What Google Adsense Click Through Rate Should I Expect on My Site?

What Google Adsense Click Through Rate Should I Expect on My Site?

I get this question frequently: What is a good click through rate (CTR) for an Adsense website?  Well, to be completely honest, it is against the Google Adsense TOS to explicitly share your CTR with others – but there are some general guidelines that I can share that may be useful.  After all, once you are getting the traffic to your site and lets say are ranking #1 in Google, there are only a few things that you can do to increase your overall earnings.  One of these things is increasing your CTR on your site.

Some of the things that you can do to increase your CTR include:

  • Changing your theme
  • Changing the colors of your existing theme
  • Placing ads in different locations on your site
  • Changing the colors and sizes of your Google Adsense ads
  • Other optimization techniques.

Today, I am not going to cover in depth what you can do to INCREASE you click through rate (that will be covered in the future); however, I am going to hopefully give you an expectation of what kind of CTR you might get.

How to Calculate Click Through Rate

First we need to define what CTR is and how we are going to calculate it so that we are on the same page.  There are 2 different CTRs that you can look at:

1. CTR based on the number of VISITORS to your site

2. CTR based on the number of PAGEVIEWS on your site

The click through rate displayed on your Google Adsense account is based on the number of pageviews you have to your site.  See this image (obviously I removed the data):

So, the Page CTR (as displayed by Google) is probably what most people talk about – but its hard to predict.  I mean if you get 100 visitors to your site, your pageview CTR will vary greatly depending on whether a visitor looks at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or more pages per visit.  With each additional pageview that you get on average, the lower your “Page CTR” will go down.  So, if you are trying to predict what the earnings will be on your site (you can use the calculation I discussed for predicting the value of a keyword here); it can be extremely difficult to predict how many pages a vistor will look at on your site before leaving on average.

Just to be clear, let me give a hypothetical situation.  Lets say that every visitor that comes to your site looks at 2 pages on average (2 pageviews per visitor).  If you get 10,000 pageviews in a month, this means that you actually only had 5,000 individual visitors to your site.  So, if your Google Adsense Page CTR is shown as 5%; this means that your Visitor CTR is actually 10%.  Make sense?

Why Does it Matter?

Why does this difference matter?  Well, I find it much easier to predict how many visitors I might get to my website when looking at a keyword, as opposed to how many pageviews I might get in a month.  So, if I am looking at a keyword that gets 5,000 searches per month and I predict that I can rank #1 in Google for that keyword – then I can predict that I will get around 40-50% percent of the traffic for that keyword.  Lets just say 50% to keep it simple – 2,500 visitors for the month for that keyword if I rank #1 in Google.

I have personally found that a 10% Visitor CTR is actually an okay prediction number.  Sometimes its higher (over 15% is probably not realistic) and sometimes its lower (under 5% is getting pretty low).  Obviously, depending on your keyword and what the market is – you could experience a lower visitor CTR than 5%.  But on average, I can safely say that most of my sites get a Visitor CTR between 5 and 15%; with 10% being the most likely.

Remember, I am not revealing what my Pageview CTR is here as shown by Google Adsense.  So, if I have a visitor CTR of 10% and my site gets 3 pageviews per visitor (hypothetically), then my Page CTR as displayed in Google would be 3.33%.  Or if I get 2 page views per visitor, the CTR would be 5%.  Obviously, I am not going to share what my average page view per site is as to not cross the line with Google’s TOS.

Predicting the Value of Your Keyword Using CTR

So, now you can complete your predictions using my formula discussed here for how valuable a keyword is.  Or you can use a great free keyword calculator that Joe and Justin over Adsense Flippers just came out with.  Essentially, if we continue with the example I provided above with a keyword that gets 5,000 exact match searches per month and we believe that we will rank #1  – we can expect 2,500 visitors per month for that keyword.

If we then predict a 10% CTR for that keyword, we can expect to get 250 clicks per month for that 1 keyword (you obviously should be getting traffic from other Long Tail Keywords).  If this one keyword pays us on average $0.75, then we can expect to make $187.50 from that 1 keyword in a month.  Looks like a good keyword!

Overall, its extremely difficult to predict exactly what your CTR is going to be on your site.  But hopefully this information can at least give you some general guidelines that you can look at and follow.  With time as you build more of your own niche websites, you will be able to more reliably predict what type of Visitor CTR you can expect on your sites.

What thoughts or questions do you have on the subject?  Do these numbers look about right – or have your experienced something completely different?  I would love to hear your comments below!


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51 Comments for this entry

  1. steve wyman says:

    Hi SPencer,

    Another well formed argument with great content.

    Your expeience counts for a lot to us following the same path (but a few steps behind :-))

    Ive seen sites get 3% upto one that only gets 5 hits a day but 40%! Ive been using 10% now for a month or so and its seems a good indicator of potenital income

    thanks

  2. Great analysis, Spencer.

    Our estimates are quite similar to yours here when predicting earnings. With the amount of sites and traffic we both have put together, that seems like a pretty good/fair average.

  3. Steve Eason says:

    Thanks for the information. I really appreciate the link to the estimation tool from Joe and Justin. More so because it pointed me to another resource of guys who are doing the same thing and are successful at it.

    This gives me more information to research and to dig through to continue to improve our processes to success.

    Thanks again!

  4. Todd says:

    Is there a way to view visitor CTR in Adsense? Or is there some other software for this? Maybe I missed something here.

    • Spencer says:

      Adsense gives you the number of clicks your sites gets. Then you just look at the number of visitors your site gets in Analytics or wherever you track that. Then just divide your # of clicks by number of visitors.

  5. Ryan says:

    Great post Spencer!

    I know it’s not the exact subject of the post, but I run a blog that is music related and gets about 18,000 page views a month, but even with side bar ads, the biggest Adsense squares optimized to the best of my ability, my CTR is still extremely low. What gives?

    Any advice?

    I’ve lowered my expectations, and will take this post into account for my next niche site when selecting keywords in the future.

    Cheers,

    Ryan

  6. Quentin Pain says:

    Without breaking G’s TOS (and I think you are very wise in making that VERY clear), a site I ‘may’ have heard of goes from 2% to 22% with an average of 4.24% (and Todd, yes that is all available in your Adsense dashboard > Performance Reports). The great thing is seeing which posts produce the best, and then you have some key data to play around with. All good fun.

  7. brian says:

    I think that is why many adsense oriented themes might have higher CTR when measured on page views instead of visitor count because the themes generally dont have navigation above fold so user is more likely to click than try to find other posts…example a popular CTR theme layout like this one sleepdeeper.net or this one I found nursingassistants.info/ that uses the “Slick” adsense theme.

    That nursing one seems kind of questionable to me for adsense TOS in that google ads in the sidebar are barely recognizable……I really like the ad place though of that nursing site ..i would be really interested in hearing people feedback about ad placement as the examples above both themes remove menu navigation at teh top and have the adsense leaderboard that looks like navigation. I guess prosense theme sort of does that too

    • Spencer says:

      I agree that its possible to cross the line with adsense placement. I can’t remember the exact wording in the adsense tos, but essentially it says if you are trying to fool people into clicking ads – its a bad idea. So, its kinda a gray area here.

    • steve wyman says:

      Hi Brian

      The site you mention are compeltely in TOS no probelems at all.

      If you look at teh nursing one they have all the text correctly set up it clear states Ads by google above the ads and then cna education etc for the next section down.

      The nav bar is perefectly correct also as it has the ads by google.

      What the TOS say is you cant change or hide that ext they have not.

      What i would say is what a stunning job the site owner has done of Blending the ads in pretty ace work on thier part.. I shall take some notes!

      regards

      • brian says:

        yeah i like the theme of that Nursing site….i looked at the source code and found its called that that theme is packaged with an Adsense course(forgot name)….didnt buy it or even look it up but was curious about the theme….i guess that theme is highly tested with adsense and converts.

    • The AdSense team considers CTR Theme “aggressive”, but as Steve says it does not violate the TOS.

      The great thing about CTR Theme is it’s ability to test multiple ad layouts at the same time using placement rotation. This reports back to AdSense using custom channels and eventually will give you great data on which layout works best. If you have a lot of sites and don’t want to make of a ton of individual manual changes, it makes things easy.

      One thing I will say in conclusion — CTR is extremely hard to predict. The niche, the advertisers, the theme you use, and even your ranking (low ranking sites tend to have a lower CTR because visitors are struggling to find the info they need, hence they bounce back to the SERP) have an effect on CTR. In general, do good keyword research and worry more about CTR after you build the site. However, looking at keywords with commercial intent will help.

      Best of luck and great post as usual Spencer!

      • Spencer says:

        Hey Joe, I’ve been meaning to ask about your interaction with the Adsense team. Would love to have a discussion about what they found appropriate, etc – just like you mentioned here with the CTR theme. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

    • JPD says:

      Even though the nursing site is within G TOS, you’d have to think about what might happen if G were to review your account (maybe for a reason that wasn’t even your fault).

      My guess is that although this is within TOS, if your account were being reviewed and this was seen, it might be enough to push them over the edge and suspend your account.

    • RHC says:

      Looks like nursingassistants.info got smacked. Not an ad to be seen.

  8. Quentin Pain says:

    Here’s a thought that no doubt everyone has had and discussed a thousand times…

    The idea of Adsense is that the ads are relevant. The content must be good too. But if the content is good, then why would anyone want to click on an ad? Spencer, what is the magic ingredient that makes someone read the content (and thereby please Google) and then go on to click an Ad rather than search (or any other action) again?

    • Amir says:

      Well from my experience with what you’re saying, that’s why product niches work the best. Because your page is purely content about the product (description, benefits, etc) and the ads will be deals and places to buy the item since you’re not selling the product directly on your site. So they get all the info they need from your site and go to the ads to buy them.

      That’s also why informational niches aren’t as good compared to products. Such as How To sites. They come on the site, get the info they need, and leave.

  9. Neil says:

    Todd, can you get the # of visitors from your site logs and figure it out yourself from the # of clicks that Google provides?

    • Neil says:

      Goodness, 6 more replies in the time it took me to post! There you go, Todd, your question has been answered already!

  10. Jason says:

    Spencer,

    Thanks for this post. I had not thought about the per visitor aspect. Here I was reading your posts thinking, “Man, hypothetically speaking, there’s no way he’s getting that high conversions (allegedly).” After doing the per visit calc, I feel a little more comfortable with my See Tea Argh! (hiding the discussion from G)

  11. Jonny says:

    For my highest traffic site i am getting around 6% CTR, i recently took Adsense off one of my sites as although it gets a lot of traffic the CTR was about 1.3%.

    Would a low CTR on one site in your adsense account effect another? I know i had read somewhere that poor performers can have an effect on your other websites?

    Also a bit off topic but can i ask if you wait a certain amount of time before placing adsense on newer sites? Or just put it straight on?

    Cheers!

    • Spencer says:

      Johnny I don’t have any experience as to whether a lower performing site would effect another site in your same adsense account. Anyone else?

      Also, sometimes I wait a week or so to place adsense, but typically I just put it on right away.

      • I don’t see how a completely different site could affect CTR. Maybe CPC as Google could smart price your entire account because advertisers are complaining about conversions. Very unlikely though.

        We put up our AdSense codes right away as well. No negative issues as of yet — but make sure you have unique content on the page. Blank sites with AdSense are against TOS.

    • Jason says:

      Last week I had a site banned I guess. They called it: Google AdSense ad serving has been disabled to your site. My account is still active. Last month I started two sites. Site A: I posted one page and was playing around with the adsense trying to figure placement with my theme. Moved to Site B and did 4 or 5 pages and focused solely on it.

      Then I back to site A, ordered my first article from Textbroker. Got it back same day and posted. Next day, Wham-O!

      Really my fault. I now know to make sure I have a decent amount of material. Because it takes a a while to get some traction in Google. For future sites, I’m going to launch without adsense. Let it simmer for a couple weeks. Then add the code.

      • Frustrating Jason. Did you take the content off one site completely leaving the site blank but with ads? That’s against TOS and can get AdSense disabled for a particular URL. Make sure there was no questionable material n the content, including pictures. For instance, you have to be very careful with bra sites as the context could be misconstrued.

        • Jason says:

          No, it had content. I actually misspoke on the timing too. I posted a 800+ post on 9/3 and a 600+ post on 9/7. I was playing around with the theme and removed the navigation bar. One of the boiler plate responses was lack of easy navigation on site as well as lack of content. Carelessness on my part.

          Also, the content might have seemed questionable from a non human scan. The site was going to focus on adult birthday parties and the first post was about throwing a Casino themed party. Talking blackjack and craps might have raised some red flags as well. Again carelessness on my part for rolling with that post first.

          The silver lining is that while the main keyword met Spencer’s criteria is at the very, very low end – about 1050 monthly visits and $1.03 CPC. There’s options for this site to try affiliate stuff so that site will be just be my guinea pig.

          As a side note, I do enjoy reading your and Justin’s stuff. Keep it up.

  12. Jim says:

    Yeah 10% ctr sounds about right. However, i think you must make it clear that this is not related directly to page views, as you are misleading many people who come to this site and are fuelling unrealistic targets,

    I have been in this game for quite some time and the 50% figure you are talking about is extremely volatile too, clearly you make your money by selling false dreams to the easily led, shame on you

    • Spencer says:

      Jim I made it abundantly clear in the post that I was not talking about pageviews – this was a MAJOR point of the post – perhaps you missed that.

      Also, the 50% figure is something I have discussed at length. In fact the data is not from me but actually multiple sources have been used to show that a 40 to 42% CTR for the #1 site is normal. This data is quoted on seobook.com, originated from aol leaked data.

      Finally, I’m not “selling false dreams”. I hate people that do that. In fact I don’t sell anything on this blog. I make my money from building websites NOT blogging here. If this blog were gone tomorrow, my income would still be the same. So, while I appreciate the comment, I don’t appreciate your unresearched, negative commentary.

  13. Jim says:

    Hmmm, maybe you should go back and rectify your previous posts then, where it is not in any way made clear. The 40% ctr may have applied years back, but for anything worthwhile ranking for you will never achieve that, below the fold. Anyway, thanks for replying to my comment and not passing it over,

    • Spencer says:

      Jim – We might be talking about 2 different CTRs here. In my previous post I discussed specifically how often a site ranking #1 in Google would get clicked. This CTR according to multiple studies is the 42% I referred to. I also mentioned that some of my sites ranking #1 get 50% of the monthly search traffic for my keyword. Make sense? And this was made abundantly clear in previous posts as here: http://www.nichepursuits.com/search-volume-and-cpc-criteria-of-a-winning-keyword/ and here: http://www.nichepursuits.com/how-to-calculate-projected-traffic-and-earnings-for-a-niche-website/ where I display fancy graphs, link to original sources, and discuss the topic in depth.
      The second CTR which is discussed in this post, is the number of ad clicks you can expect to get on your site. I bring this up because you use 40% ctr and “below the fold” in the same sentence. You would NEVER get 40% CTR on your adsense – especially below the fold.

      So, I just wanted to clarify for you that the stats of 40% of people clicking on your site; is referring to something different than the CTR on your site (# of people clicking your ads).

  14. Jim says:

    i meant that (in my experience and from various affiliates i know)in the serps you will never get 40% ctr for anything worth ranking for, as you will often be below the fold with the ads and shopping results above you. I know the studies you have been referring too and they were conducted some time ago.

    • Spencer says:

      I can tell you from personal experience because I do rank #1 in Google for lots of keywords – and I DO get 40% CTR on my sites. And these are keywords worth ranking for that bring me in $40, $50, or $100 per day. So perhaps you aren’t ranking #1 for many keywords and don’t have much personal experience in this matter; but I can tell you from my experience that this is indeed the case.

  15. Jim says:

    Yeah, almost certainly the case. Have fun selling your longtail pro . . .

  16. Deepak says:

    It was really worth reading the entire discussion.

    Hope one day i will get 40% CTR on my site

  17. Plus Models says:

    Hi Spencer, I heard your podcast with Pat Flynn, thanks for the advice about PLR/spinning and textbroker.com (was it you that talked about textbroker.com?) Anyhoo, I’m really unhappy about my adsense CTR. 325+ unique visitors per day, about 1,000 page views per day, and I get about 4 clicks. My CTR has at best been just under 2%. The site linked to in my name (actually my wife’s site of 12 years, I’m taking it over, that’s the Funemployment plan anyway) it’s a PR3 and gets first page results for the keywords we want. Traffic isn’t the problem, it’s conversion! That’s what I could use some help with. Your thoughts? Thanks very much, Don in Seattle.

  18. Harry says:

    What is the best click numbers on all google ads in a day if .. My website got about 500 visits in a day.. I didn’t know enough about google adsense… So I want to know.. what us best rate for my example.. your information will help me for some analysis.. thanks

  19. Azeem says:

    very good information.Thanx dear.

  20. Vivek Bhatt says:

    Hello Spencer , Just read and now clearly understood Page CTR and its importance. but you have just explained Headlines i guess, because u wanted to say more but Can’t cross Google TOS :p thanks for making this marvelous post. looking forward to read more. thanks

  21. Adnan Shahid says:

    Nice Information Thanks a lot dear for telling in detail.

  22. david says:

    Hi,
    is there a way to predict the price of a click i would get if someone clicks on the add on my site.

    I mean if i choose a keyword at 50usd ppc in search engines, what would be the price of a click on my site for that keyword?

    or what would be the price on content network for that keyword?

    thanks

    david

  23. I have been working with Adsense for more than 6 years . the most important thing in your CTR is your content and your traffic sources .

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