US, Europe and Worldwide display ad clickthrough rates statistics summary
I've put this compilation together to help marketers and students studying interactive marketing create direct response conversion models for digital marketing campaigns.
When I originally compiled these stats from different sources, social media ads were only in their infancy, but they are now established as a mainstay of online advertising. More recently I have added a comparison of CTRs for Facebook and Twitter and paid search rates (AdWords or SEM) at the end of post.
If you're looking to get more from your display advertising we have an Expert members guide to retargeting with display ads
Display Ad CTR benchmarks - April 2016 update
The best source for current benchmarks is Doubleclick (the display advertising arm of Google) who have this regularly updated interactive Display Benchmarking tool as part of Think Insights. You can select by country, sector and ad format to create your own benchmarks. Here's our summary of current global Ad CTRs:
1. Overall Display Ad CTRs
Across all ad formats and placements Ad CTR is 0.17%
So, this is less than 2 clicks per 1000 impressions showing the difficulty of driving response from online ads
2. Rich media CTRs
Rich media Ad CTR is 0.1%
Across standard and rich media, this shows an ad clickthrough rate of 0.14% which is more realistic estimate if ads will be placed on the fold. For Smart Insights advertisers we offer an MPU in the right sidebar above-the-fold and this has a typical CTR of 0.15 to 0.22% depending on the creative and content asset on offer.
3. Ad CTR trends
This chart, also from Google-Doubleclick shows that the 0.1% CTR has been an average for some time although the recent fluctuations cast doubt on the data accuracy.
For anyone researching trends in display advertising in different countries or sectors you could try the Doubleclick Ad Research page - these reports don't tend to be updated so frequently though.
4. Comparison of display, search and social ads CTRs
This Q3 2015 compilation of average online media clickthrough rates from Marin is useful for modelling the response of digital media for top-level budgets.
Facebook ad clickthrough example
These Facebook Ad CTRs for different types of ad formats are taken from a test run by Smart Insights contributor Marie Page. They show that by using targeting in Facebook it's possible to improve on general Internet ad clickthough rates.
Variation in online ad clickthrough rates by country
This is historic data for reference - for the latest use the interactive Display benchmarking tool.
|Region||Overall Click-through Rate Percent (%)|
|United Arab Emirates||0.18%|
Source: DoubleClick for Advertisers, a cross section of regions, January and December 2009, Published July 2010
For latest data see Doubleclick Display Ad Benchmark Statistics.
Variation in online ad Clickthrough Rates by ad format
Ad clickthrough rate naturally varies according to placement (position on screen) and ad format (shape and size). The traditional full-banner performs very poorly compared to skyscrapers, the ubiquitous medium rectange and the newer large rectangle format.
Variation in online ad Interaction Rates by ad format
Interaction rats differ for different ad formats in a similar way to ad formats.
Interaction rate definition:
Interactions are defined as the user does one or more of the following:
- Mouses over the ad for 1 continuous second
- Clicks an Exit link
- Makes the ad display in Full Screen mode
- Expands the ad
Wordstream have posted an interesting analysis comparing Facebook and Twitter. It's generally known that Facebook has low CTRs because ad units are not that prominent - it's similar with LinkedIn. Although this is changing as more prominent ad units are created, particularly on mobile.
You can read the full analysis from Larry Kim on Facebook vs Twitter CTRs on Wordstream which includes a wider analysis of the importance of their advertising including mobile.
Pay-per-click or SEM clickthrough rates (e.g. AdWords and Bing)
These statistics are courtesy of the Adobe Digital Index reports, published annually for their customers across 200 billion site visits.
Of course, these figures are averages and in reality, CTRs tend to be higher for brand searches.
The challenge of online ad viewabililty
Viewability is another issue for advertisers to consider when evaluating online ad effectiveness as measured by clickthrough rates. Ad blocking also has an impact since ad blockers have increased in popularity across countries and demographics, accounting for 35% of ads in some countries.
Viewability refers to the percentage of ads in a campaign or on a publisher site that are potentially available for clickthrough. Just 44.9% of all ads are clickable according to Google-published viewability data since ads may be below the fold and users do not scroll to see them. This varies across publisher and content category.
Given the impact of viewability and ad blocking on online ad clickthrough rates you can see that there are moves in the industry to only charge for viewable ads, which with increasing options for native advertising will potentially improve the effectiveness of ads.