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Part I: Landing pages: The forgotten half of PPC success

Thu, 25/08/2016 - 08:33

PPC is on the rise. The market pays more for these skills, and Google has shifted much of its focus in terms of training and resources to this source. Why? Well, it's where Google makes its money.

Google has constantly adjusted the way its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are displayed, providing more prominence to ads, over organic search results. Ads even take preference over Google My Business (Google Places) listings in SERPs. So yeah, it's time you took advantage of this for your business, and for your clients, depending on what line of work you're in.

Take action

Many PPC specialists spend days, weeks or months optimising their bids, ads and targeting in the AdWords interface, forgetting about the other part of the equation: The landing page. It's easy to lose sight of your objective when working on a PPC campaign. Usually the objective of a PPC campaign is to increase conversions of some sort. Whether that be a form, a transaction, or a sign up, we want users who click on our ads to TAKE ACTION.

So why do so many search marketers make it more difficult for users to take action when they end up on our landing pages? I’m not talking about the technical elements, such as page load speed and optimisation for desktop and mobile devices (these are a given). No, let’s use insight, and get creative.

Google refers to the moment before someone buys online as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).

They define this as the exact moment before a user is ready to make a purchase, once they have already gathered information and researched autonomously before buying. Access to the internet has changed the way users compare and research the products and services they want to buy.

An understanding of user intent is a very important part of the set-up of any marketing campaign, not just a PPC campaign. For the sake of this article though, let's talk about this in terms of PPC.

Users are more likely to click on an ad right when they are ready to purchase a product, service, or make a booking. This user persona is defined as one who has done their research; they've shopped around, and now they want what they want.

Optimised for conversion

And that's where you as a PPC specialist comes in: You've got to give it to them. The biggest mistake I see many marketers making is using landing pages that are not optimised for conversions. We need to shift our mentality to think of a landing page (when used as part of a PPC campaign) to drive action.

What are you currently doing to improve landing pages on your website? My next article will focus on five actionable ways to improve landing pages for your PPC campaigns.

If you’re looking for results, you have to design your campaigns towards convincing audiences to take actions that directly affect those results. We shouldn’t let advances and innovations by platforms like AdWords by Google stop us from being innovative ourselves.