TLDR: Landing Page + Analytics + Ad Campaign tells you if you're spending your ad money wisely.
I hear people talk about website landing pages & how important they are but I’m not real sure what they’re talking about. Help?
Yes, landing pages are certainly important but not necessarily on their own. First, though, let’s define what a landing page is not. It’s not your website’s homepage, and this is what confuses a fair number of people. The reason for this is probably because a landing page is discussed as the entry point to your website for new visitors, which is technically correct, but it gets taken out of context.
Let’s say that you’re into advertising for your website, which is hopefully why you’re reading this blog post. You set up an ad campaign on a few different platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Google Ads (formerly AdWords) & you want to be able to measure the effectiveness of your ad campaigns. How in the world are you going to be able to tell which campaign is doing in terms of its performance? You are, of course, using analytics, but when you have hundreds or thousands of visits to your site every day, how can you measure this at a glance? This is where the landing page comes in.
A landing page should be set up to minimize the rest of the normal website noise – no distractions to take away from the intended message. You’ve had the payoff on your ad by the visitor clicking over to your website, now you get to make your pitch. If your website header is a bit busy, you would remove most of those distractions on the landing page and make the page as clean as possible to focus on the message. Your page should make the pitch for whatever the ad is for – optimize the landing page for the specific campaign – and have one call to action, two at the most. You really want to minimize distractions & people generally don’t want to have to put a lot of effort into figuring out what the next step is when they visit your website because not a lot of website visitors like puzzle games.
You said that I could use a landing page to measure the effectiveness of my campaigns?
Indeed I did. Not all ad platforms provide what I feel is adequate tracking of their success & some of the trackers tend to be a bit buggy, we’ll call it. I’ve seen sales attributed to ad campaigns multiple times that we knew for a fact were direct referrals, where the customer was provided a link directly that they purchase, they didn’t get there from the ads, yet the sale was attributed to the ad campaign. The moral of the story is that ad tracker data should be taken with a grain or two of salt & perhaps a good whiskey.
ANYway, moving on to measuring your campaigns’ performance & how the landing page fits into that – you can look at your analytics & tell behavior flow & conversion rate based on the landing page. So if someone lands on yoursite.com/landing-page-one/ & buys something or signs up to a mailing list, etc. you can attribute that conversion to that page. If the only way to have that page’s link is from your ad campaign (hint) then you’re already halfway where you need to be for your attribution. You can go a step further & look at the referral source, where the traffic is coming from, for any given landing page.
Why would this be important?
Advertising tends to be one of the larger expenses for a lot of companies, so you’re going to want to see what you’re getting for the money you spend on your ads. If you set up your campaign on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, AdRoll, and Google Ads, let it run for a bit, then check your conversion rates on your super duper landing page that you made just for this campaign & see that your conversion rates look something like this:
- Facebook sent 679 people to your page, 3% of which converted
- Instagram sent 302 people to your page, 4% of which converted
- Google Ads sent 176 people to your page, 1.3% of which converted
- AdRoll sent 402 people to your page, 6% of which converted
- Pinterest sent 900 people to your page, 0.2% of which converted
then you’re going to be thinking real hard about how much you need that Pinterest part & maybe the Google Ads part of your campaign. That could very well place greater funding in what’s giving you the best results or reduce your overall ad budget significantly. Had you not had analytics on your site & a landing page set up specifically for this campaign, though, you would have been flying blind, with no way to measure your results easily. And nobody like flying blind, do they?