Landing Page Selection in PPC Campaigns

The topic of landing page selection and landing page optimization is nothing new. There is a lot of content out there on the topics and some good companies that only specialize in this often overlooked area. However, in going through all my paid search blog posts through the years, I have not written a post exclusively covering this topic. Like almost all of our posts, I am going to take an extremely simple approach to this for those new or only have limited time to work on their PPC campaigns.

What is your goal?

One of the most important concepts that I talk about with landing page selection is goals. A lead, a sale, download a whitepaper, or time on site to get to know your brand and products? You must determine these goals not just at the campaign level, but at the ad group level as well. This is where you will set your landing page. One key guideline to follow – be sure with your campaign and landing pages that you have strong alignment between your target audience’s goals and your goals. If their goal is to help solve some need or pain point, you want to be sure they can solve it. If that means they need a pool pump, and your site’s goal is to sell more pool pumps, make sure there is a path available to do so.

Query versus content

Query versus content is a concept that basically means, make sure what your user is actually typing in is matched to where they land on the site. A critical aspect of this is not just matching keyword selection and landing pages, but viewing the actual search query reports in AdWords. Seeing the types of queries your target audience is searching on is very helpful to decide what page on the site they should land first. Often times a high bounce rate isn’t because of page design, but rather a large gap from what the user was expecting to see based on what they are searching on and what they do see when arriving at the site.

Grab them and lead them

Testing will often times develop some different scenarios, but most times it is better to grab your users by the shirt sleeve and lead them down the path they want to go. Now, that being said, they may want to look around in a nonlinear fashion. That is fine, but be sure you can keep them moving in a good direction towards goal completion or generate a hook so that when they leave they want to return again. Ideally, we avoid a situation where a user arrives via your site from PPC and has to decide what to do net. Unless there is a reason, we don’t want users to have to think and rely on passive navigation. We want to them to know what content to consume and where to go next.

Landing page construction

This is a topic that is going to generate a lot of debate. There are considerations of design, imagery, layout, content packaging, product placement, and calls to action. Qualitatively, there are several opinions that may weigh in on what a good converting landing page may look like. However, a simple formula could be:

  1. Build credibility with your users
  2. Provide lead in content
  3. Benefits and features of your products and services
  4. Visible and clear call to actions or next pages to progress to

Retargeting

Do not show the audience who has already been to your site the same thing. Hopefully, you have the capacity and depth within your site to bring a retargeted visitor to a different page then where they previously landed. It does little good to spend money to get a user to return to your site only to drop them in areas they already know. Go for a deeper level page, or test dropping them into an offer or contact form immediately.

Testing

Finally, no matter what decisions are made on where to bring users to, test it. Test the home page versus a product page. Test a product category page versus a product detail page. Test a dedicated landing page vs an internal page. It is critical to not be content with one page. Use Google Analytics to measure how your PPC traffic is performing on these landing pages. Isolate this by going to Acquisition > AdWords > Final URLs. Additionally, you can measure landing page performance by enabling the Paid Users segment in Google Analytics and then navigating to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages. Doing this will isolate your PPC traffic and see how the landing pages are retaining traffic. Evaluate bounce rate, exit rate, pages/visit, average time on page, goal completions and if possible, sales. Additionally, to see if your users are taking the next steps you want them to take, go to the Navigation Summary link to see the next page steps.

Hopefully, this provides some simple guidelines to select, create, and refine your landing pages for PPC traffic.

Joseph Ford

Joe Ford is a Managing Partner at Netvantage Marketing. In addition to overseeing day to day business operations of Netvantage, he directs paid search strategy and management. Ford is on the Marketing Committee for Impression 5 Science Museum, and the Executive Board of the Capital Area IT Council. He was previously a member of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Board of Directors for 8 years. Additionally, Ford is an adjunct faculty member in the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University.

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