Today's consumers are savvy online shoppers and won't bother with websites they don't find user-friendly or don't trust.
PPC isn't just about jumping into Google AdWords or Bing Ads, setting up an account, and watching the dollars come flooding in. There's much more to it than that. Bid adjustments, keyword selection, ad copy testing, etc. all play a part in your PPC success but a common piece that continuously gets overlooked is the last thing a potential customer sees: the website.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) has been a trending topic over the last few years. There are testing tools and blog posts covering the importance of landing pages and the topic is being widely discussed at industry conferences. Knowing this, there's still a large number of websites who have yet to adopt any type of conversion rate optimization tools. But just having the tools in place isn't enough. With online shoppers getting savvier every year and new targeting options coming from the engines that don't rely on your keyword research skills, a solid website is becoming an increasingly important part of PPC success.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Starting at the 101 level here, it should go without saying that having a solid website will help improve your conversion rate optimization. It's not too difficult to find some good examples of critiques or lists of best practices to get a basic understanding of how a well built landing page can improve your PPC performance. Seriously, just Google (or Bing) it if you don't like the articles I've linked to above. There's tons of info out there that can make the case better than I can.
It's the 21st century. Consumers have been shopping safely and reliably online for nearly a decade now. They're used to inputting their credit card and (Read more...) information to get the products they want shipped to their home or office. But just because they're willing to shop online, doesn’t mean they're willing to buy from just anyone.
With all the data breaches we hear about on the news, shoppers are also very aware of the risks of sharing that personal info online. So if your website looks like a children's backpack of Lisa Frank products that just exploded all over the place, they're probably not going to find you very trustworthy. Do yourself a favor, tone down the colors and get yourself some actual trust symbols on the site. Add in customer reviews, mentions in the media, and trust seals to let your customers know you're a legitimate business they can trust.
Along with understanding whether a website is trustworthy or not, customers are also becoming less tolerant of website treasure hunts to find the products they want. If someone clicks on an ad for red Nike shoes, by golly they want to be taken to a page that has red Nike shoes on it. Don't settle for sending folks to your home page. It's very 2000s. Do your best to send users to the most specific page on your site.
If you don't have something that hits the nail on the head, offer the best you've got, but make sure your website is intuitive and users can easily get around. Although having a full landing page strategy is best, it doesn't hurt to make sure the user to go searching for what they want just in case.
As advertising platforms continue to make advancements, it's becoming an increasingly popular theory that the current practice of keywords as the center of advertising might be going away - to some degree. The most recent example of this is the roll out of Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) by Google. This targeting type relies solely on Google's interpretation of your website by showing ads based on the content of your website.
When using DSA, marketers are given control of which pages of their website Google will look at, as well as the description lines and display URL of the ads. That's all. Google is in charge of determining which queries to serve ads for, the headline to be shown, as well as the landing page the user will be taken to should they decide to click.
You might not be using DSA ads, but based on my personal experience as well as what I've heard from others, DSA can work better than you think. All of that to say, just because you're not using DSA doesn't mean that your website shouldn't be prepared for it should a large change to our advertising options come down the pike.
What ways have you found that websites impact your PPC performance outside of the standard CRO practices? Share with us in the comments.
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