Why It’s Impossible to Project ‘Above Average’ CTRs in Quality Score

By Brad


Quality Score

We’re often asked by advertisers questions such as “I have a 44% CTR, why does Google say my expected CTR is average”.

Now, 44% is high, and that’s for a brand term. However, we’ll see some accounts where non-brand needs at least a 15% CTR to be ‘above average’.

As expected CTR is a major component of quality score, if you’re focused on increasing quality scores, it’s a primary testing metric. Although, I’d argue Conversion per Impression testing accomplishes increasing quality scores and profits. Regardless of your testing metric, understanding expected CTR is important to raising your quality scores.

The below charts graph CTR by Quality Score. Both of the included charts contains keywords that are mostly above average expected CTRs. This is data at the campaign level, so some keywords in the campaign need slightly higher or lower CTRs to hit the ‘above average’ score.

To receive a 9 or 10 for the non-brand; this company needs a 9% CTR.

To receive a 10 for their brand term, they need a 46% CTR.


In fact, for their top terms, for non-brand, this is what they receive:

  • 3.5% CTR: below average
  • 8.5% CTR: average
  • 14.5% CTR: above average

For their brand terms, this is what they receive:

  • 6% CTR: below average
  • 15% CTR: average
  • 46% CTR: Above average

Now, if we turn to a different company, for their brand terms, they only need to hit a 15% CTR to be above average.


As CTRs vary so much by brand, industry, and commercial user intent – it is impossible to say what CTR you need to hit to be considered above average for any keyword.

The best you can do is identify areas of low quality scores and then test the ads to try to increase your CTRs.

If you’re looking for an easy way to identify and increase your quality scores; take a look at the quality score data within Adalysis.

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