CTR 101: Everything You Need to Know About Improving Your Click-Through Rate

This is your crash course on everything you need to know about Amazon’s Click-Through Rates, including why it matters, the seven things that can improve your CTR, and even why high CTR isn’t always the best.

Knowing the 101 can drive more relevant shoppers to click on your ads, view your products,  potentially purchase your products, and maybe even become lifelong, dedicated fans of your brand. 

There are no pop quizzes or midterms; the real test lies in the success of your Amazon campaigns. You want better CTR on your Amazon ads, and we want that for you too. Put on your studying spectacles, sharpen your pencils, and get ready to take notes.

Kid President wants your CTR to improve too. GIF via Giphy.

Why does CTR matter?

CTR is the ratio of shoppers who click on your ad divided by your total impressions. Each of your campaigns and keywords have their own CTR, and each one is an indicator of how successful your ad relevance and ad placement is.

CTR Formula
To know why CTR matters, it's useful to know what CTR is.

A high CTR sends more traffic to your listing and therefore offers more opportunities for sales. It suggests how strong your product offering is (price, value, trustworthiness, etc).

Having a high CTR can result in having a lower cost per click, or CPC. Proactively taking measures to increase your CTR on Amazon can help increase sales and profits.

Ad Relevance

Low CTR means either your product offering isn’t compelling to the consumer or it’s not relevant to what they seek. In the case of the latter, your search term report can help you.

Scan your search term report for search terms with less than 0.2-0.3% CTR because they’re likely irrelevant. 

Maybe you sell deodorant but you receive clicks for cologne-type searches. Chances are those search terms have low CTR and should be blocked to ensure your ad is relevant to the customers.

Good negative keyword, NKW, candidates will increase your overall CTR which could help ad rank. 

Keep in mind that those search terms with low CTR are still getting clicks and are therefore driving up spend, probably without  getting many conversions. This is bad. This is dumb. Eliminate this. 

Relevant side note: Don’t assume high CTR is relevant because the data could be “low confidence,” meaning 1 impression + 1 click = 100% CTR.

CTR vs. CVR

CTR is all about clicks, and CVR, or conversion rates, are all about how many of those clicks lead to sales.

Conversion Rate Formula
CTR and CVR are not same-same.

Here’s an example. Let’s compare two products. Let’s say both products are shampoo. One product is 12 ounces and costs $10, and the other product is larger at 24 ounces and costs $18. 

The smaller product might have a higher CTR because it’s listed at a more competitive price, but the larger product will have a higher CVR because it offers more bang for its buck. 

Pushing the spending on the product with the highest CTR improves your relevance to each shopper’s search query, which could lead to an increase in conversion, which then allows you to see the direct impact of ads on your overall business.

If you want to boost your CVR, learn what impacts your CTR.

What impacts CTR

Basically everything the shopper sees at first glance impacts CTR. To improve your CTR, you’ll want to optimize all of the seven following areas:

Seven is the kind of number that sounds like it’s on the verge of being overwhelming, but trust us, this is easy. You can do it!

Image

The first image is the most important.

Your main image should accentuate all your product’s features and show good detail so shoppers aren’t left asking questions. If possible, your image should tell a story and build an emotional connection, just be careful to not let it get too crowded or busy.

Example of a great main image that shows detail, tells a story, and looks professional.

A professional-looking image increases your product’s perceived value and instills confidence in the consumer for your brand’s quality. 

A high quality, descriptive picture also entices buyers to click and learn more about your product.

Title and Text

Your product listing’s text is very valuable, both the title and the product description. The best title and the best product description utilize a combination of thorough keyword research and target audience jargon.

Make sure you’ve done your keyword research homework. Narrowly focused keywords in your product title help your ads match customer searches and can improve CTR. If you know which keywords get high impressions but few clicks, you’ll know which keywords are too generic for your title.

Copywriting 101 is to forget what’s important to you and use the customer’s language in your advertising. Understand your audience. Understand their jargon.

How? Read your reviews. Read your competitor’s reviews. Read your audience.

This is an Empathy Map and it helps you get inside your target customer's head.

Learn their lingo then adopt it as your own into the title and product description.

As for the text of your product description, include concise bullet points and enticing details of the product’s exciting or compelling benefits and features. 

Relevant side note: Don’t worry about putting your brand in your title. If your keywords are branded, they’ll find you. If they’re not branded, people will be more likely to click on your ad when you lead with the keyword.

Number of reviews 

On Amazon, social proof is a big deal. Shoppers might not have a reason to trust you yet, but shoppers trust other shoppers.

How Amazon consumers vibe with each other. GIF via Giphy.

How many reviews a product has is important, and the more you have, the better your CTR will be. 200 reviews looks better than two reviews.

Unfortunately, Amazon banned incentivized reviews a few years ago and they also now allow shoppers to opt out of leaving Seller Feedback. While the pool of potential reviewers is shrinking, it’s as important as ever to have as many reviews as possible to compete with top sellers.

To increase reviews, try implementing a high-conversion follow-up sequence, running sponsored ads, or driving external traffic. This might take a bit of hard work, but it’ll be worth it.

Relevant side note: Your average review score is equally important. 200 five-star reviews and two one-star reviews is better than 200 one-star reviews for hopefully obvious reasons.

FBA vs. FBM

Who wants to pay extra for shipping then wait an extra five to seven days after ordering before receiving their stuff? Uh, most shoppers don’t. 

Over half of Amazon shoppers are Prime shoppers, and Prime shoppers look for the Prime logo. It’s as simple as that. They want fast, free shipping.

This van excites shoppers. Go FBA to improve CTR.

If you’re selling Fulfilled by Merchant, FBM, and are not eligible for Amazon Prime, you’re probably missing out on half of the Amazon consumer population. 

If your listing is just as good as your competitor’s but they offer free two-day Prime shipping and you don’t, that’s a no-brainer for the shopper. 

Additionally, Prime members spend twice as much annually. Maybe you should consider if becoming Fulfilled by Amazon, FBA, is a good move for you. 

Price

Price is a major factor for driving clicks to your listing or for driving clicks away. 

You want your product to be priced competitively and you want a price that will turn a click into a purchase. 

If your product is priced at $20 while every other product on the page is around $10, it’s reasonable to guess that you’ll have fewer clicks than your competitors. Shoppers will wonder if your product is worth the extra money, and maybe it is! If it is, ensure the listing reflects the value.

Conversely, if your product is $5 on the same search result page, you may seem too cheap. That’s not good either.

Find the middle ground. Run split testing to see what works best for you. 

Pro tip: Click and conversion rates vary greatly between ending the price in $.95 and $.99. Play with this variance to see what works for you.

Ad Placement

A key component to optimizing your CTR is to optimize your ad placement. 

The average CTR on Amazon is 0.36%, but that includes all ad placements, the majority of which tend to be Product Pages.

Let’s search for “gummy vitamins.”

Play ad placement I Spy with this gummy vitamins search.

There are four ads on the screen, three sponsored products, and one sponsored brand. If we scroll through the first page, we’ll find eight more sponsored products. This is a total of 12 ads.

If we click on a product we like, we are taken to the Product Details Page where there are two revolving carousels jam-packed with ads, 13 on each carousel, for a grand total of 26 SBA ads.

If we scroll further, we see a third carousel with another 13 ads. That’s 39 sponsored products on this product page and we haven’t even revolved the ads in the carousel! 

This racks up the impression count quickly, which is why the average CTR of 0.36% seems so low.

For product pages, expect a CTR around 0.2-0.4%

For rest of search, CTR tends to be about 0.5%-1%

For top of search, CTR is usually around 2-5% — that’s right! It’s about 10x better than product pages and rest of search. Remember: over 60% of all clicks on Amazon are attributed to the top of the search results page.

Where you place your ads is important to your CTR, so choose wisely.

Badges

Badges make your product look good. They add extra visibility and distinction in a sea of similar products on a page, and there are several badges available.

Some badges require luck to attain, and some require a bit of elbow grease to improve eligibility. Keep reading to learn which you should strive to gain to improve your CTR.

You see badges. The Badger sees bright CTR improvement possibilities.

Best Seller

When a consumer sees a product highlighted with the Best Seller badge, the consumer thinks, “dang, this must be the best product of its kind if everyone else is buying it!” Then the consumer clicks on the product and its CTR improves.

How do you get this badge? Be the best seller.

Sounds overwhelming? Yes. Does it need to be? Eh, maybe not.

Perhaps your product can’t be the best seller in its main category, but perhaps it could be the best seller in a more relevant, niche category. Outselling a top seller in a smaller category improves odds for obtaining the badge. 

Pro tip for increasing sales in your new, niche category: Run ads and offer coupons. These offer a solid boost, even if only temporarily.

Amazon’s Choice

The Amazon’s Choice badge confirms a product’s value to shoppers because shoppers trust Amazon.

Amazon chooses who gets this badge then selects products based on a variety of factors, including ratings and shipping speed.

To be eligible for receiving this badge, you must have a search term based badge already with good CVR for that term, good reviews, competitive pricing, Prime eligibility, and you must have plenty of product in stock.

Coupons 

Shoppers like saving money and they’re more likely to click if the savings are sick. Coupon badges, those sweet green rectangles, are irresistible. Consumers love feeling like they’re getting a deal, and you can– and should– maximize on this.

Coupons are a great way to offer discounts, but they aren’t the only way.

Today’s Deals

Today’s Deals is one of the most visited pages because it offers customers, Amazon, and sellers a win. 

Customers like Today’s Deals because they get a discount. Amazon likes Today’s Deals because they make more sales. Sellers like Today’s Deals because their products get featured to the millions of shoppers who click on the special tab.

Win-win-win!

How everyone and your CTR feels about Today's Deals. GIF via Giphy.

There are three types of Today’s Deals promotions, including Deals of the Day, Savings and Sales, and Lightning Deals.

Deals of the Day refer to single products or packages that remain discounted for the entire 24 hour period. The Deal of the Day is very attention-grabbing because it’s red and bold. It beautifies your first impression.

The Savings and Sales promotion features a selection of all the discounted items and ongoing promotions occurring throughout Amazon at any given time. This selection is handpicked by Amazon.

Lightning Deals refer to listings where a select quantity of product is paired with a limited-time extra-savings coupon, complete with a countdown timer. Lightning Deals are not pay-per-click and sellers do not pay out of pocket; however, this type of deal is not for everyone. 

Lightning Deals are seller-driven and require extra strategizing on the seller’s behalf. If a seller is willing to accept short-term lower profit margins in order to elevate their brand for a more long-term marketing objective, then this course of action is worth considering. 

To check if you’re eligible or to make yourself eligible for Today’s Deals and for more information, please read more from Seller Central here.

When High CTR is Bad

Now that you know all the ways to get a higher CTR, let’s briefly discuss why having a high CTR isn’t always great. 

It is possible to have a high CTR for bad and irrelevant keywords, and since you’re paying for every single click, this could be a downright waste of funds.

I searched for "dog protein" and found this. No! Bad! This is not for puppies!

Say you’re selling protein powder but you’re accidentally bidding on “dog protein powder.” Shoppers looking for dog protein click on your product only to be sorely disappointed. You look at your high CTR with excitement only to compare it to your equally low sales, and then you’re sorely disappointed too.

Irrelevant keywords are unaffordable. Harvest your negative keywords to minimize irrelevant traffic and get the high CTR you want, not the high CTR you don’t want.

CTR 101: Crash Course Completed

Et voila, you’ve completed our crash course in CTR 101!

Warmest congratulations on moving forward in your education! GIF via Giphy.

Take your notes back to your Amazon campaigns and see where there is room for improvement. If you implement each step, you’ll more than likely ace the test that is your real life business.

If you feel well-informed, share this post with all your fellow Amazon seller friends! Friends help friends, you know. Let’s make Amazon a better place one campaign at a time.

Badger out.

Discover Us on our PPC Den Podcast

If you enjoy supplementing your long reads with audio, we cover this topic on our podcast as well. 

Listen to it in the episode below or find us on your favorite streaming platform, like Apple, Google, Spotify, and more!

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 01:24 Why Click Through Rate Matters
  • 04:27 What Impacts CTR
  • 12:40 When High CTR is bad
  • 14:09 Bye

Watch Mike & Stephen on YouTube

If you enjoy supplementing your long reads with video, well, hot diggity dog, you’re in luck! We cover this topic on our YouTube channel too. 

Watch it below and please don’t forget to ‘like’ and subscribe.

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