Why poor landing page experiences could be the reason your PPC strategy isn’t working – and what you can do about it
Your PPC campaigns are generating steady traffic and you’ve figured out how to create ads that make people click – so why is your PPC strategy unprofitable? If your average CTR is above ~2% but conversion rates and return on ad spend (ROAS) are falling short, the issues are most likely taking place on your website – and, more specifically, your landing pages.
Quality landing pages are just as important for PPC performance as ads, bidding strategies and your other campaign settings. In this article, we explain why landing page conversion rate optimisation (CRO) should be a priority in your paid advertising strategy.
Landing pages bridge the gap between ad clicks and conversions on your website. Effective PPC ads entice users to click through so they can take up your offer or find out more information. Your landing page needs to deliver on the promise made in your ad and increase incentive even further if you want users to complete your conversion goal.
Clicking on an ad takes little effort and users have nothing to lose – other than a few seconds of their time – to click through to your website, satisfy their curiosity and bounce right back to search.
The problem is, you’ve paid for that click and received nothing in return.
Convincing users to complete a conversion action after clicking through to your website is a much bigger ask. For this to happen, you need them to read your content, buy into your message, complete some kind of form and, potentially, commit to buying, fill out payment details and part with their hard-earned money.
That requires a lot of effort on the user’s part but this is what you need to achieve to generate a return on your ad spend.
Science tells us that, to convince people to take actions that require effort on their part, you have to match or exceed this effort with the sense of reward.
In other words, the more prospects have to physically and mentally do in order to complete a conversion goal, the greater their sense of reward needs to be to justify the effort required.
This is the role your landing page should play, building incentive to the point where the reward outweighs any of the effort required to complete your conversion goals.
A poor landing page experience can mean many things but there are two key areas to analyse: technical performance and page copy. Poor technical experiences (such as slow loading times) increase the effort required from the user to even interact with your page, let alone complete any conversion goals. While page copy issues weaken your message and your ability to increase the perceived reward from converting.
Problems with either area of landing page experience put the balance between effort vs reward firmly against you – and this is bad news for PPC performance.
Unsurprisingly, Google has plenty to say about landing pages for paid advertising and it’s worth reading this Google Ads resource for more information: Landing page optimisations & best practices.
Google confirms that landing pages “have a huge impact on your advertising effectiveness and budget”. Aside from the conversion issues we discussed in the previous section, Google also specifies that poor landing pages can directly harm the performance of your ads and campaigns – for example, by harming your Quality Scores, which can increase your CPCs and cause your ads to show less often.
“In addition, your landing page experience also affects ad rank position, Quality Score, and overall cost. So if your landing page is causing users to consistently leave without making a purchase, this may cause your ads to show less often, or not show up at all.” – Landing page optimisations & best practices, Google Ads
Google also highlights the following benefits of delivering quality landing page experiences in your PPC campaigns:
For more information on this, refer to the Landing page optimisations & best practices resource on the Google Ads website.
Here’s a quick summary of the reasons landing page experience is so important in PPC:
You pay for every click on platforms like Google Ads, which is wasted money unless you can turn paid traffic into conversions and paying customers.
According to data from Unbounce, the average landing page conversion rate is 4.6% across all industries but many industries have much higher averages and the top performers achieve conversion rates above 18%.
So, unless you’re aiming for average business performance, you should be targeting conversion rates significantly higher than the median 4.5% across all industries.
If we go back to Google’s resource, Landing page optimisations & best practices, it specifies four characteristics of quality landing pages:
When you read Google’s descriptions of “easy” and “reliable” landing pages, you can see it’s really talking about usability in terms of UX design and technical performance as two separate factors.
We also think Google has missed one crucial characteristic from its list:
If your landing pages aren’t compelling users to take action, they’re never going to maximise their conversion value and all the benefits of delivering quality landing page UX disappear.
So here’s our final list of what makes a good landing page experience:
Let’s take a quick look at these in more detail.
In paid advertising, landing pages are just as important as your ads, bidding strategies and campaign settings – if not, more. Even with the best ads, you’re not going to convert enough PPC traffic into conversions and this is bad news when you’re paying for every visitor that clicks through from a paid campaign.
We have a specialist CRO team in-house who work closely with our PPC team to ensure that all your hard-earned traffic doesn’t go to waste because of poor landing pages. Talk to us today on 02392 830281 or send us your details below and we’ll be in touch.
Gemma is a CRO specialist with 13 years industry experience. Qualified in marketing with psychology, she has a strong understanding of user behaviour and data analysis. She works closely with our PPC and SEO teams to ensure all your hard-earned traffic doesn't go to waste!
Digital marketing under-performing and not sure why? We'll do a free SWOT analysis and reveal priority focus areas and quick wins
Categories: CRO, Design