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Google Ads – Click Through Rate (CTR) Benchmarks 2019

Google ads


We have now got access to some published data, tracking Google Ads Click-Through Rates (CTR’s) across a fairly wide spectrum of industries. The published data has been derived from a sample size of around 15,000 Google Ads Campaigns spread over a wide range of verticals/industries.

This gives us valuable insights into critical indices such as click-through rates across specific industries. One may well argue that this is a rather limited sample size and may not be an accurate measure. But it certainly serves as a basic indicator to help you evaluate the efficacy of your Google Ads

Google Ads – Average Click-Through Rates in 2018

Thanks to Wordstream Google Ads data, we now have the average click-through rates (CTR’s), as tracked by them, across a wide range of industries.

And how is click-through rate calculated? Very simple. CTR is the number of clicks your ad receives, divided by the number of times your ad is shown.


 click through rate -CTR

Before we take a closer look at the data, I will give a brief note on some of the basic terminology used.

Google search ads:
Are the ads that appear above or below the organic search results, when you search for anything on Google.

Google display ads:
Display ads are those that appear on the Google display network. Which are essentially millions of independent websites that have agreed to display Google ads.


Key Learnings:

  • Across industries we are getting an average click-through rate of 3.17% for ads on search and 0.46% for display ads.
  • This disparity between search and display ads click-through rate is quite normal. Which is why ads on the Google display network are much cheaper than the more dominant Google search driven ads.
  • But it is the industry-specific data which is quite revealing. Dating & Personals have registered the highest CTR of 6.15%.
  • Travel & Hospitality, Advocacy, Auto and Real estate feature in the 2 nd rung, with CTR’s ranging between 3.7% to 4.7%.
  • An important learning is that the industries registering the lowest CTR’s are Technology, B2B and Consumer Services. This clearly tells us that in these sectors the customer spends considerable time researching alternatives, getting feedback and then making an informed decision.
  • I suspect that in business transformation driven, high investment sectors in technology like Cloud Migration, OS/DB Migration, the click-through rates will be much lower, given the complexity of the decision making process.


The Way Forward: 

  • Gone are the days when one can just pump in money into Google Ads and rake in the big bucks. Over the next few years we will see cost per click rates shooting up across verticals.
  • So the way forward is to look at a more holistic digital marketing campaign for your products/services.
  • And yes, the proven, time-tested methods such as SEO and social media marketing will continue to have primacy. But I would also like to emphasize the growing importance of a few other digital initiatives.
    1. Content Marketing:
      Over the next few years, content marketing may well become the single most important digital marketing activity across products/markets. A well planned and implemented content marketing strategy will keep you miles ahead of your competition.
    2. Influencer Marketing:
      What exactly is influencer marketing? Today, reviews, testimonials and expertspeak are extremely important decision influencers across categories. So it is vital that we invest time and effort in systematically building up an influencer network and extending its online salience through social media. Gradually you will start seeing your conversion rates shooting up and driving business to your website.

Digital marketing trends that we have observed over the last year clearly indicate that conventional digital marketing services like SEO and social media marketing while necessary, will not suffice. Today the smart marketer looks at other areas like content marketing, forum evangelization, voice search optimization… constant ideation, innovation is what separates the winner from the rest of the pack.

Author Bio:
Chandra Shekar is the Co-Founder of Rainmaker Interactive, a full-service digital marketing agency, based in Bangalore, India. An MBA in Marketing, Chandra has over 30 years of experience in Marketing, Advertising and since 2006 in Digital Marketing. What drives Chandra is the constant ideating and innovating that the science and art of digital marketing demands if you truly want to build great brands.

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