The click-through rate (CTR) is a key metric for assessing the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. It gives business drivers, chief marketing officers (CMOs), and other stakeholders insight into how many people who see their website in search results or their advertisements are clicking on the link.
Additionally, expected CTR, as well as ad relevance and landing page experience, affect an ad’s Quality Score, which impacts ad rank and cost per click (CPC). However, marketers often overlook or undervalue CTR.
To drive ideal business outcomes, it’s essential to utilize CTR as an actionable key performance indicator (KPI). We’ve put together 11 important click-through rate statistics that any in-house or Fractional CMO should know for 2024.
Let’s get started.
1. The top organic search result in Google has a massive CTR advantage at 45.6% (Source)
While there are many well-known benefits to ranking high in Google, the latest data from Advanced Web Ranking shows a staggering drop in the CTR between the top two results. Far more Google users are clicking on the first result than on the second one.
Based on averages from millions of keywords in organic search results, the top-ranking result in Google has a massive CTR advantage at 45.6%, with the #2 result in a distant second at 12.3%. That’s a 34.2% gap between the top ranking page in the SERPs (search engine results pages) and its closest competitor.
The third result in Google has an average CTR of 7.9%, a much more modest drop. From there we see a consistent but more gradual drop to the eighth position, which has the lowest CTR at 0.8%.
Interestingly, the CTR begins to increase slightly after the eighth result, indicating that as Google users scroll down the page, their eye may skip over several of the search results before settling on the ninth and 10th results at the bottom of the page.
This further demonstrates how critical it is for website owners to prioritize search engine optimization (SEO), and the first step to doing that is investing in high-level SEO services, such as those offered by RiseOpp, that prioritize sustainable and scalable growth.
2. The drama surrounding Elon Musk’s acquisition of X/Twitter had no discernible effect on overall CTR for social media advertising (Source)
In social media advertising, CTR measures the total number of clicks vs. number of impressions. It’s the percentage of users who see an ad and actually click on the link to make a purchase, find more information, visit the advertiser’s website, or perform other desired actions.
From the announcement of Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social media giant in Q2 2022 to the completion of the transition of ownership in Q4 of that year, there was a slight uptick of .02% in CTR for social media advertising.
However, through the platform’s internal shakeups and all other controversy – and despite a modest dip to 1.2% in Q1 2023 – the CTR for social media advertising was exactly the same at the end of Q2 2023 at 1.36% as it was at the beginning of the transition.
This means the percentage of users who saw a social media advertisement and clicked the link was the same in Q2 2022 as it was a year later, even though there was some variation in the quarters between.
This is after a years-long trend in declining ad engagement on X/Twitter, but it’s important to note that the platform’s ad engagement grew 7% from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022, which correlates with Musk’s April 4, 2022, announcement of his intent to purchase the company and may have some causation.
Regardless, social media as a whole has retained advertising potential despite industry upheavals.
3. The average CTR for Google search ads across all industries is 7%, but that doesn’t always correlate to a high conversion rate (Source)
According to an online advertising benchmarks report of more than 20 industries, Google search ads had widely varying click-through rates in 2023 depending on the industry.
Google search ads are sponsored search results that appear above organic search results ranked by the algorithm.
On average, Google users clicked on a paid ad at a rate of 7%. However, industries such as arts and entertainment (16.29%), sports and recreation (11.69%), and travel (10.29%) enjoyed a much higher CTR than industries like furniture (3.49%), shopping, collectibles, and gifts (2.45%), and apparel, fashion, and jewelry (2.24%).
However, industries with the highest CTRs also had among the lowest average conversion rates. For example, arts and entertainment had an 11.78% CTR with a 3.03% conversion rate, while travel had a 10.03% CTR with a 3.87% conversion rate. This is evidence that convincing a user to click a link doesn’t directly correlate to a sale.
The wide variation across industries shows that businesses who purchase Google Ads or are considering making them part of their marketing strategy should not only pay close attention to the average CTR for their industry, but also the average conversion rate. This will allow them to calibrate expectations and craft an outbound strategy that serves search intent and provides good value to readers.
4. Facebook Ads have an average CTR of 1.2%, a lower average than Google Ads but more consistent across all industries (Source)
When a Facebook user clicks on a sponsored post or display ad, that of course doesn’t guarantee that the click will convert to a sale. In most cases it won’t. However, CTR is an important metric to consider when launching any online marketing strategy, and it’s a good KPI to watch when assessing the effectiveness of the campaign.
On Facebook (Meta), ads in the apparel and footwear industries have the highest CTR at 2.06%. Ecommerce places in second place at 1.75%. Meanwhile, the healthcare industry sees the lowest CTR for Facebook Ads at .73%, followed by information technology (IT) and software with the second-lowest CTR at .92%.
Facebook (Meta) operates solely within the social media space, as opposed to Google, which operates in social media and search. This could be a major factor in the lower CTR compared to Google Ads. Nevertheless, social media ads are effective and it’s important to optimize ad formats when targeting specific social audiences instead of the broader search space where more generalized ads could be effective.
5. The median value for organic CTR across all industries is 1.51%, with automotive performing the strongest – but this is less than half the median value from Google Ads (Source)
Organic CTR is the percentage of users who click a link after seeing it organically in search results, versus those who find it through paid advertisements like Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, or Facebook Ads.
While organic CTR varies widely from industry to industry, the median (or middle) value shows 1.51% of Google users clicking on a link that ranked organically in the SERPs. This is based on data from Google Search Console released in a September 2023 report.
By contrast, the median CTR value for Google Ads is 3.89%, with travel and leisure having the highest CTR at 8.24%.
Industries that have the best CTR in organic search include automotive at 3.5%, travel and leisure at 2.58%, and food and real estate, which are tied at 2.12%. At the lower end of the scale is software-as-a-service (SaaS), which is in a three-way tie with IT and software and healthcare at a median value of 1.32%.
While it may not be surprising that sponsored search results get more clicks, organic search has respectable CTR numbers, emphasizing the importance of optimizing for organic search, such as though RiseOpp’s proprietary Heavy SEO.
6. With a median value of only .68%, LinkedIn Ads have the lowest average CTR of any platform with paid ads (Source)
As we’ve discussed, high CTR does not always correlate to conversions – in fact, in many cases they can seem to have no connection at all. However, CTR is an important metric to consider when evaluating a digital marketing strategy. For example, if you have a high CTR but low conversion rate, you may pay more for those clicks than you earn through sales, depending on your pay-per-click (PPC) fee.
That said, data shows that LinkedIn averages the lowest CTR of any online platform where businesses can purchase ads, at .68%. This means LinkedIn users are clicking on paid advertisements at a lower rate per impression than ads on Google, Facebook, and other platforms.
For example, Google Ads have a median CTR value of 3.89%, and Facebook Ads have a median CTR value of 1.2%. LinkedIn comes out as the weakest platform to have your ad discovered and clicked on.
However, some industries perform better than others when it comes to impressions vs. clicks. For example, LinkedIn Ads may be more attractive for businesses in the construction industry, as the median CTR value is .86%. Likewise, healthcare and manufacturing tend to perform better, with both tied at .81%.
This is significant, considering ads for the healthcare industry tend to perform the lowest on other platforms. As we discussed earlier in this article, healthcare ads have a median CTR value of .73% in Facebook Ads and 1.32% in organic search. This makes LinkedIn stronger than Facebook for ads in the healthcare industry in terms of CTR.
When determining whether a LinkedIn advertising campaign will have a worthwhile ROI, it’s important to consider your target audience, the product or service you’re selling, as well as the industry average CTR.
7. The average CTR for email is 1.33% across all industries (Source)
It’s interesting that more than one third (34.46%) of marketing emails are opened by their recipients, but little more than one out of 100 recipients (1.33%) actually click on a link within the email. The link may allow the recipient to purchase a product, subscribe to a service, or direct them to a landing page or other information.
The relatively high open rate can be attributed to the fact that many recipients will have signed up to be on the mailing list, and will either be expecting the emails or at least inclined to open them based on their interest in the industry or history with the company.
Additionally, email marketing campaigns across all industries have a 10.09% bounce rate. Bounce rate refers to the number of people who didn’t receive your promotional emails due to an email server rejecting them.
Email campaigns from faith-based organizations see the highest click-through rate at 2.43%, with an open rate of 44.11% and a bounce rate of 9.59%. Nonprofit membership organizations (1.96%) and child care services (1.84%) also have among the highest CTRs. Industries with the lowest CTR include dining and food services (0.65%) and personal care services (0.69%).
Similar to how the click-through rate does not always correlate to the conversion rate, it’s apparent that the same is true for open rates and click-through rates. When developing a marketing strategy that involves email, it’s important to consider your industry average and weigh ROI.
To improve the rate of recipients clicking on a link, you can optimize emails for CTR. To do this, keep marketing emails short and to the point, personalize the subject line and template for each recipient, keep the tone conversational, and make the call-to-action (CTA) obvious and easily clickable.
8. A healthy CTR for YouTube channels and content is between 2% and 10% (Source)
For the median segment of channels and videos that represent 50% of the content on YouTube, video uploaders can expect between 2 and 10 clicks out of 100 impressions, according to official information on the YouTube help page.
This means that for a typical, established YouTube channel or video, if 2-10% of users who see a thumbnail or link click on it, that’s a healthy CTR – with some caveats.
Various factors can cause videos and channels to have a wider range of click-through rates. For example, newer videos and channels that are less than a week old or have fewer than 100 views can experience a wider CTR range than the 50% of channels and videos mentioned in the stat.
YouTube doesn’t count all impressions toward this percentage. Traffic coming from outside of YouTube may not count as impressions, resulting in a video often having more views than registered impressions.
Understanding the average click-through rate for YouTube is vital video performance benchmarking information for growing channels who want to build a visual-first presence and create high-quality content. This allows video uploaders to gauge the health of their channel, determine which types of videos have higher click-through rates (or lower), indicate any need for improvement, and inform future strategy.
9. Search advertising CTR decreased by nearly half over 5 years (Source)
This means that between 2017 and 2022, the percentage of users who saw paid advertising in search and clicked on the link fell by nearly 50%. Platforms included in the study include Google, Amazon, Instacart, Walmart, and others.
Search advertising is an important driver of engagement for companies of all sizes. However, data from the Skai platform shows the effectiveness of search advertising may be decreasing. As we’ve mentioned, a good click-through rate does not always correlate with a conversion rate, but it’s still important for marketers to prepare for potentially lower CTR.
From 2017 to 2022, the click-through rate for paid advertising saw a slow decline with only minor deviation across the yearly quarters. While CTR for search advertising has remained relatively stable since Q2 2020, the downward trend is likely to continue, and this is something marketers should consider when assessing strategies and developing new campaigns.
10. CTR for top ranking results for informational queries dropped in 2023, while it increased for commercial queries and location queries (Source)
Informational queries are searches that typically begin with words like “how,” “what,” and “where,” and commercial queries usually include words like “price”, “pay”, and “buy.”
From Q1 2022 to Q1 2023, the click-through rate for informational queries ranked first in the SERPs decreased 2.86% on desktop and 3.53% on mobile. However, the CTR for commercial queries ranked in the top three results rose 4.76% on mobile – 1.74% for the top result, 1.82% for the second result, and 1.19% for the third.
Based on these insights, businesses and marketers should look toward optimizing for the Google 3-Pack, which is the first three search results that Google has deemed closest and most relevant to the user.
11. Median CTR for Amazon Sponsored Display ads is .25% (Source)
Amazon Sponsored Display ads allow you to promote your business, products, and services on Amazon and sites they own and operate, like Twitch and IMDb – even if you don’t sell on the platform. Depending on the desired outcome of your campaign, Sponsored Display ads appear on Amazon product detail pages, the homepage, or third party destinations.
Determining the click-through rate for your Sponsored Display ads is important for determining the effectiveness of your campaign, which can inform future strategy and resource allocation.
According to the most recent information from Statista, the median click-through rate for Amazon Sponsored Display ads in the US was .25% in 2022. This is an increase from .21% in 2021 and .19% in 2020.
This upward trend shows no sign of slowing, so it’s important for marketers who incorporate Amazon Sponsored Display ads in their campaigns to identify if the CTR is falling below the median. If so, marketers should alter their strategy to increase the rate of impressions vs. users clicking on their ads.
What these click-through rate statistics show us about improving marketing ROI
From these 10 click-through rate statistics, we see that brands and marketing agencies should:
- Optimize search ads, display ads, sponsored social media posts, emails, and other marketing material specifically for CTR according to the relevant industry.
- Consider which platforms and channels have the best CTR for the industry.
- Remember that a good CTR does not always correlate with a high conversion rate.
- Keep an eye on ever-changing CTR statistics to better plan and execute ad campaigns.
Additionally, companies should invest in SEO content marketing to make sure their content is reaching the right people and is optimized for clicks and conversions.
How RiseOpp can help
At RiseOpp, our mission is to help businesses reach their full potential. Our Fractional CMO services are tailor-made to address the gap between marketing investment and leads generated.
With a RiseOpp Fractional CMO, you can automate effective marketing and create a greater potential for innovation.