What is CTR (click through rate)?

What is CTR (click through rate)?

CTR is one of the key performance indicators (KPI), to measure the effectiveness of the company’s digital strategy, and to improve it by making the relevant corrections. When the rate is high, the company may conclude that Internet users are seduced by the clickable element. While it is useful to monitor the click-through rate for an online advertising campaign, the CTR analysis is also interesting during an e-mailing campaign, or to optimize the natural referencing of a website. Intuitive tools make it possible to calculate the CTR and to visualize its progress.

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What is CTR?

CTR is lacronym of Click Through Rate, click-through rate in French. Expressed as a percentage, the CTR is the ratio between the number of clicks on theelement and the number of times this element sattach. An essential KPI in digital marketing, the CTR measuresefficiency dclickable content: the more Internet users clickdisplay, the more convincing the link.

How to calculate the CTR?

CTR = (number of clicks / number of impressions) x 100

Example: an advertising banner is displayed 10,000 times, and receives 250 clicks. CTR = (250/10000) x 100 = 2.5%. Note that clicks are taken into account on the basis of unique visitors: cookies make it possible not to count the clicks made by the same user several times. Clicking repeatedly does not therefore increase the CTR.

Calculating the CTR allows not only to appreciate its progress, but also to analyze the result at a given moment. How to analyze the CTR calculation result? The goal is to achieve the best possible click-through rate: in doing so, the business increases inbound traffic, natural or paid, to the destination URL. But be careful, the CTR cannot be analyzed in a raw way, the click-through rate is assessed taking the context into account.

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CTR is assessed by distribution channel. E-mail, SEA or even Facebook: depending on the channel, the Internet user is more or less inclined to click. Example: when the average CTR is 3.17% for a Google Ads ad on the Search network, the rate drops to 0.46% on the Display network; CTR increased on mobile to reach 4.10% on the Search network. A certain logic explains this disparity in the average CTR. The Display network displays an advertisement when the Internet user is already on the content he was looking for; the Search network displays the advertisement at the request stage of the Internet user who is looking for information: the clickable link is displayed at a more opportune moment. On mobile, touchscreen technology encourages more clicking, resulting in a higher CTR. When assessing the CTR calculation result, it is therefore difficult for the company to aim for the same click-through rate from one channel to another.

Likewise, the following parameters affect the CTR:

  • The format of the clickable content: image, video or even action button (CTA), these elements have a variable attractiveness for the Internet user. Example: A video ad on Facebook generates a CTR twice as high as an image. Comparing the click-through rates on an image and on a video is therefore irrelevant.
  • The advertiser’s sector of activity: certain sectors of activity are more suitable for internet research. In these sectors, the company can therefore expect an above-average CTR. Example: Internet users are happy to book their trip online; the private individual, on the other hand, prefers to have a lawyer recommended by a relative. The result: the travel provider obtains a click-through rate higher than the law firm’s CTR.
  • The reputation of the company: naturally, the Internet user trusts the reputable brand. The benchmark company in a sector can thus legitimately aim for a better CTR in comparison with emerging competition.

To make the best use of the CTR calculation result, it makes sense to link it with the other KPIs. In particular, bounce rate and conversion rate can be correlated with click-through rate. Illustrations:

  • The company has managed to significantly increase its CTR, but is seeing a high bounce rate. Translation: the clickable element is very attractive, yes, but the content offered to the Internet user on the redirection page does not address his needs. The user clicks but leaves the site immediately: the redirection link is useless. The company corrects its strategy, so as to make the clickable element consistent with the content of the redirect page, to generate qualified traffic.
  • The company gets an excellent CTR, yet its conversion rate is poor. Same observation: the clickable link is attractive, but the content of the site is less so. The company takes advantage of the attractiveness of the link, by improving the content of its site.
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What is the CTR measurement used for?

The CTR measurement is used to advance the marketing strategy: monitoring and continuous improvement of the click-through rate increases site traffic. In the context of an advertising campaign, the CTR measurement is used to correct the campaign without delay, in order to improve its results. How to improve the click-through rate? By increasing the attractiveness of the clickable element. The use of relevant keywords and formats adapted to the target, in particular, makes it possible to increase CTR.

Measure CTR to correct a paid advertising campaign

When an advertiser buys Google advertising, they access statistics from their dedicated interface. Among these statistics, the advertiser consults the CTR of its advertisement.

  • For an advertisement on the Display network: a good CTR means that the advertising targeting is relevant, the target is seduced by the clickable content.
  • For a Google Ads advertisement on the Search network: a good CTR means that the campaign is relevant to the user’s expectations.

When the CTR is bad, the advertiser immediately corrects their campaign, including changing the format of the clickable element and finding more effective keywords.

Increase natural traffic on the website

CTR is also measured on Search Results Pages (SERPs). The Google Search Console analysis tool allows you to measure and track the progression of the click-through rate on natural results.

A successful SEO strategy offers a good position in search results, and this position greatly influences the click-through rate. However, positioning is not enough: the Internet user only clicks on the search result if it seems relevant and attractive to him. When the company observes a good positioning in the natural results but a bad CTR, it can conclude that its search result is not relevant in relation to the keywords, or not sufficiently attractive for the Internet user. It is by reworking its title and meta description that the company optimizes its click-through rate. Therefore, the SEO efforts made to position the site well bear fruit.

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Improve the performance of e-mailing

CTR is also measured to assess the performance of an e-mailing campaign. The click-through rate can be analyzed in this framework at 2 levels: the open rate of the e-mail, the click-through rate in the links in the body of the newsletter. If the CTR is low, the marketing team corrects the campaign in several respects: improving the subject line of the email and newsletter content, highlighting CTAs, or even refining the target and frequency. sending. A bad CTR can indeed result from the sending strategy: the company which sends too many e-mails, to recipients not very interested in its offer, has little chance of obtaining a good click-through rate.


After clicking on the link, the user browses the website. From CTA to CTA, it follows a progression in the conversion funnel, until buying the product or the service of the company. CTA click-through rate can be analyzed for conversion rate improvement purposes:

  • When the click through rate on the site is high, it means that the CTAs are effective. If the company, on the contrary, finds a low CTR, it can improve its CTAs to ultimately improve its conversion rate.
  • When the click-through rate on the site is high, it means that the duration of the sessions is important: it helps to gain places in the natural search results. The company can thus analyze and improve its CTR for this SEO objective.

To go further, download this free guide on SEO reporting and discover how to define measurable SEO objectives and ensure their reporting.New call-to-action

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