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This is one of the most common ‘it depends’ question where the answer ‘it depends’ is reality. I’ll try to explain why that question can not be answered without additional definition.

Consider these two words : ‘TV’ or ‘Samsung 63 1080P Plasma HDTV FP-T6374′. Which is more specific?

Consider these two words: ‘mysql database optimization’ or ‘mysql database hosting’. Which is more commercial?

Specificity and commercial intent are two major factors when considering how high your CTR should be. Yahoo has even offered a commercial intent search engine with Mindset. Microsoft adLabs has a nice commercial intent tool.

For the keyword ‘TV’, someone could be looking for:

  • TV guide
  • TV repair
  • How to choose a HDTV
  • How far should my new HDTV be from my couch
  • What is the best plasma TV

For the keyword ‘Samsung 63 1080P Plasma HDTV FP-T6374′, someone could be looking for:

  • Product guide
  • Where to buy that specific TV
  • What accessories go with that TV

We can quickly see that the more specific keyword is more focused around that specific product; where ‘TV’ is a very undefined query.

If you received a 2% CTR for the keyword ‘TV’ you could be doing exceptionally well (especially if it’s broadmatched). If you have the top position for ‘Samsung 63 1080P Plasma HDTV FP-T6374′; you may see a CTR well above 10%.

While CTR is a major component for quality score; (QS factors chart)  CTR is normalized by position (i.e. Google examines expected CTR of position 1 vs 2 vs 3 etc and looks at your CTR as it relates to your keywords position – you are not penalized for not being in the top ad position).

It is more important for you to test your ads so you can improve on your own results than worry about trying to benchmark your own keywords.

So, what is a good CTR?

A keyword with a very high commercial intent and is very specific – 10%-20% from ad position 1 (or 5% from position 5 on the side) can be seen.

A keyword with a low commercial intent and is non-specific might gather less than a 1% CTR.

In both the above instances, you could have a nice CTR from a quality score standpoint.

So, what is a good CTR?

There isn’t a good answer – it really does just depend.

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