Average length of stay on a Web site is approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds overall. Approximate length of stay by visitors coming from search is about 10 seconds. Why the difference? Search users are less likely to know your company and its attributes in advance, and they know there are several other options available to them simply by clicking “back”. In short, search engine users have the attention span of a 4 year-old after three s’mores and a cup of grape Kool-Aid.
Most marketers engaged in even semi-serious pay per click programs have determined that creating specific “landing pages” to sync with particular search terms can help combat the flighty nature of search users. If a user searches for “mustard” on Google and clicks on your ad, you don’t take them to your home page, you take them to a page that’s all about mustard. You don’t even mention ketchup. Why confuse the user with information that doesn’t specifically address their needs?
This ability to determine the specific interests of the consumer (via their search phrase) and give them marketing messages that match is perhaps the most powerful capability of the Web as a whole. It’s as if consumers are walking around with thought bubbles over their heads describing what they want to buy.
Not to be ignored is the important fact that Google (and I presume Yahoo!) are now including the content (and download speed) of landing pages as components in the “quality score” that determines where your PPC ad appears in search results. Meaning, if the page that lies behind your Google ad is not uber-relevant to the query, your ad will be penalized for it. This makes creating great landing pages a necessity, not a luxury.
For agencies, the creation of landing pages is a critically important service that is not often being offered to clients with the appropriate voracity. If the client is thinking about a Web site redesign, but isn’t ready or doesn’t have the budget, creating a series of outstanding landing pages can help the agency prove its Web design mettle. Further, if a variety of messaging and/or design approaches are being considered for the new Web site, testing the efficacy of those approaches on landing pages is a smart move.
Because they lie directly in the consumers’ research and purchase funnel, landing pages provide extraordinarily useful data that can be extrapolated for use in other online and offline marketing programs. Offer testing, photo testing, price point testing. All of these can be accomplished with landing pages with relative ease.
In fact, a rigorous and ongoing program that tests new landing page components (including multi-variate testing) can have tremendous bottom-line impact for clients, and makes the agency a hero. A multi-variate test that we conducted at Mighty Interactive for a student loan company generated a 40%+ increase in leads – resulting in a financial gain of hundreds of thousands of dollars for the client.
When testing landing pages (and really any digital marketing element), remember that small changes can make a big difference. Background colors, font, spacing, photos, headlines and more can all impact whether a consumer will buy now or buy never. Don’t overlook button labels, either. Your action button is the last thing the consumer reads before determining whether to take action. Labeling it “submit” or something equally uninspired is missing a tremendous opportunity to set the hook at a critical time.
If you have a landing page testing success story, let’s hear about it.