Why you Click on Ads

Why you Click on Ads

Before we can talk about what makes someone click on your ad, you should understand what makes you want to click an ad. After all, making the decision to interrupt your workflow and spend time on something you didn’t already prepare for is a big deal. That means the ad you clicked was enticing. Its pull was strong enough to outweigh all of your competing priorities.

That is quite the power a creative banner ad or text ad can have over your day. So how do the best ads manage to convince you to click them? According to Microsoft Research Asia’s study on why you click on an ad, there are a number of components. Using Microsoft’s research, plus a few observations of our own, we will unravel why you click on ads. 

Why do you Click Ads?

Great Offers and Solutions

Google Shopping ads with great offers like "free shipping" are likely to generate clicks.

Some of the best ads will immediately tell you what you can get out of them. For instance,  phrases such as “guaranteed two-day shipping” and “10% off” can give you just enough information to force you to break from your routine. In some ways, this information almost works as permission to break routine, since additional time does not need to be spent finding out more information.

Authority and Trustworthiness

There are a lot of ads, and you are more likely to click on the one that gives off the feeling of authority and trustworthiness. Authority in an ad can be conveyed as simply as using the words “Official” in the ad text. Authority leads to trustworthiness, but trustworthiness is fostered in many other ways.

For instance, ads that follow through on their promises will result in more clicks. If the ad guarantees free shipping for orders over $50, then you will naturally expect that this will happen. If it doesn’t, this breaks the trust you had in that ad (and furthermore, that company). Trustworthiness is also conveyed in other small ways, such as correct grammar, great design, and of course, brand recognition.


Ads you click on likely use remarketing tactics. Remarketing lets advertisers you have previously visited show ads to you across properties you visit on the Internet. By using remarketing, advertisers can always keep their brand top of mind. The more the advertiser exposes you to their ads through remarketing, the more likely it is you will click on their ad, assuming they also leveraged the other tactics mentioned before.

Ads that Offer Advantages

Listing competitive advantages in your ads like cupons or a free estimate will set you apart from competitors.

Ads that will catch your attention will offer advantages, otherwise known as deals unique to the ad. Examples of advantages included in an ad you are likely to click are free coupons and instant discounts.

These advantages give you the motivation to click on an ad and learn more. It is the push you need to interrupt your routine and current priorities.

Now that you know what makes you click on an ad, think critically about the next ad you create. Is it an ad that displays authority, trustworthiness, and offers advantages? If not, why doesn’t it? If you aren’t inspired to click it, no one else will either.


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