Google Ads are a tried and tested means of attracting new customers – and to sell even more online. But what should the landing page behind them look like so that the campaign is actually successful? And you don't end up throwing money out of the window?
It's no wonder that Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) are so popular. After all, you can reach your potential target group whenever they're looking for your products or services. Selecting the right keywords and an having an optimized ad is rarely enough, however. The user experience with the landing page is just as important.
What use is a click if someone already bounces as soon as they arrive on the advertiser's website? Exactly! Nothing, niente, nada! It only results in costs for the advertiser, frustration for the searcher and a negative image for Google ("The search results used to be so much better..."). This is exactly why Google uses the "user experience with the landing page" as one of three components to determine the quality factor. And, you guessed it, in addition to the bid, it's the quality factor which also determines at which position your ad will be displayed.
So what do you do? Either you adapt the existing landing page – which may also have (negative) consequences for the findability in the unpaid Google search (keyword: SEO). Or you create customized landing pages especially for your campaigns on Google and Microsoft Ads (also called SEA; SEA stands for Search Engine Advertising).
SEA landing pages and SEO
Whether and to what extent SEA landing pages are worthwhile depends above all on how much budget you spend on your SEA campaigns each month. Because it goes without sayings that it costs a lot of time (in-house) and/or money (agency) to conceptualize, design and technically implement suitable landing pages.
Of course, this investment should pay for itself as quickly as possible. And to achieve this, the conversion rate of a significant number of buyers or interested parties needs to increase significantly thanks to the landing page. So let's take a closer look at the six points that make up a really good landing page.
A functioning SEA landing page picks up on the promise of the SEA ad and the intention of the searcher, both in terms of content and design (especially important for campaigns in the Google Display Network). Potential customers will find exactly what they were looking for.
In psychology, we speak of conformity to expectations in this context. And this is best achieved with a continuous, consistent dialogue. Both the ad and the target page should therefore be unmistakably consistent in terms of content and design (in the case of display ads).
The user's core question is: "What is it about and what do I get out of it? The concrete value proposition is therefore fundamentally important:
- Place the search term directly in the headline
- Convince potential customers with simple words and short sentences why it is worth requesting the white paper or securing a free initial consultation.
- Show which challenges can be solved with it in no time at all
It's important to keep the "noise" on the landing page to a minimum. That means: no distractions! Don't overload the visitors with information. Instead, have a clear focus on what they are looking for, a strong emotionalization of the topic ("Emotions make the money") and a clear call to action.
Do you know the halo effect? "Halo" originally comes from the Greek and is the term for a halo of light. What is meant is the radiating effect of a dominant feature. People tend to conclude from known features (the layout and visual impression of your landing page) to unknown features (your competence as a consultant).
There's certainly some truth in the saying, "there's no second chance for a first impression". It usually takes only a few seconds to form a first opinion about the website. The visual impression of your landing page is particularly important for this impression. Does the design look appealing and professional? Or is it rather amateurish and forced?
The same applies to the mood images used. Make sure that they are authentic and fit your company. Illustrations drawn especially for the respective product or service have proven to be a good alternative. They look very valuable and illustrate the message of the landing page. Last but not least: give the elements and your text enough "breathing space" with white space. Otherwise the page start to look cluttered very quickly.
When someone clicks on your Google Ads for the first time, they usually doesn't know your company yet or at best only from hearsay. This makes it all the more important to build trust as quickly as possible. You otherwise run the risk that the visitors you've bought with SEA ads, often with a lot of money, will immediately leave again. One of the most important questions visitors ask is: "Who did I end up with here?
Always place the logo of your company in the header so that your visitors immediately see whose site they are visiting. Use seals of approval and awards that are reputable and presumably familiar to the target group. Point out the number of projects you've already realized to underline your seriousness and professionalism.
Show visitors that they're in good company. By displaying the logos of satisfied customers, for example, or by letting satisfied customers speak in their own words.
For landing pages, the rule regarding content elements (including text) is as much as necessary, as little as possible. A short introduction may be useful depending on the use case. A short explanation of the product or the advisory service will also be necessary in many cases to help people understand. Nevertheless, you should always get to the point quickly.
This is exactly where this is decisive difference to conventional product and offer pages. In contrast to the "regular" pages, you don't have to take search engine optimization (SEO) into account with SEA landing pages. After all, you don't want to rank in Google search results with those pages, you want to use them specifically for advertising campaigns.
User-friendliness: Lead directly to action
The golden rule of user-friendliness applies here: "Don't make me think!". This landing page should be as expectation-compliant as it is self-explanatory and lead directly to the desired action. The fewer clicks required, the better. Possible goals include:
- Download a white paper or e-book
- Request a free consultation
- Subscribe to a mailing list
Tip: Scarcity and time limits work. Goods that are only available for a limited time have a special appeal for us. You can advertise, for example, that a study is only available for free download for 14 days (e.g. because your company is celebrating its 5th anniversary) and then available at the regular price of e.g. €25.
Show visitors what the next steps are once they've sent you a message or requested a white paper from you. For example: "We will reply to you within one working day".
Offer visitors several opportunities to get in touch with you. Experience shows: Not everyone likes to use a contact form. Some prefer to write an email. Others prefer to pick up the phone directly. Here's a bonus tip from me:
Proven elements of a B2B landing page
- The header: company logo and low-threshold contact options (phone, email, live chat...).
- The stage: A prominent headline, a button (e.g. as a jump to the form to request a free initial consultation or a contact form opens in a layer), a high-quality illustration on the topic and trust elements (seals, awards, etc.).
- Customer logos: Compact in one line to click further.
- (A number) good reasons: Short and concise explanation of why people should choose you and your solution.
- Frequently asked questions (optional)
- Quotes from customers (optional)
- Contact form: Keep as few fields as possible. Make it as easy as possible for interested parties to get in touch with you.
- Next steps: For example, "You will receive a personal reply from our advisors within one working day".
In this post, you learned the six success factors for creating landing pages for Google ads that work. Of course, these rules are not set in stone. It always depends on what makes your target group tick. It can therefore make sense to pit two landing page variants against each other in an A/B test.