The difference between a profitable and an unprofitable pay-per-click advertising campaign can be the post-click conversion rate. We've run hundreds of conversion rate optimization tests at my firm over the past decade. Below I’ll share five optimizations that have consistently driven conversion rates higher.
1. Keyword Above the Fold
Most PPC managers know that you can boost click through rates by dynamically inserting the keyword a shopper searched for into their ads. We’ve taken that one step further by evaluating the impact of including that same keyword prominently on the page shoppers find after clicking an ad.
The results of including the searched-on keyword in the landing page have been compelling. We’ve consistently observed lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates of up to 20 percent
One way you can include the searched-on keyword is by implementing a simple script that reads the keyword the shopper used to find your site, and dynamically inserts it into your landing page. Your landing page may look like this as a result, if a shopper searched for “red qidgets."
You can dynamically link the keyword so that when it is clicked, a search is automatically performed on your site. That way, if users do not find the results on your page to be as relevant as possible — i.e., they wanted red widgets but the selection offers widgets of all colors, as is the case in the example above — they have an easy way to perform a quick search on your site.
Another approach, one that can have search engine optimization benefits as well, is to insert the keywords that drive traffic to a particular landing page both naturally and through paid search campaigns, and ensuring that your above-the-fold content and merchandising assortment is as relevant to those keywords as possible.
2. Feature Relevant Products
A basic rule of pay-per-click advertising is to bring shoppers who click on your ad to a relevant page on your site that matches their intent. Many online merchants do this pretty well, but in my experience there is a lot of room for improvement.
For example, if there is a lot of search activity for the phrase “cloud prints,” and also for the related phrase “lightening prints,” and today you have a single landing page promoting both, consider giving each a unique landing page.
We've ran tests related to that scenario, and found that conversion rates are significantly higher when the product mix displayed on the landing page immediately matches the shopper’s search query, rather than requiring them to use sorting and filtering tools.
3. Strategically Set Default 'Sort by' Settings
We’ve found that the default sort preference for your landing pages can have a big impact on average order value and conversion rates.
Sorting from highest price to lowest price, for example, often results in a higher average order value. However, sorting from lowest price to highest price may result in a higher conversion rate. According to our tests, increased revenue due to the higher average order value typically compensates for the lower conversion rate, making it a net positive.
Conduct conversion tests on your own website to find the optimal recipe. When you run your tests, make sure to segment them to treat shoppers who arrive at a landing page immediately after conducting a search on a search engine differently than a shopper who browses to a landing page from somewhere else on your site.