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What is a good Click-Through-Rate (CTR) for a Facebook ad?

by Kim Snider - Get free updates of new posts here

Guess what? CTR is irrelevant.

At the end of the day, it is a meaningless stat. Here is why …

Would you rather have a .5% CTR (click-through-rate) on 1000 ad views or a 2% click thru? On the surface, you might think 2%. But the correct answer is … it depends.

What if the .5% clicks converted all the way to the sale at a rate of 20%. And the 2% clicks? None converted. Which would you rather have?

So, on the one hand, CTR is a useless metric. We focus on it because that is what Facebook gives us. The proper metric to focus on, for every ad campaign, (or email or social media campaign, for that matter), is lifetime ROI. You can’t see that number in Facebook or even Google Analytics. I get that number from a third party reporting tool called Wicked Reports.

That said … you probably shouldn’t ignore CTR altogether.

Let’s see what the data tells us …

Nanigans Global Facebook Advertising Benchmark ReportThere are two good sources of data on CTR … Salesforce’s Social Advertising Benchmark Report and Nanigans Global Facebook Advertising Benchmark Report.

A review of both shows us that average CTR has been climbing steadily, quarter-on-quarter, for the last few years, as Facebook comes up with more and more ways to deliver ad content to the right user. The average CTR has gone from .18% in Q1 of 2014 to 1.18 in Q2 of 2015.

But keep in mind these numbers are averages. By definition, some are higher and some are lower and the average is the number in the middle. The data shows these numbers vary widely by industry and I suspect, although there is no data to prove it, by ad type.

So, if we project this trend forward, one might conclude that 2% would be a reasonable goal for an advertiser to shoot for. But be very, very careful with this number.

If, as you should be, you are using Facebook Custom Audiences to target your ads, those ads should be much more relevant than ads to cold traffic. Therefore your CTR should be higher. How high? Hard to say. But probably a good goal would be 3% and above.

Here is the way I would think about CTR …

The best benchmark numbers are not the ones published in some report. Those are across the entire universe of Facebook ads. Not very useful, really.

And they are certainly not the numbers you see people post in Facebook Marketing groups. We all tend to post only the outliers … the numbers from their best campaigns or worst … depending on whether we are gloating or commiserating.

Think of Facebook advertising like a marathon …

Facebook Ad Metrics AnalogyYou are running this marathon with 1000’s of other runners. But you really aren’t competing against them. You are competing against your Personal Best.

Every day you train to beat your best. And over time that number gets better and better. You try different training methods. Some work. Some fail. But the number that is relative to you is not the fastest finisher in the Boston Marathon. it is how did you do against your own historical times.

At the end of the race, you will know where you finished in your category. And that does give you a rough idea how you are doing against everyone else. But that is completely secondary information that is kind of a “nice to know”.

In Facebook advertising, your average CTR is far more important than anyone else’s. And you are trying to constantly drive those numbers up through testing and experimenting. You must remember … every audience is different … even your different audiences. What works for one does not work for the next.

And just like in marathon, if you don’t do the work, you can’t expect to have competitive times and your times are most certainly not magically going to go down.

What do you do?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you pay attention to CTR? What other metrics do you look at to determine if your campaign is successful? Leave them your comments below or on our Facebook Page.

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