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What is the click-through rate?

The click-through rate (CTR) or click-through rate is a measure that relates the clicks on an ad medium to the impressions of the ad medium. The CTR is usually expressed as a percentage. The click-through rate provides the online marketer with an important key performance indicator.

  • Measures the effectiveness of advertising campaigns
  • Plays an important role in SEO (SERPs)
  • Significant for cost-per-click billing
  • Important variable for affiliate marketing

To calculate the click-through rate

Since the click-through rate indicates the ratio of clicks on the ad to the total number of ad impressions, and since percentages are usually used in a practical way, the following formula results: Total number of clicks / Total number of impressions x 100 = click-through rate. To give a concrete calculation example: If, for example, with 1000 displayed advertising banners (or ads), exactly 25 clicks are made, the click-through rate is 2.5%. In online marketing, CTR almost always refers to the ratio of clicks to the visual contacts experienced by the user. However, the click-through rate in search engine optimisation, search engine advertising and banner advertising refers to quite different circumstances. In search engine optimization, the CTR in the corresponding SERPs plays a particularly important role for SEOs. This allows reliable conclusions to be drawn as to whether the snippet is appealing to the respective target group or not. However, the horse can also be put on the other side of the fence: The so-called return-to-SERP rate could be described as the opposite of the click-through rate in the SERPs. It indicates as a percentage how many users have returned to the search results after clicking on the snippet and visiting the target page.

The click-through rate as an important key performance indicator

The click-through rate also plays an important role in affiliate marketing. Above all, because the probability of the affiliates simply increases through a high click-through rate that the associated users will also carry out conversions and thus earn commissions. The level of click-through rates can vary greatly depending on the medium and the nature of the transported content. Social media ads usually bring higher CTRs than the classic advertising banners. The click-through rate must always be seen in the context of conversion. Therefore, the CTR is not suitable as a specific or direct target of advertising campaigns. The success of campaigns does not depend on high click-through rates, but rather on the conversion achieved in this way. For this reason, online marketing tends to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) in this respect. In addition, the click-through rate can also be used to determine the rates for cost-per-click billing, because the CTR describes the efficiency of advertising placements. In search engine marketing, the click-through rate can mean the following: The ratio of the frequency of the ad medium displayed to actual clicks on the corresponding ad (Google AdWords). CTR can be improved in the area of SEA if individual ads are created for different user groups (gender, age, social status, etc.) or if content focused on specific topics is used instead of general pages. Of course, different ad formats can also be tested or retargeting can be used. If, on the other hand, a webmaster wants to determine the internal CTR of his website, this can be done using various web analysis tools such as Google Analytics. The CTR of the SERPs can be found within the Google Search Console for the operator of a site, among others. A look at the click-through rate helps to assess which ads or keywords are already performing successfully and where there is still room for improvement. For AdWords, the CTR is also a component of the calculation of the so-called quality score.

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