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How To Appraise & Optimize Any Landing Page By Campaign Performance

Ad campaign metrics offer clues about how to optimize a landing page. Here's what you should be looking for and how to improve any page.

What does gemstone appraisal have in common with figuring out how to optimize a landing page?

There’s a scene in the movie Uncut Gems where an unpolished opal owned by Adam Sandler’s character ends up auctioned off for a fraction of his valuation.

It sets off a chain of events that ends pretty badly for him.

While you won’t have to deal with loan sharks and moody NBA superstars, misreading the worth of your landing page could still cost you a fair bit of profit.

Fortunately, two simple campaign metrics can help you categorize any landing page into one of four segments that account for both performance and potential.

The Two Metrics To Watch

Every paid search professional is familiar with click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate – staples of PPC data that tell you how compelling people found your ad and its landing page.

You’ll also want to set thresholds for each metric: high and low.

In this article, you’ll learn how we help paid search professionals analyze landing pages in my current job.

These four categories take minutes to populate and make it easier to determine the right steps to sustain or improve performance.

You’ll quickly be able to determine:

  • How a given ad and its landing page are performing.
  • What degree of optimization is necessary.
  • Whether those fixes need to be made to the ad or the landing page.

Crown Jewels: High CTR, High Conversion Rate

Crown jewels are the pinnacle of any campaign’s success, with people flocking from all over for a glimpse.

This category includes your best performers, combining ads that get clicks with landing pages that lead to sales (or other conversions).

These “winners” are typically built on the back of rigorous testing and optimization, so most of your hard work is done.

But just because you’ve found top gear doesn’t mean you can’t sustain that performance or improve it even further.

How To Optimize This Landing Page

  • Explore bid adjustments to acquire or retain top position. Continue to add irrelevant queries as negative keywords to keep away expensive traffic.
  • Use clear language to communicate availability, shipping and turnaround times, and other key details that impact purchase decisions.
  • Improve your page’s vitals, especially loading time. The first five seconds are the most critical, with a loading time of under four seconds being the sweet spot.

Hidden Gems: Low CTR, High Conversion Rate

Hidden gems aren’t always easy to find, but are highly rewarding when you do.

So when you spot an ad with a low CTR but its landing page converts well, that’s an indication that your ad isn’t as compelling as it could be.

So if you drive more traffic, your conversion rate should translate to a lot more sales.

These combinations are typically solved by optimizing your underperforming ad.

And because your landing page clearly isn’t the issue, that might be the best place to start looking for clues.

How To Optimize This Landing Page

  • Look at the keyword list for the ad group your low-CTR ad is in. Ads targeting too many keywords will struggle for impressions, and irrelevant ones will put your ad in front of the wrong audience.
  • The longer your low-CTR ad serves, the more Google learns that it’s not relevant and serves it less frequently. Start testing new ad variations using language from your high-performing landing page.
  • If you have no ad extensions enabled, Google’s research indicates an average CTR uplift of 10-15% by changing that. There are plenty of options – from site links to callouts – so dig through and pick the ones most relevant to your offering.

Shiny Objects: High CTR, Low Conversion Rate

Shiny objects attract a lot of attention but aren’t known for backing that up with substance. What you thought was a rare silver coin might turn out to be a worthless bottle cap.

And if the previous category was the bastion of great landing pages, this one belongs to poor ones.

An ad with a high CTR but a low conversion rate is the embodiment of “overpromise and underdeliver” in digital marketing.

Fortunately, the pool of advice for these types of landing pages is overflowing.

The scope for landing page testing is enormous, with plenty of ways to boost conversions.

How To Optimize This Landing Page

  • Addressing your buyers’ fears on the landing page has been shown to lift the conversion rate by 80%. Overcoming objections can be the difference between hesitation and a sale.
  • Intent-matching is key, so make sure your landing page copy includes the keywords your ad targets. You don’t want an ad for basketball jerseys leading to a landing page for jackets.
  • Include at least one form of social proof or testimonials36% of top-performing landing pages do. Your customers’ words lend your brand additional trust and credibility.

Lump Of Coal: Low CTR, Low Conversion Rate

Hardly anyone wants to pick up a lump of coal; it’s dull and unexciting. Those who do tend to regret their decision and quickly wash their hands of it.

When your landing page barely gets any traffic and fails to convert any significant portion of the few people who do visit, it’s a sign that your campaign probably isn’t working from head to toe.

Unfortunately, if the people you’re selling to think both your ad and your landing page are irrelevant, there’s little you can do to turn that particular combination around.

How To Optimize This Landing Page

Because so much of search engine marketing is predicated on user behavior and signals, this ad-page combination has already earned a bad reputation with search engines and social media platforms.

It’s almost always easier to start from scratch in a low-CTR, low-conversion scenario.

When building anew, be sure to employ best practices for improving CTR and conversion rate from the beginning to avoid repeating the mistakes that led to the initial disappointment.

Note: You may wish to make an exception when CTR and conversion rate dip simultaneously from previously acceptable levels. In that scenario, an investigation is warranted before wiping the slate clean.

The Future Is All About Intent

Google analyzes a staggering number of user signals with every search, resulting in one of the largest aggregated data sets in human history.

This allows Google to determine why you’re searching for something, instead of just what you want.

By setting the pace for online search, Google is making intent a critical part of the process.

Ads and landing pages no longer win when they pack in keywords, but when they closely match user intent.

Strong visual elements and a good user experience lead to signals that tell Google people want to visit (and stay on) your page.

Once you’re comfortable with the basics, be ready to explore more unconventional CRO tactics like augmented reality and personalized video.

There’s a whole new world of search coming your way.

More resources:

Featured Image: Paulo Vilela/Shutterstock

Ashwin Balakrishnan Head of Marketing at Optmyzr

I’m Ashwin Balakrishnan, head of marketing at Optmyzr where we develop tools that let advertisers and agencies retain control of ...

How To Appraise & Optimize Any Landing Page By Campaign Performance

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