If you are doing paid search, paid social or SEO, and are not optimizing your conversions, you might be leaving money on the table.
Here is a true story shared by Momoko Price, partner at Kantan Designs: a company was investing thousands of dollars a month into PPC campaigns but wasn’t optimizing or even tracking on-site conversions. The AdWords department was focusing on getting clicks without any insight into whether or not they were getting leads. Back-of-the-napkin calculations showed that the average cost per acquisition (CPA) was $1,100. The estimated customer lifetime value was $1200. You can do the math.
This is an extreme case, but the truth is, if you don’t have a page that converts, you end up just paying for clicks instead of conversions. CRO can help you get more from your advertising dollars.
How to get a higher return on paid search with CRO
1. Use CRO to improve the landing page experience and turn more visitors into customers
When we make the landing page more compelling and user-friendly, it lifts conversions and starts an upward spiral of success: higher conversions > lower CPA > higher return on ad spend (ROAS) > increased ad budget > increased overall revenue and profit.
It may take a few tests to get a strong lift in conversions; it depends on how much research goes into building your test hypotheses. A legal services firm saw the positive impact of CRO in the very first test they ran on their paid search landing pages. Originally, the value proposition above the fold was not scannable and not easy to understand quickly. The CRO team at 3Q Digital created a variation that described the benefits the firm’s services clearly and concisely using the headline and a bulleted list. As a result, lead form submissions went up by 24% at 95% statistical significance.
2. Use CRO to determine the best landing pages for paid traffic
When dedicated landing pages for search ads are not available, a lot of companies drive paid traffic to the homepage. Chris Goward’s “scent trail” metaphor shows why this might be hurting their results. Imagine: the ad promises a solution to a specific need the customer has – the “prey scent” is very strong. The customer clicks the ad and lands on the homepage that offers multiple products or services – the “scent trail” became much weaker. The customer now has to figure out how to get to the product or service they were originally interested in. This creates friction, and the risk of a bounce is very high.
CRO can help map out an effective customer journey from ad to conversion. The good news is, you don’t always have to create new landing pages from scratch. Simply redirecting paid traffic to a different page on the website can increase conversion rates. Here is how a regional bank reaped the benefits of this approach.
The bank was looking for a way to get more website visitors to submit a loan application. Paid search campaigns were driving people to the homepage. However, Google Analytics and Hotjar data showed that after landing on the homepage, many users instantly clicked the ‘loans’ tab in the top navigation. Our CRO team hypothesized that sending paid traffic directly to the loans page would better match the high motivation of the users and would increase conversions. It worked – with loans page as the new landing page for paid traffic, there was 51% lift in loan application submissions.
Control – homepage:
Variation – loans page:
If you do have custom landing pages for search campaigns, make sure to track their post-click performance. A story shared by Momoko Price shows why it matters:
“A client shared their PPC landing page metrics with me but hadn’t actually calculated which landing page variants were performing best past the click (they were only looking at impression-to-ad CTR, but not the landing page conversions-per-PPC click rate). After looking into it, I discovered that the highest-performing PPC ad-group was driving traffic to a *sub-optimal* landing page variant. By directing that traffic to the highest performing landing page variant, we were able to substantially lower the overall CPA.”
3. Use CRO to increase lead quality
With CRO, you can make informed changes to the landing pages that drive not only initial conversions, but also deeper metrics, such as sales, LTV, and ultimately profit.
Steven Shyne, senior CX strategist at 6D Global shares a story about an experiment that impacted both conversions and lead quality:
“Our client, a telecom solutions provider, was debating whether or not to show pricing on the landing page. On the one hand, there was pressure from internal stakeholders and competitors to list the prices. On the other hand, the company provides customized quotes to its customers based on their business needs, and showing boilerplate pricing would go against this core value proposition. Our hypothesis was that removing pricing from the landing page would encourage prospective customers to fill out the form and request a precise quote. This would increase engagement with the sales team and improve metrics all the way through the sales funnel.
“The variation with the pricing information removed showed a 47% increase in qualified leads. Our client is continuing to see very strong performance and we are continuing to test/optimize when, where, and if at all we show pricing, all the way from ad unit to landing page to lead qualification page.”
In summary, the connection between paid search and CRO is natural and profitable.
Miguel Madrigal, search account lead at 3Q Digital sees CRO as a big value multiplier: “As performance marketers, there is only so much we can do on the front end. We can take the search queries, match them to keywords …read more
Source:: Search Engine Watch – PPC
Source:: Search Engine Watch – PPC