Click-through Rate (CTR) Basics

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Click-through Rate (CTR) Basics

What is a Click-through Rate?

Click-through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who click on a particular link, ad or website after viewing it. It is a vital metric used in digital marketing and advertising, as it determines the effectiveness of a campaign or website in driving traffic and engaging users. The higher the CTR, the more successful a campaign or website is in generating interest and driving traffic to the intended destination.

Think of it this way: CTR is like a litmus test for how appealing your website or campaign is to potential visitors. A high CTR indicates that your website or ad is resonating with users and that they are intrigued enough to click through and learn more. Conversely, a low CTR suggests that something about your campaign or website is failing to grab people’s attention or pique their interest.

It is important to understand that each industry faces its own set of challenges when it comes to CTR rates. A CTR is a key performance indicator (or statistic), but does not define the entire success of a campaign or website as a whole. An increase of customers and revenue is the best measure for quality and success.

Here are some challenges across the industries we work most frequently with:

  • FINANCE: Alternative Investments

The finance and alternative investments industry is one of the most competitive in terms of CTR – with an average of 1%. In this category, nearly every bank is trying to one-up the other with creative ad campaigns and click-worthy headlines. This makes competition high and CTR low, and it goes even further down due to the complex and professional nature of the content, a lack of trust in the banking sector and a lack of perceived urgency among consumers.


The health and wellness industry focuses more on offering quality information and solutions to clients rather than advertisements. This limits the level of engagement, thereby, reducing the CTR rate. However, alternative medicine in particular has an average CTR of 1.73% – a reflection of a growing interest in natural healing methods.

  • AGRICULTURE: Chemicals, Pesticides, Produce, Food Production, Paper and Forest products

CTR rates in agriculture vary, with sub-sectors such as produce being higher than others due to the broad appeal of fresh produce to a wide range of consumers. On the other hand, paper and forest products such as timber, pulp and paper are very low and the challenge in this industry lies in finding new and innovative ways to market these products and their environmental effects.

  • AVIATION: Airlines, Space, Defense and Cargo

The aviation industry is a mix, with airlines (1.91%) struggling to stand out amidst fierce competition, while space and defense companies (3.41%) often perform better due to public interest and government funding which allow for higher CTR rates based on budget alone. 


An often overlooked field, but the government administration and relations industry typically experiences a spike in CTR rates during election seasons. Likewise, other sub-sectors such as tourism councils and business improvement districts look at other key performance indicators such as number of jobs created, leads generated, tourist visits and general population growth and unemployment rates as better economic indicators.

  • EDUCATION: Higher Education Institutions, Universities, Museums and Libraries

The education industry has a steady but low CTR rate, which does not signal failure of campaigns but rather that education ads target students and educational institutions, which do not actively engage with ads from the start.

  • ART

The art industry is similar to education, but slightly higher CTR rates (1.66%) due to captivating and unique visuals.

  • METALS & MACHINERY: Mining Metals, Industrial Equipment and Automation

Metals and machinery have low CTR rates – despite the importance of automation and industrial equipment in our daily lives. While some consumers may have a need for machinery in their daily lives, the majority of people are not actively seeking out this type of product. As a result, ads and promotions in this space may not receive the same level of engagement or interest as those in more mainstream sectors like fashion or food.

  • SERVICES: Janitorial, HVAC, Logistics, Import/Export Customs, Security and Investigations, Package and Freight Delivery

The services industry is similar to agriculture, with some sub-sectors such as HVAC, janitorial and logistics companies seeing higher CTR rates than package and freight delivery due to their popularity, however, the overall industry still sees a low CTR rate due to mundane offerings and over exposure.

  • REAL ESTATE: Building Materials, Construction, Ship Building, Railroads and Hotels

The real estate industry sees modest CTR rates (1.5%), with building materials and construction companies having more success than their hotel and railroad counterparts. On the commercial end, real estate is similar to finance with high competition, a low level of urgency by potential buyers and the complex decision-making process of acquiring a property.


The hospitality industry sees a CTR rate of 2.18% and relies on immersive experiences and personal connections to maintain its customer base. They also have a higher CTR rate due to urgency created by limited stock availability and sale discounts. The inclusion of captivating product images and an easy-to-use user interface encourages users to engage more as well.


Life sciences have a dedicated following, with medical advancements and scientific breakthroughs captivating readers across the globe. Similar to the space and defense industry, life sciences see a 3% CTR rate due to the nature of breakthrough inventions being of interest to the public.

  • RENEWABLE ENERGY: Minerals, Oil and Gas, Plastics and Ocean

The renewable energy industry is on the rise, with the promise of a greener future and innovative solutions. With climate change sparking interest in the minerals, oil, gas, and plastics industry, the curiosity and uncertainty of the future of our planet increases CTR rates.

Each industry faces its own set of challenges when it comes to CTR rates, but understanding these challenges is a key element in being able to create an effective marketing and advertising campaign. 

Higher urgency and more visually captivating ads lead to a higher CTR rate, while complex markets can see a lower rate of engagement. Understanding these industry variations can help businesses make more informed decisions in their advertising strategies. By tweaking ad copy, adjusting design elements, or testing different landing pages, you can work to improve your CTR and maximize the impact of your campaigns.

CTR rates truly depend on the type of industry, audience, and content presented. By having a unique strategy and approach, companies can increase their CTR rates, connect with their audience and build a loyal customer base.