How to Increase Your CTR in 7 Easy Steps | Outbrain Blog


How to Increase Your CTR in 7 Easy Steps

| Will Fleiss

How to increase your CTR in 7 easy steps

If you’re a marketer, blogger, or business owner who uses advertising or content discovery to make money online,  knowing how to analyze and improve all of your user data is vital to the effectiveness of your campaigns. The click-through rate, or CTR, is one aspect of advertising on your blog that is crucial to your success.

What is CTR?

If you have an ad on your blog that you’re using to make money, then the CTR refers to the number of times that ad is actually clicked by a user divided by the number of times the ad is viewed by users, also known as “impressions.”

Ad Clicks ÷ Ad Views = Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Since advertisers typically pay a site owner for the number of times the ad is clicked, improving the CTR will increase the amount of money that you make on your ads, i.e. your revenue from advertising. On the flip side, CTR applies to the advertising or content discovery you’re doing to drive visitors to your own blog or website. In either case, the following will provide you with insight on how to continuously improve your CTR:

Step 1: Improve Your Content

To increase your CTR one of the first things you should do is attempt to increase the number of visitors your site or blog receives. To do this, improving the quality of your content should be your first step. Make your blog as attractive and useful as possible, update your blog regularly, write content that is relevant to your audience, use appropriate and applicable keywords, make sure your blog is formatted in an easy-to-read style, and use interesting information to capture your audience’s attention. The better your content, the more page views you’ll receive.

Step 2: Use Great Images

If you’re using an advertising platform which allows images, then making sure you’re choosing strong images is paramount in increasing your CTR. Attractive images should be formatted correctly, clear rather than blurry, and be interesting and engaging. Images that are fun, curious, and stimulating are more likely to catch a viewer’s attention and compel him or her to click on the ad.

Step 3: Be Text-Heavy

Graphics and colors will draw a lot of attention to page viewers and therefore lead to a high number of impressions, but graphics and colors aren’t the be-all-end-all to improving CTR. Because most banners all look alike—highly colorful and graphic-crazy—you can improve your CTR by going text-heavy in your advertising banners. Banners that provide some information about the product or service they’re advertising are much more likely to get clicks than those that use images alone.

Step 4: Stay Relevant

If your blog is targeted primarily at animal rights’ activists and vegans, having ads that advertise hunting products or real fur coats probably isn’t going to be too effective. While this is a bit of an extreme example, you get the point: keep your ads relevant to your audience. If you’re not sure who your audience is, conduct a reader survey or run some stats to learn more about your demographics. After that, you can choose ads that are in line with your readers’ topics of interest.

Step 5: Give Out Freebies

If you’re a small business owner who’s trying to drive traffic to your site by advertising your own products or services, then offering freebies and discounts in your ad can be highly successful for getting people to click away. An ad that has the text “get it free today,” or “offered at a 50% discount for a limited time,” will usually attract viewers and encourage them to click on the ad. In most cases, freebies are more effective than discounts.

Step 6: Refocus Your Keywords

If you’re a small business owner or blogger, you’ve been told time and time again that keywords are the golden ticket to success in the online world, and here we are to say it again, but from a different angle. If you’re a business owner that specializes in making cupcakes, your  search keyword for your ads might be “cupcakes,” which would make sense. While the word “cupcakes” might lead to a lot of impressions of your ad (remember, that’s the term for views), it’s probably not leading to a lot of click-throughs, resulting in a low CTR. The trick on how to increase CTR is to be willing to make a bit of a sacrifice on your impressions by making your keyword(s) more specific. Instead of just “cupcakes,” why not something more specific to your product. Your store sign does day “organic and custom-made cupcakes”, so that could be your target keyword. While you’ll get fewer impressions and fewer clicks, your overall click-through rate will improve, and these clicks will be more qualified to the exact thing you sell.

Step 7: Write Attractive Headlines

Attractive headlines can massively help to improve the number of clicks that your ad receives. There’s all sorts of tweaks you can make to a headline that will have a dramatic impact on the the CTR. In fact, we’ve conducted multiple studies on it. Check out the following posts to help you make some data-driven decisions on how to craft the best headlines:

1. Spammy Headlines: Insights on Consumer Response

2. How Negative Headlines Drive Engagement

3. Don’t Tell Me What to Do: The Consequences of Pushy Content Headlines

4. How Headline Length Impacts Engagement

CTR is one of the most important metrics in the online marketing world. Whether you’re trying to grow your site traffic or make money for your blog via advertising, knowing how to increase CTR doesn’t have to be difficult. Just remember these 7 steps.

Any tips or tools you care to share? I’d love to hear about them…

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Will Fleiss

Will Fleiss

Will leads content marketing at Outbrain. He's been doing online marketing for 10+ years, spending time on the agency-side at... Read more

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