7 Killer Ways to Optimize Your Landing Page for Lower PPC Costs
To run scalable PPC campaigns, you need to bring down the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) metric on your PPC leads.
Optimizing your PPC landing pages is one of the surest ways to do this. Doing so gives you a substantial increase in your conversions, without the need to increase your ad spend.
Landing page optimizations don’t just bring immediate wins (in the form of more conversions) but also help you get long-term savings as your quality score improves, bringing down your bid prices. What more could you ask for?
Here are a few quick hacks for optimizing the landing pages that will help you generate better ROI from your PPC spend and also help decrease it.
Create a Testing Strategy for Your Landing Page
Unbounce defines a PPC landing page as,
“a standalone web page you intend to use in a paid campaign on AdWords, Bing Ads, or similar. It’s a dedicated page where visitors ‘land’ after clicking through on a pay-per-click ad.”
You can test almost everything on a PPC landing page — right from its headline to its form.
But how do you determine what elements you should test? And what should you test first?
The answer lies in your data.
For instance, when one of our Convert Experiences (A/B Testing Software) customers saw a poor conversion rate on their landing page, they dug into their Google Analytics data and found that a huge part of their traffic was using mobile to access the landing page. They noticed an unusually high drop-off rate for this traffic segment.
Analyzing potential causes, they realized the form on the page was not optimized for mobile. The multi-column was clunky and difficult to use. The form also had too many compulsory text fields and didn’t use an optimized design either.
With this data, our client fixed their form for a better mobile experience and also reduced the number of required form fields while improving the design (below):
As a result, they saw an immense improvement in their conversion rate on the page.
Now, this customer could have started with changing the headline or redesigning the page, but it’s unlikely that they would have patched their conversion leaks that way.
So when you look for optimization opportunities on your PPC landing pages, look at your data first. That’s where your winning ideas will come from.
Fixing issues exposed by your data won’t just drive up your conversions but will also improve the time on page and other such metrics that improve your quality score.
Translation – this will reduce your bid price and the resulting CPC.
Improve the Relevancy between your Paid Search Ads and Landing Pages
If your post-click landing page bounce rate is high, it could be because your landing page isn’t relevant to the ad the searcher clicked on. In these cases, searchers leave because they didn’t find what they expected.
For Google Ads, being relevant means:
… that your ads, keywords, and landing page are all closely related to the terms a customer might be searching for.
Google explains this with the following example:
Despite relevancy being a key factor in determining PPC success, many businesses miss this.
Here is an example of a well done paid ad and landing page relevancy match:
When you click on this ad, it gives you exactly what you expect to see:
A/B Testing with Paid Traffic (PPC)
When using paid ads to drive traffic to your landing page, you will want to A/B test. Testing will help you quickly optimize your campaign, which means increased ROI on ad spend and increase in conversions.
Why Do You Want to Test Your Paid Traffic
The advantage with PPC is you only pay when you get a click, which means you can use low daily budgets while tweaking and testing changes to your landing page.
This is a wise method because it allows you to refine and perfect your landing page incrementally before you dedicate resources (budget) on other traffic sources that are less forgiving. With PPC you can go get a basic idea of how well (or poorly) your landing page is converting. With testing, you can work towards increasing this rate. Then you leverage this progress in a bigger paid traffic domain.
More about Testing within Google:
When you set up an ad in Google, inside the application it gives you the option to test several variants and ad sets (creatives), price points, etc. These tests are helpful to your overall campaign, but you don’t want to stop there. Your landing page will do the heavy lifting to convert a visitor, so you want to make sure it is on-point. That means you also want to test this component.
Remember, with any testing, you want to maintain standard “testing practices” and run a “fair test” to make sure you can measure, track, and optimize results.
What Does A/B Testing PPC Ads Look Like?
Let’s say you are driving traffic using PPC ads, but you want to send some traffic to “Page A” and another portion to “Page B.”
- Go to the Ad you want to test.
- Create a draft campaign.
- Navigate to your Ads.
Select all your ads in the draft
- In the Ad you want to test (your draft campaign), change your final URL. Using an A/B Testing tool like Convert you can create a variation of your controlled landing page.
The benefit of using experimentation outside of Google is you don’t create a new campaign that can compromise conversions. It is important to understand that when you test ad sets and components within Google you are testing what’s getting people to click rather than what is getting them to Convert.
- Start test.
When you save the campaign, you will have a choice to update the original campaign or run it as an experiment. You want to run it as an experiment.
- Evaluate the results.
To see a live example of this: How To AB Test Landing Pages In Google AdWords
You can also use Convert to try out these ideas.
In an Adstage article, 7 Simple Steps to Boost PPC Results with A/B Testing, they layout steps to testing Landing Pages in Google AdWords:
- Define the success metrics,
- Define your hypothesis,
- Create test ideas (remember, build from the data),
- Prioritize test ideas,
- Define the sample size for each metric,
- Run the test,
- Analyze the results.
When done correctly, running tests on your PPC ads will not only increase your conversions but position you to run bigger, more successful ad campaigns.
Offer Personalized/Dynamic PPC Landing Pages
This is more of an advanced landing page optimization hack, but creating personalized PPC landing page experiences can take your message matching (and conversions) to a whole new level.
Personalized or dynamic landing pages for your PPC campaigns allow you to match your message even more uncannily with the intent of the visitors who land on it.
Let’s look at an example:
Suppose you offer online MBA programs for people in different fields like HR, Finance, Legal, Marketing, etc. And you have a set of ads and landing pages for each program in your PPC campaign.
Now, you’re matching the content of your landing page with the ad that runs for it (for example, the landing page for your HR program is custom-created and relevant to your ad running for it).
This setup works perfectly for a searcher who’s looking for a keyword like “do online MBA HR.“
But what if a searcher is looking for a keyword like “executive MBA HR online,” and not for a general online MBA in HR keyphrase like the searcher above.
Well, in cases like these, personalizing your landing page’s experience can make all the difference in converting or losing the lead.
By replacing text dynamically on the page, you can make the same page feel so much more relevant to each lead. All this without creating another landing page for similar keywords (group).
Gather Qualitative Data on your PPC Landing Pages
CRO tools such as Convert, Hotjar, ClickTale, and SessionCam let you “see” what your PPC leads do on your ad landing pages.
These tools capture your users’ actions such as scrolling, clicking, and hovering. By doing so, they show you the hotspots (a heatmap that shows where your visitors concentrate) on your landing page. They also show you the areas where no one looks at.
Naturally, to get maximum conversions, you’d want to place your CTA button at a hotspot and not in an area that your PPC leads ignore.
It’s not just about uncovering the hot areas on your landing pages for making better CTA placement decisions. Such qualitative analysis can tell you a lot more — for example:
Pinpoint the exact spots your PPC leads click on your landing page. If you notice clicks on random graphic elements or on links inside your copy or in your navigation bar menu items, consider removing them as they’re working as distractions.
The exact point where you lose most of your PPC leads. If your PPC leads abandon your landing page after a little scrolling, if you use long-form sales copy, work on the copy length. Or perhaps offer design cues that get people to scroll further. You’d also want to ensure that most of your PPC leads see your CTA button (by placing it at least inside the area where most people scroll up to… ideally in the fold area as that’s where 80% of the user time is spent!).
Highlight issues with your forms. Your forms (more on this in the next section!) are a key element on your landing pages. If you notice that your leads spend too much time fidgeting with your form or if you can see them getting “stuck” at a particular field, dig deeper and learn the reason for such behavior.
Fix your Forms
When it comes to optimizing PPC landing pages of B2B companies, the one sure place that offers scope for optimization is the form.
There are many ways these lead generation forms become conversion killers. For example, by:
- having too many form fields (or a long-form),
- using too many required fields,
- seeking too much (asking for a phone number — for example),
- having too much text,
- using a non-optimal placement (could be above or below the fold),
- using poor design (a CTA “Submit” button that’s too small or easy-to-miss or a multi-column layout when a simpler one would do),
- using bad copy (yes, a form also needs excellent copy such as the headline, the CTA button, etc.).
When optimizing forms, it might tempt you to try one of the “form optimization best practices” from the articles you come across.
But believe us, there are no “industry standards” for the most optimal forms. At Convert, we’ve powered lead generation form tests for every imaginable B2B PPC campaign for businesses, from SaaS to consultancies and others, and we can tell you this: You’ll find your most optimal form by testing — there’s no other way.
Work on an Optimal Landing Page Experience
Your landing page experience is one factor Google uses to calculate your Ad Rank. This means it influences everything right from your ads’ visibility to the money you need to spend for each click (your CPC).
So optimizing your landing page experience doesn’t just help you improve your leads’ experience on your page (and your conversions, as a result), but also reduces your CPC.
Google has given some very actionable tactics for improving a PPC landing page’s experience here:
- Offer relevant, useful, and original content.
- Promote transparency and foster trustworthiness on your site.
- Make mobile and computer navigation easy.
- Decrease your landing page loading time.
- Make your site fast.
Google also suggests making your landing pages mobile-friendly.
When you work on your landing page experience, start with the pages that report the poorest performance. Google shows you these pages inside your Ads account:
Get your PPC Landing Page’s Anatomy Right
Sometimes, a PPC landing page’s structure doesn’t support conversions. It may read and look like a general page and fails to handhold its visitors to complete the desired action, whether it’s signing up for a webinar or making a purchase or creating a trial account.
To convert more visitors, a landing page must follow a certain messaging and design hierarchy that primes the visitors to convert.
For example, follow this messaging hierarchy Joanna Wiebe (from Copy Hackers) recommends:
And here’s some nice inspiration for the layout:
I’m not saying that these are the exact messaging or design frameworks you should replicate on your PPC landing pages… but they offer a good starting point.
Now Go and Optimize Your Landing Page
Your landing pages do a lot of heavy lifting in your PPC campaigns. Even slight improvements to your PPC landing pages can cause more conversions and lower bid prices for your campaigns.
But to make effective changes, you must start from a place of data because that’s how you can unlock your current conversion barriers. So look at your data and learn what’s not working. And then test what you believe to work.
So tell us…. have you used any of these landing page optimization tactics for your Ads campaigns? And what other strategies have you used to improve your PPC ROI?
Article updated by Nyaima Smith-Taylor July 2020