We're coming into the home stretch of what has been a great first day at SES Toronto and I say there's no better way to end the day than a look at paid search ads in relation to their landing pages.

Are people clicking on your ads expecting one thing and landing on a page that gives them something else? Not good folks, not good...

This clinic will look at actual ads and landing pages, as offered up by volunteers from the audience.

Our moderator will be Anne Kennedy, SES Advisory Board & Managing Partner and Founder at Beyond Ink.

Our Speakers Are:

Mona Elesseily, Director of Marketing Strategy, Page Zero Media

  • You must, must have compelling ads. Even if you're a strong brand, not everyone will be familiar with it - a good idea is to assume that people do not know your brand, and to speak to them at that level.
  • If you sell cosmetics, and you're trying to drive traffic for Father's Day, merely stating your brand name and stating that you have a Father's Day sale probably isn't enough if someone searches for 'father's day gifts'. You should speak to the type of gifts they will find if they click on your ad - will I find electronics, golf clubs or will I find cosmetics?
  • With that said, if you're a strong brand name, that is an asset. Do not ignore your brand name, but you must also keep in mind what it is you're selling. This can be tricky with character limits, but if you continually test new messaging and you track conversions, you will find the messaging that is driving the proper type of traffic.
  • What are your unique selling points? Do you provide free shipping? Have you served an astounding number of customers? "Served 250,000 Clients to Date" gives you credibility and can drive an increase in not only clicks, but quality clicks.
  • Are you selling B2C or B2B? Often times, the keywords you would use to target either crossover - use your ad to qualify the type of user you want to target.

Bryan Eisenberg, SES Advisory Board & Co-Founder of Future Now Inc.

  • Landing pages should speak to your ad. If someone clicks on a Father's Day ad, they should be directed to a page that speaks to your Father's Day specials.
  • If you put a claim in your ad, it must be IMMEDIATELY substantiated when the user lands on your landing page or you could potentially face a high bounce rate - and this is where we emphasize how important Analytics tracking is to your search marketing campaigns...
  • If you're using images, ensure that they are relevant - pretty pictures are great, but if they are irrelevant, they will confuse the user and once again, lead to a high bounce rate - and if people are bouncing, they won't be converting.
  • A note on horizontal lines - web designers will often add horizontal lines for cosmetic reasons - it might look nice, but it tells the user that THIS IS THE END... when in fact, this isn't the end. As an example, we looked at a landing page that had a large visual component on top, followed by a row of 3 products, which were underlined by a horizontal line. At first glance (which is what users do, they glance), it appears as though this is the end - a large picture and 3 products. In reality, if you scroll down, there are another 9 products. Those 9 products are not being seen - they are below the fold and the layout of the page says to people that what they see is what they get - you need to show them what they get.
  • Your landing pages should be simple - ensure they are relevant to your ad and to the keywords that brought a user there - draw the users eye to an action you want them to complete - "Buy Now!", "Get a Quote!" - you need to hone in on what you want them to do.
  • A great example - if your ad speaks to 'download a free information package', then make it easy for the user to do just that when they land on your page - place a nice, visible icon where people can download a free information package.

So - what are the lessons learned?

  • Ensure your ad speaks to who you are and what you do
  • If you structure your campaign with ad groups that have very few, highly related keywords, then you can speak directly to those keywords in the ad. This will lead to an increase in CTR, and will also allow you to better manage your keywords list.
  • Landing pages need to be highly relevant to the ad and keywords that brought a user to your site - if possible, a unique landing page for each ad group will help drive an increase in conversions. If not possible, then test different pages that currently exist on your site and then run a report to determine which converts at a higher rate.

There you have it folks, and excellent session with some great tips on how to ensure that your ads and landing pages are in sync with each other, which will only lead to a higher conversions rate. And really, who doesn't mind higher conversion rates.

Thanks to Anne, Bryan and Mona for another great sessions here at SES Toronto 2009.