Stop Obsessing Over CTR

Stop obsessing over CTR. It’s not a priority metric.

I often see advertisers share their success with Meta ads and they use Click Through Rate as the measuring stick. This can be incredibly misleading, and I’m not sure if they’re doing that intentionally.

It’s not that CTR doesn’t matter at all, but by itself it’s meaningless.

First, which CTR are you even talking about? There are three types:

  • CTR for all clicks
  • CTR for links
  • CTR for outbound clicks
CTR Types

After that, are we using the gross CTR or unique CTR? It matters a lot. CTR for all clicks and for links, in particular, can include extra clicks. Unique outbound CTR will most accurately measure the rate of clicks on your ad to your website.

Second, a high CTR doesn’t mean it’s a successful ad. Did anyone complete the purchase after clicking? Or was your ad clickbait? This, of course, is the most important measurement of all. You can have a high CTR with none of these important actions. You can have a low CTR with conversions.

A primary reason for this is that there’s an easy way to artificially inflate CTR. Most advertisers know that this can be accomplished by optimizing for link clicks or landing page views. You’re bound to get what looks like a magical CTR, yet none of those people will do anything when they get to your website.

Misleading CTR

Do yourself a favor and use smarter metrics. Don’t mislead people or your clients by highlighting metrics that can be manipulated.

Focus on what matters most:

  • The number of optimized actions (usually a conversion)
  • Cost per optimized action

Leave the misleading secondary metrics for someone else.