When you’re working with Google AdWords, it’s easy to get caught up in creating your ads, deciding on your keywords, and planning your ad spend. But hang on for a sec: have you thought strategically about your Google AdWords landing page?
Your advertising doesn’t stop after you’ve written your ad, posted it, and someone has clicked on it. The landing page—the page you’ve chosen to send people to when they click on the ad—can make or break your campaign.
Let’s say, for example, that you write a great ad that generates a high click-through-rate (CTR). Fantastic! When people hit that landing page, though, and either can’t find what they’re looking for or get different content than they expected, they’ll immediately leave.
Even if you have an incredibly high click-through-rate, if the majority of your visitors are leaving quickly without interacting with your site, your ad has been a failure.
Luckily, a little planning can help avoid that scenario and make your AdWords advertising pay huge dividends for your organization.
Keys for Choosing Your Google AdWords Landing Page
Don’t send people to your home page. Your home page is the 3,000-ft view of your organization, and it’s not often that people are going to be looking to see your organization from that perspective.
Instead, choose a landing page that directly relates to your AdWords ad. If your ad is about pet adoption, for example, send people to your pet adoption search page. Or if your ad is about volunteer tourism, send people directly to your volunteer tourism page.
Think about your ad from the reader’s perspective. When you’re planning an advertising campaign, it can be hard to get out of your own head. Take a moment, step back, and look at your ads with fresh eyes. If you were to click on this ad, where would you expect to go? What information would you expect to get?
If you’re having trouble being objective, show someone your ad copy and ask them the same questions. Where people expect to go is where you should be sending them. And if where they want to go based on your ad is not where you want to send them…you may need to rewrite your ad.
Choose landing pages that give visitors something to do. Ideally, every page on your site should have a “next step.” Maybe visitors can sign up for your newsletter, maybe they can read more blog post, maybe they can donate… But whatever it is, the next step is clear and easy to take.
Be sure to send your AdWords ads to pages that have a next step—and the next step you want visitors to take. If people click on your ad, and land on a page that has no clear next step for them to take, they’re very likely to leave.
On the other hand, if you send them to a page and you really want them to donate, but the clearest, easiest next step for them to take is to read another blog post, what do you think their next step will be? Good guess: People tend to do what is easiest and what’s right in front of them.
If the landing page that works best with your ad doesn’t have a prompt for the next step you want people to take, you may need to redesign that landing page—or at least create a version that has your next step prompt displayed prominently.
How to Evaluate Your Google AdWords Landing Page
One of the great things about digital marketing and advertising is that nothing’s ever set in stone. If something’s not working, you can change it and improve it!
First, of course, you have to know whether or not something’s working. As we talked about earlier, you can’t just rely on an ad’s click-through-rate to tell you if the ad is effective—you need to have a good understanding of how the landing page is performing, too.
Google Analytics will give you great insight about your page. You can look into the page’s bounce rate (the rate of people who visit the page and leave without interacting with your site) and the average session duration (how long people stay on your site once they arrive), and you can evaluate whether people are taking the actions you want them to take.
If you want people to donate or to subscribe to your newsletter, you can set these up as conversion goals in Google Analytics. (A new visitor is “converting” to a subscriber when they subscribe, a new visitor is “converting” to a donor when they give money.)
All of these metrics will help you evaluate whether your ad—and your landing page—are meeting the goals you set for them.
And, of course, if you have any questions about your Google AdWords campaigns, we’d love to help. Click here to set up a time to talk.