16 Speedy Ways To Increase CTR
(Click Through Rate) With Google Ads

Johnathan Dane
Johnathan Dane

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with fresh links and content just for you! 😉
Original Publication Date: June 23, 2013

When you want to increase CTR, it’s important to understand why you’d want to do so. Some advertisers focus solely on increasing their quality score, while others think that a higher CTR simply equals a better ad. You’re wrong… and you’re right.

We know that a higher click-through rate means higher relevancy. And who loves relevancy? Google does.

With your quality score going up, your ad position going up, and more people clicking on your ad, you’re bound to be eating a chicken dinner tonight.

But not so fast.

When trying to increase CTR, don’t lose focus on what’s ultimately the most important thing: Your conversions and conversion rate.

Some ads with higher CTRs won’t have higher conversion rates, so it’s crucial that you test. Clicks aren’t important, it’s the action you want a “clicker” to take that’s important.

And while there are tons of ways to write ads, not all of them will increase CTR.

Here’s a breakdown of 16 super speedy ways to increase CTR for your PPC ads (guaranteed, or I’ll send you a goldfish).

1) Keyword & Ad Relationship

If you have 20-50 keywords that you think have a “sort of” relevant theme going on, then you’re wrong. Having synonyms and acronyms and abbreviations for what you sell in the same ad group won’t do you any good.

If you’re selling “love sofas” and someone types in “love couches” and your ad says “#1 Super Sexy Love Sofas”, then wouldn’t it make more sense for them to click on the ad that reads “Chocolate Dipped Love Couches” instead?

Hell yeah it would!

One, because the actual keyword is in the ad, and two, everyone loves chocolate.


So start putting individual keywords in their own ad groups with their own unique and relevant ads. This will increase CTR and improve your quality scores.

2) Keywords In Your Display URL

This tactic can easily be overlooked, appearing to hold no real value.

On the contrary, it actually can help with CTR.

The display URL is technically part of your ad text, but we often see advertisers either leave it blank, or type in the name of their business. Instead, try adding the keyword you’re writing the ad for (hopefully you’ve taken advantage of the SKAGs structure to make this easier) into the URL.

This doesn’t just add more real estate to your ad — it will also help with the oh-so-important relevancy factor.

3) Countdown Timers

Countdown timers can go a long way in generating a sense of urgency for a click. There is a visible timer counting down the time to the end of the promotion/sale presented on the ad.

The timer is added to the actual ad by adding the snippet “{=”. You’ll see a pop up that populates where you can choose your start and end date for the timer.

Here is an example of the timer in the interface – image source


4) Ad Extensions

You have a multitude of ad extensions to choose from that can take up valuable real estate space on the search engine results page (SERP). Use these to your advantage and your CTR will increase.

Everyone should use sitelinks extensions, and now you can even beef them up with new features. If you only deal locally, add a location extension with your address so people know where you are before they click your ad. And if you accept phone calls, include a call extension with your ads.


5) ü$é øƒ $¥mBøl$

Anytime you can use symbols that are different from the regular ol’ ABCs, you should do it.

These are ®egistered trademarks, ©opyright, (parentheses), exclamation marks!, dollar $ign$, or anything you can use without having your ad disapproved. Try and test different combinations.

6) Negative Keywords

This idea is not only to help increase CTR, but also to stop your wasteful spend on keywords you can’t capitalize on.

Negative keywords are words you add to a specified list to keep searchers who aren’t looking for what you sell from seeing your ad.

An example of this could be if someone types in “love couches in Djibouti” and you know for a fact that you don’t ship love couches to Djibouti, Africa.

Djibouti would then be added as a negative.

Another example would be if someone types in “free love couches craigslist”. You or your PPC agency would then add ‘free’ and ‘craigslist’ as negative keywords since you don’t sell them on Craigslist.

7) First Letter Caps

Which ad looks better?


Remember that you’re writing ads, not your master thesis for dental school.

Correkt Grammur Doesn’t Apply Here!


6) Rhythm

Your ad should have rhythm. And if it can, it should be jammin’.

Putting in too many stops, pauses, and questions can hurt the speed of it being read, and in turn, hurt the potential of the click.

Test out having the first description line related directly to the second description line and make it flow.

And then test it out with stops and pauses.

9) Headline Domination

By putting a simple period at the end of description line 1, you’re able to have that description line share the space with the headline.

This only works without call extensions, so if all of your competitors use call extensions, give this a shot. If nothing else, your ad will look completely different from all the others.

10) Raising Bids

Raising your bid could be the fastest (and costliest) way to increase CTR.

But it may be that one thing you need to do to go from position 11 to position 4. And once you’re there, test out the 13 other ways to boost your click-through rate.

11) Test Ad Copy

It’s not enough to just have one ad per ad group. How will you ever know if there’s a better ad to be written?

Keep around 3-4 ads per ad group and have them compete against each other to increase CTR.

From here you’ll find insights and ideas to continue to create winning ads. Pause the lower performing ones and create variations of the winning ads.

12) Go Off The Deep End

And try some lingo that’s completely out of the ordinary. Be ridiculous.


icecream_hatAnd wear an ice cream hat.

Try something that’s “unmarketing” and “unadvertising” – Make your ad so stupid that you think no one will click on it, and then look at the results.

You’ll be surprised how your ad can become the elephant in the room very quickly if everyone else is following “the rulebook”.


Which ad do you think has a higher CTR?

Spandex, baby. Spandex.

(Could it go any other way?)

13) Look At The Competition

It’s amazing how often we advertisers forget to do this. Have you seen how your ad looks in relation to others?

Or are you just sitting in your cubicle, hunched shoulders typing away furiously with your greasy hockey puck glasses?

Open your eyes! Explore the world!

And for crying out loud, get some inspiration from your competitors. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but damn, don’t be too proud to borrow a good idea here and there.

14) Use Calls To Action

If you’re vague with your ad, what do you think your potential clicker will do? “Ehhhhh…”


In order to have a highly effective ad (one that actually accomplished the action you want a visitor to take), then you should mention that within the ad.

Calls to action like “Buy Now!” – “Learn More” – “Get Free Info” will direct the visitor to click (because an action is desired) and ultimately aid in the conversion rate as well.

15) Your Unique Offer

What separates you from everyone else? Do you offer free trials, or free goldfish?

Test out your USP (unique selling proposition) in different ways. A 14 Day Free Trial might not just be a free trial.

Call it a “2 Week Unpaid Slavery” instead.

(But check with your managers before using that one.)

16) Lastly, Grab a Book

Some of ad writing inspirations come from the weirdest things, but some are more common, like books.

One of my favorite books to use for copywriting and ad copy is: “Words that Sell: More than 6000 Entries to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas”

Click the link to grab yourself a copy! (And thank me in the comments below. :))