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Most companies put a great deal of time and effort into their advertising campaigns. After all, you could have the best idea for a service or product in the world - but you're not going to start making a profit until you start getting the right level of exposure. Perhaps the best way to advertise today is online - as more people are browsing the web through their smartphones, laptops, tablets, and desktops than ever before.

However, a problem occurs when you place your banner ad online, and start to notice that people aren't clicking on it as often as they should be. CTR - or click-through rate, is one of the most important metrics that can be measured during an online advertising campaign. The reason for this is that the click-through rate calculates exactly how much your ad is resonating with the people who see it. So what can you do if your click-through rate is lower than you would like?

1.    Make Sure You're Using the Right Keywords

In the world of SEO and online advertising, there are few things more important to your campaign than the keywords that you use. When you're creating a list of words to use in your campaign - make sure that you think about not only which phrases are relevant to your business - but also which phrases users are more likely to search for when they want to take action and convert. For instance, if you run a dog grooming business, then you might think keywords like dog grooming, dog groomer, and dog cleaning are all relevant. However, the keyword "dog grooming" could relate to a search for a groomer just as easily as it relates to an informational query where an individual is searching for the training they need to become a groomer themselves. On the other hand, phrases like "dog grooming company", or "dog grooming service" might provide better results.

Be sure that you think hard about user intent when selecting your keywords as if your ads show up for keywords that have a weak match in regards to intent, your quality score and click-through rate are both likely to suffer.

2.    Write Ads that are Emotional and Compelling

People don't simply click on ads because they're looking for somewhere to spend their money. Customers click through your advertisements because they think that you can solve their problems. Considering that, you should be writing ads that appeal to the things that your customers need, or want - giving them the idea that clicking on your ad will allow an emotional payoff. A lot of advertisements stick to the same boring calls to action, which makes them easy for customers to ignore, but there are ways you can make your ads more clickable. For instance, use strong, bold verbs, include calls to action that outline the benefits for your customer, and write headlines that make people take notice.

In your headlines, ask a question that you know your customer wants the answer to, and in your calls to action make sure that you promote the benefits of your service or product. For instance, try highlighting your incredible testimonials, make prospects imagine using your service, include a bonus offer, or appeal to the constant sense of impatience we all deal with today: "Get an Extra 15% off Now!".

3.    Keep A/B Testing

If you haven't heard of the term A/B testing before - the chances are you're brand new to the world of online marketing. The best advertisers and marketers online today don't simply rely on guesswork and assumptions to make a profit - they use analysis and hard numbers to get the results that they want. Although listening to your customers and getting an insight into what they hope to achieve with your company can be a useful way of delivering an advertisement that appeals directly to your target audience - you can never really predict whether one word is going to perform better than another. The only way to make sure you're getting the most out of your advertisement - is to test it. A/B testing compares the performance of one ad to another, so that you can determine which is the most beneficial to you.

4.    Stop Worrying So Much

Finally, although nobody wants poor click-through rates, try to remember that there are always ways to improve your marketing strategy and get more out of your ads. The end goal for your industry isn't really to gain clicks - it's to create conversions, and your click-through rate should just be one fraction of your overall strategy for success. Remember that if you have an ad with low click-through rates and a high conversion percentage - then you really have nothing at all to worry about.

Topics: Banner Ads, SEO, SEM, A/B Testing, Click Through Rates, CTR

Eric Greener

Written by Eric Greener

Founding partner at ExactDrive and happily married father of four.

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