Landing Page Optimization
Landing Page Optimization MKTG 5721
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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Frederick Notetaker on Thursday February 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to MKTG 5721 at University of Missouri - St. Louis taught by Ho Kim, Ph.D. in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 30 views. For similar materials see Digital Marketing Strategies and Measurement in Marketing at University of Missouri - St. Louis.
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Date Created: 02/25/16
Landing Page Optimization A landing page is the first webpage that a visitor to a site sees. – It can be any page. – Types of Landing Pages – Subscription landing pages Conversion goals of the page UVP’s and CTA’s on the page Things that stand out? – Longcopy landing pages Example) Chevrolet Silverado http://www.chevrolet.com/silverado1500pickuptruck.htm l# Some products require an extended explanation for various reasons. For example, The product is not well known. The product is complicated and requires thorough description. Long copy landing pages work well for Highpriced items Health and fitness products Industries where the market is skeptical Highlycompetitive industries New technologies and unknown services Best Practices: Main calltoaction in the upper fold Repetition of the calltoaction as the user scrolls down Engaging content Varying content (could include video, images, specs, trust symbols, testimonials) Common design theme throughout Professionally developed content – Singleproduct landing pages If a company advertises a specific product in an ad or email, the landing page should be all about that same product. Key Elements: Product image Unique value proposition Calltoaction How to proceed Familiar color schemes & logo All of the above should be in the upper fold. MultiProduct Landing Page If a company advertises a product category (e.g., “Discounted running shoes” or “Bestselling men’s watches”), anyone who clicks this ad should arrive at a landing page featuring multiple products from the product category. It can be challenging to find the best way to display multiple products without giving the visitor information overload. – The best sellers and products with the best margins should show first. – Multiple products should be visible above the fold. – Include product search feature. – Leadgeneration landing pages Example) www.rotorooter.com Elements of a Landing Page Navigation Bar The navigation bar may be a critical element for some buyers and products. For example, high priced products often need to provide more information that will fit on a single landing page. But some landing pages may be better off without a navigation bar. With navigation bar removed, the user may be more likely to stay on task and convert. Colors If a company advertises on other websites using banner ads, the color scheme on the landing page needs to match the banner ad theme and message. Advertisers may use different colors to draw the eye’s attention to calltoaction and goal. Buttons Because landing pages are created with a particular goal in mind, they often include a key button with a CTA. The color, shape, size, and location of the button should be carefully determined to maximize its effectiveness. Images The right imagery can increase a visitor’s desire to move forward and take action. Example) Truvo, Belgian Yellow Pages. Trust Symbols Consumers often forego online purchases if the site looks untrustworthy. One way to assuage these fears is to include trust symbols in the page layout. A trust symbol is any symbol, icon, image, or small statement communicating to the user that the site is legitimate. Examples of Trust Symbols – Money back guarantee – Brand recognition and awards – Positive publicity – Video testimonial – Social media presence – Especially helpful for lesserknown companies and brands A/B Test to Optimize Landing Pages A/B Test – A/B test involves creating two versions of a landing page, showing both at random and allow the numbers to determine which ad is more effective. A/B test can be extended for more than two landing pages. – Performing A/B tests on landing pages using different CTAs, buttons, images and trust symbol can help a company find the perfect combination for increasing conversions. Week 10 (3/24), Caes: Vungle http:/ /www.ripenecommerce.com/blog/email_ab_testing Chapter 6 Introduction Chapter 6 Learning Objectives After reading this chapter, students should be able to: Describe the role of publishers and advertisers in an ad network. Distinguish among CPC, CPM, and CPA bidding strategies. Use the Google Ad Planner to identify target audiences for your ads. Create a test to determine which of two ads is more effective. Media websites publish millions of webpages every day. Owners of these news sites, blogs, forums, and other websites work hard to create content that is unique and captivating so that people will visit their sites. In most cases, the only way these publishers generate revenue is by charging advertisers to display ads on their sites. Display ads, commonly known as banner ads, are the image and text ads that appear on websites. Below is a screenshot taken from dictionary.com, which shows several types of display ads. At the very top is an image ad from Google. Underneath it are two text ads. Farther down on the left is an ad for NYU’s business school. On the right is a video ad for IBM. Finally, at the bottom is a space for an ad that experienced technical difficulties. Figure 6.0.1 Advertisers large and small spend billions of dollars each year to run these display ads. For advertisers, running display ads on these sites can be a very effective way to drive traffic to, and sales on, their websites. For large brands, display ads can generate revenue beyond the traffic they drive to the brands’ websites, by increasing brand recognition, leading to longterm sales growth. Regardless of a company’s size, online advertising is likely to be a worthwhile tool in its marketing arsenal. Consider a website that sells women’s dresses and evening gowns. The company knows that hundreds of thousands of websites publish content read by women each day, and it wants to advertise its dresses and gowns on these sites. Imagine this company trying to reach out to each one of these hundreds of thousands of websites via email or over the phone to ask them if they will allow it to run its dress and gown ads on their sites. Each site may have its own criteria for advertisers, including the size of the ads, the placement of the ad on the site, the price for running ads, and what content they allow. Coordinating ads on each site would require years of outreach and countless hours of maintenance to provide ads to each website owner. Although this method of ad buying still exists today, it is not the norm. Instead, advertisers that want to pay to display their ads coordinate through a display network with websites wanting to display those ads. Figure 6.1.1 illustrates how this works. Figure 6.1.1 Display Network A display network consists of a group of online publishers (typically media websites) that agree to a set of advertising standards dictated by the company managing the ad network. The display network pays the publishers to run ads on their websites. The display network creates standard ad sizes the publishers must agree to display. The display network charges the advertisers to run ads on the network of websites. The display network reports the ad performance metrics to the advertisers. Publishers A publisher wishing to join the ad network must create an account with the display ad network. The website must fit the specifications dictated by the ad network, including correctly sized spaces set aside for advertisements. Publishers tell the display ad network what types of content it publishes on its site. Publishers are paid a percentage of the revenue the display ad network charges advertisers. Advertisers Advertisers create and upload ads that meet the specifications of the display ad network. Advertisers manage their ad budgets on the display ad platform provided by the display ad network. Advertisers set parameters regarding the types of sites on which they would like to run their ads. Advertisers receive reports on where their ads were displayed. Advertisers earn traffic to their website from these displayed ads. Through this method, all three parties can win: The advertiser makes money from the traffic to their website that comes from hundreds or thousands of different websites, but the advertiser only has to coordinate the ads with the one ad network. The display ad network makes money by charging the advertiser to display the ads on the network. The publisher gets paid a percentage of the revenue made each time the display network charges an advertiser, but the publisher also only has to coordinate with the ad network rather than hundreds of advertisers. Here is a helpful video from Google about its Display Ad Network. Paying for Ads In a display network, multiple advertisers are likely to want to advertise in the same ad space. To simultaneously resolve the dual problem of determining (1) who gets to advertise in that space and (2) how much the advertiser should pay to advertise there, ad networks use a bidding system, similar to the way ad placements on search engines are allocated. One important difference between the bidding for a search ad and the bidding for a display ad is that display advertisers have multiple bidding formats from which to choose. Whereas search advertisers typically pay on a CPC (costperclick) basis (some use a CPA [costperacquisition] basis), display advertisers can pay CPC, CPM (costpermille, or cost per thousand impressions), or CPA. CPC bidding for display ads works in the same way as CPC bidding for search ads. The advertiser only pays when the displayed ad is clicked, which means the advertiser pays only when the ad brings a visitor to the website. So if an advertiser pays $0.50 CPC, and an ad yields 50 clicks, the advertiser would owe $25 regardless whether the ad was shown 1,000 times or 100,000 times. CPM is the payment method of traditional advertising. If a magazine charges $20 CPM for a fullpage advertisement and it has a circulation of 250,000, an advertiser would have to pay $5000 for a full page ad in the magazine ($20 times 250). CPM advertising online works similarly. If an online advertiser pays $2 CPM, the advertiser would owe $2 every 1,000 times the display network displayed its advertisement. So if the ad were shown 10,000 times, the advertiser would owe $20 whether the ad yielded 20 clicks or 200 clicks. Some information about average CPM rates can be found here. CPA bidding enables advertisers to pay only when their advertisements result in successful conversions. If a website sells flags, and the advertiser bid $10 CPA, she would owe $10 every time an ad led to a flag purchase on her website. So if her ads led to 10 purchases, she would owe $100 regardless of whether those ads brought 100 or 1,000 visitors to her website. To use CPA bidding, a website must have conversion tracking activated in its web analytics package so that the ad network can verify the number of conversions occurring on the website. Advertisers competing for the same ad space on an ad network may be bidding using different methods, some using CPC, others using CPM, and still others using CPA. As a result, ad networks need to be able to compare bids of different types to determine which advertiser has the highest bid. To make these comparisons, ad networks track the clickthrough rates (CTRs) of advertisers so they can convert CPC bids into CPM bids. For example, consider the following two advertisers: Table 6.1.1 Advertiser 1 Advertiser 2 Bid $3 CPM $0.75 CPC Past ClickThrough Rate .1% .2% The first advertiser bids $3 CPM, so the ad network knows it will earn $3 every 1,000 times it displays advertiser 1’s ad. Advertiser 2 bids $0.75 CPC. In the past, this advertiser earned a CTR of .2%, or one click every 500 impressions. The ad network calculates that it can expect to earn about $1.50 every 1,000 times it displays advertiser 2’s ad (because those 1,000 impressions should yield about 2 clicks, so 2 x $0.75). In this case, advertiser 1 would be awarded the ad space over advertiser 2. The ad network will perform a similar conversion for any advertisers bidding CPA. Ad Targeting Some brands advertise their product(s) to anyone and everyone. Consider CocaCola, for example. Virtually every person in the world is a potential CocaCola consumer. A 12yearold little league baseball player in Japan and a 76yearold woman in Australia may both be equally profitable for Coke. Other businesses, however, have products that only interest a small segment of people. An online advertiser looking to do banner advertising must identify its target audience so it can plan and execute ad campaigns that reach that audience. Placing ads on appropriate websites, webpages, and apps is a critical aspect of effective online advertising. Some placements for ads may seem obvious. For example, if a company sells evening gowns, its targeting strategy may entail finding websites that are frequented mostly by women. But such a simplistic targeting method has a number of pitfalls. First, the company may end up advertising on sites with women who would never be interested in purchasing an evening gown. For example, readers of mommy blogs are overwhelmingly female, but these readers may have no occasion to ever purchase an evening gown. Second, the company may miss out on websites that don’t match this simplistic targeting metric but would nevertheless be a great place to advertise. For example, a website like student.com is frequented equally by males and females, so it would not fit the target, but the females who visit this site will often be looking for formal dresses for high school dances, so advertising there may be extremely effective. Ad networks provide advertisers several methods of selecting appropriate placements for their advertisements. We now give a detailed view of the Google Display Ad Planner, which is what advertisers in the Google ad network use to find appropriate placements for their ads. Google Display Ad Planner A universal rule of advertising is that the better an advertiser can target the right audience, the more the advertiser is willing to pay for advertising. For this reason, Google has every reason to provide advertisers with effective means to find the right audience for their ads. To find the right places to advertise online, advertisers begin by selecting general interests for their customers. For example, if a company wanted to advertise its piano music website, it might enter in the following from the home screen of Display Ad Planner: Figure 6.2.1 Based on this (rather limited) information, Google will then suggest various methods to find web users that have demonstrated an interest in those topics. Entering in the company’s landing page is optional—it can help Google find websites that better match the content of the landing page, but it is not necessary. Google made the following suggestions to find web users with interests in “piano” and “piano music.” Figure 6.2.2 Google’s suggestions come in the form of ad groups, meaning an advertiser can select one of the ad groups, create an ad, enter a bid, and immediately begin getting impressions based on the targeting method used by this ad group. Each ad group uses one of four different targeting methods: (1) keywords, (2) interests, (3) topics, and (4) placements. Keyword Targeting. Placing online display ads based on keywords is similar to running search ads, but instead of an ad showing up when someone searches for one of the selected keywords, it shows up on webpages that use the selected keyword. For example, the “Piano sheet music” ad group was an ad group based on keyword targeting suggested by Google. If the advertiser selects this ad group, his ads will be displayed on webpages using the selected keywords that relate to piano sheet music. Figure 6.2.3 Google provides estimates of the number of impressions likely to match the parameters of this ad group. By Google’s estimates, about 150 million to 200 million ads will be shown to web users each week on pages that contain the selected keywords. Google also estimates the number of unique computers that will access these ads each week (Cookies/wk). In this case, Google estimates that between 10 and 15 million unique users will view a page matching these keyword characteristics. (In other words, Google estimates that each web user who visits a page containing one of the selected keywords will see about 15 ads on average, either because she views multiple pages containing these keywords, or because the pages she sees contain multiple ads, or both.) Interest Targeting. Whereas keyword targeting shows ads on pages using selected keywords, interest targeting shows ads to web users who have a given interest regardless of the webpage they are viewing. The ad network infers web users’ interests based on their past browsing behavior. So in the “Music & Audio” ad group below, Google would show ads to users who have visited music sites in the past but would show ads to these users on any websites in the ad network regardless of the keywords being used on the page. This reasoning explains why the weekly impressions are so high—Google can show the advertiser’s ad to these users on any site they visit within the ad network. Figure 6.2.4 Topic Targeting. Like keyword targeting, topic targeting shows ads based on the topic of the website, but rather than match specific keywords, the site need only match the broad topic being targeted. The topics Google suggests as matches for the customer interests that the advertiser inputs vary in how strongly they relate to one another, so Google provides a field to indicate the relevance between the customer interest and the topic. (Also displayed here is another optional field, “Hist. CPC,” that reports the price range of a typical click using this targeting method). Figure 6.2.5 Placement Targeting. If an advertiser knows a specific website on which he would like to advertise, he can simply choose to buy ads on that site via placement targeting. Advertisers can find specific websites, specific apps, or specific video channels to show their ads. Figure 6.2.6 An advertiser can find more specific information about each of the sites, apps, or video channels by clicking on that ad group. For example, by clicking on the “Sites/Channels 1” ad group from above, the advertiser would see the following: Figure 6.2.7 The advertiser could then deselect specific websites he deems to be a poor match for his advertisements. A useful video on the Google Display Ad Planner is found below. An effective display ad must do all of the following: Attract attention – The website visitor the ad hopes to reach is reading/watching/browsing other content. The ads are (figuratively and literally) a sideshow. An effective ad must attract the visitor’s attention away from the main content of the page. Communicate a value proposition – The ad can only induce action from the potential customer if it communicates to the customer why the product or service being advertised is worth purchasing/adopting. Invite action – Effectively communicating a value proposition might be enough to invite a web user to click on the ad or to purchase the product later, but effective banner ads typically feature a call to action (CTA), an explicit invitation to click the ad. Consider the ads of two different diet companies that target a similar market: SlimFast (Figure 6.3.1) and Weight Watchers (Figure 6.3.2). Figure 6.3.1 Figure 6.3.2 Both ads attract attention through bold colors and simple messaging. Because both brands are well known, they each feature the brand prominently in the ad. Despite appealing to similar markets, each brand chooses a very different value proposition. Slimfast’s unique value proposition (UVP) is an appeal to feminine vanity, reinforced through the image of a slim woman and the pink color of the ad. WeightWatchers’ UVP, on the other hand, is a utilitarian appeal to money savings. Both ads invite visitors to click on the ad with a direct CTA (“Start your slimdown” and “Click for coupon”). As a business creates banner ads for its website, it should consider how its ad accomplishes all three of these goals. Consider an online shopper who is currently shopping for a necklace for his wife on Overstock.com. Immediately after leaving Overstock.com, he heads to his favorite blog site, Cracked.com, and while reading an article, sees the following ad (on the right of the screen): Figure 6.4.1 He leaves Cracked.com and heads to Washingtonpost.com for some news. Next to an article he is reading, he sees this: Figure 6.4.2 In the middle of that article, he sees a word he doesn’t recognize, so he heads over to Dictionary.com to look up that word. The homepage shows the following: Figure 6.4.3 Why did ads for Overstock.com show up on all three of these websites? Either Overstock.com happens to advertise profusely on every site this particular shopper uses, or Overstock.com is engaging in a practice called remarketing or retargeting. Remarketing or retargeting is the practice of displaying ads to web users who have already visited that site. In the Overstock.com example, a visitor to Overstock.com was later shown Overstock ads on three different (and unrelated) websites, because Overstock.com purchased remarketing ads, or ads targeted at web users who had previously visited Overstock.com. By purchasing remarketing ads, Overstock.com hopes to induce return visits from customers, as the graphic below illustrates. Figure 6.4.4 How Remarketing Works Remarketing occurs through an ad network. When Overstock.com determines it wants to display ads to previous visitors, it will instruct its ad network to display ads to these previous visitors. These previous visitors to Overstock.com will have a cookie in their browsers, placed there by Overstock on their previous visit. Whenever one of these Overstock visitors navigates to a website within the ad network, the ad network will be able to see this Overstock cookie and display Overstock’s ads to these targeted visitors. (Refer back to chapter 1 for a quick refresher on internet cookies.) In examining the Overstock.com ads from the earlier example, note an additional level of sophistication being used in these ads. These ads did not display random assortments of Overstock.com products. Rather, every ad displayed necklaces—the same product category the visitor just purchased. Overstock.com’s remarketing ads, in addition to simply targeting previous visitors, are able to target those visitors with the products in which they have shown interest. The cookies Overstock.com placed on this visitor’s browser included enough information to instruct the ad network which types of products this web user was interested in purchasing. It is important to note that the targeting of previous Overstock visitors occurs through the ad network and that Overstock.com itself does not have the ability to track these visitors across the internet. Privacy advocates are becoming increasingly concerned about the amount of information internet companies are able to gather about internet users. Remarketing occurs through the ad network—Overstock.com cannot monitor an individual’s web browsing habits. However, in this prior example, Overstock.com will receive a report from the ad network informing it that this visitor was displayed Overstock ads at Cracked.com, Washingtonpost.com, and Dictionary.com, effectively giving Overstock.com a report about a lot of this visitor’s browsing habits. Remarketing Profitability The previous example shows that Overstock.com advertises on Dictionary.com. Consider two different visitors to Dictionary.com. One visitor has a cookie on his browser indicating he has previously visited Overstock.com. The other does not. Which Dictionary.com visitor is Overstock willing to pay more to advertise to? The visitor with an Overstock cookie is obviously more valuable to Overstock, and so Overstock will be willing to pay more to advertise to that visitor. Any web user who has previously visited Overstock has a demonstrated interest in Overstock and its products, making that visitor much more likely to make a purchase on the site than a random web user. For this reason, remarketing is a very profitable advertising technique. The advertiser is able to target visitors with a demonstrated interest in his site, resulting in a higher conversion rate and higher profitability. The ad network makes more money because it can charge advertisers a higher rate to target these visitors. Because the ad network shares ad revenue with web publishers on a percentage basis, the publishers also make more money. Finally, the web users can be considered better off as a result, because the ads they see are more likely to be for websites from which they are interested in buying. Remarketing Settings The AdWords platform provides a variety of remarketing options that enable advertisers to target only specific audiences, and not just all previous visitors to their sites. Below is a list of some of the diverse visitors an advertiser can specifically target with remarketing ads: Everyone that has visited any page on the advertiser’s site Anyone that has visited only the advertiser’s homepage Visitors that did NOT make a purchase Visitors that added an item to the shopping cart Customers that made a previous purchase that the advertiser would like to upsell or crosssell Visitors that have been to the advertiser’s site within a specific time period (usually 3090 days) Quick Tip: A company’s ad should not show too often. The advertiser can set up frequency capping to avoid his ad being displayed too many times to the same person in the same day. Figure 6.4.5 For more information on remarketing settings, read this article by Brad Geddes http://searchengineland.com/areyoucreepingoutyour customerswithremarketing98980 and this article from Google AdWords about setting up remarketing campaigns: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2476691?hl=en. The Adwords video below also describes how to set up remarketing for a site. When a major brand like CocaCola or Tide decides to create a new marketing campaign, a large portion of this campaign is likely to be a series of television advertisements. The brand will contract with an ad agency to create the television commercial(s) that will air. The ad agency will conduct a number of focus groups and other market research tests to ensure the commercial tracks well, or in other words, that consumers like the commercial and are more likely to purchase the product after watching the commercial. But once the commercial begins airing on TV, the success of the commercial is largely a matter of faith—the brand simply has to trust that the commercial is increasing consumer purchase intent. A major advantage of online display advertising is the fact that the effectiveness of the ads can be directly measured. If a company purchases ad space online, it will receive a report of where those ads showed up and how many clicks they generated. By tracking the traffic coming from these ads in its analytics package (which it absolutely should), the company can easily calculate how much revenue its ads generated. This calculation of revenue in turn makes the ROAS calculation (return on ad spend) very simple. The ease of tracking ad effectiveness also makes A/B testing easy, and it is a practice a company should be using constantly with display ads. A/B testing involves creating two versions of an ad, showing both at random across the ad network, and allowing the numbers to determine which ad is more effective. For example, below are the results of an A/B test that was run with ads for Simplicity Software: Ad A (Figure 6.5.1): The original ad with a gray button. Impressions: 20,000 Clicks: 160 CTR: 0.8% Conversions: 4 Conversion Rate: 2.5% Figure 6.5.1 Ad B (Figure 6.5.2): Ad B was created to test whether a green button with white text would perform better than a gray button with black text. Impressions: 20,000 Clicks: 185 CTR: 0.925% Conversions: 5 Conversion Rate: 2.7% Figure 6.5.2 Ad C (Figure 6.5.3): Once Ad A was outperformed by Ad B, Ad A was paused, and Ad C challenged Ad B using black letters instead of white letters in the green button. Impressions: 20,000 Clicks: 225 CTR: 1.125% Conversions: 8 Conversion Rate: 3.55% Figure 6.5.3 In the end, Ad C had a higher CTR and conversion rate. Each minor change in an ad leads to a new variation that can be tested against the original ad. In the above example, when each ad had reached the threshold of 20,000 impressions, the performance of each ad was compared. Note that something as small as changing the color of the text on a button can improve CTR, and more importantly, it can even impact conversion rates. The following Mother’s Day ad from 1800Flowers.com appeared to a visitor on dallasnews.com: Figure 6.6.1 The ad reminds potential customers they have just three days left to order, creating urgency and inviting visitors to shop now. The highquality, vibrant product image and color scheme make the ad stand out on the page. The $10 off savings on “Mother’s Day Flowers & Gifts” entice the site visitor to click through. Visitors who clicked on the ad arrived at this landing page (Figure 6.6.2): Figure 6.6.2 Just as the ad promised, the landing page includes a variety of Mother’s Day flowers and gifts in the price range mentioned, accompanied by the promo code to save $10. The look and feel of the site matches that of the ad. By creating a landing page that fulfills the expectations set by the ad, 1800Flowers will likely have a high conversion rate from this ad. Below is another example from Hollisterco.com: Figure 6.6.3 Clicking on the banner ad takes visitors to this landing page: Figure 6.6.4 The landing page does nothing to continue the “Beach Pass” theme of the banner ad, nor does it indicate to the web user that he/she is about to save 30% on the purchase. This landing page gives visitors “anticippointment”. They were anticipating specific information on the landing page, but were disappointed to see a landing page that seemed completely unrelated to the ad that brought them there. As a company plans ad campaigns and prepares content for its website, its messaging must be in line with the messaging on its site. No matter where people interact with a brand, online or offline, in the car or at the gym, the brand message must stay consistent. Three Ways to Stay Consistent Tout the same value propositions. Use similar calls to action. Enact the same design elements (color scheme, characters, fonts, imagery, etc.) Chapter 7 Introduction Chapter 7 Learning Objectives After reading this chapter, students should be able to: Identify the various types of landing pages. Design a landing page that makes effective use of colors, trust symbols, buttons, images, and forms. A large portion of any company’s internet marketing efforts is geared toward driving traffic to its website. All of those many efforts to attract visitors to the website will be wasted if visitors end up at a webpage that does not capture their attention and convert them into customers. In this chapter, we will review the types and elements of website landing pages. We will discuss various techniques to keep visitors engaged and convert them into customers. What is a Landing Page? A landing page is the first webpage that a visitor to a site sees. It could be the home page, a product page, or a standalone page created to be the destination when someone clicks on a banner ad. Any page of a website can be a landing page for some visitors, but internet marketers typically try to funnel the majority of traffic to landing pages created specifically to maximize visitor conversion. Not every website is an eCommerce site, so not all landing pages have the same goals. This section examines five common landing page types. Subscription Landing Pages. A media website makes more money as traffic increases, and one way to increase traffic is to sign visitors up for subscriptions. To do so, media sites will often use site overlays (also known as popup windows) asking the visitor to subscribe. In other cases, when sites expect a new piece of content (video, blog post, article, or infographic) to be especially popular among potential subscribers, they will run an ad to drive traffic to this content with a prevalent call to action (CTA) inviting the visitors to subscribe. Figure 7.1.1 is an example from The New York Times’ site: Figure 7.1.1 LongCopy Landing Pages. Some products require an extended explanation, either because the product is not well known or because it is a complicated product that requires a thorough description. Selling such a product online requires a longcopy landing page, which includes enough information to provide the complicated explanation necessitated by the product. Interspersed throughout the content will be bold and large calls to action. These are the infomercials of the internet. Figure 7.1.2 is an example from nonhybridsseeds.com: Figure 7.1.2 SingleProduct Landing Pages. If a company advertises a specific product (in an ad or in an email), the landing page should be all about that same product. Within seconds of hitting this landing page, visitors should see all of the following: Product image Unique value proposition (UVP) Call to action How to proceed Familiar color scheme & logo Figure 7.1.3 is an example landing page from a Samsung Galaxy S5 ad: Figure 7.1.3 MultiProduct Landing Pages. If a company advertises a product category (e.g., “Discounted running shoes” or “Bestselling men’s watches”), anyone who clicks this ad should arrive at a landing page featuring multiple products from this product category. The same rules that apply to singleproduct pages also apply to multiproduct pages (e.g. they should see product images, a unique value proposition, etc.), but the challenge is finding the best way to display multiple products without giving the visitor information overload. Prioritize the order of products so that the best sellers and the products with the best margins show first. Make sure multiple products are visible above the fold. (“Above the fold,” also known as the “upper fold,” is the portion of the website that can be seen without having to scroll down.) It is also helpful to include a product search feature to ensure visitors can find the product they had in mind when they clicked the ad. Figure 7.1.4 is the landing page for an ad from JustBallGloves.com: Figure 7.1.4 An alternative to the multiproduct landing page is a multicategory landing page. This alternative is common when the product type has enough variation that people are likely to have general category preferences, even if they don’t have specific product preferences. For example, a landing page for baseball bats may offer additional navigation to either a wooden bats or aluminum bats page, rather than combining all bats on the same landing page. Helping website visitors refine their preferences before exposing them to products can be beneficial for conversion. Leadgeneration Landing Pages. Most lead generation sites want visitors to either call in or fill out an email form. Thus a landing page should show a phone number prominently in the upper fold, typically with a call to action, and it may also provide a contact form with an additional call to action. Performing A/B tests on landing pages using different value propositions, calls to action, buttons, images, form placement, phone number placement, and trust symbols can help a company find the perfect combination for increasing conversions. Figure 7.1.5 is a landing page from a Rescue Rooter ad: Figure 7.1.5 Word of Caution Landing pages should not include unnecessary distractions. Check each element on the landing page. If the element does not directly impact the visitors’ decision to reach the goal an advertiser has in mind, the company is probably better off removing it from the page. A company can perform A/B tests on landing pages to determine whether specific features of the page are helping or hindering conversion rates. Navigation The home page of most every website includes a navigation bar of tabs to various pages on the site. Specific landing pages may be better off without a navigation bar. With this element removed, the user may be more likely to stay on task and convert. But the navigation bar may be a critical element for some buyer types and products. For example, servicebased businesses and highpriced products often need to provide more information than will fit on a single landing page, so a navigation bar is critical. Colors If a company advertises on other websites using banner or text ads, the color scheme on its ad’s landing page needs t o match the ad campaign theme and message. The base colors will often be in line with the normal look and feel of the website, but the advertiser can use different colors to draw the eye’s attention to its call to action (CTA) and goal. Nikon runs a banner ad featuring three of its products, using black, grey, and yellow. Figure 7.3.1 On the landing page, a dark (yet vibrant) background with the same yellow color appears. The bright yellow “start” button in the center of the page draws the most attention. Figure 7.3.2 The FanDuel fantasy league site ran this blue and green banner ad: Figure 7.3.3 The landing page still uses those same colors from the ad, but the orange button helps the main CTA stand out more than other elements on the page. The page uses red and yellow colors on other parts of the page to help the trust symbols stand out. We will talk more about trust symbols later in this chapter. Figure 7.3.4 Buttons Because landing pages are created with a particular goal in mind, they often include a key button with a CTA, as seen in the Fan Duel and Nikon examples above. Because these buttons are crucial for success, A/B tests should be run on the color, shape, and size of the button that bring the greatest conversion. Remember that buttons need to actually look like buttons or they’ll never be clicked. Buttons typically include visual cues such as gradients, borders, shadows, glowing edges, or arrows to signal the spot is clickable. Images Images can detract or deter a visitor from what the advertiser wants them to do on its landing page. On the other hand, the right imagery can increase a visitor’s desire to move forward and take action. Professional photographs of products, especially photographs depicting happy people using those products, can communicate that the product will make the customer better off. Most website visitors don’t read text word for word. They tend to skim and they use images to more quickly understand what they should do and where they should go on a website. WhichTestWon.com shared the following screenshots and A/B test of a landing page for Truvo, the Belgian Yellow Pages. Here is version A: Figure 7.3.5 Here is version B: Figure 7.3.6 The only difference between the two landing pages was the navigation. Version A used text navigation links, whereas version B employed large icons along with the text navigation links. WhichTestWon.com reports that version B (the one with the icons) received a 90.2% increase in clicks to category pages. By using images, icons in this case, the site was able to improve user interaction. Trust symbols With the great number of unethical and untrustworthy online businesses, consumers often forego online purchases if the site looks untrustworthy in any way. One way to assuage these fears is to include trust symbols in the page layout. A trust symbol is any symbol, icon, image, or small statement communicating to the user that the site is legitimate. Here is a closeup look at some of the trust symbols found on the FanDuel landing page: Accessible Return Policy & Guarantees Figure 7.3.7 Brand Recognition & Awards Figure 7.3.8 Positive Publicity Figure 7.3.9 Social Media Presence Figure 7.3.10 Video Demonstrations & Testimonials Figure 7.3.11 Other Trust Factors Many design aspects of a landing page can also assuage these fears. Below are 17 landing page design techniques that instill trust in site visitors: Professional photography Highquality design Guarantees (e.g., shipping, service, or productbased) Accessible return policies Accessible privacy policies Secure payment gateway (include icons to verify security) Brand recognitions and awards Testimonials Client logos Pictures of customers using the product or service Video demonstrations Logos & links to organizations with which the company is affiliated Readily available contact information proving the company is real Accessible, detailed product information Statement near the form submission button about not using or selling visitors’ information for any other purposes Positive publicity Social media presence Forms A lot of research over the years has examined the psychology of form completion on landing pages. Whether an advertiser is generating leads or taking a site visitor through the purchase process, the visitor will have to fill out a form. These best practices will help increase the percentage of form completions a company receives. 11 Best Practices for Form Optimization Remove unnecessary form fields Set the cursor so that it is already flashing in the first form field Frame the form so that it stands out on the page Use a call to action that incentivizes the user to complete the form Include a note that the form won’t take long to fill out Add an image or message reminding visitors what they get as soon as they complete the form Make a submission button that stands out Test different layouts of form fields When a form is complete, be sure a thank you/confirmation message or page appears Use browser cookies to auto fill appropriate fields for repeat visitors Position forms in the upper fold on leadgenerating landing pages Phone Numbers The primary leadgeneration method for many sites is a phone call. As such, a leadgeneration website should feature its phone number prominently above the fold. Tracking how many phone calls come specifically from people that visit one’s landing page is fairly easy to do now, thanks to a variety of call tracking software. CallRail.com, Marchex.com, ifbyphone.com, and even Google Adwords provide call tracking. A Google search for call tracking software will provide a long list of companies offering the service. Each service is unique, but most of them offer information on where and when a visitor called and how long the call lasted, and even provide a recording of the call. Every industry has a different average conversion rate. Monetate provides a quarterly report that provides conversion rate averages for large Ecommerce brands. Figure 7.4.1 Image source: http://www.smartinsights.com/wpcontent/uploads/2013/06/Addtocartratesbybasket.jpg Although checking one’s site against industry averages is beneficial, closely tracking one’s own average conversion rate and working to optimize it to reach one’s goals is more important. This practice of working to improve conversion rates, getting more sales with the same amount of visitors to one’s site, is called conversion rate optimization (CRO). Conversion rate is calculated using the following formula: (Total Conversions / Total Site Visits) * 100 = Conversion Rate For example: (100 Conversions / 8,000 Site Visits) * 100 = 1.25% Conversion Rate Optimize For Conversions As mentioned earlier, by decreasing the bounce rate and shopping cart abandonment, a website will improve its conversion rates. Other things that can commonly improve conversion rates include the following: Price discounts Promotions Oneday sales to create deadline urgency New products Streamlined payment process Shipping specials Improved product information Information that helps visitors easily compare products and services Improved navigation and filtering Good site search Good product reviews Good product imagery Regardless of a company’s current conversion rate, it should continue to test variations on its website to find out what leads to the highest conversion rate. Google Analytics’ Content Experiments is a free tool that allows for testing of multiple page versions at the same time. To use this tool, an advertiser needs to create two or more versions of the same page, and Content Experiments will randomly show one version of the page or the other to different visitors and report which version of the page gave a higher conversion rate. For example, one could create an alternate version of the shopping cart page where the “Proceed to Checkout” button was 30% larger, or used a different color, or both. Content Experiments would then report the resulting conversion rate from each page to show which page performed best. Good internet marketers never stop experimenting. To read more about Content Experiments, go here, or watch a video about it below. Besides Content Experiments, other software tools are dedicated to helping a company run A/B tests for its site, such as clicktale.com, crazyegg.com, kissmetrics.com, unbounce.com, and optimizely.com. User Experience Tests User experience (UX) tests can be helpful in ensuring a site is clear and easy to use such that potential customers have a seamless experience on the site. One way to conduct a user experience test is through focus groups. Each person in the group should receive the same set of tasks the company would like them to complete on its site. For example, these tasks could include creating an account, filling out a form, finding where to make a purchase, and entering payment information. By making note of and addressing the issues raised by multiple users, a company is likely to improve the enduser experience and increase its site’s conversion rate. Takeaway Good user experience and conversion optimization principles are summarized with the title of a wellknown foundational book on web usability by Steve Krug: Don’t Make Me Think. The premise is that a website needs to be as easy as possible for visitors to understand and navigate. It can’t make any assumptions about the level of knowledge or experience its visitors have. Rather, the site needs to be explicit about the point of each page and what it wants visitors to do on that page or where it wants them to go next. Conversion is largely about removing obstacles and distractions while minimizing confusion and maximizing persuasiveness.
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