As an Optimisation consultant, I often get asked about getting the most from Pay Per Click (PPC) landing pages. So I thought that I would share my top 10 best practices for creating and optimising landing pages that will maximise the ROI for your PPC campaigns. I will also share how you can take this to the next level to further increase engagement and conversion!

I apologise if you’ve have heard this all before, but hopefully even if you have, then it may help refresh your memory a little.

  1. Relevance – each user that comes through to your site through PPC is, you guessed it, costing you money. So it’s important that the pages that users land on are relevant. Now this may be glaringly obvious but if the link they’ve clicked on references a specific product, make sure that the landing is specific about that product and not your homepage or another less relevant page because as they will probably not stay around for long – they’ll just bounce.
  2. Page Structure – Although every PPC landing page is going to be different, it should always follow a similar structure as outlined below; this is pretty much a check list of the elements your page should include:
    • Headline
    • Sub headline
    • Image/video/both
    • Summary copy
    • CTA (call to action)
    • Full descriptive copy
    • Testimonial(s)
    • Additional CTA
  3. Mobile – There is every chance a user will be coming through from your PPC link on a mobile or tablet device. It’s critical that your landing page is responsive or there is a mobile alternative as there is nothing more painful for a user than trying to use a non-responsive page on mobile device and they will bounce off the page.
  4. Copy – Make sure you know, and are writing for your target audience, these are the people that are most likely to convert so make sure that your copy is tailored to them. In addition to this you should also be considering working your PPC keywords in the copy you produce. This should by no means involve stuffing them in at every opportunity, but a considered approach to back up your search campaigns whilst also providing users with content relevant to the keyword they clicked through from.
  5. Imagery – The imagery used on your page can be pivotal to its success. The best performing pages contain imagery with people, preferably facing the camera making eye contact with the user helping to connect with them and improving trust. For product pages this can be taken a step further through the utilisation of gifs to show interaction between a user and the product. Images should be used sparingly with great consideration so as not to detract but support the messaging and key CTA’s of the landing page.
  6. CTA’s – The call to action of the landing page should be one of the first things a user spots, however this can be a challenge and even more so when it comes to getting them to interact with it. Some of the top elements to test should be:
    • Colour – You don’t have to stick with your brand colours, contrasting / strong colours are most effective.
    • Copy – Make sure to use wording that your target audience can associate with and try multiple variations.
    • Size – Size matters, you want the button to stand out but not too much as to distract the user entirely from the content of the page.
    • Styling – The style of the button can have a big impact it’s even possible to add movement such as a shine/glimmer/pulsation to attract the user’s attention.
  7. Page Length – This can be quite a contentious subject, longer pages tend to generate less leads, however these leads tend to be more qualified and work well for product pages, whilst vice versa shorter landing pages have a tendency to generate more leads though less well qualified. That all being said the point of your landing page is conversions, so test, test, test to find the optimum for your particular page.
  8. Trust & Credibility – Users trust and make decisions based on other users. Offering testimonials, independent user ratings or even customer support details can all go a long way to conveying credibility and in turn convince the prospective user to purchase your product.
  9. Speed – Something that is often over looked when it comes to landing pages and for that matter optimisation in general is the time it takes to load a page. However, the ability to serve a page in under 3 seconds is crucial in securing those conversions as the longer it takes the higher your drop off in conversion is going to be. There are a few very simple things that you can do to address this yourself though:
    • Image compression – Make sure they’re optimised for web.
    • Video – Use the likes of YouTube to host it rather than relying on your own servers.
    • Minimise any unnecessary background, tags, JavaScript, plugins etc. etc
    • Review your hosting package, is it performing for you, is it scalable. More often than not when reviewing your hosting you can end up saving money, improving performance and in turn user experience.
  10. Test, test, test – I think this point is actually 2 slightly different points but both around the testing. Why you should constantly test and adopt a “produce, review, tweak” approach and how to know which test performs best. On the first point, you are unlikely to hit the optimal content on your first attempt, no matter how good you are. So expect to have to do revisions even on a simple A/B test. Whist version A may win, is it as good as it could be? Try to tweak the best performing test with stronger copy, bolder CTA’s or a different image. Point two is reviewing the test itself. How you review which test performs best is often left down to using your web analytics tool. This doesn’t necessarily help as you will not be able to split your traffic (you may run the same add in your PPC with different landing pages, but you may not be able to track which conversion points were clicked), you will not be able to test different target segments effectively or see results quickly. Use an A/B testing tool to target segment and monitor the results. This way you can push traffic almost straight away to the best performing page rather than waiting, you can also make changes to that page and test again to fine tune it further.

I accept that Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) PPC landing pages may not adopt all of these 10 points but it’s definitely a great place to start.

Now where?

Take it to the next level…
So you’ve done all of the above, you’ve tested it again and again to get a the optimal PPC landing page, what next? With the above frame work and testing methodology in place if you want to really become a PPC landing page Ninja then personalisation is where you should be looking to next.
By taking your businesses personas and applying them to your segments you can start to serve more personalised content to users that reach your PPC landing page. This could entail identifying the gender of a user landing on the page and displaying imagery aligned to that user, identifying that they are from an IP range that is known to be that of a specific company and referencing this in the headline/subhead line or copy.

In summary….
Make sure you consider and tick off the as many of the 10 points above for each landing page you produce. Don’t just follow your gut instinct, whilst it may turn out to be OK, test, test and re-test, then once these start to perform begin testing using personalisation against your different personas and repeat the process!