- What is PCO?
- 3 Pillars of PCO
- Why does pre-click get all the attention?
- Why is scalable creation important?
- Creating landing pages at scale
- Using Instablocks™ for scalability
- How to optimize post-click experiences
- A/B testing & step-by-step process
- How to personalize post-click experiences
- List of optimized elements
- Using PCO for maximum conversions
Digital advertisers continue to suffer massive losses every year — about 97% of marketing budgets go to waste because only 3% of ad clicks convert.
Why is this happening?
Most digital marketers still practice trial and error strategies when it comes to post-click optimization. Advertising technology has made significant advancements in recent years because you can now micro-target ads, optimize and personalize them, and even create ads at scale. The same isn’t true for post-click experiences.
Post-click optimization has been neglected, which is why most marketers fail to convert a huge chunk of visitors who click their ads.
What is post-click optimization?
Post-click optimization (PCO) is everything that happens between the ad click and the conversion. It begins with an optimized landing page and ends with a personalized thank you page and email. In its entirety, the process enables marketers to create, optimize, and personalize post-click experiences at scale to maximize conversions:
The post-click landing page should be designed as a natural extension of the ad clicked. Each element on the page should notify the visitor they’ve landed at the right place, and that the offer they wanted is only a CTA click away.
To demonstrate, iperceptions’s post-click experience is set up for conversion very well. The ad promotes their buyer’s kit and sends people to the post-click landing page that follows:
- The ad and landing page headline are identical.
- The same image is included on both ad and landing page, which previews the offer.
- The branding colors are the same, establishing relevancy and letting the visitor know they are in the correct place.
- The buyer’s kit is the primary focus since there are no navigation links that could distract visitors from the offer.
What follows the form submission is this thank you page:
- The thank you page is message matched.
- The branding colors are the same as the ad and the landing page.
- More conversion opportunities are available that can push prospects further down the funnel.
Next, let’s discuss the three pillars that comprise post-click optimization.
3 Pillars of post-click optimization
Post-click optimization involves creating optimized post-click experiences that are personalized to each indiviudual audience segment – starting from a message matched post-ad click landing page and ending with a customized thank you page.
Creating optimal post-click experiences is directly linked to the platform that can support the three pillars of post-click optimization:
Scalable creation is the capability to create multiple post-click experiences quickly. Creating post-click landing pages at scale is necessary because you can personalize and optimize every page with a particular audience segment or buyer persona.
For instance, imagine you run an ecommerce business, Black Friday is approaching and you want to offer 50% discount on 60 selected items. Instead of directing visitors to a busy product page with every item after the ad click, you create 60 landing pages. Each landing page is dedicated to an individual item with message matched copy, a hero shot of the item, and glowing customer reviews.
Which post-click approach do you expect will yield more conversions?
Marketers should constantly A/B test across the funnel to recognize which components are performing well and which need improvements. In post-click marketing, optimization refers to improving the components of post-click experiences with user research and testing.
Heatmap tools can collect data on post-click landing pages, which you can then run A/B tests to prove or disprove.
Personalizing involves increasing the ad relevancy for a specific target audience, like user-intent. For example, search intent is a common scenario that requires separate landing pages for users — users doing preliminary research have different needs than a user about to make a purchase. Catering to both types of users with different post-click landing pages is better for them and the advertiser.
Creating buyer personas and audience segments beforehand helps you create personalized post-click experiences for each audience segment, which can generate more conversions. In the end, an optimized experience from start to finish, makes a CTA button click (i.e. the conversion) very likely.
One thing is clear: an optimized post-click experience is necessary for turning ad clicks into conversions. The question then becomes why has post-click marketing lagged behind while the pre-click experience dominates all the attention?
Why does the pre-click experience get all the attention?
Pre-click optimization is the process of creating and improving paid marketing ads using various advertising platforms such as Google Ads, Bing, and Facebook. The pre-click experience has a single component — the ad — and ads are made up of headlines, URL’s, ad copy, images, and video.
Since the advertising giants focus more on ad creation, the pre-click experience has always been their priority. They developed advanced advertising technology that helped marketers use laser-focused micro-targeting and personalization techniques to create ads for audiences. These techniques not only increased the number of ad clicks, but also saved marketer’s revenue, time, and resources.
The advertising platforms invested a lot of time and money to inform marketers of the importance of digital advertising in expanding their business. This Google Ads customer success story is an example:
The advertising platforms made ads their primary focus, and post-click experiences were neglected. Marketers are allowed to connect their ads with ‘destination pages’ that aren’t message matched or relevant to the ad.
And while things have started taking a turn for the better, with Google Ads, Bing, and Facebook now accounting for landing page experience when considering ad rank and ad placements, post-click marketing still lags behind in a lot of areas.
No single platform offers the end-to-end capabilities needed to convert a click.
There are two main areas where post-click optimization still falls short:
- Scalability: At present, there is no way for you to create personalized post-click experiences at a high velocity. Scalable creation of landing pages is a manual process that takes up a lot of time and effort.
- A unified platform: The existing technologies for post-click marketing are not unified. There are individual products that offer various aspects of post-click marketing, such as landing page creation, A/B testing, heatmaps, attribution, personalization etc. However, there is no end-to-end integrated product that offers the complete post-click optimization solution.
So, what should marketers do when it comes to optimizing post-click experiences?
The solution is Instapage.
Instapage is the only platform to bring together existing and new capabilities to offer a comprehensive post-click optimization platform. The landing page platform that offers marketers the ability to create, optimize, and personalize post-click experiences at scale.
This post-click optimization guide provides you a full overview of everything you should know about creating post-click experiences at scale. The three pillars of PCO will be discussed in detail, and you’ll also get to see how you can optimize the components of a post-click experience.
What is scalable creation and why is it important?
Scalable creation is creating hundreds of post-click experiences quickly using workflow efficiencies. That way, every visitor gets a personalized experience each time they click your ad and arrive at your landing page.
So, instead of creating one landing page for every ad campaign, create multiple landing pages that cater to each buyer persona and customer segment you have. In fact, companies that utilize between 6-49 landing pages see a 63% increase in the number of leads per page. Those with 50+ landing pages see a 270% increase in leads per page:
The demand for personalized landing pages stems from the fact that every visitor is different; they have different pain points; they originate from different sources. When you provide each visitor with a personalized post-click experience you guarantee their individual needs are met and pain points answered. This generates a conversion. However, identifying accurate buyer personas is necessary, too.
Why is scalable creation necessary?
Every digital ad is a conversion opportunity. An opportunity to connect with your customers and increase conversions – whether it is a free trial, white paper download, webinar, new sign up, or anything in between. But if ads are not connected with relevant, dedicated post-click experiences you risk wasting all your conversion opportunities.
Remember – ad clicks are not conversions.
To convert an ad click you need to perfect the post-click optimization process for all your ads, and that starts with scalable creation.
What are buyer personas?
A buyer persona “is an archetype, a composite picture of the real people who buy, or might buy, products like the one you sell.” It is an avatar that you create from customer data you collect from market research and customer profiling. The personas not only provide you with a clear picture of who your ideal buyer is, but they also help you understand their decision-making process.
Buyer personas are often created by filling in these kinds of details:
- Basic demographic info: age, location, and gender.
- Work info: current work position and their aspirations within the organization.
- Which channels do they use? Which distribution platform do they prefer and how much time do they spend on it?
- Who are they influenced by? Who has the power to have an influence on their decisions.
- Budget: How much control of the budget do they have?
- Pain points: What challenges are they currently facing and what is the impact of these challenges on their work and life in general.
Creating buyer personas helps you understand your target audience in a more meaningful, deeper way because it helps you create a personalized content marketing strategy to map out an accurate buyer’s journey.
Why buyer personas deserve personalized landing pages
When you focus on landing page creation, but neglect buyer personas, you risk creating pages that are not meant for the person who clicks the ad.
For instance, let’s suppose you’re promoting a webinar hosting platform. Instead of establishing buyer personas, you assume your target customers are webinar hosts looking for better live chat options. Since you assume the person hosting the webinar is looking at the page, you highlight features that are important to them, specifically the live chat options. But, what if the person responsible for choosing the webinar platform is a content marketing specialist, not the host? The marketing specialist will have a separate set of needs from your platform, maybe they focused on the price of the software as opposed to the live chat capabilities.
The point is this… when you don’t design your landing page for the person who’s going to view it you risk wasting the ad click.
Personalized landing pages ensure that the offer promised in the ad is delivered on the landing page. This matches user expectations and increases the likelihood of conversions.
For example, searching Google for “instant messaging tools for teams” shows this Flock ad:
Post click, this is the landing page you arrive at:
Both the ad and landing page are personalized for the prospects searching for communication tools that offer instant messaging. Since both assets matched the user’s expectations, and the messaging was personalized for their needs, the conversion is more likely.
How to create landing pages at scale and increase conversions
Advertising technologies have made significant advancements when it comes to micro-targeting, optimization, and ad personalization capabilities.
Marketers can easily create, test, and optimize hundreds of personalized, targeted ads quickly. They can scale their advertising and optimize it hassle-free to maximize clicks.
The same can’t be said when it’s time to convert ad clicks into conversions. Marketers have been unable to create and personalize post-click landing pages as easily as they can create and personalize ads.
So, how do you create and personalize post-click experiences at scale easily and quickly?
Using the Instapage platform.
Instapage is built from the inside-out for marketers to create personalized post-click experiences at scale. It is the solution that automates the creation and updating a high volume of post-click pages. Even with other landing page builders that offer page creation, it becomes cumbersome and overwhelming to create and update hundreds of pages.
Use Instablocks™ to create post-click landing pages at scale
Instablocks allows marketers to create and save custom blocks to reuse across their landing pages, or leverage Instablocks Templates, like existing Instapage landing page templates. You can easily insert a blank section or saved section, duplicate, or delete a section as needed.
The feature empowers all marketers to save and reuse common page blocks like headers, footers, testimonials, and more. With Instablocks, you can accelerate advertising and marketing campaigns by quickly scaling the production of post-click experiences, which will drive more conversions, faster. Watch this video tutorial to learn more:
With Instablocks you can create and save blocks to reuse across your landing pages. Marketers can now focus on creating new content rather than spending time recreating existing content. You can quickly create a number of blocks to build hundreds of new pages without needing to duplicate existing creative content. You can also scale the production of your personalized post-click experiences faster and more efficiently with Instablocks.
But, what happens when you have to update multiple landing pages simultaneously? Whether that number is in dozens, hundreds or even thousands. Even the thought of updating that many pages manually is daunting, which is where Global Blocks comes into play.
How does Global Blocks help with scalability?
Global Blocks helps marketers manage and update multiple landing pages with a single click:
The feature is unique to the landing page industry andcopy helps you:
- Create, manage, and update thousands of landing pages by using pre-built custom blocks
- Keep all landing page content updated to continually increase conversions
- Maintain global brand templates at scale
Whether it is copy, a CTA block, pop-up, video block or anything else, Global Blocks lets you update content en masse which can help increase conversions. Because ultimately, when you create dedicated post-click experiences for each visitor you ensure that every visitor gets what they wanted after the click.
It’s no longer enough to only focus on ad optimization for buyer personas and audience segments. To provide visitors the best experience you must optimize the post-click experience as well. Something that is only possible with scalable creation of post-click landing pages.
Instablocks and Global Blocks allow marketers to scale their post-click landing pages efficiently, helping them maximize conversions by always creating personalized post-click experiences.
How to optimize post-click experiences
Optimization transforms an un-engaging landing page into a persuasive page where the combination of elements provide visitors with the information they need to click the CTA button. This next section focuses on optimization techniques to create more engaging, relevant post-click landing pages. We won’t be focusing on best practices; instead, we’ll give data-backed techniques that guarantee a lift in conversions. First, let us begin with a quick definition.
What is optimization?
Optimization is the process of improving a campaign or part of it (web page, advertisement, landing page) to the point that it’s as near-perfect as it can be. Optimization starts with continuous testing and data collection, and ends with making improvements to campaigns based on those results.
Post-click optimization is the process of improving the components of your post-click experience i.e. the landing page, thank you page, and thank you email to the point that all of them are as near perfect as they can be.
The two primary ways to optimize post-click experiences are:
- A/B testing
Heatmaps allow you to see how visitors interact with your landing pages, giving you lots of useful data to create and run informed A/B tests. A/B testing lets you take the user data collected from the heatmaps and create variations of the page elements that aren’t contributing to positive results. The two components work together because heatmaps help you develop a hypothesis of what isn’t working on your post-click landing pages, while A/B testing helps you prove or disprove that hypothesis.
Let’s break each one down in more detail.
What is a heatmap?
A heatmap is a visual representation of data, that is used for analyzing visitor behavior on a web page. The data collected helps you ascertain how visitors are scanning and clicking the page and what they are most interested in. For example, a heatmap can determine if visitors aren’t clicking the CTA button or if they’re clicking an element that’s not clickable. The insights collected can then be used to test your pages and ultimately increase your conversion rates.
To ensure the data you collect is accurate, it’s important that you have an ample sample size before generalizing results and making changes to your landing pages. At least 2,000-3,000 page views per screen is recommended per device (desktop and mobile) before you begin making conclusions. Changing landing page elements based off of heatmap data with very little traffic won’t help you make optimization decisions that have an impact on conversions.
There are essentially four types of heatmaps:
- Click tracking heatmaps
- Eye tracking heatmaps
- Scroll maps
- Mouse movement
1. Click tracking heatmaps
Mouse tracking heatmaps are the most common type of heatmap, they record data based on where visitors click on your landing page.
The red spots represent the page areas where the visitor clicked the most, the number of concentrated clicks goes down as the color becomes lighter.
With click maps you can see if your visitors are clicking at the right places on your landing page. The highest number of visitor clicks on a landing page should be on the CTA button since that should be the only clickable element on the page (conversion ratio of 1:1 i.e. one clickable element per conversion goal).
Truckers Assist used click maps on their landing page to find out why their conversion rate was suffering:
Most of the clicks on the page were on the ‘No Fees’ red badge instead of the primary call to action button, which meant that visitors where clicking on an unclickable page element, getting frustrated and leaving the page without converting.
The data collected with the heatmap helped them change their page design:
The new design has a yellow primary CTA button, that catches visitor attention as is evident from this heatmap:
Make sure your CTA button is contrasting and looks clickable so that visitors aren’t confused once they decide to click the call to action button.
A case study by VWO on Pair (now Couple) features a click heatmap of the landing page that showed that visitors were clicking the navigation bar on top of the page instead of the CTA button which could take them to Google Play or the AppStore, this was causing them to lose conversions.
Here’s the original landing page:
Here’s the click map:
After analyzing this heatmap Pair ran A/B tests to see if removing the distractions (navigation links) from the page would lead to an increase in conversions.
Removing the navigation links from the page lead to a 12% increase in conversions.
Clicktale defines the pros and cons of mouse tracking maps in the following way:
2. Eye tracking heatmaps
These eye tracking heatmaps record the visitor’s eye movements while they view your webpage. Typically, eye tracking studies are conducted in labs where participants wear special tracking devices that precisely measure eye movement. Nowadays, eye tracking studies can also be conducted via web-cams.
By analyzing where visitors tend to focus on a page, you can place the important page elements such as the CTA button or the lead capture in the visitors’ natural eye path increasing the possibility of them clicking the CTA button.
Groupon was able to increase their conversions by 52% by decluttering their landing page because of the data collected through the following eye tracking study performed by EyeQuant:
3. Scroll maps
Scroll maps record visitors’ scrolling behaviour, allowing you to see the exact point where visitors scrolled on the page. This type of heatmap indicates if the length of your page is appropriate, which is why scroll maps should be used for long-form sales pages.
This is what a scroll map looks like:
Don’t assume that a short-form page will do better than a long-form page, because multiple A/B tests have shown that the fold is arbitrary and everybody scrolls. When Highrise tested a short form page with a long form one they found that the long-form page increased signups by 37.5%.
In fact, Research from Chartbeat shows that many people don’t wait for the page to load and start scrolling, which essentially means that they miss the top section of the page:
Their research also shows that engagement peaks just below the fold for many pages:
Heatmaps provide you with a visual guide of visitor behavior, allowing you to see the landing page through the visitors’ eyes – helping you make any changes needed to improve landing page optimization and increase conversions.
Heatmaps are valuable tool for uncovering how people behave on your landing page, but they should not be the only tool you use. Considered alone, they paint an incomplete picture of visitor experience, and solely relying on them to judge visitor behavior has the potential to mislead you. Though helpful, heatmaps are still limiting.
For example, if a heatmap of a form shows that a lot visitors are clicking the first field and then the number of clicks decrease for the subsequent fields, this doesn’t necessarily mean that visitors only filled out the first field. This could also suggest that visitors used their keyboard to tab through fields instead of their mouse. In this case, it would be better to measure time spent within each form field instead of simply looking at click maps.
To optimize post-click landing pages it’s best to combine data collected from heatmaps with your Analytics data to uncover the full picture of visitor behavior on landing pages.
Instapage now makes it easier than ever to combine landing page analytics with heatmap data by offering the Instapage Heatmap Visualizer.
The Instapage Heatmap Visualizer provides 3-in-1 tracking functionality — mouse movement, clicks, and scroll depth. Here’s what those maps look like within the platform:
Here’s a visual representation of the three kinds of maps:
Use the insights you collect from heatmaps with your landing page analytics to run informed A/B tests that give you the power to create optimized post-click experiences that persuade visitors to convert.
What is A/B testing?
A/B testing helps marketers gather data that they can then use to better optimize their landing pages. The testing methodology involves creating and then comparing variations of a landing page to see which one performs better.
A/B testing involves testing your original page design, referred to as the control page (A) with alternate variation (B) referred to as the variation page. The test involves directing equal number of traffic to both pages and seeing which page outperforms the other.
You can A/B test every element on your landing page from the headline down to the customer testimonials. However, before you start A/B testing you need to make sure that your landing page is getting sufficient traffic.
It’s better not to run A/B tests unless you’re getting 350-400 conversions per variation with a statistical significance of 95% – this won’t be possible for landing pages with low traffic. Another thing to remember is to let your tests run for several weeks even if you have a steady flow of traffic, don’t call tests too soon.
Why should you A/B test?
Don’t begin A/B testing just because you think it will increase your bottom line, testing page elements randomly won’t do much for conversions, look at user data to see the specific elements you should be testing.
Always start your A/B test with a hypothesis – the thing you want to test so when you see a winning variation you know exactly what works. Don’t A/B test your landing pages randomly, start with a particular idea in mind.
This idea could be a finding you discovered while running heatmaps on landing pages. If your heatmap showed visitors aren’t noticing the CTA button, you can use visual cues to bring attention to the button.
A/B Testing: A quick step-by-step
Diving into A/B testing without the proper knowledge can hurt your business down the line. If you’re new to the methodology, familiarize yourself withthis bite-size step-by-step guide. Then, go deeper in our all-in-one guide to A/B testing.
- Start with a reason to test. Without a reason to test, you can’t even be sure you’re optimizing. Your CTA button might be the best part of your landing page. If you have no reason to think it’s dragging your landing page performance down, you shouldn’t change it. Look at your data. What needs to be adjusted?
- Create a hypothesis. If you discover a problem with your landing page, create a hypothesis about why it may be occurring. For example, if you find that people are abandoning your landing page almost immediately, it could be an issue with message match. From this hypothesis, you can form your basis for testing.
- Calculate your sample size. To conclude your test, you’ll need to reach something called “statistical significance.” The term refers to the number of visits each of your pages (control and variation) will need to before you can be confident about your results. It’s highly dependent on how accurate you want to be and what your original conversion rate is. It involves a lot of math, but there are some great calculators to help you figure it out.
- Make your adjustments. If it’s the headline you’re changing, update it. If your hypothesis involved switching the featured image, do that. Platforms like Instapage make it easy to adjust your page elements for split testing in just a few seconds, without the help of IT.
- Eliminate confounding variables. Tests aren’t run in a lab; they’re run in the real world. As a result, there are everyday situations that can poison your test. Be on the lookout for the culprits in this blog post.
- QA your tools and processes. Examine everything before your test goes live. Does your landing page look the same in every browser? Is your CTA button working? Are all the links in your ads correct? Before you start running anything, it’s important to QA every aspect of your campaign to ensure nothing threatens the accuracy of your results.
- Drive traffic to your landing pages. Start driving quality traffic and make sure you don’t fall victim to the selection effect.
- Analyze and optimize. Once you’ve driven enough traffic to your landing pages, it’s time to analyze and optimize. Have you produced a conversion rate lift? Haven’t you? Even if it’s a small one, you’re in good shape. Big lifts don’t last. If you haven’t, don’t sweat. You’ve simply found an element that doesn’t impact conversions like you thought. Keep digging into data and testing new ways to raise your conversion rate.
Which landing page elements can you A/B test?
Each element on a landing page can be tested, you can also test the overall layout of the page and the length of the page.
In terms of determining what you should test on your landing page instead of just relying on best practices, it is important to determine what you can test based on customer data that you collect from your page. Here are some case studies of commonly tested elements:
You can collect customer data for A/B testing through the following channels:
This is the basic starting point for diagnosing problems because analytics offers a complete view of your landing page. Analyze the number of page views, average time on a page, bounce rates etc. to find out if your visitors are staying on your landing page long enough to convert. Also, see if the traffic you’re getting on the page is actually the traffic you need – are your targeted customers coming to your page.
User recordings are recordings of the activity the visitor performs while on the page. With the help of the recordings, you can find out on which part of the page your visitors spend the most time and which part they completely ignored. For example, if you observe that your visitors spent some time on the page, but left without paying attention to the CTA button, you may consider tweaking the button copy and designing the button in a more contrasting color.
Including surveys on your landing pages helps you get answers to questions you want to ask. Unlike data collected from heatmaps and analytics you don’t need to decipher anything, all the information is right in front of you in the form survey answers.
When you conduct A/B tests based on data you collect from your actual customers, the chances of the tests increasing page conversions becomes likely because you’re trying to fix a problem that you know your visitors are having.
Changing the color of the CTA button just because someone you know got a significant lift with a blue CTA button, doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results.
Easily run A/B tests with Instapage
Which platform you choose to run A/B tests can make or break your campaigns. When it comes to testing landing pages you can never go wrong with Instapage.
With Instapage, you can create landing pages to A/B test in minutes. Use the industry’s most advanced analytics dashboard to collect insights and start A/B testing today.
Choose from countless professional templates, click to edit any page element, and fully customize it to your branding specifications:
Create a variation with a click and manage each variation with a simple drop-down menu with five options: Duplicate, Pause, Rename, Transfer, Delete:
1. Duplicate: Copy a specific variation when creating a new test
2. Pause: Temporarily prevent page visitors from seeing this variation (all stats are saved)
3. Rename: Rename the variation of anything of your choosing
4. Transfer: Transfer the variation to another landing page
5. Delete: Remove a variation completely (all optimization stats will be deleted)
After you start testing, use Instapage analytics to track key performance metrics, such as:
- Unique visitors: the number of unique visitors that have viewed a particular landing page variation.
- Unique conversions: the number of visitors who have filled out a form or clicked a CTA button on a variation.
- Conversion Rate: the percentage of visitors that turned into a conversion on a particular page variation.
- Improvement: the difference between the conversion rate tested against the control version and variation A.
View your results on easy-to-read graphs that compare conversion rate over time and unique visitors, and even adjust display rate percentages and baselines straight from the dashboard.
With the right data, A/B testing lets you create a post-click landing page you know your visitors prefer. When you conduct frequent A/B tests, you continually improve your conversions by optimizing the post-click experience.
Only testing the pre-click part of your campaigns can adversely affect your bottom line, always track metrics and run tests across the marketing funnel to give your ROI a boost.
Why should you test across the marketing funnel?
A leaky marketing funnel is the worst thing that can happen to your campaigns. You should always test across the funnel instead of simply testing your ads at the pre-click stage. Another thing to remember is to not make decisions based on guesses and always run experiments to make data-driven decisions.
In the post-click stage, try different types of page copy, layouts, imagery, and personalization if data indicates they may be detracting from conversion rate. Your testing shouldn’t stop here, continue by testing into the nurturing and closing stages as well. Run tests on email sequences, email marketing landing pages, and retargeting ads.
Sometimes the ads that perform well with lots of impressions, clicks, and conversions, don’t generate a lot of revenue. Also, you may have ads that generate fewer leads and generate more revenue.
Measuring conversions across the marketing funnel is the only way to understand how effective your ad campaigns are. You need accurate and complete attribution insights to make better-informed decisions on where to allocate your advertising budget.
Attributing your end goals such as revenue and pipeline to top-funnel metrics like ad campaign and cost is crucial for accurately measuring the impact of your advertising campaigns. Without the full attribution picture, you have no way of knowing your actual ROI.
Test your full marketing funnel to arrive at the optimal funnel you should use for each audience segment.
When you optimize post-click experiences for your audience you ensure that their journey with your brand continues beyond the ad click. Use testing methodologies like heatmaps and A/B testing to create optimal post-click experiences that have the power to fulfill the conversion goal.
How to personalize post-click experiences
Invest in maximizing clicks but don’t ignore the post-click experience. To increase conversions, you should invest in post-click landing pages that continue the personalized experience from your ads.
Every visitor is unique. So, create a unique post-click experience for every visitor that is relevant to their profile, answers their specific needs, and is personalized to their prior engagement with your brand. Creating audience segments allows you to divide a broad audience into smaller pools based on shared characteristics so you can create laser targeted campaigns that appeal to those characteristics.
Create audience segments for granular ad campaigns
PPC advertising platforms give you access to rich audience data like demographics, firmographics, interests, and past engagement. Use this data to hyper-segment and micro-target your audiences to maximize conversions.
If you create broad segments and campaigns, you’re basically optimizing for the average and not maximizing for the individual sub-segments. Because what works for one audience segment doesn’t necessarily work for another one. So, using the same ad and post-click experience for multiple audiences will only lead to a subpar post-click experience.
Create audience segments and create separate ads and post-click experiences for each of them.
Create campaigns for every audience segment
When you create separate ad campaigns for each segment you get to track performance metrics like impressions, clicks, CTR, and conversion rates at a granular level.
Giving you perfect control over your bidding and budget allocation.
You can create segments by location, funnel stage, persona, demographics, firmographics, technology stack, and other user criteria depending on the advertising platform you’re using.
After you’ve created audience segments create campaigns for each of these micro-segments. This allows you to track the performance at a granular level and optimize conversions.
Now run your ads to see how they perform.
Start testing every aspect of your campaigns. Create multiple variations of your ads and message matched post-click experiences. Then split test them to let the data pick the winning ad and post-click experience.
The segmentation and testing allows you to identify which campaigns are not performing well and transfer your budget into campaigns that are fulfilling conversion goals.
Each PPC advertising platform has its own set of segmentation capabilities, let’s look at audience segmentation in Facebook and Google next.
Audience segmentation in Facebook
What separates Facebook Ads from Google Ads, or other search engine paid marketing options such as Bing Ads, are the network’s Audience Insights and targeting features.
Let’s look at Facebook’s Audience Insights and targeting options in detail.
What are Facebook’s Audience Insights?
Audience Insights show marketers data about their target audience so they can create ads that are relevant to them.
Facebook uses native data to show audience features such as:
- Age and gender
- Relationship status
- Education level
- Job role
- Top categories
- Page likes
- Top cities
- Top countries
- Top languages
- Frequency of activities
- Device Users
The network uses third party data (collected from Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon) to show audience features such as:
- Household income
- Home ownership
- Household size
- Home market value
- Spending methods
- Retail spending
- Online purchases
- Purchase behaviour
- In market for a vehicle
You can use Audience Insights to access three views of audiences:
1. Instant Topics: This includes audience data about the most popular topics on Facebook.
2. Custom Studies: This includes audience data for the topics you define.
3. Audiences: This is where you can see demographic data, interests, and behaviors for custom audiences, Page audiences or the audiences on Facebook.
Facebook allows you to create Custom Audience, Lookalike Audience, and Saved Audience lists, you can use Audience Insights to learn more about your audiences and create ads that are targeted at them.
A Custom Audience is Facebook’s ad targeting option that allows you to find existing audiences among people you know on the platform.
The Custom Audience list includes people whose contact information you already know, so you can use email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs, or app user IDs to create and save audiences you would like to show ads to. Facebook also allows you to add people who visited your website or app and triggered the Facebook Pixel, helping you run retargeting campaigns. You can include visitors who visited a specific page on your website or performed a specific action.
Facebook compares the contact information you submit with their own data and finds your customers or leads. Here’s what you have to do to create a Custom Audience for your Facebook campaign:
Click the Audience tab in the Ads Manager:
Select ‘Create a Custom Audience’:
Choose from the following five options to reach people who already have a relationship with your business. These can be existing customers, leads, or people who have interacted with your business on Facebook:
You have the option of creating up to 500 Custom Audiences per ad account. However, if your Custom Audience list includes fewer than 1000 people it’s better to choose CPM bidding to ensure that your ads are shown to the audience you want to reach.
You can update your Custom Audience as your customer list grows, this will help your ads get maximum reach. You should also consider creating a Lookalike Audience from your Custom Audience list to reach people similar to your customers and leads.
Lookalike Audience is a subset of your Custom Audience list. The Lookalike Audience is a target audience you create from a ‘source’. The ‘source’ can be your Custom Audience, pixel data (users who have visited your website or landing page), mobile app data or fans of your page.
Facebook then finds people who are similar to the source, as they are more likely than random users to positively respond to your ads. You can choose the size of your lookalike audience during the ad creation process.
A smaller Lookalike Audience is more likely to closely match the source audience, a larger Lookalike Audience may increase ad reach but it decreases the level of similarity between the source audience and the Lookalike Audience.
You can create a Lookalike Audience list from the location you select during ad creation. To create a Lookalike Audience your source audience must consist of at least 100 people from a single country, plus you have the option of creating up to 500 Lookalike Audiences from one source audience.
Facebook allows you to save an audience you have created for an ad campaign and use it for future campaigns, by creating a Saved Audience. Creating a Saved Audience helps you save time as you don’t have to narrow down an audience list for every campaign. You can then use Facebook’s targeting options to select a target audience if you’re running and managing multiple campaigns at once.
To create a Saved Audience list, select the ‘Use a Saved Audience’ option in the Ads Manager and create an audience list from all available targeting options:
You have the option to edit your Saved Audience on your Audiences Page.
In addition to providing marketers with the opportunity to collect insights about their audience, and creating different audience lists the social network also gives marketers the option of narrowing down a target audience via one of the vastest and laser-focused targeting options.
Facebook’s ad targeting options
You can segment audiences for your Facebook ads using Facebook’s ad targeting options that cover the following parameters.
The Demographics in Facebook’s ad targeting options includes:
1. Location: Countries, postal codes, addresses or designated market areas.
2. Age: Maximum and minimum age of the people you want to show ads to.
3. Languages: The language selected must be used in the area you’ve chosen to show ads in.
4. Gender: Choose to show ads to just men or women.
5. Relationship: People who are single or in a relationship.
6. Education: Education level, field of study, schools and undergrad years.
7. Work: Job titles, office, type, and industries.
8. Financial: Income and net worth.
9. Home: Home type, home ownership, and household composition.
10. Ethnic Affinity: Segment audiences with different ethnic affinities.
11. Generation: Baby boomers, Generation X or Millennials.
12. Parents: Parents who have teens, toddlers, infants etc.
13. Life Events: Users who have updated specific life events – such as an anniversary, new job, recently moved, newly engaged, upcoming birthday etc.
14. Politics (US): Liberals or conservatives.
1. Business & Industry: Advertising, aviation, agriculture, banking, business, construction, design, economics, engineering, entrepreneurship, healthcare, higher education, management, marketing, nursing, online, personal finance, real estate, retail, sales, science, and small business.
2. Entertainment: Games, live events, movies, music, reading, and TV.
3. Family & Relationships: Family, fatherhood, motherhood, friendship, dating, marriage, weddings, and parenting.
4. Fitness & Wellness: Bodybuilding, dieting, gyms, meditation, nutrition, physical exercise, physical fitness, running, weight training, yoga, and Zumba.
5. Food & Drink: Alcoholic beverages, hot beverages, cooking, different types of cuisines, and restaurants.
6. Hobbies & Activities: Arts & music, current events, home & garden, pets, politics & social issues, travel, or vehicles.
7. Shopping & Fashion: Beauty, clothing, fashion accessories, shopping, and toys.
8. Sports & Outdoors: Outdoor recreation and sports.
9. Technology: Computers and consumer electronics.
You can reach people based on purchase intent or behaviors, device usage, and more.
1. Automotive: New vehicle buyers, used vehicle buyers, vehicle owners, and purchase type.
2. B2B: Industry, company size, and seniority.
3. Charitable Donations: Charitable donations made for cancer causes, animal welfare, health, veterans, and more.
4. Digital Activities: Activities such as canvas gaming, Facebook page admins, event creators, console gamers, and more.
5. Expats: Choose from a list of countries.
6. Financial: Banking, investments, and spending methods.
7. Job Role: Corporate executives, financial professionals, and farmers.
8. Media: Radio and television.
9. Mobile Device User: Network connections, new smartphone and tablet owners, feature phones, smartphone owners, and more.
10. Purchase Behaviors: Users who have made purchases in pet products, household products, clothing, food, drink, and more.
11. Travel: Frequent flyers, business travellers, cruises, commuters, and more.
12. Resident Profiles: Length of residence, recent home buyers, likely to move, new mover, and recent mortgage buyer.
13 Seasonal & Events: Baseball, college football, cricket, fall football, rugby, and cricket.
This targeting option lets you reach people who have a specific connection to your business page, app or event. The filter allows you to select the users who perform a specific action on your website or landing page and also come under the other targeting categories you have selected:
- People who like your page.
- Friends of people who like your page.
- Exclude people who like your page.
- People who used your app.
- Friends of people who used your app.
- Exclude people who used your app.
- People who are going to your event.
- Friends of people who are going to your event.
- Exclude people who are going to your event.
Audience segmentation in Google Ads
Google Ads’ audience targeting lets advertisers target audiences who have already shown an interest in a specific product or service they are offering.
With your help, Google Ads can collect data from your audience source to improve the bidding and help optimize your reach. The platform provides you with a wide variety of options to reach your desired audience.
Custom Affinity audience
Advertisers know who they are targeting, but targeting audience who really want to purchase from you is challenging. Affinity audience are users who show an interest in a specific category. This helps you target an audience segment who cares about your offering.
Custom affinity targeting
A custom affinity audience is an audience you create yourself. You can create audience lists based on your customers’ most recent behavior.
Audience intent helps you define and reach the ideal audience for your business. You can go beyond the pre-defined audience segments, such as age, gender etc. and reach audiences as they are making buying decisions.
Custom intent audience
Like affinity audience you can define your own custom intent audience. You can create custom intent audience lists by adding keywords, URLs, and apps related to the products and services your ideal customer is searching for across websites and apps.
Display advertising can reach up to 90% of total internet audience across millions of websites. Use Google’s targeting tools to show your ads to the right people at the right time.
Contextual advertising lets you connect with audiences who show interest in products or services similar to those you are offering.
Google’s algorithm understands webpages with the help of keywords, linguistics page structure and several other factors. So using keywords wisely can help you achieve goals. You can use the keywords planner tool and reach the audience with high buying intent.
Contextual advertising lets you connect with audiences who show interest in products or services similar to those you are offering.
Google’s algorithm understands webpages with the help of keywords, linguistics page structure and several other factors. So using keywords that relevant to your offer can help you achieve your goals. You can use the keyword planner tool and reach the audience with high buying intent.
Automatic targeting helps you achieve more conversions without incurring additional costs. Since display advertising is a part of Google Ads’ contextual engine, it has the capacity to place your ads on most relevant websites at the right time.
The targeting option helps you find more customers, identify relevant customers and increase your reach.
Conservative vs. aggressive targeting
Use the aggressive targeting option to reach more people. However, the problem with the aggressive targeting option is that it will consume your advertising budget faster to reach new potential customers, and your average cost per customer may go up.
But with conservative option you stay close to your target CPA.
If you have already defined your marketing persona, select the relevant options while setting up your campaign.
Where you want to show your ads?
The Google algorithm analyzes the content of each web page to understand its main theme. It then matches all your selected keywords, where you want your ads to be shown on its network.
In search advertising you can mainly use keywords to target different queries. But with display ads, you have a variety of options, you can place ads on URLs of your choice, you can select topics of your interest, and target a specific geographical area.
While setting up contextual advertising, display keywords play an important role.
For contextual advertising you should only use those keywords which have performed well. To do so, take out at least 5 to 20 keywords which have already performed well while running campaigns on Search Network and observe how they perform on display campaigns.
If you are not already running ad campaigns look at the product or service you are providing and build a category for each product or service. Then with the help of the keyword planner tool take out specific search words for each category, this process will help you take out appropriate keywords for each category. This will help you reach your target customers.
Each website caters to a specific type of audience. Topic targeting lets you place your ads on Display Network sites which have content related to your ads.
Audience segmentation allows you to run ad campaigns at a granular level, giving you more control over ad budgets and helping you identify successful post-click experiences. Creating personalized post-click landing pages for your segmented audience brings you closer to increasing your ROI.
What makes up an optimized post-click experience?
An optimized post-click experience improves the likelihood user action, while an un-optimized post-click experience makes the opposite more likely. To ensure that users stay interested in your offer beyond the ad click, it’s important you perfect the stages of an optimized post-click experience.
An optimized post-click experience consists of two parts:
1. The landing page: This is the dedicated page visitors land on after they click your ad. The purpose of this step is to reassure the visitor they’ve landed in the right place with message matching and persuade them to click the CTA/convert for your offer.
2. Thank You Page: The thank you page validates the visitors’ visit, nurtures a relationship with them and increases the chances of retention.
Simply put, post-click optimization is the stage in the funnel that converts clicks into conversions.
Optimizing the landing page
The landing page is the standalone page that visitors land when they click an ad. The purpose of the post-click landing page is two-fold:
- Reassure visitors they’ve come to the right place from the ad click – this is done via message matching (more on this below).
- Persuade visitors to click the CTA button and convert – this is done via a contrasting CTA button, 1:1 conversion ratio, designing with the F-pattern or Z-Pattern, and white space.
Visitors who click an ad are optimistic about finding the answer to their query or get access to the solution to their problem.
Landing pages that are relevant to the ad maintain visitors’ trustand the likelihood that they’ll click the CTA button click increases. When landing pages fail to form a connection with the ad, they also fail to form a connection with the visitor.
How do you make sure your landing page is relevant to the ad that directed visitors to the page, by ensuring message match.
What is message match?
Message match is the process of matching the content of an ad to the content of a landing page so that the message is reinforced in the mind of the prospect, and they know it’s relevant.
When your ad and landing page maintain message match, the visitor is reassured that the page they’ve come to is the extension of the ad. You’ll want to be sure you factor in user intent when creating ads and connect them to relevant landing pages.
Let’s look at Greenrope’s ad and landing page to showcase message matching.
The ad and landing page have the same headline, identical visuals and branding, and the demo promoted in the ad is what the landing page offers.
Once message match has reassured visitors they’ve come to the right place, the optimization of landing page elements and design need to persuade visitors to convert.
To create an optimized post-click landing page ensure that your landing page has:
- 1:1 Conversion ratio
- Message-matched headline
- White space
- Skimmable, benefit-oriented copy
- Engaging Media
- Frictionless form
- Contrasting CTA button
1:1 Conversion ratio
A landing page is a standalone page, separated from your website’s navigation. It is created to promote a single offer so its conversion ratio should be 1:1, meaning there should only be one clickable element for one conversion goal. This clickable element on post-click landing pages is the CTA button.
If there are links outside the CTA button, they have the potential to distract the visitor and drive them off the page. On this Qualaroo landing page, for example, there are no links in the navigation or footer that could drive a visitor off the page before converting:
A message-matched headline
To indicate to your prospects that they’re in the right place, your landing page headline needs to match the headline of your ad. It should also compel the visitor to read your body copy or watch your video, evaluate your product, etc. Here’s an example from Men’s Health of a good message-matched headline in ad/landing page combination:
White space, is the empty area between landing page elements. It’s used to draw attention to particular landing page elements, like the headline or the lead capture form. Contrary to what its name suggests, white space doesn’t need to be white. It’s just negative space designed for a higher-quality user experience by reducing clutter.
Using ample white space on your landing page helps you:
- 1. Enhance comprehension: Proving sufficient white space between lines of text, for example, can boost visitors’ reading comprehension.
- 2. Separate elements: This leads to a better visual experience.
- 3. Focus attention: By separating elements from one another, you attract more visitor attention to each element.
To demonstrate, HelpScout’s landing page features ample white space helping increase page comprehension and focusing attention on the CTA button:
Skimmable, benefit-oriented copy
Your visitors are short on time, and that means your body copy needs to convey everything they need to know to evaluate your offer quickly. It should be optimized for skimming, which is what research has shown visitors do when faced with advertising writing. Bullet points, italics, bold, and subheaders can help draw attention to the benefits of claiming your offer (not the features), the most important information to your prospects when they consider converting.
Media helps visitors better understand your offer. Images can show them all the angles of your product, while a video can explain everything about the origin of your service. Media should be included, but it should always be useful. Skip the stock photos and opt for something that helps visitors discern the value of your offer.
A frictionless form
The form is commonly the biggest source of friction on your landing page. This is what your visitors have to fill out to get your offer. If you ask for too much information, or information that’s too personal, it’s likely you scare your prospects away. Your form should only request the minimum amount of information that your team needs at that point in the funnel. Ebooks and tip sheets commonly earn email address and name, while demos and quotes further down the funnel can request more. When it comes to forms, the golden rule is: Don’t ask for more than you offer.
A contrasting CTA button
How you design the landing page call-to-action button determines whether visitors will click the button, or leave the page before converting. If you want your CTA button to stand out, use the color wheel to help you decide which color will contrast the most with your page background. This contrast will draw attention, the way this CTA button from Zinc does:
Zinc’s red CTA button contrasts nicely with the page helping draw visitors’ attention:
Optimizing the Thank You Page
This phase of the post-click experience starts after visitors click the landing page CTA button, it begins after you get the conversion.
And while it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you get a conversion, you shouldn’t forget that the visitor journey doesn’t end with click of the landing page CTA button.
In fact, the opportunity for nurturing and retaining the visitor who’ve converted on your landing page has just begun. You can only successfully nurture and retain customers if you properly optimize your Thank You pages and emails.
What is a thank you page?
The Thank You page is just what its name suggests; it’s a page that says thank you to visitors after they click the landing page CTA button. The thank you page is simultaneously followed by a thank you email, which serves the same purpose as the Thank You page.
A typical Thank You page consists of a thank you message for the converted visitor. The primary purpose of the
Thank You page is to validate the visitor’s click and nurture a relationship with them.
Failing to optimize the Thank You page results in a missed conversion opportunity.
Let’s look at Conversion XL’s webinar landing page and subsequent thank you page as an example. Here’s the webinar landing page:
This is the page the visitor sees after they click the ‘Register’ CTA button:
The headline ‘You’re registered’ is appropriate, but it doesn’t give visitors that warm and fuzzy feeling they need to have to know that they’ve just made a good decision. There’s no thank you note, no personalized copy that could cultivate a relationship with the visitor.
There is also no thank you email to salvage the nurture damage the Thank You page has done.
What we have here is a missed conversion opportunity.
An optimized Thank You page, and email doesn’t let conversion opportunities go by because it incorporates the following elements:
- A Thank You message: The Thank You message should not only thank the converted visitor but should also validate their click through a message matched headline and copy.
- An action the visitor can perform: Take the relationship further by asking them to perform an action that is relevant to the landing page click. For example, on a Thank You page for an ebook download, you can direct visitors to a blog post or white paper on the same topic.
- Social media handles for sharing: You can add your social media handles to your Thank You pages and help customers spread the word about your offer.
- Establishes a personal connection: You can showcase customer testimonials and case study snippets on your Thank You pages to increase trust for your business.
Here’s what happens when you sign-up to watch Instapage’s webinar:
This is the thank you page the visitor lands on after filling out the form:
The headline validates the click. Also, the page copy gives the visitor the option to sign-up for the other three webinars in the series, nurturing the visitor into extending their relationship with the brand.
The thank you email maintains the same tone, which adds to the offer’s credibility:
Converting visitors into leads, and those leads into customers doesn’t only depend on how you create your ads. Where you direct visitors post-click is just as important as the pre-click stage.
Optimize the post-click experience for visitors by designing landing page elements that match the message of the ad, don’t take away their attention from the page with distracting navigation links, and make them notice the elements that matter most in fulfilling the conversion goal.
Create scalable post-click experiences to ensure that every visitor who clicks through to your landing pages from ads lands on a personalized page that has the right elements to convert them for the respective offer.
What is next?
Use data collected from heatmaps to A/B testing landing page elements that convert your page into a paradise of call to action button clicks.
Instapage empowers you to create optimized post-click experiences at scale using Instablocks and Global Blocks. You can also easily generate heatmaps on your landing page from within the Instapage dashboard and view your analytics to see how your A/B tests are performing.
Request a customized demo today and experience the power of Instapage yourself.