CRO vs. CTR: Is Conversion Rate Optimization the New Click-Through Rate?
by Drew Hutchinson
While Click-Through Rate (CTR) has long been considered an essential campaign metric, only recently has Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) become a data point that’s getting more and more attention. So why is CRO occupying a more prominent place on digital marketers’ priority lists nowadays? Is it becoming the new CTR? For that matter, how do these two metrics differ, and is one actually better than the other?
First Things First: Defining CTR and CRO
Before we dive into how CTR and CRO differ, let’s first define exactly what these two metrics are:
CTR refers to the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the total number of impressions, and is usually expressed as a percentage. For example, if your ad receives 10,000 impressions that lead to 100 clicks, you would have a 1% CTR.
Many marketers consider CTR to be one of the best measuring sticks you can use to gauge the effectiveness of your ad copy. In addition, pay-per-click marketers will be quick to tell you that CTR plays a key role in determining your cost-per-click, so in many ways, CTR is a metric that you cannot afford to ignore.
CRO, on the other hand, deals more with what happens after the user has arrived at your landing page. In a nutshell, CRO is all about optimizing the customer’s path to purchase, so that your website can facilitate conversions in the most efficient manner possible.
By improving your CRO, you’re basically increasing the percentage of website visitors that will ultimately convert into customers. As you can imagine, website performance plays a huge role in boosting your CRO, so glean key insights from your analytics data–along with a healthy dose of user feedback–to help optimize your site pages for better conversions.
Is CRO the New CTR?
In the not-too-distant digital marketing past, CTR was one of the crown jewels of performance metrics. If your ads were able to crank out a stellar CTR, it was generally expected that scores of conversions would soon follow. Over the course of time, however, marketers have come to realize that a great CTR doesn’t always result in a great conversion rate.
You can achieve a fantastic CTR if your ad copy is persuasive enough, but what the customer does once they arrive at your landing page will be the true litmus test of your offer. If your landing page is barely relevant to the content of your ad (e.g., sending users to your general home page when they clicked on an ad for a specific product), or if the steps to purchase are too convoluted, or if your page load times are too slow, etc., you can lose a great deal of your potential customers due to poor site performance.
CRO is all about analyzing, evaluating, and tweaking the various touchpoints on your website, so that customers can experience a smooth, intuitive, and highly effective path to purchase. In this respect, CRO takes the bigger picture into account instead of just focusing on getting your foot in the door, as is the case with CTR.
The average online consumer is becoming more sophisticated by the day, and if your marketing methods don’t evolve with them, you’ll find yourself behind the curve before you know it. By making CRO one of your top priorities along with CTR, you greatly increase the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns, and garner higher conversion rates for your business.