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When Is CTR Too High?

Should I be concerned about increasing CTR?

1:34 am on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I've had this one site for several years and have been running AdSense on it for almost as long as AdSense existed. The click-through rate has always been well under 1%.

Lately, though, this started to change. I realize that taking "daily" CT rates into consideration is not a good idea, but some days the CTR just seems suspiciously high to me (occasionally approaching and even exceeding 10%). May be AdSense targeting got a whole lot better over the past month - I mean, that would be just great! But what if somebody is trying to click me out of the program?

Question for the experts: when should I ring the alarm bells and notify Google? Is 5%-7% ok as a click-through rate? 10%? 15%? Where is the line for "too good to be true"?

Please share your experience / opinion...

1:46 am on July 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We have sent word to Google 4 times over the last 4 years when we see a dramatic spike in ctr, we consider dramatic to be 300% above our 60 day moving average. It cant hurt to let them know that you are on the up and up.
2:23 am on July 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I remember reading that Google considers 20% and up CTR to be somewhat suspicious at that point. Of course, 20% on low traffic is usually more acceptable than 20% on big traffic (and big money).

You're the expert of your own site. Have ads changed? is there a new comer with deep pockets? If not, it's always safer to notify Google, I guess, it does show you're not part of it. I just wouldn't bother them for $2 though.

3:35 am on July 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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My experience is that your CTR is too high if the EPC takes a dive. If it holds steady then imo it's safe to assume people are clicking for the right reasons.

Happy happy joy joy. :)-Y *clink* Y-:)

CTR is too high if your eCPM and EPC take a dive. That may mean that people are clicking for the wrong reasons (for example, overly aggressive blending can be a reason- very likely not yours, for a high CTR followed by a significant decline in EPC/eCPM ).

What can cause your CTR to rise? Better quality of site visitors is one reason. Some visitors are better for your CTR than others. This can depend on the keywords people are reaching your site for.

What else? Seasonal fluctuations. One of my sites dramatically perked up because of summer.

What else? As you mentioned, better targeting.

There are many more reasons for an increase. As long as your EPC holds steady, I would say relax.

8:28 am on July 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It's that "piece of string" question again. Persnally I'd worry if my CTR went below 4% and I'd also worry if it went above 10% That's just my expectations though, every cas is differet.

It all depends on the site and the visitors. Spikes happen though, so I'd say don't panic about one day.

5:45 pm on July 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Where is the line for "too good to be true"?

Some of us have pages which regularly have CTR in the 30+% range, while others have less than 10%. It depends on overall traffic (lower traffic pages tend to have very high CTR rates, in my experience).

So, as the posts above point out, there is no definitive answer. What should concern you are abnormal CTR's, based on your site's performance over several months.


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