Marketers rely heavily on dedicated landing pages for paid media campaigns. But when do they work best? What other elements need to be in place first?
Do You Really Need A Dedicated Landing Page For Every Paid Media Campaign?
Top marketing and PPC experts have drilled this into our heads—never send paid traffic to your homepage or other pages on your site. To convert users, paid media requires a dedicated, decluttered landing page specific to your given campaign. Even we have claimed this before.
While its often true, let’s set the record straight. Marketers often rely too heavily on dedicated pages without considering other major factors.
When To Use A Dedicated Page
Our clients have seen great results from diverting paid traffic to dedicated pages. Take advantage of the capabilities of dedicated pages if you fall into one of these categories:
- You want to narrow in on specific promotions, pricing, markets, or target audiences. Offer a decluttered user experience that provides content and calls to action (CTAs) specific to the initiative at hand.
- You are running lower-funnel channels or targeting. When you already know a user’s intent, as with paid search, direct them to the information they really want.
- You want to vary page elements (CTAs, images, content, or layout) without creating duplicate site content. You may want to test landing pages to influence future initiatives, or conduct conversion rate optimization (CRO) through personalization to increase relevance to the user and ultimately drive more conversions.
- You want to measure cross-channel impact. About 80%–90% of display conversions are from people who never clicked on a banner. Measure display’s impact on search performance by matching users who saw banner ads to visitors of a page only accessible through paid search.
Why Should Marketers Not Rely 100% On A Dedicated Landing Page?
Paid and organic search collaborate to drive traffic and performance on a site without overlapping one-to-one on goals and strategy. We implement findings from one to the other and see click rates increase when both types of results are present.
However, users don’t necessarily differentiate between the two. They may, in fact, sidestep the very page you poured countless resources and hours of work into, and instead click to your homepage. They may be distracted by top/left/right navigation, long-form content, videos, infographics, links, and images galore.
Consider how many awareness-driving channels are in market. Probably only 0.05% of people click on your display banners, and a much lower percentage use the vanity URLs found in your traditional ads. Sometimes even nonbrand search or paid social ads drive more awareness than actual clicks. Users impacted by these ads are likely accessing your site directly or through organic search. Making one page do all the heavy-lifting to drive conversions, when only accessible through clicks on one channel, would therefore be detrimental to performance.
So how do we ensure people entering your site organically or directly can convert just as easily as those who have visited a clean, concise dedicated page? We recommend not just a dedicated page, but an integrated page
Six Considerations For Using An Integrated Landing Page
- What is the “other” user path? Ensure a clear and easy conversion path for all visitors. If you’re investing in an important marketing initiative, consider adding a related homepage CTA, optimizing old content, and streamlining navigation to the most important content. Also remember SEO is not an overnight process. Ranking high in organic results takes months, so build new pages long before campaign launch.
- How do user paths connect? This is where integration comes in. Maybe someone has more questions before converting. If a user is not ready to convert and you only allow them to convert or exit, what do you think they will do? Connect them back to your primary content so they see you as a resource as they research. This also amplifies trust in the legitimacy of the landing page — which is extremely important when capturing lead data.
- Is the page too decluttered? Search Engine Journal says to “optimize for clarity, not minimalism.” Consider the weight of a conversion. Is it a high price point, or do users have to share their information first? Allow more options — maybe they aren’t ready to enroll but would consider scheduling an informational appointment. Again, better they stay with your brand than exit to a competitor.
- What is the technical setup? Ensure both integrated and site pages are mobile-optimized and load quickly to avoid bounces. Most importantly, de-index dedicated pages immediately upon creation to avoid duplicate content ranking organically and damaging search equity.
- Do you have limited time and resources? Sometimes it just makes sense to outsource page creation and optimization to third-party experts, especially with A/B testing and CRO. Just make sure they adhere to your brand standards and allow you to control page content, links to your domain, and measurement. On that note…
- How have we gotten this far and not talked about measurement? This could be our favorite topic, and we have strong opinions about where pages live. The most seamless way to analyze traffic on new pages is to build within your own domain. If this is not possible, it is very important to place your analytics tracking on the new page. You’ll want to know how visitors got to your page, how much time they spent on it, what they did, and ultimately who they are. Otherwise, isn’t this all a futile effort to begin with?
What Does This Mean For Marketers
This means that yes, your paid media campaigns can absolutely benefit from a dedicated landing page that outlines the most important, relevant information and calls to action. However, your campaign will not perform well – or be measurable – unless a holistic approach is taken to consider every possible user path.