31.10.2019 - Paid Media

What Makes an Effective PPC Landing Page? Our Team Share Best Practices

Developing highly-focused landing pages is integral to the success of a paid media campaign. The content you offer after someone clicks an ad forms an important part of the user journey, so your landing pages need to align with your goals and objectives to increase conversions.

If you want to improve the ROI of your paid media activity, developing high-converting landing pages is essential. Here, we look at what makes an effective landing page from a paid media perspective, including what they should contain and best-practice tips for turning visits into conversions.

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Why Do Landing Pages Matter to PPC Campaigns?

The success of a paid media campaign hinges on the content and user experience you deliver to those who click your ads and visit your website. A landing page is typically the first thing a user will see after clicking an ad in search results or on social media, so it needs to deliver on the promise of the ad to drive engagement and conversions.

Typically, landing pages will have a focused goal, steering the user towards a pre-defined call to action (CTA) which aligns with the promise set out in the paid ad. They promote a singular value proposition, giving users the answer to why they should consider a brand’s product or service.

Focus photo of a light bulb above a meeting room

Landing pages should support your paid media campaign strategy, conveying information about a product or service that aligns with the text in the ad. It’s important that landing pages are relevant and concise, and that they deliver on the promise set out in paid ads on social media and in search results.

There are other things to consider when developing landing pages for paid media, too. How quickly your landing pages load is important given that a lot of traffic now comes from mobile users. Your pages also need to have a trackable point of conversion, so that you can measure its success and find out what’s working and what isn’t from a paid media perspective.

What Should Landing Pages Contain to Support PPC Activity?

Creating landing pages isn’t a matter of adding copy to a page and hoping for the best; some elements are more effective than others at helping to drive conversions. In our experience, the highest-performing landing pages for paid media contain the following:

  • A clear value proposition that delivers on the promise of the ad.
  • A focused CTA, making the next step obvious.
  • Testimonials, reviews and ratings which add legitimacy to your proposition.
  • A compelling heading and sub-heading that is relevant to the ad.
  • Contextual imagery that’s relevant and eye-catching.
  • A fast page load speed, which maintains the user experience across multiple devices.
  • At least one trackable point of conversion, to ensure you’re measuring the performance of your page.

While it may not be possible or relevant to include all of these elements on every landing page, it’s important to make sure that the content is relevant to the ad pointing to it. Relevancy is the key to high-converting landing pages, so focused messaging and a clear CTA will help maintain the performance and ROI of your paid campaigns.

Optimising Landing Pages for Search, Display and Social Ads

Landing pages should support multi-channel paid media campaigns, which can include a combination of search, display and social ads. There are several things you can do to ensure your landing pages are optimised for these three types of paid media activity, as highlighted below:

Display – Prospecting with display ads is a cost-effective way to get new users on to your site. However, the intent of these users is much lower, and therefore bounce rate tends to be higher. A fast-loading landing page with introductory information and visible USPs can help improve engagement and keep the user on the page for longer, so it’s crucial that you get your value proposition across concisely at the very top of the page.

Social – Similar to display, users who visit your page from a paid ad on social media can often be upper-funnel, with little intent to convert on your site. This means that bounce rate can be high and engagement rate low, so you need to get your USPs and value proposition across quickly to try to keep them on your site. Ensure your page has a compelling title, visible USPs and an eye-catching design to encourage social ad users further down the sales funnel.

Best-Practice Tips for Creating Landing Pages for a PPC Campaign

Use highly-focused landing pages for maximum ROI

The more specific and highly-focused your landing pages, the greater the likelihood of conversions. Targeting generic terms isn’t enough if you’re to maximise the ROI and lower the cost-per-click of your paid media activity; you need to incorporate focused messaging that is relevant and delivers on the promise of the ad.

Whenever you create an ad, you need to consider the page that it’s linking to – is it relevant and does it match up with the user’s search intent? Landing pages should show the user exactly what was promised in a search, display or social ad. This will result in better onsite engagement, maximising performance and increasing the likelihood that a user will convert.

Not only should the content be relevant to the user’s search intent, but it needs to be technically relevant too. Google’s bots crawl web pages to see if the content matches up to the keyword that resulted in the click, and if it decides that the page is a bad match, you could end up paying more than you should for clicks. When you’ve identified your top keywords – the ones that bring you the most value – reward them with their own landing page. They deserve it, after all.

Stick with a simple layout and minimal content

The purpose of your site’s landing pages is to communicate your value proposition, grabbing the user’s attention by showing them you can help with their query. That’s why you’ll want to keep landing pages as simple and clean as possible, with clear messaging and an optimised design to avoid convolution.

From a paid media perspective, landing pages should be light on copy, providing relevant messaging that points to a focused CTA. Provided your messaging and visuals are strong, it should perform.

bunch of employees gathered around a whiteboard

Use high-quality images and visuals

Landing pages aren’t all about gaining conversions; they’re also a way to build trust and advocacy with users who may have never heard of your brand. Anything you can do to make your business appear more reputable and aligned with a specific demographic can be extremely useful in encouraging users along the sales funnel – and the use of premium images and visuals plays a part in that.

Many brands make the mistake of using generic stock images on their landing pages, mostly as a cost- or time-saving tactic, but this does little to encourage credibility. Instead, use high-quality images and visuals that are either unique to your brand or are sourced from a reputable provider. Paired with focused messaging and a simple layout, premium imagery can be effective in creating high-converting landing pages.

Make your value proposition prominent

Users who click your search, display and social ads want immediate assertion that their query has (or will) be answered by your landing page, particularly if you’ve already enticed them with compelling ad copy. Your value proposition should be the first thing they see on landing on your page, as this will prevent them bouncing away and encourage them towards the desired CTA.

Provide the what, why and how of your product and service and, more importantly, how it will help them. Integrating targeted keywords which match the user’s search intent into this messaging is one of the most powerful ways to encourage conversion through your landing pages.

Integrate trust symbols to support your offering

As touched on above, evoking trust is a vital facet of high-converting landing pages. Essentially, you’re looking to provide a snapshot of your brand which gives the user the confidence to proceed through the sales funnel.

Incorporating relevant trust symbols is the perfect way to support your claims and value proposition. Reviews, ratings, testimonials and the logos of brands you’ve worked with or have been publicly endorsed by can all be used to back up your offering. Place these towards the bottom of the page, close to a CTA button, as a way of assuring the user and prompting them to take the next step.

Front facing photo of a female speaking to two colleges in a face to face meeting

Consider potential fear factors

Half the battle of gaining conversions through landing pages is overcoming the common fears users have about interacting with a brand they’re unfamiliar with. Regardless of how compelling your messaging and visuals, people are naturally more hesitant to engage with companies they don’t know, but there are tactics you can use to allay potential fear factors.

Start by considering what you’re asking the user to do through your CTA. If you’re prompting the user to visit a transactional page, use messaging like ‘money-back guarantee’, ‘no hidden fees’, etc. Or, maybe you’d like them to sign-up to your mailing list? In which case, it’s important to add messaging about how their information will be used and the frequency of emails and updates.

Create a sense of urgency – but keep it subtle

Incorporating an implied sense of urgency into your messaging can be a great way to encourage conversions through your landing pages. The trick here is to use time-sensitive words and phrases which signal to the user that your offer is available for a limited time only, prompting them to take the next step or risk missing out.

Creating subtle urgency can be tricky, but one of the easiest ways to achieve this is to play on people’s fear that they’re missing out on something. Even simple commands like ‘Sign up now’ or ‘Buy today’ can make the user perceive your offering as time-sensitive, so it’s a good tactic to use for CTAs.

Add a second CTA to maximise engagement

While it’s crucial that your landing pages contain a clear call to action, it can be worth adding a secondary CTA for users who aren’t quite ready to go all the way. The purpose of this alternative CTA should be to attain a point of contact that you can use for remarketing, keeping the window of opportunity open for future conversions.

Achieving a ‘soft’ conversion from a secondary CTA may not be the outcome you’d hoped for, but it does present a valuable opportunity to gain leads which could convert down the road. Just make sure that the primary CTA forms the bulk of your messaging, with the secondary prompt placed beneath this in a less-prominent position.

Test and refine your landing pages for optimum performance

Testing is a crucial part of building high-converting landing pages. Tweaking and refining elements of your pages can improve performance, engagement and relevancy, optimising the user experience and ensuring maximum ROI for your paid media activity.

Using a specific ‘paid media’ landing page builder, like Unbounce, can be an efficient way to test different pages before implementing changes on your website. Headings, copy, imagery, buttons, navigation and CTA messaging can all be tested and refined to ensure they’re delivering the very best experience for the user, and optimum performance for your site.

4 employees all looking at a graph on a small tablet

Use a dedicated page builder to create standalone landing pages when required

There are several platforms you can use to create and design standalone landing pages when your site isn’t optimised for new users or paid ads. Our favourite landing page builder is Unbounce, which makes it easy to create visual, on-brand pages that are highly-focused towards your goals and objectives.

Unbounce gives you the freedom to create standalone landing pages that look just like your website. There are hundreds of different templates to choose from, each with full CSS and JavaScript functionality, as well as a suite of analytics and testing options which help your pages perform.

We’d only recommend sending users to a standalone landing page when your site isn’t optimised for paid ads or new users. In most cases, it’s preferable to send users to the original domain.

A word on optimising your landing pages for competitor bidding

Bidding on a competitor’s brand keywords can be costly. Ideally, your aim with paid media ads is to send users to a relevant landing page, but competitor bidding is different; you’re sending them to a page that has nothing to do with what they searched for – or are you?

Special consideration should be given to a landing page for competitor bidding. Everything that makes your offering better than your competitor should be front and centre. Consider comparison tables on price and features, special offers, or just plain superior content. Aim to make this the greatest landing page you’ll ever make, because the odds of converting users are against you.

If you’re looking to increase your revenue with a targeted paid media campaign, our expert paid media team can help. From ad copy optimisation to account configuration, we will develop a campaign that delivers for your business. Click here to learn more or call us now on 0345 459 0558.