In my experience managing pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, a frequently overlooked topic is the landing page. Once your users click your ad, where are they going to go? Setting up a structurally sound campaign is imperative, but it is only half the equation. The user needs to land on a page that continues the messaging and call to action that is used in the ad.
Several factors go into creating a good landing page, none of which should be ignored. These techniques will determine how many of your clicks turn into conversions. Conversion rate, as I have previously written about, is a tier one success indicator of how well your campaign is doing. Give your users an effective landing page, and you should see your conversion rates increase.
I am going to discuss the technique that has had the greatest impact on conversion rates in my campaigns.
Your landing pages need to clearly state what you want the user to do. Never assume that the user knows what to do. Make the conversion process as easy and forthright as possible.
Let’s take an example. If I do a search for “Rawlings baseball gloves,” I see these ads:
Both ads advertise Rawlings baseball gloves, but which company has the better landing page? The first ad leads to a page that immediately shows Rawlings baseball gloves:
The second ad leads to the company’s homepage, where customers are forced to search for the product they’re ready to buy. The second ad will most likely lead to a bounce, because it doesn’t take the user to a relevant page. By contrast the first ad takes the user right to the product, capturing the user right away and increasing the chance of a purchase.
Another example of a landing page honed for lead generation is one that contains a specific download and a form:
This page combines the registration form and the download function. Instead of working through two different screens, the user can fill out the form and read the content on the same page.
Here are some other techniques that I have found to improve conversion rates.
Length of Form
If you ask a user to complete a form, be careful not to ask for too much information. Too often companies ask for everything within this first interaction. Users see the length of the form and are scared away. Even if many of the fields are optional, a user’s first instinct is to leave because the form is too long. By asking for less, you improve your chances of converting that user. Further user information can be gathered by a follow up email or phone call.
Appropriate Tabbing Structure
When filling out the form the user should be able to hit the tab key to go to the next field. It can be frustrating (and a bit annoying) to use the mouse to get to the next field.
Browser Compatibility and Screen Resolution
Ideally your landing pages should be compatible with all browsers, even the obscure ones. At a minimum, though, make sure the pages are compatible with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. These pages should also be compatible with the different versions of these browsers.
Screen resolution is another important factor. Your key messages and calls to action should appear “above the fold” even in lower resolutions. Above the fold means the items in your landing page that users do not need to scroll down to see. Users have several other options and are not going to wait around for you to make your point.
The most important advice is to make sure what you say in an ad is what the user sees on the landing page. Ultimately you are throwing money away if you are not giving your customers the right user experience.