Lead Generation Landing Page Strategy for Paid Search

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Lead Generation Landing Page Strategy for Paid Search

PPC Landing Page Strategy

Today I want to discuss the use of paid marketing landing page strategies. I will illustrate a few ways to use Google Analytics data to help inform the best landing page strategy for your paid marketing efforts. Whether its Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Yahoo, display or social paid marketing campaigns. This article focuses more so on lead generation strategies rather than Ecommerce focused strategies. A common technique with many lead generation sites is to use an independent landing page for paid marketing efforts.  These pages are often built to entice a user to fill out a lead form and are essentially independent of the core website. They are often not indexed in search engines and the primary purpose is to generate leads by limiting navigation options from visitors. The problem is I don’t believe this is the best way to entice a prospective customer. To use a silly analogy, imagine a clueless guy approaching the woman of his dreams, introducing himself and immediately asking if she’ll marry him. Obviously, he’s asking for too much too soon. Likewise, don’t go asking a potential customer to get “married” to your product or service upon their first site visit. There are several common landing page strategies. Some of these include gated content such as a whitepaper, a video, demo, free trial or additional high value resources. The key to this content is you deliver on your promise of good content in exchange for the visitor providing personal details such as email, phone, job role, company and so on. In general, the types of landing pages I’ve described offer little usability or flexibility to the user. These types of landing pages often avoid lack navigation to the core site. They limit options for a user to explore more details about your company’s products, solutions or services. This strategy is highly utilized in many industries and websites, most notably in the B2B industry.These types of pages are also commonly referred to gated content landing pages, squeeze pages, SEM landing pages or lead generation landing pages. But is this approach effective?

Do Gated Landing Page Strategies Work?

 The best way to gain insights on paid search landing page performance is to look at the data in Google Analytics. There are a few standard reports in Google Analytics, which provide key data points on your landing page performance.

Some things to look for on landing page performance:

  • Engagement (bounce rate, time on site, bounce rate, avg page views)
  • Primary goal conv rate (how many leads are you getting?)
  • Secondary goal conversion rates (videos views, downloads etc.)
  • Brand vs. nonbrand (are your nonbrand search keywords converting?)
  • Spend (cost per conversion)
  • CPC (cost per visit)
  • New visitors (what % of new users)
    • New users are often over looked metric
    • New users are basically first time visitors to your site
    • Paid search has the distinct advantage of reaching new prospects more so than any other channel. That is unless you are a superpower in nonbrand keyword ranking in your industry - SEO
Notice in the image below that Bounce Rate is highlighted. I’ve worked with many clients in the B2B industry who use squeeze and gated landing pages strategies. I have never seen this strategy perform well in terms of Bounce, time on site or page views. Engagement is a key performance indicator that should influence the decision on the type of landing page you choose to use. You will likely find a very high bounce rate when using a squeeze or gated landing page (likely >80%). Remember back to our analogy. Don’t be that guy.

Landing Page Performance

It’s highly likely that the dedicated landing page is performing poorly in all key metrics. It is also likely significant marketing resources have been invested into paid search landing pages. If you aren’t happy with the page’s performance using some of the standard metrics listed above there are better options you can take advantage of right now.

A High Quality Landing Page Strategy

Significant hours of strategy, design and development goes into building a good website. The hope is your site will provide prospective customers a great experience engaging the content and exploring products and solutions provided by your business. In my experience though, most sites offer high quality pages that are often overlooked. These types of pages describe and provide answers to your target audience when they search for products, solutions, services and information. In return for awesome content, these pages show above-site average performance on all the secondary KPIs and even primary goal conversion rates (leads). These types of pages may be a better option to deliver a high quality landing page experience for prospective customers. Here’s an example: if someone is searching for “new home windows” its best to send them to a windows overview page that showcases the type of windows the business offers. Usually a home window seller already has this sort of page on their existing site. Why not utilize this page for a new visitor rather than a “schedule an appointment” squeeze strategy landing page? I would love to get into page optimization and testing here but I will leave that for a future blog post. Learn more about optimization and testing. Remember, web users are both smart and impatient. When a customer views a landing page, they want what they’re looking for NOW, especially when clicking on a paid search ad. If the pages content fails to deliver on what they ‘re searching for, they’ll leave (bounce). When these visitors bounce, they’ll likely leave your page and find the information on another competitor’s site. And we can’t have that. A better strategy is to use destination URLs that provide the best content to answer your paid search visitor’s question. This especially applies to paid search where you target keywords and prospective customers tell you exactly what information they’re seeking. This is a great time to send someone to a page that answers their question and tells them how awesome your business is at providing products, solutions and services to meet their needs.

How Do You Find the Best Paid Search Landing Pages on Your Site?

 Now, let’s talk Google Analytics again. Below are a few reports, which help isolate high quality content (you may need to do some filtering to hide irrelevant pages in the report)
  • We are looking to isolate high and low performing core content pages
    • Behavior – Site Content – Landing Pages
      • Analyze engagement and conversion rates
    • Behavior – Site Content - % Exit
      • High exit % or bounce rate is usually a bad sign –
      • A low % Exit is a great sign and worth looking into that page in more detail
    • Behavior – Site Content – Content Drilldown
      • Look for site sections that are performing well with engagement and other key metrics
      • Dig deeper by exploring these sections in more detail in Google Analytics or the actual pages on the site.
    • Segment your data by paid search, organic search or some other segment you’d like to analyze
      • All standard reports will now be reporting on this custom segment rather than all traffic sources
        • You can use the same “Behavior” reports to quickly analyze the content and pages from your chosen segments.
  Tip: isolate the best performing landing pages regardless of source or medium using Google Analytics data. Collect the URLs in a safe place for deeper analysis and review.

More on Google Analytics and Landing page Performance

There are a wide variety of standard reports in Google Analytics. With these reports you can analyze content data and landing page performance. Using custom reporting, segments, filters and even bit query opens the doors to even more data. The more data you have, the better informed your landing page strategy. In my experience, decision makers involved in paid media landing page strategy under utilize Google Analytics. But I highly encourage the use of Google Analytics to help inform your decisions when choosing your websites best landing pages.

A Better Process: Landing Page Analysis in Google Analytics

For landing page analysis, as mentioned above, I typically start from a high level lens using Google Analytics standard reports. I’ll segment the data by paid or organic search since these two channels usually provide the greatest amount of new users and are often my client’s top traffic mediums. These two sources also target keywords and usually provide the most opportunity to increase website traffic and performance.
When analyzing the data I look for performance metrics that jump out from the core content pages. This includes KPIs of engagement, secondary goals and primary goal performance. These pages may quickly show negative or positive indicators in terms of engagement and conversion rates compared to other site pages or site averages. Once I isolate these pages in Google Analytics I typically take a look at the page and ask myself “why is this page performing this way?”, and “what sort of content is provided causing extreme or moderate changes in performance compared to other pages?” For example, are there in-text linking, calls-to-action, widgets, infographics, videos or something else utilized on this page? I also look at the page design and think about the usability. Tip: This is also a good time to check if certain KPIs on the page are being tracked with Google Analytics! It’s common for highly valuable secondary goals to go unnoticed and untracked in Google Analytics. It may be a video, downloadable resource, high value page, store locator, contact us button and so on. All secondary goals and behaviors with potential business value on a site should be tracked with Google Analytics. Why else would it be on the site?
I basically put myself in the shoes of prospective customers by interacting and navigating the website as a new user would. I attempt to isolate areas that may be working well or areas that may be bottlenecking visitors. Through this process I often find a page I did not notice in Google Analytics when navigating the site. Once I’ve identified these pages, I’ll analyze that page’s performance in GA. This is the fun part for me. This is where we can see what strategies are working well with our best performing pages. We can also isolate missed opportunities on lower performing pages and make strategy changes as needed. In closing, just remember to keep it simple. Look for low hanging fruit in the data. I cannot stress this enough. Data doesn’t have to be difficult to interpret. If a paid search lead gen landing page has a >85% bounce rate, this metric alone is likely an indicator to rethink your landing page strategy. To go back to the analogy again, don’t be that guy that asks for a big commitment out of the gate. Introduce yourself and start a conversation. Provide enticing content that keeps your potential customer curious to learn more, share content and keep coming back to your site. There are a lot of details I did not include here on paid search landing page strategy that warrant additional blog topics. In future blogs, I'll cover the following: Last Click Attribution:
  • Last click attribution is attributing a conversion or lead to the last session’s source or medium a user had. This is highly frequent and inaccurate reporting tactic across all industries. It is one of the reasons digital strategies are still using gated content and isolated paid marketing landing pages.
Delivering relevant content (highly engaged visitors)
  • Another important element of a high quality landing page is delivering content to your visitors that are directly related to what they are searching for. An isolated paid marketing lead gen page usually misses the mark on delivering what your prospective customers are looking for.
Optimization and testing
  • Paid marketing landing page testing. Giving the visitor exactly what they are looking for and more. Once the content has given them the solution to their questions then is the time to test content variations on how to have that visitor become a lead. It may be a call to action to a relevant product or solutions or a simple call to action such as “request free trial”.
  If you're looking for more information or support on your paid search strategies, contact us