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Here is the full recap of this week’s PPCChat session where host Julie F Bacchini shed light on the importance of the post-click (landing page) experience, what are the biggest or most common issues PPCers encounter on landing pages and more.

Q1: What level of importance do you place on the post-click (landing page) experience for accounts that you manage?

It’s super important. Not only will I not run the campaign until I am super happy with the landing page and conversion tracking. I also will make the client take ownership of going against laning page recommendations. @navahf

Soo much importance. I’ve turned down clients where they won’t allow me to run my own landing pages if their site is unusable. @Pete_Bowen

The caveat to this is that in e-commerce we sometimes have to make more compromises because there aren’t as many strict rules organically about what we can say on the page as there are through paid and typically you do want to use the organic site because it’s going to be well structured from a feed and metadata standpoint. @navahf

Well, my first digital work was doing websites, so I have always thought that the website you send people to from ads is incredibly important. Even more so now, with automation leveling out the pre-click side of the equation more and the machines looking to landing pages for data, ranking, etc. @NeptuneMoon

It’s extremely important, and in some cases not always possible to run the way we’d love to. For example, in public safety campaigns, we NEED people to get the message! @JuliaVyse

No point spending money to send traffic to crappy landing pages/websites. Always work with the client to help improve things. @robert_brady

IMO it’s the most important thing – in my eyes it’s the “real ad” – the pre-click experience is so fast, you don’t really get the time to do all the “ad stuff” in that audience interaction. @ferkungamaboobo

Landing pages are crucial. No amount of great keywords or ad copy can save a bad landing page.@beyondthepaid

So funny story. I’m currently running a poll on LinkedIn about what skills we look for when hiring someone and analytical is winning by a long shot, but I’d argue that from a landing page standpoint, 90% of the work is actually creative, so I’m curious how we all know it’s important and we all think it’s really really critical, but we don’t actually want to be the ones that have to hire for it. @navahf

@navahf do you think of the creative being the look/design or the copy? @Pete_Bowen

A great landing page is both art and science, IMO. You need the right messaging with the right information called out, but it has to look great and be fast too. @NeptuneMoon

@Pete_Bowen I think it’s both. And what’s interesting? Is that the science behind landing cages? I.e the behavioural analytics oftentimes comes down to design choices. So it’s just interesting to me that we all agree that layout content image, inclusion video inclusion is important but it just doesn’t seem to be the thing that we hire for. @navahf

I think that’s language too. we want to be data-driven, it’s been a buzzword for 15+ years. But a lot of the time we’re testing stuff that’s “best practice vs. whatever-the-eff-exists” @ferkungamaboobo

P.s. I’m using voice to txt so sorry for any typos. @navahf

Like advertising, I feel UX is a largely solved game BUT I think most of the practitioners end up coming to UX as neophytes and make critical mistakes OR it’s a matter of bad practices being repeated over and over and so folks learn those as industry-standard. @ferkungamaboobo

It is like 50% of us being successful. Outside of rewriting ad copy… the landing page has a huge impact. Undervalued by a lot of people, inside and outside, in marketing. @duanebrown

More important than the campaign itself, especially for Lead-Gen. @MenachemAni

My best experience was as a search strategist working with the designer, the ux lead, and the writer. the three of us together made a FIRE lp for Pfizer way back when. I miss those days. @JuliaVyse

The ad just gets people in the door. Landing pages make the sale. @robert_brady

I think one of the reasons that lead gen ads and marketplace ads really started to take hold. Is that ad networks understood that the average person is never going to put in as much care as an actual marketer will so they give them the answer. It might not be perfect, but it’s at least better than a badly done landing page. @navahf

@navahf That’s a big thing with me and lead gen ads – a lot of times we as practitioners struggle with quality, and I think it’s because it’s missing that critical middle step of the landing page. @ferkungamaboobo

Also, brands often have such hubris about their product or service that the don’t really think they have to sell it on their landing pages. @NeptuneMoon

@ferkungamaboobo totally agree with you. That quality will be grab back if there isn’t that qualifier. This is more a question of pragmatism. If the person can’t be bothered to come up with a good landing page, I think it’s totally fair that they’re still able to take advantage of traffic. They just might have to deal with sifting through the mess. @navahf

The other irony is that most marketers with poor landing page experiences are usually quite good at “selling” themselves face-to-face. They just need to translate it into a landing page. @robert_brady

It’s insanely important. You can run the best campaign in the world from a front-end metric point of view, but if the client isn’t getting conversions/seeing what they want to see on the backend, it’s all for naught. @revaminkoff

Q2:  For accounts you manage, do you have any level of control or input over what is on the landing page, how it looks, etc.?

None. I can make suggestions, and there are times when it’s in scope, but it’s a major problem. @JuliaVyse

Yes, 99% of the time and it’s part of my take-on requirements. Although recently I had a long-standing client break everything with their exciting new website build. @Pete_Bowen

Similar to @JuliaVyse – we make recommendations, but the client controls the LPs. If they don’t make changes, we’re stuck. @beyondthepaid

I have done work on landing pages for clients and also worked with their teams, but generally only have advisory role. Though, I do call out landing page issues regularly if they exist and client refuses to do anything about it. Because it is absolutely impacting the results I can achieve for them. @NeptuneMoon

Advisory role here too. @robert_brady

I don’t say yes to working with someone if I can’t have input and if I can’t get access to the leads and sales data. @navahf

When I was agency, almost always. It’s just so critical. The amount that you pay for an agency is so high that we have to be good out the gate. Freelancing is a different story. Scope is a big challenge and the customer is interacting with you on a much more limited basis. But in both cases, there’s the “Always be testing” mentality which can get in the way — you end up with a good landing page that works, but everyone’s looking to squeeze out another 0.01% and wondering why you seem complacent about it. @ferkungamaboobo

As part of onboarding a new client I do a brutally honest assessment of their competitiveness in the digital space, which is a lot about the landing page experience – theirs vs. their competitors. @NeptuneMoon

No one wants to be told their baby (which another expert said was good/pretty) is ugly. @ferkungamaboobo

@ferkungamaboobo I was just about to say the same thing. @NeptuneMoon

The client’s worth working with absolutely want to hear about how ugly their babies are and how they can be made to be perfect. Little efficiency robots. @navahf

@ferkungamaboobo I prefer a more gentle approach “How about we test a few landing pages that have worked well for us in the past”. @Pete_Bowen

That goes for us too – a big part of my freelancing has been seeing how to tweak my proposition to be more attractive to the customers. @ferkungamaboobo

They really don’t like hearing that their super-expensive baby is ugly. @robert_brady

But this goes back to the point about analytics versus creative. Sometimes there is value in having a brand voice and tone that supersedes ” data” @navahf

Especially if the business owner picked out the colours to match their husband’s eyes or something. @Pete_Bowen

@Pete_Bowen For sure, I think client-facing language and in-the-bullpen language is different. Maybe it shouldn’t be. @ferkungamaboobo

I find if you position it as a competitiveness factor, it can go over better. I walk them through what it will be like for searchers who see their ads and LPs and their competitors. Seeing it for themselves can be very eye-opening. @NeptuneMoon

The other thing to consider is how much the lack of tracking will impact our ability to call out the ugly babies. Bias is definitely going to play a role here. @navahf

One way to handle that is by going back to research. I constantly reference the NNGroup form studies. Again, this is all a solved game. @ferkungamaboobo

We’re not web developers so we don’t want “control,” but it’s great to be able to make suggestions — and even better when the client takes them. @revaminkoff

Odd client we manage the LPs, for an additional fee, otherwise we recommend and influence what is going on LPs and PDPs for clients. Even setting the bar based on what direct and indirect competitors are doing with their LPs has clients make improvements. @duanebrown

And maybe that makes me stodgy and boring in my designs — I tell my customers I’m a meat-and-potatoes designer. @ferkungamaboobo

@revaminkoff I stress it from the point of view of a searcher looking for a solution, rather than wanting control of the landing page and its development. Because that is where I want their heads – how does this stack up to the other options a potential customer will see? @NeptuneMoon

Q3: Are your clients or stakeholders concerned about their landing pages/post-click experience? If so, what are their biggest concerns?

Well, mine are concerned about the amount of advice they get from us. will they pay for formal recos or a ux team? hard no. @JuliaVyse

There are buckets of concern. The first bucket doesn’t distinguish between pre and post-click. They’re just concerned about results and trust that whatever thing I say is important to focus on is useful. The other bucket hyper-fixates on it and it can sometimes be a bit of a coaching/therapy session to get people to understand what needs to happen and why we’re choosing the path we’re choosing. @navahf

It depends on the client…Some are enamoured with their websites and do not want to hear anything about it – though I try to root those folks out in prospect stage because I don’t want to work with these folks. Others are interested in recommendations, but don’t bring anything proactive to the table. @NeptuneMoon

I think folks are a tad bit more concerned about whether they need to worry about the privacy regulation piece and consent mode and how much they can skirt the rules. So I find that my conversations around landing pages are much more focused around cookie banners and that process then the actual landing page design itself. I find that I have a lot more freedom when it comes to what will serve the business better than I do when it comes to being able to track success. @navahf

I’ve seen care range from indifference to obsessing over pixel-level details. @Pete_Bowen

Many clients are – they realize their websites are substandard and want to improve. But wanting to improve and being able to execute on it are two different things. @beyondthepaid

I have said this before but will repeat here – lots of ok websites have skated by for a long time. Those days are over with automation, data loss, etc. @NeptuneMoon

I think the biggest concern is “will this work?” It’s rare to have people who aren’t somewhat aware of digital. They’ve heard from countless experts that “it” is important. What “it” is can vary, and sometimes run counter to your suggestions. I try to fall back on common sense and “how does this feel to you, as a person?” @ferkungamaboobo

@NeptuneMoon I’m borrowing that quote. @Pete_Bowen

Lots of businesses also honestly think they “don’t really have competitors” and that does not help this process! @NeptuneMoon

How about when they totally redo a website and never bother asking for input from a PPC perspective? Love when that happens. @NeptuneMoon

I just had a client cost themselves almost $ 250,000 a month doing exactly this. @Pete_Bowen

It took them 2 months of pain before they learned their lesson. @Pete_Bowen

A lot of it too I feel is that anti-patterns are rampant. @ferkungamaboobo

“Amazon does X” but no one considers that Amazon’s storefront is their loss leader @ferkungamaboobo

So they don’t care if it works, really. @ferkungamaboobo

And Amazon has gazillions of dollars in revenue. @beyondthepaid

Right, but that comes from AWS, not retail, which wasn’t profitable for decades. @ferkungamaboobo

Nonetheless, most clients don’t have gazillions of dollars. @beyondthepaid

@ferkungamaboobo Ah yes, the legacy of early internet days when the field was level… But it is now a mature ecosystem, so adjust those expectations. @NeptuneMoon

I talk to my students a lot about this – we end up looking at ecomm a lot for “what not to do” and it really comes to “What is the user goal here?” Does Nike care that their website isn’t “good?” No! Because their revenue is from in-store retail. @ferkungamaboobo

Some people think their ugly site is beautiful…. that can be an issue. We point those out in pitches, so if we don’t win for that reason. We don’t lose anything. We want brands who want to improve and build on their success. @duanebrown

Q4: What are the biggest or most common issues you encounter on landing pages for the accounts you manage?

WordPress sites taking 6 seconds to load. @Pete_Bowen

Popups that interrupt the user experience. Not meeting customer goals because you focus on company goals. Forms that do silly things like hide labels or only show after another interaction. @ferkungamaboobo

Broken conversion tracking is a biggie.But after that, it is usually what I would call pages not designed for the target audience. To much “we, we, we” and not nearly enough “you” in their focus. @NeptuneMoon

@Pete_Bowen What, you don’t need 200 database calls to show an image and 1000 words of content in one block? WPBakery and Elementor were a mistake. @ferkungamaboobo

The biggest one is that it’s ugly and the tracking doesn’t work. Both ugly and tracking not working are bad but one is slightly more excusable if the other is present. But when they’re both not there and it’s just hunches on why the ugly baby persists. That’s really really badThe other really big issue is when there are contentious relations between the paid and SEO teams. And if you are not allowed to have a different landing page than the organic site, there can be a lot of fights due to different rules of engagement and what will serve one audience versus another. So for example in paid I really don’t want navigation but organically. They need a good navigational menu to help document all the various parts of the site. I don’t really want on a paid page to have a wall of text but organically. They need that rich authoritative content to help them rank. So having that balance can be really tough when you have to use the organic page. Ideally you’re using a noindex no follow subdomain. @navahf

Unfocused pages trying to be all things to all people. Huge hero images and “we we” copy. Forms at the bottom of a long page way below the fold. No or broken conversion tracking. @beyondthepaid

Also pages with too much going on – popups, links galore, multiple CTAs @beyondthepaid

Not putting searchers on a clear path to conversion action is a big one too. A landing page is a different animal than a regular web page. You know where the visitor came from! And generally what their query was. And yet, these pages are generic and ignore that amazing lead-in. @NeptuneMoon

Lack of clarity about why the prospect should choose this company vs. a competitor.And tracking. @robert_brady

Yes yes yes. Talk to customers all the time that don’t have a “Unique” in their USP. @ferkungamaboobo

And unique can mean so many things! @ferkungamaboobo

But that’s way bigger than PPC. @ferkungamaboobo

I remember seeing April Dunford years ago at an event at Seer (she is an expert on positioning) and she said “You have to remember that one of your major competitors is your prospect doing nothing” and that stuck with me. Cause it is SO TRUE! @NeptuneMoon

A lot of sites tell us what the thing they sell does. Not enough focus on the outcomes. Can lack social proof, good product shots… etc .A lot of sites lates seem to not even build out a decent homepage. Why is everyone forgetting that a homepage still matters?  @duanebrown

Q5: Do you have a tool or platform you like to work with for creating better landing pages/post-click experiences? Or any other methodologies for landing pages and getting your recommendations implemented?

I built a landing page builder back in 2009 and have been using it with occasional updates ever since. One of the better time investments. @Pete_Bowen

Microsoft clarity is the jam and every single person needs to get it installed on their site. I don’t care that we’re giving a ton of data to Microsoft. It is bar none. One of the best behavioral analytics tools and it is absolutely free and has near zero drag on load time. @navahf

I also want to give a shout out to wix and Duda. Both have done a lot of work to be a really meaningful solution for beautiful and well-seoed sites but also providing really good landing page solutions @navahf

Not seen Duda before. Taking a look. @Pete_Bowen

Basic format of a landing page hasn’t changed in, idk, 50+ years. Hero image showcasing the product and a simulacrum of your customer. Headline, with the main USP CTA USPs/Reasons to believe CTA
Additional information like locations, alternate methods, ways to get more information. @ferkungamaboobo

Microsoft clarity is good alright and free. @duanebrown

Unbounce an instapage and the kind of generic individual landing pages are good, but they do require you to be comfortable with their designer. I find that unless you are already design-inclined, they are a little bit clunky. @navahf

I have used Unbounce in the past and really liked them. I find it easy to use because of my web design background. Others might not if you don’t have that background or skills.I did see some Tweets today that they are significantly raising their prices though. @NeptuneMoon

Like, I think the tools are overhyped. use whatever the client has set up already – you can make that format work in any CMS or lack of one. But look at this ad and decide for yourself if it wouldn’t work as a landing page, replacing the CTA (that doesn’t follow Ogilvy’s rules for CTAs but whatever) in the bottom right with a form might be confusing ogilvy’s rules and hopkins rules tbh) @ferkungamaboobo

Of note, Ogilvy straight up stole that had from a non-competitor car brand haha @ferkungamaboobo

As far as getting my recommendations implemented, again, I come at it from the competitiveness angle. We can never know how well things are working for competitors, but we can certainly test against what they are doing.I also talk to clients a lot about market alignment. And what I mean by this is that you have to put yourself in the shoes of the people who you are targeting to buy from you. What is their primary motivation or pain point they are trying to solve? How does your product or service do that? What are your competitive advantages (WHY should they choose you vs. other options)? I have found if you take this approach, you can sometimes get farther. As I said in answer to earlier question, showing if they are the worst option (visually, speed, information, offer, alignment, positioning, etc.) and let them SEE it that can also help to get them to make changes or test things. @NeptuneMoon

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