Issues with clicks and clickthrough rate

If your clicks and clickthrough rate aren't meeting your expectations, there might be a simple fix. Just choose an issue from the list below to find out how to get your numbers back on track:

Check mark I'm receiving more clicks than impressions on my keywords or ads

This can happen for three reasons:

  • You're looking at reports using the date range "Today." Because impression and click data update at different rates throughout the day, the number of clicks and impressions might not make sense if you compare them against each other.
  • Customers are "comparison shopping" by clicking between several ads. Because browsers typically cache search results pages, Google doesn't record multiple impressions, so the clicks can exceed the impressions.
  • Customers may be clicking more than one link within your ad. You won’t be charged for more than two clicks per ad impression and Adwords filters out any invalid clicks that we detect.

Note

Hitting the back button to return to the search results page doesn't result in a new impression being recorded.

Check mark I'm receiving clicks from outside my targeted region

Google identifies a customer's Internet Protocol (IP) address to determine where that customer is located. We'll then show the customer ads that are targeting her location. To see how your ads are performing by customer location, you can view your geographic performance.

At times, you might notice that you've received clicks from visitors who are outside your targeted region. There are a few possible reasons for this:

Ad showing on location-specific searches

Your ad might appear to a customer with an IP address outside of your targeted area if the customer's search specifies that area. For example, if you're advertising an Italian restaurant and targeting New York, your ad could appear to a customer located in Florida who searches for "New York pizza."

We developed this system for your benefit so you reach as many people as possible who are looking for your goods or services. However, if you find that your clicks aren't producing the results you expected, you can try using the advanced location targeting options to serve your ads to customers likely to be physically located in your target area.

Note that if you only target customers physically located in your target area, any location terms in your keywords must also be within the targeted area. If the terms fall outside your targeted area, your ad won't show on that keyword. For example, if you're targeting customers located in New York, but a customer searches for "Chicago pizza" or "Naples pizza," your ad won't appear for these keywords.

Ad showing on country-specific domain

If you opt for country/territory level location targeting, your ad may show to customers with IP addresses outside of your targeted country if they search on the country-specific Google domain that corresponds with your targeting selection. For example, if your campaign targets France, a customer with a Spanish IP address may see your ad if he searches on Google.fr, which is Google's France-specific domain.

If you don't want your ad showing on a country-specific domain to customers outside of your targeted country, you have two options:

  • Target by physical location: Target the entire country where you'd like your ads to appear and select the advanced targeting option "Target by physical location."
  • Regional or custom targeting: Change your campaign's location targeting from the country/territory option to the regional or customized option. Returning to our previous example, rather than targeting your campaign to the country of France, you can target all the regions in France. You'd be able to reach the same audience, but your ad wouldn't show on Google.fr to customers with IP addresses outside of your selected regions in France.

If you're concerned about receiving clicks outside of your desired region, you may want to exclude certain areas from seeing your ad. Learn how to exclude certain areas in your targeted locations.

Check mark My costs are increasing, but my clicks aren't

This can happen for two reasons:

  • Your Quality Score may be decreasing. You can check your keywords' Quality Scores on the Keywords tab of your AdWords account by placing your mouse cursor over the speech bubble next to any of your keywords. You can see results for all your keywords at once by clicking the Keyword details drop-down button, then selecting Diagnose keywords. Or, to see Quality Scores for all keywords in your account at the same time, add the Quality Score column to your account statistics. Learn how to improve your Quality Score.
  • The costs in your market are increasing. Your competitors might be raising their bids, which means you may have to increase your costs to stay competitive.

Check mark My clickthrough rate is lower than expected

Unhappy with your CTR? Remember that there is no "normal" or "average" clickthrough rate across all advertisers. However, if you feel that your ad isn't performing as well as you'd like, here are some things to consider:

  • Your keywords may be too general. If you find that your CTR is lower than 1% on the Google Search Network for certain keywords, you might want to remove those keywords and add more specific, targeted keywords instead.

Tip

  • It's always a good idea to make sure your ads are specific, relevant, and have a clear call to action.
  • Get more ideas for creating successful text ads.

 

 

  • Your ad position might be low, which means that other ads are appearing above it in the search results. You can add the "Avg. pos." column to the statistics tables on your account tabs to see your average positions at a glance. Learn how to improve your ad position.
  • Click traffic may vary due to seasonal interests or current events. Fluctuations due to promotions or special sales are common. Keywords popular at particular times of the year (such as terms related to major sporting events, for example) will also experience a higher click volume regardless of whether you've made seasonal changes to your account content.
  • If you're running ads on the Display Network, you may find that your CTR is lower than what you're used to on the Search Network. That's because customers on Display Network sites are browsing through information, not searching with keywords. Also, on a busy Display Network page, an ad has to be more competitive to get the attention of a reader than it would on a search page. So it's generally better to consider other measurements like conversions for Display Network ads, and consider your CTR individually for each network.

Check mark I'm concerned about invalid clicks

Invalid clicks are basically clicks that Google doesn't consider "real" clicks, such as clicks made by a robot or automated clicking tools. You can see the number and percentage of clicks that have been classified as invalid and automatically filtered from your account by adding the "Invalid clicks" column on your Campaigns or Dimensions tabs. Don't worry, you aren't charged for these clicks, and they don't affect your account statistics.