AdwordsYou want to increase your Adwords click-through rates – and I don’t blame you.

Whilst there are some things to be cautious about when it comes to  maximising pay-per-click CTRs, there are all the obvious benefits: higher Quality Scores, more clicks, more traffic, more conversions and more sales.

That’s why I’m going to share with you 150 of the most effective ways to increase Adwords CTR – all tried and tested through making millions of pounds and dollars in Adwords-based revenue for clients.

That’s right: 150. There really are that many factors which have an influence. Some of these are direct tips, whilst others are split-test suggestions which can, in many cases, see a CTR boost.

Let’s get stuck right in, shall we?


We’ll start with the most important. ALWAYS keep testing. Any ad group should have at least two adverts at any one time where you’re testing them against each other to find the ad with the best CTR. When you have a winner, pause the loser and then create a new advert to test against the winner. Rinse and repeat.

Test title case

Title Case Can Grab More Attention Than Lower Case, especially in the headlines.

Insert numbers

Numbers stand out and are effective at drawing the eye towards your advert. Try prices, statistics and figures. If you don’t have such numbers available, even try testing the inclusion of the years you’ve been established. Example: “15 years experience” or “Est. 2002”.

Insert percentages

Like numbers, percentages work well to grab attention. Example: “Increases sales by 42%”

Talk money

People find money interesting (no surprise there). If your service/product has been proven to increase income by a specific amount, tell them. Again, it draws the eye well.

Take advantage of expanded text ads

Adwords have introduced expanded text ads which give you TWO headlines, more versatile display URLs and more body text. If your ads are still in the old format, create new ads and split-test the newer, larger versions.

Use full stops

Periods control the users reading. Test them within copy to cut text up into smaller, more digestible sentences. Also use them at the end of your ad copy to help prevent users flowing through to the next ad or organic snippet.

Ask a question

Questions grab users and make them think. One of the oldest in the book is “Looking for this #####?” or “Want to buy a #######?”

Include the search terms in the ad copy

When content within your ad matches what the user is searching for, these words will be displayed in bold. Not only is this vital for a high ad relevancy score, but it can help make your ad more visually striking to increase click-through rates.

Use keywords in the display URL

Remember expanded text ads? Google are now much more relaxed about what you include in your display URL. Always insert a keyword which not only stands out, but also helps to make the target page itself more appealing and relevant.

Test the keyword at the start of the ad copy

The eye will generally scan the first part and the last part of any small copy snippet, so try testing your target keyword at the very beginning of your PPC advert.

Test the keyword at the end

When you’ve tested your keyword at the beginning, test it at the end too. This alone would be a useful split-test.

Insert a call-to-action

Want the user to do something? Tell them. The traditional “click here” has lost its impact for obvious reasons, but it can work if it’s used within a more effective sentence. Example: “If you want to increase your sales, click here”. Other CTA examples include “Buy here”, “Get a quote here”, “Download here”, “Sign-up now” etc.

Bid more

Perhaps the most obvious on the list, but it must be said. You can always increase your CTR simply by increasing your bids, as this will usually increase the position of your advert and make it more prominent near the top of the search engine result page. Always keep an eye on average position to see how well you’re competing in this regard.

Adjust bids based on schedule

Go into your dimensions tab to view statistics based on days of the week, hour of the day and so on. If you notice poor conversions during certain times, reduce the bids for these periods to free up some of your budget to increase bids during more effective times during the week.

Adjust bids based on device

The above can be applied to device usage as well. Click segment and then choose “Device” to see how your campaigns are performing on computers, mobiles and tablets. If the statistics of one particular device type are poor, reduce the bids slightly so you can push more money into bids on effective devices (and whilst you’re doing this, find and fix the reasons for the poor device performance).

Use specific numbers

If you include numbers in your adverts, such as performance improvements, quantity of sales etc, never round them up or down. Specific numbers are always more believable and are generally better at drawing attention to increase CTR.

Be creative with punctuation

Test different uses of commas, periods, hyphens and dashes to break up the content of your advert into smaller snippets. Commas are especially useful at slowing down the user’s reading speed so they can fully absorb what you have to say. Just remember to keep it readable and coherent.

Look at your competitors’ ads

If you look at your adverts alongside your competitors’, and they largely say the same things, how will you stand out? Always look at what you’re competing above and below you in the ad positions as a basis for differentiating yourself.

Add a phone number extension

Even if you’d rather people click your ad instead of calling you, adding a phone number extension is another way of increasing the overall size of your advert to help it stand out more. Plus, phone extensions provide click-able “Call” buttons when users search with their smartphones.

Use Sitelinks

Click the ad extensions tab, go to “Sitelink extensions” and then add a set for each campaign or ad group. Include varying keywords as the link anchor text which may draw additional attention to your adverts. Remember, these sitelinks can all be pointed to the same URL, including the main URL of your advert. You can use these without the risk of sending users in 4 different directions if you would prefer not to. If you don’t mind exactly which URL they visit, some good ideas include testimonial pages, “Why choose us?” pages and “Get a quote”/contact pages. As always, test different strategies.

Add callouts

Callout extensions (in the ad extensions tab) are little text snippets where you can display additional features, USPs and benefits alongside your main advert text. Always use this to full effect and segment them by campaign or ad group to keep them relevant.

Utilise structured snippets

Structured snippets involve a small list of points based on a pre-selected type. At the time of writing, the types are: Amenities, brands, courses, degree programs, destinations, featured hotels, insurance coverage, models, neighborhoods, service catalogs, shows, styles and types. If you find one which fits in well with the product or service you’re using, be sure to add it.

Include automatic seller ratings

Sign up for a service like Trustpilot, Feefo or any other independent review platform. Once you have enough reviews (at least 150) and a high enough score (at least 3.5/5), Google may start displaying a seller star rating directly on your advert. This can provide a HUGE click-through rate boost – especially if your competitors don’t have them.

Improve landing page experience

Increase Google’s rating of the landing page experience within your Adwords URLs, and this will help to improve your Quality Score. If it does improve, you’ll achieve higher ad positions with lower bids to put your adverts in more prominent locations on the search engine result page (SERP).

Increase ad relevancy

As above. By making your adverts more relevant to your keywords, Quality Score can increase your ad positions without spending more on clicks (thereby giving you a higher CTR). To do this, keep campaigns and ad groups tightly organised to each topic, and be sure to include your target keywords within the headline and ad copy.

Test unusual words

Some words just stand out more than others – especially if a user isn’t expecting them. One of the oldest tricks in the book for this is the use of the word “Killer”. For example: “Killer copywriting”. This word has been over-used to death now (no pun intended), but there are plenty of other words out there which you can brainstorm to draw more attention to your Adwords ads. Think bold, exciting, descriptive and unique. Grab a thesaurus, if necessary.

Refer to the user

Less WE, more YOU“. Don’t talk too much about yourself in the ad copy. Talk about the person reading the advert. People will always find it more interesting that way. For example, instead of “We sell these widgets”, say “You can buy these widgets”.

Imply benefits

If your product, service or site will give the user a certain benefit, then tell them. Think about what the user wants and then tell them that, by clicking your PPC advert, they can receive the benefits they’re looking for.

Challenge the user

Make them think and entice them to prove you right or wrong. A classic example of this is “You won’t believe our prices”.

Test case variations

To increase Adwords CTR, the content doesn’t necessarily have to be all lower case or all Title Case. Use a mixture to make certain words more prominent. For example, “Looking for a custom Furniture Set? Buy it here with Free Delivery”.

Use your guarantees

If you offer any guarantees, such as money-back promises, “No fix, no fee” or the offer to beat any other price, be sure to test the mentions of these within your ad copy.

Add a countdown timer

See Google’s breakdown of real-time updates in adverts. Adding time sensitivity can always help to boost Adwords CTR if applicable

Provide a solution

Don’t just sell the product in your ad. Sell the SOLUTION it provides. After all, that’s what the user actually wants to purchase.

Use symbols

The usual punctuation marks aside, there are other symbols you can split-test. One fine example of this is the ® symbol next to a brand name within your advert. It might not seem like much, but in many cases it give your advert another unique aspect which differentiates it from the other Adwords adverts around it. Just remember that some symbols aren’t allowed, so be sure to check the guidelines.

Build negative keywords

Head into the keywords tab, click “Search Terms” and then sort by impressions. You may find less relevant search terms which have high impressions but very low CTRs. By adding these as negative keywords, you can exclude your advert from appearing for these terms to prevent them pulling your average click-through rate down. Just make sure they aren’t search terms which provide a source of sales, as at the end of the day, that’s the most important factor of all.

Segment your ad groups/campaigns

Keep them tightly focused, so the keywords will trigger adverts which are highly relevant to the search term, and then lead to a landing page which is highly relevant as well. By splitting up long keyword lists into smaller, concentrated campaigns/ad groups, you’re going to always deliver more relevant adverts for specific audiences which will help to increase CTR.

Test price usage

Including prices in your ad copy can be particularly effective at increasing the click-through rate if they’re much cheaper compared to your competitors. However, if your prices are a bit closer, displaying them can be detrimental. The key is understanding your audience and knowing whether they already have an idea of what’s cheap and what isn’t before they carry out their search. If they are expecting a price to pay, and yours is lower, it can draw more attention to your advert. On the other hand, if they don’t know what they would expect to pay, it can be beneficial to leave the price out so they click out of curiosity. It’s one of those factors which really has to be split-tested to know for sure, as the sales conversion rate plays an important part here.

Be topical

Tie your adverts into particular holidays or events which are popular at the time. For example, an e-commerce fashion retailer could display a set of adverts near Christmas which are focused on promoting Christmas gifts.

Offer a freebie

Everyone loves free stuff. Although free is harder to sell than you might expect, it can be beneficial to CTRs if you offer some kind of freebie to entice users. This could be a downloadable PDF, a free trial, or even a free consultation/quote.

Use dynamic keyword insertion

This is where Google will attempt to take the keyword the user has searched for and then insert it into the advert headline when it’s displayed, thereby making it a lot more relevant to individual searchers. For example, let’s say you inserted {KeyWord:Marketing} into the advert, with ‘marketing’ as a broad keyword. If a search for “online marketing” triggered your ad, then the advert would display to the user with the headline “online marketing”. The same would happen if they searched for “digital marketing” or “website marketing”. However, if the search term can’t be inserted (as it may be too long), the original “marketing” word would just be used instead. It’s worth experimenting with this to see how well it works for you.

Test the size of your advert

Bigger is better. Well, most of the time anyway. You would naturally assume that the larger the advert is in terms of word and character count, the more effective it will be at drawing attention to increase your CTRs. This is true 95% of the time, but in rare situations, this isn’t always the case. I have first-hand experience of split-testing adverts to find that a shorter, punchier version actually out-performs a much larger advert. This is why it’s always worth split-testing new ads which don’t reach the full character limit.

Insert location keywords

If your business is targeting local audiences, be sure to mention the name of the town, city or area. Carry out tests between inserting these in the headline and body copy.

Use match types

Using broad match instead of phrase or exact match can be one of the culprits of low CTRs. If you use broad match, then your advert will appear when your keyword is included in the search, even if the query contains other unrelated terms. For example, if you use a broad match type for “shoes”, your ad can also appear for:

  • Shoes
  • Red shoes
  • Blue shoes
  • Small shoes
  • How to repair shoes
  • How to clean shoes
  • Shoe size guides
  • I want to sell shoes

This can then cause your average click through rate to tumble because there are lot of visitors looking for something completely different to what your advert is promoting. Instead, use “phrase match” and [exact match]. It will make your advert a lot more relevant to a lot more people who see it to increase CTR. This will undoubtedly increase your sales conversion rate as well for the same reason.

Test ad extensions

Create at least 10 sitelinks and callouts. Google will display a varying mixture of them over time, and by going into the ad extensions tab, you can sort by CTR to see which extensions are drawing in the most traffic. Once you have a confident result, keep the few which are the most effective and discard the rest.

Be current

When you look for information articles on the web, do you give preference to those which are more recent? Sometimes, the same can happen with Adwords ads. Test making yours more current by mentioning the specific month you’re currently in. For example, instead of “Increases business sales by 30%”, try “Increased business sales by 30% in October”. You could even add the year, too. This works for some product/services much better than others, but it’s always worth a test so you know for sure.