I often help friends to optimize their Google Adwords accounts. Here is a very common mistake which I see in practically every account: people don’t pause weak ads.

There’s a very good reason to delete the weak ads. Let’s look at the CTR (click-through-rate).

Here’s a table of data for ads. I’ve removed the noise to show only the numbers that matter: clicks, impressions, and CTR (click-through-rate). The table is sorted by CTR:ctr1

As you can see, some ads perform very well (4.27% CTR, with many over 2.0% CTR). Many ads are weak (such as 0.35% CTR).

Look at the ad, fourth from the bottom, with 0.66% CTR. That’s low, but it has 1,111 clicks, which looks good. Should we keep it?

To simplify things, let’s compare that ad with #3 (2.46% CTR):


The first ad has 2.46% CTR, but a 3% conversion rate. Ad #2 has 0.66% CTR and a 4% conversion rate. Which one do you keep?

Ad #2 has 168,902 impressions. If we let it run until it has 339,305 impressions with the same 0.66% CTR, it would get 2,239 clicks. If everything else is equal, ad #2 strongly underperforms #1: 2,239 clicks is only 26.7% of ad #1’s 8,362 clicks.

If we delete ad #2, its next 168,902 impressions will go to #1 at  2.46% CTR, which means an additional 4,154 clicks. Wow. 4,000 more clicks just by deleting a weak ad.

If you delete every ad under 2% CTR in the first table, that’s 680,000 impressions at 2% which would brings 13,600 clicks instead of 6,158 clicks. Just delete the weak ads and you double your clicks.