When running an online ad campaign on Facebook one metric that advertisers report on is click-through rate. However, this metric means nothing if you don’t have a solid understanding of what a click-through rate is, how it affects your advertising efforts and how you should be benchmarking performance. In this article, we’ll be covering the true CTR meaning so you can have a better understanding of why it’s important for your social media marketing strategies.
What Is CTR?
To start, you should probably know that click through or CTR means the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions. If you’re working in business manager, Facebook will calculate this metric for you.
So, why is click through rate important? This metric helps you gauge whether or not the ads you are putting out are compelling enough to drive your audiences to click to your site. Getting users to exit the Facebook platform and start shopping on your site can be difficult, so knowing the rate at which they are doing this will help you understand if your ads are having the intended effect.
According to a recent study, the average clickthrough rate across all industries ads is .9%. Historically, advertisers have always seen anything near 1% as a strong click through rate. Although this may seem shockingly low, it is in fact a high number considering most users don’t get on Facebook looking to shop. In fact, some users may see a Facebook ad and completely ignore it. The average CTR may seem low if you are a Google advertiser because Google is an intent driven platform, people are actively searching for things where Facebook is more about entertainment and connecting with others. While using a Facebook ad is an excellent way to find a potential customer, it’s also important to keep in mind that the conversion rate may not be very high.
Average click through rates vary depending on your industry. Legal services have the highest average CTR at 1.61% while employment & job training have the lowest CTR for an ad campaign at 0.46% When optimizing your ads you need to be mindful of the industry standard and how your metrics are matching up. You may be falling short of that average click through rate at .9% but that doesn’t necessarily indicate poor performance in the space you are advertising.
Clickthrough rate should not be the only metric guiding the way you gauge an advertisements performance. Other areas you may want to continue to monitor include, cost per click, cost per thousand impressions, number of purchases, return on ad spend and more. This will vary depending on the goal of your campaign (i.e. awareness, brand building, lead generation and conversions) but they are all still valuable to monitor during the lifetime of your advertising campaign.
Other Ways To Optimize To Increase Performance
So if you don’t have a high CTR, there are several ways you can pivot and optimize to increase performance. Check to see if you are incorporating a call to action, this could be the “shop now” button or something in the ad copy that indicates what users should do next. This may be an obvious fix, but sometimes you need to be very direct with users and offer them next steps. Otherwise, they may just scroll past your advertisement without a second thought.
On average, videos get a higher amount of total clicks because they are more engaging for people. I would suggest setting up an A/B test between an ad image and a video/slideshow. Use the same ad copy and similar visuals, send them to the same landing page and serve it to the same target audience. After a couple days, review your data and look at the story it tells. If you are seeing a high CTR on video, that may indicate that you should incorporate more of that content going forward. It is important not to think in absolutes though, you should occasionally introduce a new test using static or video content and compare it to the benchmarks you set with the original A/B test. As Facebook continues to change it is extremely important to always test things and not rule them out as viable options.
Testing out a variety of online ad formats is also an essential piece to setting benchmarks for a good CTR. Facebook has been introducing a steady stream of new formats as well as having a large variety to begin with. To start to gather data around clickthrough rates, it’s best practice to start with a newsfeed link ad (1200×628) or a carousel ad. These are easier to set up and navigate, most beginner level advertisers could set one up with ease.
Once you gather significant data about how these ad types perform, try incorporating some of the more complicated ad formats like video, collection and canvas. Then you can compare how the ads that are more visual perform. Depending on the industry, you may have more success with a newsfeed image but it is always worth gathering further information so you can make sure you’re not missing out on any opportunities.
Related: How to Optimize Facebook Ads
Facebook Only Placements
Another thing that could influence your click through rate is the placement you choose. When creating an ad in business manager, you can choose between four different platforms and a total of 10 placements. For the sake of this blog post, let’s focus on the Facebook only placements. This includes, newsfeed, instant articles and the right hand bar. There are different benefits to each of these placements but they may affect your CTR in different ways.
News Feed Placement
News Feed placement means that the ad will appear in the years newsfeed where they would scroll through to see their friends posts and other branded content. These are the most commonly used placement because it takes up a large amount of real estate.
Instant articles means that your ad will appear within an article that a user clicks on. This may be harder to get users to click through because they may be invested in the article and not want to click away from the ad.
Right Hand Bar
The right hand bar is a smaller sized ad, but stays highly visible as the user scrolls through the feed. Depending on your creative you may not want to run this placement. For example if the ad creative includes text, it may be harder to read thus making the ad less enticing.
You can also run combined placements which Facebook highly encourages. They will automatically serve it to the best performing placements and the algorithm will optimize for you. Before opting in to auto placements, be sure to test each placement individually to set a CTR benchmark.
Click Through rate is only one piece to the story all of the data is telling, but having a deeper understanding of how it works and what it could mean for your advertising efforts is absolutely essential. Facebook is a rapidly changing platform, but many key performance indicators stay the same so make sure you understand them inside and out.