Under Competitive Metrics columns option in the Google Adwords interface, a new option has appeared: Relative CTR. For Google Display Network opted campaigns, advertisers can now see how their CTR performs in the context of other advertisers appearing on the same web page. This is a relative statistic based on a multiplier, for example, one of my campaigns has a relative CTR of 1.3x – this means that my ads are receiving a 1.3 times larger CTR than competitors on the same webpages. The value in this column is obtained by dividing your CTR by the average CTR of all advertisers on the placements where your ads are shown.
Is this useful?
Early in a GDN campaign, you may not have negative matched many URLs and therefore find that you are appearing on many irrelevant pages, therefore the relative CTR will not tell you much.
If you’re GDN campaign is branding or impression focussed, again the relative CTR will not mean much and will probably be quite low especially if you are competing with advertisers who are driving and optimizing to click-throughs.
Prior to this metic becoming available, it has been difficult to explain to clients what the CTR of the GDN campaign means – in that it is so much lower than search ads but slightly better than traditional display. This provides some context.
Google have also provided explanations for what to do if the metric is more than 1 or less than 1 on this page to help with ideas to improve your CTR in contrast to competition.
Ultimately, I think the statistic needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, especially with reference to your campaign KPI’s. If CTR and performance relative to competition is performance, then this metric can be useful for your campaign, but if you’re activity is branding-based, CPA-based or the competition is really irrelevant for whatever reason, then the metric will probably only complicate your optimizations and is best to be ignored.