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AdWords Click-Through Rate by Average Position and Device

AdWords Click-Through Rate by Average Position and Device

At Forthea, one of our core values is A Drive for Measurable Results. We take pride in finding quantifying the intangible world of marketing. This is an easy mantra to say, but a harder one to live. For a discipline like pay per click (PPC) advertising, we’re blessed with an abundance of raw data, the trick is working that into something tangible.

With this in mind, we did an analysis to better understand the relative click-through rates by ad position and device.

In order to do so, we pulled 90 days of real-world data. Broken down, this is what that data looks like:

  • We only wanted to look at text Ads from Google search campaigns
  • We accessed over 150 campaigns from over 50 accounts
  • We looked at approximately 1 million search impressions
  • Over 10 different industries were included in the sample

Click-Through Rate by Average Position, by Device



  • Position 1 has a whopping 384% higher CTR than position 2
  • Mobile has the highest CTR by device
  • Desktop CTR actually increases at position 3 compared to position 2
  • For Mobile and Tablets, CTR spikes as more pages are scrolled and ads are shown at the top of pages 2 & 3

Key Takeaways & Insights:

  1. If you are having difficulty generating click volume in a competitive auction where there are only a limited number of impressions, you may need to increase your bid and improve your average position. A 3X CTR may be worth an increased CPC if you need to drive more volume.
  2. Even though it appears that Ad Copy may have less to do with CTR than ad position, bear in mind that Google uses relative CTR when calculating Quality Score. This means that your CTR will be judged only against ads bidding on the same keyword at the same ad position. In this regard, well written ad copy is still very important.
  3. CTR for desktop actually improves when going from position 2 to position 3. This could be because the ad is more centrally located within the page, or it could be that the ad is closer to the organic results, either way this looks like a good position to optimize towards for desktop.

For mobile, CTR is better at the top of page 2 compared to the bottom of page 1 as can be seen in the dip in CTR at position 3 for mobile.

If you want to dive deeper into the data, be our guest!

Davis Baker
Davis is the PPC Team Lead at Forthea and a digital advertising veteran of six years. Outside of the office, you can find Davis running, riding his dirt bike, or searching for the perfect cup of coffee (freshly ground and brewed with a French press. Anything less just won't cut it).


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