How do You Calculate CTR (Click Thru Rate)?

Many people ask, and a few are ashamed to ask, how do you calculate CTR or Click-thru Rate? Indeed, they wonder what is a Click Thru rate or even what is a “good” click thru rate. Let’s investigate.



First, what is CTR or click-thru rate. Generally speaking, this is used in reference to online advertising such as ads running on Google as well as ads running on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. You have to understand impressions. Impressions are the number of times an ad is “shown” to an audience. If, for example, we run an ad on Google search for “cat boarding” and there are 10,000 queries in a month in the United States for “cat boarding” and our ad is showing 100% of the time, we’d have 10,000 “impressions.” That does NOT of course mean that anyone clicked on our ad; just that it was “shown.”

Second, you get to clicks. Clicks are literally when a person clicks FROM the ad TO your website. So, to use our “cat boarding” example, if 1000 people clicked, we’d have 1000 clicks vs. 10,000 impressions.

Which gets us to #3. How do you calculate your CTR. CTR is clicks divided by impressions. In our example it is thus 1,000 / 10,000 or .1. It is generally expressed as a percentage so multiple that by 100 and you get 10%.  More commonly, of course, you’d get weird numbers, so you’d have like 33,700 impressions and 63 clicks or (63/33700)*100 = .18% click thru rate. Let’s say we had 3450 clicks vs. 33,700 impressions, so that would be (3450/33700)*100 = 10.2% CTR.


Well, of course, that depends.  Generally, higher numbers are better. So a 1% CTR is better than a .5% CTR, and a 12% CTR is far better. But then again it depends on your ad. If you ad says “Free Cat Boarding plus includes pizza and beer” you might get a fantastic CTR but still not make any money vs. an ad that says “Luxury Cat Boarding. No Poor Cats, Please.” So you can’t universally say that a higher CTR is better than a lower CTR as you really have to look at your conversion rate and how much money you are making. But generally, a higher CTR is considered better.  I would say anytime I get higher than 1% or 2% in Google Ads, I’m generally happy.


Another common question people also ask is “How can I improve my CTR?” Well, one, write better ads. Write ads that have spice and pizzazz – that get folks attention to get that all-important click. Two, improve your offer. Offer pizza and beer. Offer free pizza and beer. Offer free pizza and beer and a backrub. And three improve your targeting. Show your ads to highly relevant, highly targeted audience. Show that “cat boarding ads” ONLY to folks who have cats, for example, and not folks who have dogs.  That reduces the impression count and thus improves the CTR.


I’ve put a few resources on CTR in the links below. If you have other questions on CTR, Google Ads, SEO, or Social Media Marketing, please submit them via the YouTube channel or to our contact form at

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About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.