Are your landing pages really living up to browser expectations? ClickThrough’s PPC experts consider the cost of failing to deliver on what your adverts promise.

Its holiday season and, along with this, a recent report by the Airport Commission has backed a third Heathrow runway – more and more people are flying off and arriving at dream destinations in search of summer sun. Or are they?

Imagine booking your dream vacation – you read the brochure and it sounded great – only to land and find no airport, no beach, no hotel and no pool?! You would be justified in feeling slightly miffed, perhaps a little angry.

This is the same for a web browser who clicks on a fabulously enticing ad creative only to be routed to a landing page that holds no relevance whatsoever to their search term. This triggers a pain point and they will be hitting the ‘back’ button quicker than you can say ‘Pass the sun cream”.

A landing page is the webpage visitors are taken to when they click on one of your ads. You can specify landing pages for creatives and keywords. Tying a keyword to a landing page overrides any landing pages you’ve specified for its accompanying ad.

Why Are Landing Pages Important?

Think of your ads as your shop window display, and your landing pages as the reality that lies behind your shop door.

shop window

Similar to our holidaymaker, imagine you’re attracted to a shop because of its stunning window display. In the window is a beautiful, pristinely presented lawnmower, and there’s a sign promising 50% off – what a bargain!

Then you enter the shop, only to find that it only sells wellington boots, and there’s no sale to speak of. What’s more, it’s dusty and difficult to find your way around.

You’d be disappointed, to say the least. In all likelihood, you’d leave as quickly as possible. And if you did stick around, it’s unlikely that you’d buy anything.

This is why your landing pages need to be relevant to your ads, and your keywords. Otherwise, you’re essentially promising something to your customers that you can’t deliver. Customers who click on your ad and land on an irrelevant page are likely to leave your website (bounce) or browse without buying (converting) – just like the customers in our imaginary bricks-and-mortar shop.

Impact to Bottom Line

To make matters worse, you’re paying for each visitor who clicks on your ad. That’s bad news for your bottom line.

credit card

Furthermore, irrelevant landing pages can negatively impact your Quality Score. And a low Quality Score means higher CPCs.

You can track the success of your landing pages by reviewing conversion and bounce rate metrics. A low bounce rate means customers are finding the information they expected to find on your landing page, and a high conversion rate means they’re purchasing products, or completing other relevant on-site goals.

Landing Page Best-Practice Tips

  • Think about structure. Usually, it’s sufficient to apply landing page URLs at an ad group level. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, a DVD merchant may have an ad group that’s broadly targeted to comedy films, and set the ad group’s landing page URL to a comedy film category page. However, it would make sense for them to also apply specific product landing pages to keywords that refer to individual titles. (E.g. ‘funny movies’ versus ‘Anchorman’.)
  • Consider CRO. At this stage, it’s important to consider whether your site is optimised from a CRO (conversion rate optimisation) perspective. Are your calls to action optimised? Are your form fills? Are your action points in the optimum position? Have you considered A/B split testing?

This post is adapted and abridged from our FREE eBook – The Best-Practice Guide to AdWords Audits: Part One

Download your copy now to discover how to use keywords and match types, and how ad extensions can gain you much needed visibility

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ClickThrough is a digital marketing agency, providing search engine optimisation, pay per click management, conversion optimisation, web development and content marketing services.