Why Custom Landing Pages are More Important than Ever
“I’m afraid our paid search campaigns have plateaued; how do you expect to achieve the aggressive growth goals we have set for our account?” Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before. As many can attest, you will find that most of the conversions and revenue you see from your campaigns will be driven by a core set of keywords. Ad copy testing, bid optimizations and keyword expansions are just a few popular tactics used to help our paid search campaigns reach their full potential, but are they enough? While these tactics are important in improving front-end performance for an account, customizing the landing page experience has always been one of the biggest opportunities to maximize performance. Read on to learn more about how we achieve efficient account growth through custom landing page development:
Increase Conversions & Visibility, Efficiently
Experienced PPC managers understand that in order to run a successful campaign, you must maximize conversions produced in the most efficient way possible. This is why custom PPC landings pages are now more important than ever. Specially, the improvements we saw to both conversion rates and Quality Score have helped our account reach new heights that we were previously unable to achieve. Please refer to the table below for results from one of our landing page tests:
Test Results A:
Our test was set up where all variables apart from the landing page were the same (keyword set, ad copy, etc.). If you refer to the table labeled Test Results A, you will observe that conversion rate was 44% stronger on the new page compared to the old page. This lead to a staggering 86% increase in conversion volume. On a separate note, impressions were higher for the new page as well, which is something we’ll explain further on.
Test Results B:
We also reviewed impression share, Quality Score, and average CPC differences between the two pages, which can be seen in the following table:
An interesting trend we started to see with our custom landing page test was that the impression split difference would favor the new landing page considerably. Our tests were set up so that each ad would have an equal opportunity to enter the auction, however we found that the ad with the new page was able to win more of those auctions and appear more often which increased its Impression Share. We determined that the new page’s ad was able to achieve this due to a higher Quality Score. Please refer to Test Results B where you can see that our results yielded stronger Quality Score (+17%) and Impression Share (+14%) with the new landing pages. Lastly, and most importantly, we saw 19% lower CPCs when using the new page which lead to more efficient performance without sacrificing traffic.
Testing & Measurement Considerations
Before you go out and develop dozens of custom landing pages for your account, we strongly encourage that you test some drafts before moving forward with scaling out production. While we are confident that custom landing pages are applicable to most accounts, there may be some subtle tweaks that need to be made before you settle on a template that works best.
We recommend that you leverage AdWords Drafts & Experiments to test the impact your custom landing pages have on performance. Using Drafts & Experiments is especially important because it is the only way to ensure that each ad variation gets an equal chance to enter the auction and allows you to measure Quality Score and Impression Share for individual keywords.
Test Results C:
The following table displays the effects our custom landing pages had on individual keyword Quality Score, CPC, Position, and Impression Share:
In most cases, we saw improved performance across all KPIs measured. While we expected to see Quality Score improve and CPCs to decrease, the biggest surprise was the increase in Impression Share we saw. This is why you saw impressions for the new page in Test Results A significantly higher than that of the old page. Where we were previously unable to increase bids to capture more Impression Share due to efficiency constraints, the custom landing pages allowed us to capture more traffic without having to increase our bids. We explained this dynamic in one of our advanced PPC series articles.
If you consistently see that your new landing pages help to drive costs down and increase conversions, you know that it is time to scale out development efforts and implement these pages across your account.
Best Practices for Custom Landing Pages
Now that you understand why custom landing pages are now more important than ever and how you are going to measure their performance, it’s time to learn what goes into developing one. Two things need to be considered when developing custom landing pages; the page’s relevancy to a particular keyword theme and the page’s ability to convert traffic at a high rate.
To optimize a page for Quality Score, you must first determine your highest traffic keyword themes and design pages accordingly. Each page must be specific to that theme to ensure ad relevance is maximized. We typically recommend including a keyword-centric headline with an appropriate call-to-action above-fold. Then we recommend at least 4-6 iterations of that keyword be included on the page to ensure it receives a strong Quality Score. We also recommend a section of content be added to the bottom of the page (directly above the footer) 3-5 sentences long with the only purpose of helping improve Quality Score.
Next, you want to design the page for conversion rate purposes. We suggest having the primary CTA above-fold so it is clear to the user what next steps they should take. Credibility-builders like logos of current clients, trust badges, or testimonials will establish a sense of security and trust between the user and your organization. If an individual is not ready to complete the primary CTA, we then recommend including softer CTAs below-fold to provide a user with additional opportunities to convert.
Custom landing pages, which were once thought to be a routine addition to our PPC efforts, have become more important now than ever before. With their help we’ve surpassed our original expectations and delivered extremely strong performance to our clients.
To learn more about how PPC landing page strategies can drive more leads with greater efficiency, please contact us by email at email@example.com or by phone at 781-591-0752.