Click-through rate

A deep insight into a central key figure of online marketing

The click-through rate, or CTR for short, is one of the most essential metrics in the field of online marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). It measures the ratio of users who click on a specific advertisement or link compared to the total number of users who have seen this advertisement or link. This key figure is an important indicator of the effectiveness of online advertising campaigns and helps marketing experts to evaluate and optimize the success of their measures.

Definition and meaning of CTR

The CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions and then multiplying by 100 to obtain a percentage. For example:

Formula for calculating the click-through rate (CTR).

If an ad is displayed 1000 times (impressions) and clicked 50 times, the CTR is:

Formula for calculating the click-through rate (CTR) 5%

A high CTR indicates that the ad or link is relevant and appealing to the target group, while a low CTR indicates that the ad or offer is not effective or that the target group has not been selected correctly.

The role of CTR in various online marketing areas

  1. Search engine advertising (SEA):
    • Google Ads: A high CTR in Google Ads can lead to the quality of the ads being rated as high, which in turn improves ad placements and lowers the cost per click (CPC).
    • Bing Ads: Similar to Google Ads, a high CTR also influences ad placement and costs.
  2. Display advertising:
    • Banner ads: The CTR is a decisive factor for evaluating the effectiveness of banner ads. A higher CTR shows that the design and placement of the ad are well chosen.
  3. Email marketing:
    • Newsletter: The CTR measures how many recipients click on links in the email. A high CTR indicates relevant content and attractive subject lines.

Factors that influence the CTR

  1. Relevance of the ad: The content of the ad must be tailored to the interests and needs of the target group.
  2. Attractive design: Visually appealing and well-designed ads attract more attention.
  3. Placement of the ad: Ads that are placed in prominent positions generally achieve higher click-through rates.
  4. Call-to-action (CTA): A clear and convincing CTA can motivate users to click.
  5. Targeting: Precise targeting ensures that the ads are shown to the right people, which improves the CTR.

CTR in the SEO context

The CTR is also of great importance in the SEO sector. Search engines such as Google use the CTR as an indicator of the relevance and quality of a website in relation to certain search terms. A higher CTR can therefore help to improve the ranking of a website in the search results.

Examples of CTR optimization in SEO:

  • Meta tags: Optimized titles and meta descriptions can increase the click-through rate.
  • Structured data: Rich snippets can increase the visibility and attractiveness of search results.
  • User experience (UX): A user-friendly website attracts more clicks.

Important supplementary metrics

Although CTR is an important metric, it should always be considered in the context of other metrics to get a complete picture of campaign performance:

  • Conversion rate: This metric measures how many of the clicks lead to actual conversions, e.g. purchases or registrations.
  • Bounce rate: This shows how many users leave the website immediately after clicking on it.
  • Engagement metrics: Time on page, page views per session and interactions provide further insights into user behavior after the click.


The click-through rate (CTR) is a key performance indicator in online marketing that provides information about the effectiveness of ads, email campaigns and SEO measures. A high CTR indicates that the content is relevant and appealing, while a low CTR indicates that there is a need for optimization. By continuously monitoring and adjusting campaign strategies, companies can improve their CTR, which ultimately leads to higher conversion rates, better search engine rankings and overall more successful online marketing.