8 PPC Landing Page Best Practices You Must Know

Nedim Talović

by Nedim Talović on 15th August, 2017

A landing page is very important part of every PPC campaign.

You can drive thousands of users and pay thousands of dollars, but if you struggle with a landing page, you won’t get so many leads or customers.

Creating ads is all about choosing the right keywords to bid (AdWords), or picking the right audience (Facebook Ads), but the landing page is what matters.

Conversions happen on landing pages, not on ads.

Landing page experience is also a component of the quality score which means AdWords CPC may go down whenever you optimize a landing page.

In this blog post, I’ll explain you 8 PPC landing page best practices that you have to follow and think about.

Here are some best practices I’ll explain:

  • Optimize CTA
  • Add testimonials
  • Don’t ask too much

You’ll also see lots of useful benchmarks and statistics, so let’s get started!

#1 Make Your Landing Page Fast

According to Soasta, Walmart experiences an increase in conversions by 2% for every second of speed improvement.

Other experiences say that one-second delay may fail conversions up to 20%.

Google has built multiple tools that site owners can use for measuring website speed, mobile experience, etc.

Now, let’s see how to test a site speed with Pingdom.

The first step is to enter the URL you’d like to test, salesforce.com, for example.

Pingdom: Salesforce.com

Note that you can choose the location where testing will be performed.

Now you could be thinking that you should choose Europe as a location if the majority of the visitors you drive from ads are from Europe. Partially true!

Loading speed is one of the 200 Google ranking factors, so location doesn’t matter a lot. Every site must be very fast from every location.

Here are the results from the tested site.

Pingdom: Summary

Salesforce.com is faster than 66% of tested sites. That’s good but not marvelous. Here’s what they could do to improve the speed.

Pingdom performance insights

A fast landing page is especially important on mobile devices because they have a bit slower Internet connection.

In other words, must be sure that you won’t lose any customer because of the loading speed.

#2 Make It Mobile Ready

It’s impossible to see a human who doesn’t have a mobile device in his hands.

People are doing everything on their mobile devices: reading emails, booking flights, watching videos, etc.

In fact, almost half of all consumers browse via their phone, but only 20% complete transactions on mobile.

Only 1 in 5 complete transactions on mobile

If you don’t get any leads or conversions from mobile users, then your landing page probably isn’t mobile ready.

Lots of different tools that analyze mobile performance has built in the last few years. One of them is mobiReady.

Firstly, enter your landing page URL and click on GO.

mobiReady enter

Next, you’ll see how your the landing page looks on the desktop and mobile devices as well.

mobiReady Visualization

Furthermore, you’ll get a score.

Marketo.com gets only 0.68 out of 5, and many significance failures have detected which means that even big companies make mistakes.

Here’s an interesting the Gaussian distribution which compares Marketo with other top 1,000 Alexa ranked sites.

mobiReady Gaussian curve

Finally, you’ll see the specific major and minor failures. Here are some of them:

  • Image crunch
  • JavaScript inside head
  • Some images should be optimized
  • No ETag header found.
  • No cache control header was detected.

mobiReady failures

The majority of these issues could be solved in a day or two, so please, introduce your developer with this.

Generally speaking, better landing page experience will make your quality score higher, and as the end result is lower CPC.

#3 Optimize CTA

Usually, every landing page has one of the following purposes:

  • Lead acquisition
  • Customer acquisition

In order to do that, CTA plays a very important role.

It has to be positioned on the place users can see when they open a landing page.

In other words, above the fold.

That became a problem since the usage of mobile devices has increased. There are so many size screens available.

Testing where CTA is placed is possible by using Screenfly.

For instance, let’s enter one MixPanel landing page URL and click on Go.

Screenfly

Defaultly, you’ll see how the page looks on 10” screen size, but you can simulate the size up to 24”.

Furthermore, you can simulate tablet and mobile devices screens as well.

Screenfly: MixPanel results

The photo above shows how MixPanel CTA button is above the fold which is great.

CTA position isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. Preferably, you should create targeted CTAs.

According to HubSpot, targeted CTAs can convert 42% more visitors into leads than untargeted CTAs.
Targeted Calls-to-Action

Here are some examples of targeted CTAs.

Look how Kissmetrics calls visitors to get a PDF (eBook).

Kissmetrics eBook download

Here’s how Xero calls visitors to start a free trial account.

Xero free trial landing page

However, being careful is a must since because trying to optimize can decrease a conversion rate.

CTA decrease

One case study shows how changing CTA from Create My Account to Create Your Account has decreased a conversion rate by 24.91%.

#4 Don’t Ask Too Much

Landing page usually has a form that requires you to enter some of the following data:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Company name
  • Company role
  • Company website
  • Number of employees
  • Country

Some landing pages ask more and some ask for fewer data. Here are few examples.

Microsoft requires 6 pieces of information.

Microsoft landing page

Salesforce 8 pieces.

Salesforce landing page

Moz 9 pieces.

Moz landing page

Note how Moz added a personalized field - number of locations.

It seems logical because the landing page is about a free local SEO audit, so it can be very useful to know the number of locations.

Next, Atomic Reach asks 3 pieces of information.

atomic reach landing page

Do you see a difference between first three landing page and forth? Atomic Reach requires much less information.

The problem with the number of fields is a lead rate.

Asking too much will make your lead rate less because, for some users, it’s boring to enter 10 fields. On the other hand, if you add fewer fields, the lead rate will be higher but the quality will be lower.

For instance, lots of B2B companies ask for the phone number, so sales representatives can outreach them by the phone.

According to VWO case study, removing three form fields can increase conversions by 11%.

A/B Test

According to Dan Zarella, whenever you ask for a telephone number, you’ll get lower conversion rates.

Conversion rate by reference to telephone

This is very interesting actually. As I said earlier, sales reps could use the phone number to outreach a potential client, but if there’s no number, outreach will be much harder.

However, the best practice is to drive the traffic into two groups (A/B test) and see how many people you’ll be able to convert. Maybe it’s better to get a lower conversion rate but have a phone.

Next, you should use dropdowns and radio buttons, so you can minimize typing.

For example, fields such as country and the number of employees should always be a dropdown. Furthermore, you should guess a country based on the IP address and set it as a default country.

#5 Add Testimonials

Social proof could skyrocket your lead rates.

Google study has shown that 70% of Americans say that they search reviews before they make a purchasing decision.

It’s not the same when you have famous clients and when you have unknown clients. Simply said, testimonials are a powerful way of presenting yourself as a top company.

Here’s one example of successful testimonial implementation.

Testimonials

Here’s another one service with a bunch of famous clients.

Keywordtool.io testimonials

Anyway, if you don’t have any famous company as a client, you should consider adding tweets from influencers and other Twitter users as well.

Testimonials in form of tweets

What if I don’t have any famous client nor do I have any tweet about the company?

Use PR! Link media pages who have been writing about your company. Here’s how it looks.

Transferwise

What if there’s no media publishes about my company?

Use HARO!

HARO helps you get mentioned in all main stream media such as Forbes, New York Times, Entrepreneur, USA Today...

It’s a free service where you only need to sign up and journalist requests will come to your email inbox every single day.

HARO offers

The photo above shows a few requests that I could send a pitch and maybe appear in the mainstream media.

That’s how I appeared on USA Today a few months ago.

#6 Pick Appropriate Colors

Colors also have an impact on conversion rates. Every landing page must be professionally designed and have colors that match each other.

Founders sometimes don’t have funds to hire a designer, so they need to cover every role in the company.

They’re designers, developers, marketers, support specialists, etc.

If that’s a case with you, you can try Coolors.co, a great tool for creating a color scheme.

Coloors scheme

Adobe Color CC is another free tool where you can easily create a color scheme but explore other color themes as well.

Complementary colors

The tool is great because it allows creating complimentary colors. For instance, the red color is a complementary color of green.

If the base color of a landing page is orange, then creating a cyan CTA button could be a priority. Here’s an example.

HubSpot Complementary Color

Here’s how not respecting a contrast rule may result.

High contrast

Having something similar will only waste your money, so don’t do this.

#7 Use Landing Page Builders

PPC advertising requires adjusting landing pages very often.

In fact, you have three options:

  • Hiring a in-house designer
  • Hiring an outsourcing agency
  • Use landing page builders

Hiring your own designer is probably the best option, but it’s also the most expensive.

According to PayScale, a median salary of web designer in the United States is $49,000.

Web designer salary

Hiring an outsourcing agency is probably not the best option since sometimes you want to do changes immediately which sometimes isn’t possible with outsourcing agencies.

Anyway, using landing page builders is probably the best option if you don’t have enough money for hiring an outsourcing agency.

There are many tools, but the most popular are Instapage and Leadpages.

Both tools have lots of templates and also drag and drop system that even someone who’s not a designer can build a beautiful landing pages.

Here are some Instapage templates.

Instapage

Here are Leadpages templates.

Leadpages

Keep in mind that everything you change on a landing page must be statistically significant.

Without statistically significant results, everything is actually the product of luck. I’ll explain it later.

#8 Use A/B Tests

Testing matters a lot.

Everything in digital marketing is about testing because you simply can’t know what works the best.

I mean, sometimes you’ll find something as very useful, but it doesn’t mean it will work for you too.

There are various tools that help with optimizing:

Additionally, you can use AdWords’ drafts and campaigns which is actually a redesigned version of old Experiments feature.

Drafts and Experiments

Keep in mind that if a variation takes a high traffic percentage, it can be risky.

I’ve shown you an example of 24.91% decrease rate.

Here’s what you can test:

  • Ad copy
  • CTA
  • Bids
  • Keywords
  • Targeted audience
  • Landing page design

As I said earlier, every test must be statistically significant. Thankfully, all these tools will take care of getting statistically significant results.

In case you don’t want to use these tools I mentioned, you can calculate the significance on your own.

Firstly, open A/B significance test and enter how many clicks and leads (or conversions) you had.

Immediately, you’ll see which variation has better conversion rate, but more important, you’ll see something like this.

A/B Significance Test

We are 97% certain that the changes in Test “B” will improve your conversion rate.

However, sometimes you might see something like this:

Unfortunately, your results are not statistically significant.

This is a classical example where testing is actually a product of luck.

Conclusion

As you could see, there are many tips that you could apply in your PPC campaigns.

If you ask me which tip seems to be the most important, I’d say loading time and don’t ask too much.

Loading time is important because Internet users are not interested in waiting 5 seconds. If the landing page doesn’t get loaded within a second or two, they’ll leave.

Next, Walmart says that every second of load time increase their conversions by 2%.

As for the number of form fields, I’d say again that it’s best to do some A/B tests. Split the traffic and check how count the leads.

Next, try to convert those leads in customers and you’ll see if it’s better (in terms of conversions) to get less quality leads or more quality by asking more data.
What would you recommend to those who do PPC advertising? Share in the comments.

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