5 Valuable Lessons From Expertly Designed PPC Landing Pages

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5 Lessons From Expertly Designed PPC Landing Pages | SEJ

For every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent on improving conversion rates. That’s a stat that has been quoted in CRO and PPC circles lately, and for good reason.

If you’re spending $10,000+ or $100,000+ on PPC marketing, which a lot of advertisers do, then landing page optimization often represents the biggest opportunity for improvement.

This is especially true when you learn that doubling your conversion rates cuts your cost per acquisition in half. Think for a second about all the things you could do if your CPA dropped by 50%.

You could raise your bids to improve your average ad position and click-through rate (CTR). Or you could double revenue with the same budget. I, for one, would much rather spend time deciding what to do with excess budget than fighting for my business’s life because the cost per acquisition on AdWords is so high.

Changing your bid amounts here and there and using the Search Terms Report to find negative keywords is a great place to start but will only take you so far. Landing page optimization is what will take your campaign to the next level.

And that’s why this post focuses on PPC landing pages. The goal is to help you pick up some tips that will help you to improve your own campaigns and boost conversion rates. Are you ready to learn some useful landing page lessons? Let’s jump right in.

#1: Keep It Simple

The first lesson is to consider keeping your landing page super simple.

A good question to ask is this: Do visitors need a lot of information, or do they just need to take action?

Sometimes long-form pages will outperform short-form pages with very little content, but you’ll never know unless you test both options.

In the example below, Geico, who is second only to Amazon when it comes to monthly AdWords spending, uses a very simple landing page to get people to take action. Instead of a lot of copy convincing people to sign up, they draw people into the sign up process by only asking for a zip code. Then, once visitors start filling the form out, they’re more likely to finish since they’re already committed to the process.

Geico PPC landing page

Screenshot taken on 02/23/2015 from Geico.com

The page doesn’t feature the most beautiful design, but it’s simple and straightforward and gets visitors to take action—Geico’s primary goal for the page.

What type of landing pages are you using now? Do they have a lot of copy, or are they super simple? If they have a lot of copy, you may want to experiment with a simple page that focuses on getting people to take action.

#2: Always Be Testing

The next lesson is to always be testing, a maxim CRO and PPC experts both like to repeat.

Not only should you continuously test new keywords, ad groups, headlines, and ad copy for your campaigns, but you also should test new landing pages.

Uber provides a great example of this. Since January, they’ve tested three different landing page variations. The first page had a lighter color scheme and a white Prius. The second page used a dark color scheme and a different car. And the third page uses a picture of a person with a short quote instead of a car plus a headline.

Variation #1

Uber PPC landing page

Variation #2

Uber PPC landing page #2

Variation #3

Uber PPC landing page #3

Screenshots taken on 02/23/2015 from Uber.com

Not only did Uber test these three different pages, but they also tested different copy and layouts on the pages. Some emphasized becoming an Uber partner and others emphasized making extra money. The changes are subtle, but they show a strong commitment to A/B test by either Uber or their PPC advertising agency.

How has your landing page testing been going? Are you testing one or two new pages per month, or has it been several months since you tested a new landing page? If it’s been a few months, you may want to follow Uber’s lead and test a few new pages because you maybe pleasantly surprised with the results.

#3: Match Keywords With Ad Copy

Another very important lesson is to match landing page content with the ad copy visitors click on to get to your site. Unfortunately, as frequently as this lesson is taught, few people follow through with it. They may have one or two different landing pages, but they don’t take the time to match landing page headlines with the ad copy being used.

Wordstream is an exception to this. They do a really good job matching their landing pages with their ad copy. In the example below, they match an AdWords performance grader with an ad about fixing costly AdWords errors. This provides an excellent alignment between the ad copy and the landing page content.

(Note: The keywords and ad copy used with this landing page are shown to the left of the snapshot of the landing page.)

Wordstream PPC landing page

Screenshot taken on 02/23/2015 from Wordstream.com

One thing to keep in mind is the simpler the landing page design is, the easier it will be to swap out the headline and the ad copy to match your ad. With this in mind, it might be better to create a generic landing page template that can be used for different keyword groups instead of a landing page that’s designed too closely to match one keyword group or another.

#4: Try Something Different

Something else you can try is a design that’s different from the average landing page. If everyone is doing X, you might want to try Y so you stand out.

Ritani offers a good example of this. They have a landing page that’s beautifully designed and takes visitors down a path that explains the process of buying a ring from Ritani. There are different calls to action visitors can click along the way, and it’s a beautiful design that stands out from all of the other landing pages out there.

Ritani PPC landing page

Screenshot taken on 02/23/2015 from Ritani.com

It’s not a bad idea to use a template-like landing page if it converts, but you may also want to consider an “outside the box” design that shakes things up a bit to see if it will boost your conversions.

#5: Don’t Send Visitors to Your Homepage

Last but not least is to make sure you don’t send visitors to your homepage, which may be the biggest advertising faux pas a lot of businesses make when it comes to PPC landing pages. It’s a very common mistake you don’t want to make.

The reason is that your homepage is designed with a number of different visitors in mind. Your current customers need a link where they can log in. Someone interested in contacting you will need a link serving that purpose. And if a reporter wants to write about you, they need pages where they can learn more about your company.

But PPC visitors are on a mission. They conducted a search in Google and decided your ad gave them the best chance of finding what they were looking for. You also paid to get them to your site which means you don’t want to lose them if at all possible. And that’s why you need to send them to landing pages and not your homepage. It’s a basic lesson, but it’s one that many advertisers ignore for one reason or another.

Salesforce does a good job of this with their Pardot marketing automation software. Instead of directing their AdWords traffic to the homepage, they send them to a streamlined PPC landing page focused on getting visitors to fill out the form so they can get access to a buyer’s guide.

Salesforce Pardot PPC landing page

Screenshot taken on 02/23/2015 from Salesforce.com

This is a great example of sending Google traffic to a dedicated landing page and not just your company’s homepage.

The Takeaway Points

The main takeaway points are these:

  1. There are a lot of different PPC landing page design styles you can consider. A long page with a lot of content may be better for your product (or service), or a short page that gets visitors to take action may be better. The only way to know for sure is by testing.
  2. Yet no matter what, you want to make sure your landing page matches your ad copy as closely as possible so people get what they clicked to find in the first place.
  3. You also want to be sure to send traffic to dedicated landing pages and not waste money by sending everyone to your homepage.

If you follow these lessons, you’re sure to find a landing page combination that will deliver the best results for your business.

 

Featured Image: Max Gibroedov via Shutterstock

Joe Putnam

Joe Putnam

VP of Marketing at iSpionage
Joe Putnam is the VP of marketing at iSpionage where they provide competitive keyword research and are the only company to offer landing page surveillance so PPC advertisers can easily review competitor landing pages and overall campaign strategy.
Joe Putnam
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  • http://www.shanken.co.za Dewald Swart

    I have seen many PPC campaigns that send their visitors to there home page. This post is a must read for any one doing PPC

    • http://www.ispionage.com Joe Putnam

      I’ve also seen lots of people who send visitors to their homepage, something that’s really easy to do even though every PPC marketing course recommends sending traffic to a landing page. It mostly comes down to resources not being available for building out multiple landing pages which means mostly agencies or large advertisers are the ones who take advantage of them.