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Dann Albright on July 16, 2019 (last modified on May 4, 2020) • 14 minute read
Campaign costs, conversion costs, acquisition costs: they all start with a click.
The bottom line: clicks are a signal. And marketers, particularly those focused on paid advertising, live by those signals to inform their strategies and deliver increased results at lower costs. It’s no wonder that they obsess over the click-through-rate (CTR) of their Facebook ads.
For our latest report, we asked dozens of marketers and agency professionals to answer two questions: what’s a good CTR for Facebook ads, and how do you improve a subpar CTR?
Here’s everything you need to know about Facebook CTR.
CTR stands for click-through rate and is a Facebook Ads metric that measures the ratio of clicks (how often someone clicked on your ad) to impressions (how many times your ad was viewed on the platform) for individual ads.
Facebook calculates your CTR by dividing an ad’s total number of clicks by its total number of impressions. The result is then multiplied by 100 and expressed as a percentage.
For example, if 1,000 people saw your ad and 100 people clicked on it, Facebook first divides 100 (number of clicks) by 1,000 (number of impressions). The result of that calculation is 0.1, which is then multiplied by 100 to get your CTR percentage: 10%.
Follow these steps to find the CTR for each of your Facebook ads:
1. Log in to Facebook Ads Manager.
2. Open the “Ads” tab.
3. Make sure you’ve selected the time frame you want to view.
4. Open the “Columns” dropdown and select “Performance and Clicks.”
5. Scroll right until you see the column for “CTR (All).”
Editor’s note: Want an easier way to track and monitor your click-through rates for Facebook ads? Grab this free Facebook Ads Campaign Performance dashboard to get a consolidated, shareable view of all of your most important Facebook Ads metrics.
According to a 2017 Facebook ad benchmarks study conducted by Wordstream, the average CTR for Facebook ads across all industries is 0.90%. But the report also showed that CTRs vary by industry, with employment and job training seeing the lowest average CTR at 0.47% and legal seeing the highest at 1.61%.
However, that study is now two years old, and Facebook’s algorithm has changed dramatically since it was conducted. So we wanted to dig a little deeper and see if we could find some more up-to-date statistics.
A more recent study conducted by AdStage shows that the median CTR for Facebook News Feed ads as of Q1 2019 is 1.33%. Keep in mind that average and median are two different ways of calculating the data to form benchmarks, which could explain the difference in the two study’s findings.
But using the data from those two studies, we can say that an average CTR for Facebook ads is probably somewhere between 0.90 and 1.33%.
It’s also worth mentioning that AdStage’s data shows that Facebook ad CTR has been consistently declining over the last year, from a median of 2.36% in Q1 2018 to a median of 1.33% in Q1 2019.
Knowing the average or median CTR for Facebook ads is a decent starting point for benchmarking your performance, but a better question to ask to improve your performance is “What is a good CTR for Facebook ads?”
Based on the results of our study, a good CTR for Facebook ads is between 2-5%.
We asked 30+ marketers to share their average CTRs for their Facebook ads, and more than half reported average CTRs within that range.
However, some respondents reported much higher CTRs: around a fourth reported average CTRs between 5-7%, and nearly 15% reported average CTRs above 10%.
How are some marketers achieving CTRs that are significantly higher than both the average and median rates?
To find out, we asked our respondents to share their best tips for increasing CTR for Facebook ads. Here are the six strategies they recommend.
“Improving your CTR on Facebook is always a combination of strong targeting, good ad copy, and a powerful visual,” says SIXGUN’s David Pagotto. “However, the biggest lever you have available is the targeting options.”
Nate Masterson of Maple Holistics agrees: “One of the most overlooked strategies when it comes to PPC in social media is marketing to a niche. This means more than just marketing to the people who have an interest that approach your niche. Instead, target your marketing to specific types of customers.”
“If your audience is too broad, then the message is typically pretty generic in an effort to accommodate the whole bunch,” says Amy Bishop of Cultivative Marketing. “At that point, it’s watered down and unlikely to have strong appeal.”
But on the other hand, “when your paid media strategist narrows your targeting, you’re speaking to a smaller customer base, and you now have specificity and empathy on your side,” says Evolve Digital Labs’ Ian Revling.
“Any time your creative becomes more specific to an audience, they’re more likely to click your ad, engage with comments, share with friends and family, or click through to a conversion,” Revling says.
Of course, you won’t always know exactly who to target. “You’ll need to do some experimentation,” says Jackie Kossoff, freelance marketer and designer:
“I recently worked on a campaign solely intended to test audiences. By doing some extra research on what interests my client’s target audience had that were not accounted for, I was able to double—and in one case quadruple—the click-through rate from week one to week two.”
And Darrell Evans of Yokel Local recommends changing how you think about your Facebook ads: “I think of every ad like an email sequence. If we have properly built awareness and moved our prospect to engagement, then high click-through rates on Facebook ads should result.”
Related: Want to learn more about audience targeting in Facebook Ads? Learn how to create custom audiences and how to create a lookalike audience, or consider these two ways to create high-converting custom audiences.
“We work with some of our B2B clients to re-engage past users or customers who are 15 times more likely to engage than those who are not yet familiar with your brand and ideas,” says Hire Learning’s Chris Richardson. “They may have fallen off the map, but they start the process further down the sales funnel.”
Bogdan Zlatkov of RollWorks agrees: “The best way to improve your conversions overall is by staying top-of-mind after someone visits your site.”
“According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 91% of marketers who have used retargeting have found it to perform equally or better than search, email, or other display ads. When Oracle Dyn used retargeting ads they got a 4x return on investment and a 28% increase in marketing qualified leads,” Zlatkov says.
“One effective way to improve the click-through rate on your Facebook ads is to incorporate more engaging visuals such as videos, GIFs, or infographics,” says Jackie Tihanyi of Fisher Unitech.
“People are used to seeing the same static images when scrolling through Facebook, so spicing up the newsfeed with some dynamic content increases the probability of a click,” Tihanyi says.
KDG’s Keri Lindenmuth agrees: “The key to a successful ad campaign on Facebook is to make sure your content stands out. This is why videos and images work so well. Users are attracted to strong visuals, especially when they involve other people.”
By adding a compelling video and headline, Jumpstart Go’s Rene Cabrera increased his CTR by 10%.
But not everyone recommends video.
“Surprisingly, we’ve seen that images have better click-through rates than videos for Facebook ad campaigns,” says Jeneeit Jeyakanthan, CEO of Vilampara Media.
Jeyakanthan does note, however, that videos are better for brand-building and engagement.
It’s no surprise that your ad copy makes a difference in CTR. Several of our respondents offered their advice on how to improve your ad copy:
“It all starts with the first sentence,” says James Robinson of Iconic Genius. “It must speak directly to a pain point or desire of your customer. For example, ‘Do you feel pain in your lower back?’ If the person says yes, then they will keep reading because it applies to them.”
“Next, you want to offer a solution to their problem. And then highlight the benefits of how the solution to this problem will improve their life. You want to paint the picture in their mind with words (walk without pain, enjoy playing with the kids again, get back to the gym, etc.).”
“Of course, you also need to have a stellar offer. In most cases, prospects do not see the value in clicking a link. You must have a head-turning, eye-popping offer,” Robinson says.
“The most effective way to increase CTR on Facebook ads is to increase and display social proof on your ads,” says Blake Aylott of RideYellow.
You can build social proof by getting more likes, comments, and shares on your ads.
“A new ad with a winning image/video and copy from testing usually only has few comments/likes/shares to start,” says Kalina Fridrich of Social Fulcrum. “This usually means CTRs are rarely above 0.5% for new Facebook ads.”
“To help boost CTRs, we build social proof by accumulating post engagement. To do this, we use Page Post IDs to link the same ad across various ad sets to ensure the post engagement is cumulative.”
“We also show new ads with low engagement to audiences with the most loyal customers (high LTV, long relationship with the brand) to collect positive comments from current customers.”
“We’ve seen the same ads with 0.5% CTR jump to 0.7%-1% CTR as a result of a rigorous collection of post engagement. We believe ad engagement provides social proof and builds virality,” Fridrich says.
Marketers love testing, especially when there are all sorts of things to test.
“When I say A/B testing, I mean you need to test everything in your ad: copy, targeting, objective, ad types, etc.,” says Growth Hackers’ Jonathan Aufray. “In fact, I recommend to do even more than A/B testing; I’d call it A/B/C testing or A to Z testing.”
“What I recommend is creating at least two identical Facebook ads where you just test one thing at a time (for instance, the copy). Then, once you find the right copy, you create several ads with that copy where you test different targets. Once you find the right target, you can test the ad format, and so on,” Aufray says.
R.J. Weiss of The Ways to Wealth gives similar advice: “For my ads, I rotate weekly through testing audience, image, headline, and text. Then, repeat.”
“The goal each week is to test at least four new ads in each campaign I have running. Often it can be weeks or months until I’m able to improve upon a control. But once I do, the reward means a higher CTR and lower CPC,” Weiss says.
Web Geeks’ Shane Carter emphasizes the importance of specifically testing creative: “Try split-testing ads with different images and text combinations to see which resonate the best with your audience and entice more people to click through to your content.”
And when you’re testing, Bruno Ferrão of My Personal Stylist says you should also be talking to your customers: “Make it personal. Get to know every aspect of the problem that you are willing to solve for them.”
Editor’s note: Databox makes it easy to monitor the results of your A/B tests. Grab this free Facebook Ads Purchase and Leads Breakdown dashboard to see detailed results of the impacts your changes are having on clicks, costs, and conversions.
“Selecting the right audience and aligning that audience with the creative is the most effective way to improve the click-through rates of your campaigns on Facebook,” says Affy Santi of SL Development.
“For example, one of our clients is a brand that sells retro stereos. They have created a brand heavily influenced by hip-hop music culture and a fun lifestyle that interacts with music influencers. From there, they have targeted an audience that fits into that following.”
“We target that following using creative and ad copy that engages that audience. This includes lifestyle and influencer images, as well as fun upbeat ad text,” Santi says.
Pixus’ Stephen Browne says to keep three elements in mind:
“Your first ads will never be perfect—and neither will your 10th or 11th—but the fun and the value is in creating new ads using Facebook’s huge range of tools,” Browne says.
In the end, it’s a lot of work to get everything perfect enough to build a Facebook ad with an above-average CTR, but as Matchnode’s Brian Davidson explains, it’s worth it:
Ready for more Facebook Ads tips? Discover the top five Facebook Ads metrics for measuring ROI, find out if increasing your Facebook advertising budget will increase your sales, get tips on how to reduce your CPM for Facebook ads, or find out which Facebook ad type will perform best for your goals.
Originally published in October 2018, this post has been updated with additional information and more recent data on average click-through rates for Facebook Ads.
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