Marketing Terms

Clickthrough Rate


The average number of click-throughs per hundred ad impressions, expressed as a percentage.


It is important to distinguish what a click-through rate does and does not measure. The CTR measures what percentage of people clicked on the ad to arrive at the destination site; it does not include the people who failed to click, yet arrived at the site later as a result of seeing the ad.

As such, the CTR may be seen as a measure of the immediate response to an ad, but not the overall response to an ad. The exception involves ads that display no identifiable information about the destination site; in these cases the click rate equals the overall rate.

Merely getting visitors to a site had value when Web site traffic was generally accepted as a measure of success. The trend towards profitability, along with better tracking tools, has resulted in less interest in clickthrough rates and more interest in conversion rates.

A high clickthrough rate does not assure a good conversion rate, and the two rates may even share an inverse relationship. An advertisement geared towards curiosity clicks will result in fewer sales, percentage-wise, than an advertisement geared towards qualified clicks.


How to Use Testing to Optimize Your SERP CTR
SEMrush (August 16, 2018) sponsored

Designing Web Ads Using Click-Through Data (September 2, 2001)

The Beginning of the End of CTR?
ClickZ (July 12, 2001)

Bizarro Web: Life Without a Click-Through Rate
ClickZ (February 13, 2001)

Are Click-Through Rates Really Declining?
ClickZ (January 16, 2001)

Click-Through Rate, R.I.P.
ClickZ (June 26, 2000)

Killing Off the Almighty CTR
ClickZ (January 13, 2000)

The Cure For Declining Click-Throughs
ClickZ (September 14, 1999)

Escaping the Cult of Click-Through
ClickZ (July 26, 1999)

Related Terms

clickthrough, conversion rate

view all terms in the Online Advertising glossary or all terms in the Digital Marketing glossary