As marketers, we often spend hours optimizing ads while forgetting about where we’re sending people.
That’s a huge mistake. Instead, we should be treating ads and landing pages as two parts of a whole. This approach produces better leads and more sales, translating to a better return on investment and happier colleagues.
If you’re looking to take your campaigns to the next level, being more strategic with landing pages is critical. Let’s dive into ways to optimize paid placements and ad landing pages.
Optimize ads and landing pages with pain points
Reaching out to customers for feedback is one of my favorite ways to get a gut check on marketing activities, including our paid campaigns and landing pages.
You can do this by picking a customer that has a good rapport with your company. Indicators like high customer lifetime value or lots of engagement on social media can help you find these gems.
Contact them for an in-person or video interview and say you’re looking for honest feedback on your marketing and product strategies. Questions might include:
- How did you initially find us?
- Who are our competitors?
- What pain point do we best respond to?
- What is your favorite part of our product?
- What features do you want to see next?
- What problems do you most often face in your job?
You can use answers to these questions to underline why a prospect needs your product. Add their pain points to your ad and landing page headlines, develop gated content advising on problems they face in their jobs, and promote their favorite product feature far and wide.
New Relic’s webinar campaign does a great job of reeling people in by spotlighting pain points. Its ad mentions the aggravating need for developers to monitor complex infrastructure and shows how New Relic is the solution, all in one sentence.
Once the user clicks through to the ad landing page, New Relic showcases six specific pain points that its webinar addresses. This easy to read, straightforward format shows a high level of audience understanding: developers have Superman’s X-ray vision when it comes to seeing through marketing jargon.
New Relic’s ad and landing page were undoubtedly informed by past conversations with actual customers and developers. Real-life interview with our target audiences helps all of us level-up paid campaigns and ad landing pages without any guesswork.
Measure quality of paid conversions with lead scoring
Lead scoring rates how likely someone is to buy based on known information and behaviors. You can use hundreds of factors to score leads: location, title, company size, industry, website activity, social engagement, customer revenue, email opens, forms submitted, and so on.
Proper lead scoring gives you a reality check on whether paid campaigns and ad landing pages are generating good leads or straight up duds.
Start by sifting through the leads from a specific landing page, and then compare them to your targeted persona. Are they the same, or are you attracting someone else by accident?
This can be the fault of ad campaigns or landing pages. Analyze copy, images, and other design elements in both places and consider how they might influence your ideal lead.
Tableau’s ad does a great job of attracting its desired audience: data-driven marketers at tech companies. The copy mentions explicitly marketing and a common pain point of data overload.
When you navigate to the ad landing page, it continues to target this specific audience while also outlining precisely what marketers can expect from the whitepaper. The cherry on top is a quote from an actual marketing analyst, a member of the target audience.
You can replicate Tableau’s expert lead targeting in ad copy and landing pages with optimizations such as:
- Quote or video testimonial from similar companies or buyers.
- Specific mentions of your desired seniority level (marketing analyst vs. CMO).
- Actionable headline copy that touches on a specific problem.
- Content offer specific to an audience’s needs.
These changes attract qualified leads while deterring undesired ones, resulting in powerhouse paid campaigns and a happier sales team.
Use heat maps to analyze engagement
Heat maps uncover how people interact with pages by tracking mouse movements, clicks, or scroll depth.
The result is data visualizations that show how users consume information on a page. Red spots mean more activity, and blue areas indicate less.
You can use heat maps to improve landing pages by moving calls to action to red zones and bumping secondary information to cooler spots or axing it altogether.
But we can also go a step further by using them to monitor engagement by paid channel.
At the beginning of campaigns, it’s normal to send people to the same landing page regardless of what placement they engaged with. We score another layer of audience insight by using heat maps to segment how users from different channels interact with content.
For example, visitors from a YouTube pre-roll campaign might not want to see the same video display prominently on a landing page. But podcast ad listeners might appreciate a quick video introducing your product.
Using heat maps, we could see if these two channels have drastically different interactions. The YouTube group might scroll down quickly for other information, while the podcast referrals would likely generate tons of activity around the video play button.
This information can be used to design landing pages that provide the information prospects need to convert. More relevant design and useful content can pay off big in conversion rates.
A/B test ads and landing pages
A/B testing shows different versions of a page for visitors to see which iteration leads to more of a desired outcome such as conversions, clicks, or checkouts.
We can use A/B tests to make ad landing pages that are efficient, lead-generating machines.
Let’s explore an example from Stack Overflow. It uses Twitter ads to target technical recruiters, offering a report on developer salaries in exchange for contact information.
Assuming the ad performed well, we could test parts of the creative on the landing page to see if it leads to more conversions than the current design. Experiments could include:
- Adding a 3D book mockup of the guide.
- Swapping the secondary headline with the tweet copy.
- Using the icons on the guide cover to add more color to the page.
With any A/B test, limit the number of variations, so your data proves which change leads to more of the desired outcome. Try to start big and move towards small changes—a content change will tell you more about audience preferences than swapping the submit button color.
It’s also vital to have a significant enough sample size, which varies depending on lift goals and conversion rates. An A/B test sample size calculator like this one from Evan Miller will tell you how big your audience needs to be for significant results.
While small updates are easy to dismiss, iterative changes can add up to huge results over time. A/B tests also tell you more about your audience, preparing you to create more powerful campaigns down the line.
Landing pages and ads go hand in hand
Great landing pages don’t work without significant ads, just like phenomenal ads screech to a halt without remarkable landing pages.
Investing time and learning from both products will level-up paid campaigns and make your marketing a finely tuned lead-generating machine.
Joshua Schnell is the Marketing Manager at BuySellAds. He’s also the founder and editor-in-chief of Macgasm.net, a blog focused on all things Apple Inc. And since all that doesn’t quite give him enough content to wrangle, he’s also a technology journalist in his spare time with bylines at PCWorld, Macworld, TechHive, and HubSpot. Let him know what you think of this article on twitter.