it easier for people to get in touch. This is ideal for businesses where customer calls are common in the sales process. The major advantage of call extensions is that people can click to call using either their mobile device or by using software such as Skype on a desktop.

If you set up a Google phone number when creating your call extension you can record calls as a conversion in AdWords if they last longer than the call duration that you specify. Call extensions also make you adverts stand out and encourage those fingers to click.

Google Ads Call Extension Examples

Promotion extensions

A promotion extension allows you to highlight special offers or deals , and it displays below your ad.

There are 4 types of promotion extensions: monetary discount, percentage discount, up to monetary discount, and up to percentage discount.

It can be for promotions for a specific period, for example this ad is for up to 50% discount running over the Easter holiday:

Easter Extension

Or they can be to highlight monetary discount, and will have a distinctive tag to feature the deal:

Promotion extension - Concentra

Price extensions

Price extensions provide additional links in your advertisement that will take users directly to a specific product page. 

Price extensions can be used to display different pricing tiers (see example below) or different levels of service offering.

Including price extensions improves your Quality Score, and also will improve your click through rate by making the information users require quickly and easily accessible.

Price extensions

Other ad extension types

There are many other extensions types including callout extensions, lead form extensions, location extensions and app extensions. Depending on your advertising objectives, these will all help to increase the number of people clicking on your ads.

3. Utilise smart bidding strategies

With the rise of automation, Google Ads really has stepped up it’s game with smart bidding strategies.

The beauty of smart bidding is that Google will automate when your ads appear, with a view to only entering your ad in auctions where you are more likely to get a click

By entering more precise, more targeted auctions, you will get a higher click through rate.

Gone are the days of automated bidding meaning manual with enhanced CPC. There are now fully fleshed out, smart bidding strategies available that admittedly might not be perfect but used correctly they can improve your ads performance drastically. The main benefit of these new strategies is that they offer auction time bidding which basically means they use machine learning to adjust the bids of your keywords in each and every single auction. Since every auction is different it simply isn’t possible to do this manually.

It will also save you so much time as you don’t have to trawl through each keywords manual bid and adjust them again.

Google Ads Bidding Strategies

4. Test different ad types

You don’t have to stick to just expanded ad types anymore. Responsive text ads have been shown to increase click through rates. They have the added advantage of being able to use more than just the 3 headline fields and the 2 description fields in expanded search ads. This increases your chances of showing a more relevant ad for a relevant search. 

Pay close attention to the previews as you create these, if a certain headline doesn’t look right in the headline 1 position you can pin it to only show in second or third position. Similarly if you only want a certain headline to show in the headline 1 position you can pin it to the 1st position. 

The ad strength box above the previews also suggests ways for you to improve your ad and this updates every time you make changes to the ad. This will help you create a better quality ad.

With the rise of mobile searches Google ads has also released new Google discovery ads for mobile specific browsing.

Responsive Text Ads

5. Write compelling ad copy

You should be writing compelling ad copy that stands out from your competitor’s adverts. If your ad copy is interchangeable with your competition then your CTR is likely to suffer.

Try to highlight your unique selling points, why should people click your ad and not your competitors? What do you offer that the others don’t? Keep these USP’s in mind when you’re writing your adverts.

6. Create tightly themed keyword groups

All the options in the Google Ads interface are designed to encourage you to add multiple keywords into your account and into your Ad Groups. The problem with this is that having lot of keywords in one single AdGroup impacts on the relationship between advert text and keywords in each ad group.

When people search for a keyword in your ad group containing more than 20 keywords, the advert that appears is not very likely to contain the keyword the user is searching for. The end result is that the click through rates and quality scores of your keywords and adverts are adversely affected.

The solution is to tightly group themes or keywords into smaller groups and make sure that the advert copy contains the keywords at least twice if possible.

7. Split test advert copy

Google Ads gives you the tools you need to run experiments in your campaigns. One type of experiment is a split test, where you create different variations of your ad copy.

When it comes to split testing your adverts you should be trying to do this with 2 or 3 ads in each ad group.

By creating variations on your adverts you are able to test which ads get the highest proportion of clicks.

Once they’ve run for an acceptable amount of time you can then pause the worst performing one and create another variation to split test it again.

Remember to switch off the worst performing ads when you create new ones so you don’t end up with too many ads in the ad group! Too many ads will lead to much poorer ad relevance and CTR.

8. Highlight pricing in ad copy

So this one is mainly for ecommerce websites and yes it’s true that you have ad extensions to do this but adding the price of a product in the advert copy can often improve CTR. 

Especially if your price is lower than that of your competition and this is immediately evident when someone sees yours and their ads side by side.

Why does it work? It works because it gives the person seeing your ad additional information without them having to do anything yet (like click your ad). The easier you make it for people to see your offers the more likely they are to consider clicking your ad and even purchasing. 

9. Use remarketing audiences

A remarketing campaign enables you to serve perfect ads tailored to specific users. For example, you could choose to serve a specific ad to a visitor who has looked at a particular product or service on your website.

You can choose to target visitors who are already familiar with your brand, or you can create specific ads to upsell more products to existing customers.

If they know you, then they are more likely to click on your ad.

Conversely, you can choose to exclude show your ad to visitors you might consider to be time wasters.


Which Google Ads CTR improvement techniques work for you?

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9 ways to improve Google Ads CTR (click through rate)

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