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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. I tend to use weekly (or even monthly) averages to gauge the impact of design changes on my site’s CTR. I’ve found it impossible to predict CTR, but here are a few general rules:

    1. CTR increases on weekends, even though visits are lower than during the week. The number of page views per visitor also increases, so these are people who’re seriously browsing with a bit more time on their hands.

    2. “Clever” post titles sometimes have an impact on ad relevence. They also reduce the chances of people finding your post using a search engine. Better to include relevant keywords.

    3. Every once in a while, a post will thoroughly confuse Google. One classic example from my site was a short bit I posted on robots. I suffered through two or three days of industrial assembly robot ads on the main page, and CTR dropped to almost nothing.

    4. Visitors from the “big” gadget sites like Gizmodo & Engadget tend to be inquisitive. They’ll follow interesting links, and often give signifiance CTR. People coming from more discussion-oriented sites (Slashdot, linkfilter) seem to have less patience for ads. They’re more likely to browse content.

    5. My best CTR comes from archive pages. This could be because only really interested readers explore the archives, but I suspect that the ads are much more accurately targeted on those pages because goog has a significant history of click-throughs to tune with.

    This is definitely an interesting topic, Darren. Thanks for bringing it up and I can’t wait to read the comments!

  2. While I agree it is important to keep an eye on CTR, I’d suggest one should be wary about looking at CTR alone. If you’re too good (by whatever means) of getting more users to click on your ad, you may be shooting yourself in the foot if those clickers are not translating into sales for the advertiser.

    If you redesign your blog (or site) and see an increase in your click trend, be sure to keep an eye on the average EPC (earnings per click) trend — if enough clickers are not translating into conversions for the advertiser, you could well see a corresponding drop in the EPC and then you’re back to where you started.

    I’ve found 30, 60 and 90 day trend graphs very handy in analysing changes to CTR and average EPC as they iron out the weekend hiccups etc — they do require a dose of patience though!

    Darren — great resource you have here — for blog and site owners alike — cheers!

  3. Darren: good post – very informative, especially that 2-5% range .. good to know, although with me .. it’s a non-issue.

    James: can you elaborate? on point #5 .. how do you know your CTR is best on archive pages? from your own server statistics? when I go into my adsense, all I can see is the domain and the channel breakdowns.. i would be interested in knowing if it’s possible to see what pages these clicks are coming from – so i can analyze too.

  4. I’ve found that the product or entertainment sites with large numbers of search engine visitors have the highest CTR for me. There is a slope from there all the way down to theoretical or conversation-based sites with repeat visitors where my CTR is basically nothing.

  5. I have a question to add : what is the importance of CTR ?
    Let me explain : I have a blog with adsense running and a fair CTR. I recently added adsense ads to another site where ads are highly irrelevant and very unlikely to generate clicks (community site full of irrelevant comments leading to a high number of referral from search engines on topics that are not dealt with on my site). This second site, obviously and expectedly, makes my overall CTR plummet.

    My question is : could it be that having a low overall CTR would affect the type and quality of the ads displayed on my main site (where ads are relevant, focused, and clicked) ?

    Or is it just some stat that shows ad efficiency, with no further impact ?

  6. With Slashdot, it’s not just ad blindness. A lot of slashdot readers have ad blockers installed and come to your site with no intention of even considering what your advertisers might be selling.

  7. Surely a good CTR is a high CTR. If you focus on a very tight niche targetting a non technical audience ie people who would not know what adsense is then you get a high CTR.

    Traditionally there are many areas that have low CTR such as blogs about blogging, humor (humour) sites etc.

    Of course there are ways to increase CTR, the percentage of which will be dependant on what your sites focus is.

    Any chance of adding a spell checker for this form.

  8. Ahhh… thanks again for your insight, Darren. Good information, as usual.

    Hart, to some extent, and depending on your blogging tool, you can use the channels to differentiate for you and keep track of CTR on your various pages. Also, if you have a good stats package on your site, I suspect you could cobble together some good data from that which might help you out, as well.

    Ozh, I believe that CTR is simply a measure of ad efficiency on your site, which is meant to help you drive better results for yourself and your advertisers. (Not that I’m an expert or anything. I’m still learning, but that is the impression that I get when I read about it.)

  9. Darren,

    A CTR of 2-5% seem incredibly high.

    The average CTR when talking to advertisers is usually 1% from my conversations over the years. That’s for all comers, not specific site though.

    I don’t know of many sites that have a 5% CTR that is sustainable, say for greater than 6 month or a year

    If anyone knows of a handful of sites with a 5% CTR please let me know (if that is possible)

  10. Well… I dunno if it is sustainable, and my number of visitors is very low because my site is only two months old, but I am close to 5% for this month to date. I suspect that, as observed by someone above, that this is because my site is very product oriented and SE driven. So the people that are coming there are looking specifically for what they find there, rather than being led to something else that they “might” be interested in. Also, this may be because until the last several days, I’ve not had any other advertising on my site, other than AdSense. So there was nowhere else to go from there.

    I am experimenting now with adding more affiliate advertising to my site to see how that goes. It will be interesting to see what this does to CTR for me (not to mention revenue). At this point, since my site IS so new, I can experiment at will because I’m not making serious money yet. So trying new things doesn’t hurt if they go horribly, terribly awry. LOL. I suspect that until my traffic picks up, the jury will have to remain out, though. For me, anyway.

  11. DrDel: CTRs above 5% are sustainable on some blogs. I think the key is something Darren already mentions, to have readers that are in “buy mode” and get then targeted ads.

  12. […] Darren at ProBlogger has a great post about the factor that affect CTR. His list of reasons are: […]

  13. HART: When I set up adsense, I configured different channels for my archive pages. I can track direct links, archive browsing, and topic browsing seperately. On average these ads are about twice as effective as my main page. This could be because we have more ad-blind regualrs on the main site, but I suspect people are spending more time reading as well. Besides, once they hit the end of a month of archived posts they’re probably willing to click on to another site.

  14. Thanks Matt & James // seems like a lot of work with the channel creation. I re-created all of my channels recently and re-coded every page I have – to tell me what type of ad or link unit and location of code in my page, so I get channel names like “Ad Unit-Top of Post” .. “Link Unit-Top Left Sidebar” etc. Now, i can tell I am getting about 65% from “ad units-top of post” and the rest is random everywhere else. I’ve installed that Adsense-Deluxe plugin a while back on my PetLvr.com blog. I was thinking of trying something like you say – coding each post with a channel by contributor or by category, to see success of that – but it was still too much work. My blogging time management is overstressed as it is.

    PS: Darren – while I’m here and since it came up again above.. for WordPress, there is a plug-in called Live-Comment-Preview here http://dev.wp-plugins.org/wiki/LiveCommentPreview .. it’s not a spell checker, but it displays what you type as a preview .. it’s worth checking out :)

  15. My blog is about 7 months old. It started out as an opinion blog with a wide array of topics. I still blog on a variety of topics that capture my interest but since July, probably about half of my posts focus on the oil industry.

    In the first 4 months, I experienced an abyssmal CTR with Google Adsense. Then in month 5, just about the time my blog got semi-focused, the CTR increased but still didn’t climb high. In the last two months, I’ve been within Darren’s 2-5% range and September is higher than August.

    Like Matt, I pay considerable attention to SEO, both in terms of how I write my content and my article titles.

    However, as a contrast, I also use Amazon on my site and the click through for it is and has been abyssmal. While I try to target Amazon ads, the results are definitely hit or miss relative to contextual ads and the click through reflects it.

  16. Roaring Tiger – I think that too often people see Adsense ads and advertising for Amazon or other affiliate programs as being the same thing and they handle the ads in the same way.

    Sure you can just whack up some banners or targeted Amazon links and you will make a few sales but if you really want to make money from affiliate advertising you have to look at it from a totally different perspective to Adsense.

    Personally I have to wonder if most bloggers have the patience to really make affiliate advertising work for them.

  17. I personally think that blogs will have low CTR because we write what we want to write, unless you are discipline enough to write every post in a niche topic which will eventually increase the ads relevancy.

    Just to share my 2 cents.

  18. Well written article Darren. I too have some tips on increasing the Adsense CTR

  19. I’ve been getting a rate of betwen 2% – 5% on my blog Myomancy [http://www.Myomancy.com] since I started but I am very focused on a particular market and my traffic is very search engine driven. My Amazon click-through rate is crap. I only keep them because the cover-shots help break up the solid text of the blog.

    My other blog MiceLife [http://www.MiceLife.com] is about my efforts to take my niche blog (Myomancy) and increase traffic and earnings by ten fold. I’m publishing all the stats I’m allowed to from Google plus traffic figures as well as documenting what I’ve been doing to increase traffic.

  20. […] Darren at Problogger.com has an written interesting post about What Is A Good CTR In Adsense in which he discusses a lot of the variables that can effect Adsense click through rates from site to site or page to page of the same site. […]

  21. […] Adsense Tips and News […]

  22. I absolutely agree about the content being of supreme importance if you’re going for CTR. I have two sites currently. One is a “work from home” information site. The other is a techy blog about TiVo, DirecTV and so forth. The “work from home” crowd is far, far more inclined to ad clicking. I thin Darren is right about the tech types being almost completely desensitized to ads of any sort. Some of them are even clever enough to have disabled javascript, so AdSense doesn’t even appear for them.


  23. I absolutely agree about the content being of supreme importance if you’re going for CTR. I have two sites currently. One is a “work from home” information site. The other is a techy blog about TiVo, DirecTV and so forth. The “work from home” crowd is far, far more inclined to ad clicking. I thin Darren is right about the tech types being almost completely desensitized to ads of any sort. Some of them are even clever enough to have disabled javascript, so AdSense doesn’t even appear for them.


  24. I found if you have targeted visitors you can stay above 1% and closer to 3-5%. If you just pay for traffic with no targeting, you’ll stay at 1% or below. Generally, if they get to your site and they are interested in your sites subject, they’ll be interested in it’s ads. If they are just surfing, unless the ad is for something really cool or different, they won’t click an ad.

  25. I have a couple of sites that were never built for adsense. They were built around 1998-1999 and I added adsense last year. It is possible for a site to sustain a CTR of 6%-7%.

    My guess is that the key is having real product that you are trying to sell. The adse (if targeted correctly) will display your competition and will encourage your visitor to compare price (where possible).

    I guess the key is that you need product that you “sort of” want to sell.

  26. […] “What is a Good CTR in Adsense?” … Business Blogging. Case Studies. Chitika eMiniMalls. General. Miscellaneous Blog Tips … I’m publishing all the stats I’m allowed to from Google plus … […]

  27. Hi Guys

    I was going through all your posts regarding what % is considered a good CTR. Believe it or not, i was really surprised reading these posts…why ? Read on…

    First, very briefly about myself. I am a kinda internet marketing newbie ( around 7-8 months old ). I am not a website designer and not a programmer. But i do have basic computer knowledge

    About 6 months back i had made a website, with Adsense as my main source of revenue. My CTR was around 7-8%, and i thought that was terrible. I was new, and didnt know what is a good CTR.

    But after some basic tweaking and playing around with my Ads, i have managed to sustain a CTR of around 18-20%. In September my average CTR was 17.46% and October is currently 19.85% and my Overall CTR uptil now ( around 6 Months ) is 15.12%

    I always felt that this was a bad CTR, but after reading all these posts, i am not feeling that bad after all :P

    I dont have too many visitors to my site ( just about 100 or so in a day ). Thats not much, and not a lot of money. But if i manage to increase my visitors, i guess the income would be worthwhile.


  28. Abhi I don’t believe you. What’s your website?

  29. That’s impossible Abhi.

    If he gave our his URL he’ll be in trouble BA :-)

  30. i totally agree with Abhi,because i made a website two months before.At starting i had hardly some cents a day but after sometimes I started thinking and working on it.Infact I was too much in to this adsense thing.Suddenly with some adjustements my revenue creeped up.Now my CTR is 17%.i was terrified that something is wrong and google will catch me but everything is OK till now.Actually I have made another site to reduce my CTR ,a site where traffic is there and nobody clicks.I am trying to bring my CTR down below 10% which i believe is a safe one.I think if you sit whole day and start thinking thinking thinking abt the whole setup something will come up in ur mind.I am afraid to put my website name in this forum.

  31. neweradsense says: 12/05/2006 at 3:46 pm

    I have two sites setup on adsense, and I have been curious about what an average CTR rate would be. After having adsense setup on 2 totally different sites i’ve been averaging between 6 and 17% CTR. This is approximately what I expected at first with one of the sites being newer and doing some paper marketing (flyers) and word of mouth (No, not telling people to click on ads, just about the site and the info they can find on it, I don’t want to lose my account!)

    I believe that it will decline but I do not expect it to decline too much. I am shooting for an average of 10% but expect a consistent 5-8% and feel that with a mixture of broad content and highly focused content and product, not nonproduct (family, etc.) related content where a user can see an ad of the product that I am talking about is key to maintaining a higher level.

    Here’s an idea my boss has impressed upon me about marketing. If you are advertising a pizza it will appeal to more people and have more results and a higher ROI than if you advertise clutches for cars. If you don’t see the obvious here let me simply say millions of people eat pizza every day, they don’t replace their clutch in their cars.

    I’m sure we all know that key factors of driving traffic, quality content, SEO, etc. is important, I believe a higher CTR is possible than the 1-4% commonly commented here. Go to the adsense page and read about askthebuilder.com, you will see. Good luck to all of you!

    Thanks for listening and the information!

  32. Anthony says: 12/17/2006 at 8:00 am

    I don’t have a hard time believing that 17% is possible, seeing the top example of success, askthebuilder.com, hints at having 7% up to 14% as common numbers.

    I get about 2% and I just started and have done NO tweaking at all.

    I have one main page that would sometimes get 10% on its own..

    This is with no tweaking, so obviously one can get much better.

    I believe I can get it up to 8% for the whole website. I have about 100,000 pages.

    And, OBVIOUSLY, if there are jealous people for those who mentioned 17%, of course they are not going to tell your their websites, as you could just report them to Google for having violated the contract.


  33. i just want to know what is the save CTR % on Adsense is 10 % to 20% is a safe one.plz reply my post.

  34. Kalen says: 02/16/2007 at 6:24 am

    If I have a website with about 1500 page views per month with 0.05% CTR would it be fair to say I’m doing something wrong? To be honest, I’m not sure how many of those page views are internal and development, but there’s got to be a chunk of actual visitors in there. Granted, google ads are all below the fold and I haven’t optimized their layout yet.


  35. ummm…guys …my ctr on my blogs ( 10 different blogs) is never below..75% if you can believe that…i guess my topics are very in demand…the reason i went to this blog is to find out if google will ban me form having a ctr like that…sometimes it goes up to 93%..

  36. Our CTR for content is 2.18%
    Our CTR for search is 6.29%

    I believe that is good, but we are always trying to tweak the site to make it bettter. Alhough ours is very seasonal, and problably wont experience the most growth for a couple years.

  37. one thing is for sure:
    the websites with high traffic form search engines have
    more CTR compared to the other types of traffic..
    becoz the people who comes from search engines are
    actually seriously looking for information.

  38. Nice Article Darren,

    Can anyone tell me how to increase CTR of my blog. I get around 100 hits a day but CTR of less than 5%.



  39. […] compare your rate to other sites because CTR depend on many factors. For more info please read this article […]

  40. From my 2 years experience with Adsense doing a variety of different blogs and websites, anything between 2-5% CTR is on the high side, but nonetheless, nothing that is outrageous.

  41. hey guys!!
    i hav made one big mistake.
    in my first day of adsense…..i got 3.4$ with a CTR of 327.6 %
    what should i do to decrease it ?

  42. Use the large rectangle when selecting the format for your adsense ads. I started with the leaderboard and was getting average results and then I switched to the large rectangle and now have a really high CTR. Also, if you see an irrelevant site on adsense filter it so it won’t appear again. The more sites you filter, the more relevant ads will appear.

  43. Tanveer says: 11/13/2007 at 8:01 am

    Hello all,
    My average ctr of 22 websites is more than 30%. I just want to know is this a safe ctr or not?
    Please answer me shortly


  44. Tanveer says: 11/13/2007 at 8:03 am

    sorry its only 2 websites and upto 30% ctr. pleas answer…

  45. Interesting post, Darren. Thanks! 2%-5% sounds little. My blogs are between 40%-60%. I don’t know why, I am supprised with my CTR’s. Those blogs are just 3 months old and traffic is about 150 unique visitors a day. I believe my CTR will go down as I get more traffic.

  46. sandeep says: 12/19/2007 at 5:00 pm

    Hi All,

    i am new to this AdSense, is this a safe one,
    is there any procs and cons in this, if they put ads in my website, are there any issue. Please let me know.


  47. Wow, i dont know but 5% sounds a lot for me…

  48. DrDel, you asked about sites that have a CTR higher than 2% – 5%. I have a site, http://www.howzippy.com/ which does better than 5%. Obviously I can’t give exact numbers, but it is reasonably high.

    The site is a broadband speed test, based in Australia. Most of the ads are about tuning network performance, or various broadband deals etc. I guess a lot of people who are checking their broadband speed, may be doing so because they’re not entirely happy with it, and are therefore interested in investigating other options.

    The trouble I have is that the overally traffic is quite low, so a high CTR doesn’t really help me much.


  49. One of my websites is a medical type website which stems from me having trigeminal neuralgia. The CTR on this website is very high (above 20%) because the people that read the page are looking for a solution to their medical problem. The ads that are displayed are highly relevant to them finding a cure to their medical complaint. True the page gets quite a few less visits than a highly trafficked blog, but the traffic is very targeted.


  50. I have a Blog in Portuguese language, some months i have more than 5% CTR, but only when I work for it, when I put the content that my visitors want to see, so good content is good for high CTR, in my case :)

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