If you’re getting less than 3% CTR across your Google AdWords, Bing or Yahoo! Search campaigns, you’re leaving a whole lot of sales and profit on the table – you haven’t made it to the party yet. At 1% CTR you’re not even getting an invite!
Let’s compare the three; a High-Performing account that dominates every valuable keyword in the market- average 8-10% CTR on Search with 8-10% Conversion Rates.
A pretty good account that has the basic optimisation techniques applied – average 3% CTR in Search with 3-4% Conversion Rates on average the typical campaign that Google will build for you if you don’t know any better. (And we see all too often merrily wasting clients’ money).
Average 1% CTR on Search with no Conversion Tracking.
For the same keyword, here’s what happens:
The high performer is in ad position 1 almost every time. Not necessarily because it bids more per click, but because Google knows it’s the most relevant ad and gets the highest CTR. This has been proven over months of consistent performance. It gets a higher CTR still because it’s the first ad AND is more likely to convert in to a sale because the site, product and price set the benchmark for clicks on subsequent ads.
Psychologically, Google told this searcher that you’re the authority for the keyword, which also increases conversion rates.
In addition, this advertiser uses the Display Network to position their brand during the research phase. The searcher is already aware of the brand, consciously or subconsciously and may have even previously visited the site via a Display ad.
Furthermore, because this campaign shows ads in top positions for every keyword in the market, searchers are likely to see ads multiple times before clicking, also dramatically increasing authority in the brand, CTR and conversion rates.
The optimised campaign achieves third ad position, the ad is relevant and compelling enough. CTR is still strong, which Google respects, but you’re a way off from catching the top spot without some hard work.
Though conversions are still good and profitable, many of these clicks are ‘validation’ clicks. The ad in number one spot is currently favourite and your site has to offer something compelling (better design, better site, better price, more familiar brand) to steal the sale.
You might also be surprised to learn that clicks here are not necessarily cheaper. In fact, because the CTR is lower, there’s a reasonable chance that they’ll cost more. Yes, more than position 1!
This brand is less familiar to the searcher as it is present for a smaller set of keywords. Visibility and frequency during the Search Funnel are lower, compromising authority and trust in the brand and ultimately conversion rates.
The basic campaign typically bids on far too many broad match keywords and has poor structure, often showing less relevant ads than competitors. This results in a low CTR, typically around 1% on Search, showing ads and wasting money on clicks that are completely irrelevant to the business or product or at best, failing to land the visitor on a relevant page, resulting in high bounce rates.
The low CTR demonstrates to Google that what you’re advertising isn’t relevant to the searchers – their customer, remember.
Google wants the most relevant results and you’re not providing them. So Google slowly drops your ad position or will charge you more for the click. If things don’t improve, you’ll find your ads showing less frequently and in increasingly lower positions.
The campaign also targets the Display Network, though unintentionally, failing to have a coherent Display strategy or make use of much more powerful banner ads. This typically delivers little or no value and often wastes budget.
The worst sin of all can usually be discovered lurking in this account – no conversion tracking. You’ve no idea what’s driving sales and enquiries or what’s wasting your budget, making optimisation and increasing ROI much more difficult.
Win, Just take part, or Waste Your Money?
The top campaign will keep on winning the business, the optimised campaign will continue to leave sales and enquiries on the table and the poor cousin is left out in the rain, no doubt deciding that this particular party was a waste of time and effort and won’t bother next time.
More cake for the rest of us!