Websites With Lower Google Rankings See Higher Ad CTR [Study]

A study from Chitika shows that the lower your position is on the search engine results page, the higher the likelihood that visitors will click on ads on your page. The 10th position sites showed nearly double the click-through rate (CTR) of those sites ranking in first position.

The Chitika SERP/Ad CTR Study

The study was designed for sites that have on-page advertisements as their primary way of making money. While the increase in traffic from a higher position has long been seen, no one has checked on whether ad interaction behaviors change based on the precise SERP point of entry.

As such, Chitika “decided to investigate the correlation between the position of a site on Google’s first page of results and the CTR of ads within the site.” Here’s what they found:


As you can see, the CTR scales up as the position goes down, with first position having under 0.5 percent CTR compared to fifth position’s roughly 0.7 percent and 10th position’s nearly 0.9 percent.

Why would this be the case? User intentions is the simple answer. The more focused a user is on their query, the more likely they are to both choose the top entries and ignore all advertisements. The less focused, the more susceptible they are to ads and the more likely they are to explore further down the search results page.

This means that for publishers who monetize with ads, the approximate value of each position is different than we previously assumed. To show the value with the CTR calculated in, Chitika created this chart:


The chart combines the estimated traffic for each position with the estimated ad success of those positions.

It’s still beyond question that the first position is the most valuable spot. However, for those creating an overall SEO strategy and budget, the altered values of each position will give a good idea of how much value can be gained from each move upward in the results.

Related reading

The evolution of SEO and the shift from point solutions to platform
How AI is powering real-time SEO research Insights and optimization
SEO case study - How Venngage turned search into their primary lead source