Increasing Your Click Through Rate (CTR)

February 1, 2007 by HostSearch Staff Writer

CTR stands for `click through rate`, that is, the percentage of users who click on an ad on a page they are viewing. As this is a significant source of income for most websites, numerous strategies have evolved to increase CTR to increase income. In this article we will look at an overview of ways to increase CTR.

While a very high CTR can spell trouble in that it may mean your site visitors aren`t interested in the content on your site, a very low CTR will mean you are going to lose your advertisers. An ad with good CTR will see about a 3% rate. You should still however obviously always shoot for the highest quality content you can.

Ad design and placement

The placement of an ad on the page is the number one factor for determining if it will be clicked or not. The design and the content of the site and the ad being in accord are also important. For the best results try experimenting using the following guidelines.

When considering where to place ads you should consider where a visitor to your website`s eyes will be looking. Ask yourself what your visitor`s goal is for each page of your website and what they will do on the page to accomplish that goal. Ads should be integrated into the page and place your ads near content that will be most useful and visible to your visitors.

Ads placements near the top and to the left of the page as a general rule perform better than ads near the bottom or the right hand side of the page although the highest performance spot is typically just above the center of the page or below a navigation bar.

Ads that are placed in between blocks of high quality content work the best but if you feel that the content is shaky then place the ad at the top. However, ads placed at the bottom of a story or article can see a high CTR as well. When a user gets to the end of a good story there is a pause like in a conversation where the user doesn`t quite know where to go next. An ad that features content that is similar to the content of the story gives them something to continue on with.

An ad that is short and broad will typically receive more clicks than a narrow tall advertisement. English is read left to right and if the words in the ad go down they don`t have as great a chance to make a mental impression.

Choose ads that have colors which compliment your site without being exactly the same and without clashing obnoxiously. Changing the colors up every so often is also a good way to get clicks so that visitors don`t become so totally accustomed to an ad that they always ignore it.

Animated banner ads tend to do a lot better than static ads. Be careful and don`t overdo it however because an obnoxious flashing ad can make visitors simply want to go to another site.

If you have the money it is a good idea to have your ads professionally produced if you are not handy with graphics tools yourself. It`s a good idea to have more than one ad created for each product you have as well. After seeing your ad 2-3 times visitors will ignore it. By rotating your ad you can get a few more clicks.

This may be pretty obvious but make sure the ads are targeted. If the ad is selling anti-war T-shirts then the NRA`s website would be the wrong place to try to sell them. On the other hand, if you are selling guns then the NRA`s website would be a great place to advertise.

Keep ads at less than 20k. Heavy ads are bad for the website and they are bad for the ad. A slow page load will only cause visitors to go somewhere else.

Word Choice

While the position of the ad and what site it`s on and what color it is will have a major impact on the clicks it gets the content of the ad itself are also extremely important. Furthermore, the style the content is presented with is really what is going to make the difference.

You have about 2 seconds to get the site visitor to click an ad so you better sell what you got quick. Use language that is active and strong (as opposed to strong language). Use imperatives. For example, if you are selling anti-virus software, "Brand X routinely scans for and removes viruses" isn`t nearly as `exciting` as, "Protect you most valuable assets from hacker attack."

Don`t try to trick people into clicking your ads by making them resemble Windows dialogues or program alerts. You may get a click but the visitor will likely be upset to have been tricked into clicking the ad and won`t fall for it again.

A Marketers Work is Never Done

It is important to monitor the CTR and track what is happening. An ad may perform very well for the first few days and then suddenly have a very low performance. People may get tired of a flashing over-the-top ad. Most ads receive a 1-2% CTR and if your ad is falling below .5% then is should be replaced or moved or changed.

Also, calculate what your ROI or return on investment is. Make sure you are making a profit from your ads or that your advertisers are getting their moneys worth from advertising on your site.

You can then take the more successful models and use them on other sites or suggest them to other advertisers or adjust your ad pricing accordingly.

Don`t be afraid to experiment but track the changes you make and the performance of the ad as a result.

If you follow these steps, whether you are an advertiser or website owner who is seeking advertisers, you should see a rise in your CTR and therefore your profits.

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