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“What is a Good CTR in Adsense?”

Posted By Darren Rowse 26th of September 2005 Adsense 0 Comments

It’s strange how I often get the same question from a number of different readers within a day of each other and then don’t get asked it again for months. The question of the moment seems to be :

“What is a good CTR (click through rate) in Adsense?”

Let me attempt an answer.

I should also point out that revealing CTR is against Adsense TOS – so don’t expect me to pepper this post with real life examples. I’ll also explain for non Adsense users that CTR is ‘Click Through Rate’ – or the percentage of people that view pages with ads on them that click on them.

The problem with comparing CTR (and in fact a lot of Adsense statistics) is that every blog is so different that any such comparison can be problematic – and at times pointless.

Why is comparing Adsense CTR between sites a problem?

The percentage of people who click on ads varies depending upon many different factors. I’ll list a few here – and as we go you might spot a few ways to increase your own CTR.

CTR varies between topics – one of the things I learned in my early days with Adsense after using it on multiple blogs was that despite having the same design on a different blogs, CTR could vary incredibly between one blog and another. One of the reasons for this is simply the topic of the blog. For example some Adsense publishers find that sites with products as a topic tend to get better CTR than sites with non product related topics. They argue that people are more likely to click an advertisment if they are in buying mode and see an ad that might meet their need.

CTR relates to Ad relevancy – if I have a blog about ballpoint pens that has ads for ballpoint pens I have a higher chance of a click than if my ballpoint pen blog has ads for dog food on it. In most cases, the more relevant ads are to the topic of your content – the more likely you are to get clicks. Reasons for ad irrelevancy vary between blogs and might be something that is to do with your blog design (too many uses of the word ‘blog’ for instance triggers blog ads on virtually any topic) , your topic (some topics are difficult for Google to discern) or some problem at Google’s end (I’ve heard of one or two cases where bloggers have written to Google to ask about irrelevant ads and Google have made some changes to fix it).

CTR can vary seasonaly – for example – many blogs report higher CTR on weekends (but lower impressions). Some find that holidays or the lead up to them (eg Christmas) can produce large variations in CTR. These variations can vary from blog to blog considerably.

CTR varies between reader types – It is well documented that blogs and websites with high levels of loyal (repeat) readers tend to get lower CTR than sites with higher levels of search engine traffic. As I’ve written recently – this is because loyal readers can become blind to your ad positioning and design and because SE readers tend to be searching for some specific information that they often want to take some action over – this puts them in a hightened information gathering mode and more likely to click on an ad. Another reader type variation is readers being referred from other sites. I find that these sorts of readers can go either way depending upon what the site referring is but generally CTR is lower. For instance when I get a link from Slashdot I generally expect a pretty low CTR as such a link brings masses of traffic from some pretty tech savy readers who in general don’t click ads much.

CTR varies between ad design and placement options – one massive factor for CTR is the positioning and design of your ads. For example if you put your Adsense ad at the bottom of your page where no one will see it you’ll get a very low CTR – whereas if you position it in a spot where it will be seen it will get clicked on more. The same goes for the colors you choose – select the right colors and you’ll improve CTR.

CTR varies depending upon other site design factors – you can impact the CTR of your ads by using other visual factors. You need to be careful here not to be seen to be encouraging your readers to click ads – but many Adsense publishers have found subtle ways to draw their readers eyes to ad using images, shapes, color etc. One good tip that doesn’t break Adsense TOS is to use spaces around your ads. Studies have shown that ads tend to perform better on a white background with white space around it.

CTR varies depending upon other options to ‘click’ – if your page has no outbound links except for your Adsense ads – the chances are increased that those will be the links that people click on. I was chatting with one person last week who has such a site. He is able to drive traffic to pages on his site with useful content but no other outbound links so that when his readers finish reading his content they either close the browser, hit ‘back’ or click an ad. His CTR was higher on these pages than on others. Of course there are downsides of this approach as his blog is very insular and not interlinked which means SEO is difficult for him. Decluttering your blog can increase CTR.

So there you have some of the reasons why CTR can vary so much. I guess the question remains of ‘what is a good CTR in Adsense?’

Really the only way to answer that question having covered everything that we have just examined is to say that a good CTR will vary from blog to blog.

I’ve seen blogs that have done everything that they can to increase CTR and are still under 1% while have seen others that get into double figures. I suspect that most bloggers fall somewhere in between that and would fit into the 2%-5% range.

Feel free to add your own experiences of CTR (don’t share specifics or you run the risk of getting into trouble with Google) in comments below.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. craig says: 04/19/2008 at 8:08 pm

    ctr is one thing, but for me the amount of revenue generated per click is more relevant. i have a CTR of around 1.5% which is fine, but those clicks on average generate about 1.20$ each. my blog is concerned with education and distance learning – which is a highly competitive field as far as advertising is concerned. i know because when i tried to run an adwords campaign myself, getting below 2.50$ per click was nigh on impossible. i have pretty much given up on that idea now, let other people pay the money and i’ll take the adsense revenue thank-you very much, and instead i’ll just concentrate on content i have a way to go, but if i could get up to 70-100 clicks per day we’re in the realms of making a living.

    i’d be interested in finding out what other people are making per click.

  2. I was going to several above reviews, there are many ways one can increase CTR %, but to make a living using CTR is hard, very few smart indivisual do that and they are keeping the art of increasing their CTR close to heart ( don’t want to share )

  3. Sherry says: 05/22/2008 at 8:32 am

    CRT for many has taken a dive with some changes in Adsense over the past few months (less clickable area plus those arrows on the ads (you don’t get anything for ads clicked if someone clicks on the arrow, then clicks on an ad in the next set of ads)). However, did something happen today? Because it seems the CTR is way up, like it used to be. I checked on some of my sites and some of those arrows are gone!

  4. I don’t know about anyone else but I’d kill just for a 1% CTR!

  5. Same. I’m at .5%. :(

  6. my CTR is 9% and on some days 12% is this ok?? what you people think? with this i have recived 3 payments.

  7. two of my sites is getting a average CTR of 7.3% for the last two years

  8. Hey man, great article!

    On the CTR issue – increasing ctr is deffinetly based on a handfull of facturs, BUT there are some basic rules i find great to follow:
    1) Blend your ads with your site design
    2) Big Square ad format converts best (as well as the smaller ones)
    3) Additionaly a link-ad without border does the trick (might be great for archive pages, btw)
    4) Keyword-rich pages for maximum relevance
    5) Luck (you can’t argue it has something to do with luck, lol)

    Question – does anyone has a magic formula of increasing the eCPM?

  9. “CRT for many has taken a dive with some changes in.. ” Sherry, you mean CTR.

    Well my site has a reasonable traffic but low CTR so any Ideas to help me out to increase CTR…

  10. Sherry says: 09/08/2008 at 3:27 am

    Yep, I meant CTR. It seems to have stabilized, but is down about 40% – 50% from last year. Blogs, at least for me, tend to be the worst, as do pages with more general info.

  11. All those who are being verbose with 17-20% ctr will find that the same will reduce as the blog becomes old. A high CTR is generally with low traffic. Generally 5% CTR is good,anything above 10% raises red flag with Goolge. I feel a specific targetted blog like broadband speed test may have more CTR due to the quest of people to have faster speed. Regards

  12. CTR is very important to me. I am currently recieving a 2% click through rate and that really hurts my earnings. Ad placement is very important on how good your CTR is. Recently I changed my ad placement which make my CTR on my business blog go from 1% to the now 2%.


  13. Hey this is a great post. And great comments too!
    I think that if you get higher than 10% CTR Google may well get a red flag, but I wouldnt have thought it would mean a ban. If your site is to Google Adsense TOS then I wouldnt have thought you would have anything to worry about. I guess the red flag would prompt them to take a look at your site and make sure its all above board?

    After all if the CTR is high and it is coverting for the advertisers, then Google is happy, advertisers are happy and the publisher are happy!!!!

  14. To attain higher CTR go for adsense large rectangle and make sure your ad colours match those of the text and background colour of yourweb page. If you are running a blog, then place ads towards the end right before comments or related pages section.

  15. good post… I always thought Google will banned users with high CTR..

    How does Google calculate revenue in relation to the CTR and Impression and other factors?

  16. I typically get around 1%, and I’m reasonably happy with that. Congrats to those doing better. Thanks for all the good info in this post. I am still kinda new to this.

  17. I’ve noticed that search engine traffic seems to do better. People tend to be in more of a “search” or buying mode and will alot of times click through.

    Also place your ads where people will see them.

  18. Website manager says: 04/19/2009 at 2:01 pm


    Congratulations to those of you who are getting high CTR – but I’m sure that I am not alone in getting no more than 0.5%

  19. Man, am I glad I read this post…

    I’ve been experiencing higher than 3% but was told that 25-30% can be attained. One suggestion that I would have for Adsense people, even though I’m relativley new to this is:

    – inner linking. It’s good for SEO and makes your visitors read more pages per visit, increasing your chances of getting clicks.

    – get more links and traffic to your inner pages. If you look at most blogs the front page has a lot of white space and the ads only take up a small portion of the whole front page, reducing CTR when visitors land on the front page their first visit. When you get traffic to individual urls those pages tend to do better, CTR-wise because the ads are better integrated with the content.

    – high CTR-tested themes. There are some blog themes that are tested and proven to have good CTRs but like anything else, things change, so if you’re using Adsense blog themes, you might need to use different themes, or..

    – plugins. Use plugins that randomize the ad placements so it appears like those ads are part of the content and not affected by “banner blindness”.

    – colors. I diagree with the commenter who said the ad colors must match the theme of the site and the text or whatever, because the only thing that can be said with any degree of certainty is what tweaking works for each individual site.

    – the niches. Like you said, some niches are good for Adsense “clickers”, and some are not. I have heard the younger crowds who are not too tech-savvy click away like crazy, but I think that reults in lower click payouts as a result.

    – Placements. You just have to tweak your placements, add more whitepsace before the content maybe or try different ad blocks.

    I’ve had little success with adbrite as they appear to promise more than they deliver.

    Just my thoughts here, been doing 6 adsense sites now for 2 1/2 months and my CTR is nowhere near 30% but above 3% (hope its ok to say that) .

    Thanks for the post, it was encouraging to me actually.

    Daniel Mcgonagle

  20. My CTR is so low that I’m wondering if a hacker is somehow stealing my clicks. I’m doing everything right and have been trying for almost a year. The CTR is less than 1/10 the expected range.

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