Improving Lead Quality from PPC Advertising: Advanced Landing Page Testing

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Jun 4, 2008
More Articles by Janet

First, let me apologize for not getting this up sooner. Ah, the life of a business owner… it’s VOIP phones this week. But you don’t care about that, so let’s get to the meat of why we’re here: Advanced Landing Page Testing!!!

Over the past few posts, I’ve talked about some basic setup you’ll need to do to begin the process of evaluating leads and determining new ways to drive only quality leads as conversions. Today, we’ll get even more into the nitty gritty by examining how to use advanced landing page testing (often termed A/B or multivariate testing) to further drive only quality conversions.

While a high quantity of conversions MAY seem like the optimal result of any PPC campaign, if high quantity also brings many low quality leads, PPC may be wasting much of the time of your salesforce. Also, by counting “quality” conversions vs. “unqualified” conversions, you can easily draw conclusions about tactics that work and those that don’t. Hence, I believe, there are ways to drive substantial quantity of conversions while maintaining lead quality as best possible online. Let me first say that you can never FULLY pre-qualify leads online — people can be dishonest when filling out forms. But you can take small steps to evaluate what tactics work better than others at driving higher quality leads.

Advanced Landing Page Tactics
Setting Up Testing with Only One Destination URL – ACK!
If you want to pass the keyword through your destination URL to use as the headline or as another element on your landing page, you’ll quickly run into a big problem. Search engines only allow ONE destination URL per keyword when the destination URL is assigned at the keyword level, and that has to be done to track the keyword itself. So how can you have TWO versions of pages with only ONE destination URL?

This is where dynamic programming languages come into play again. Using languages like ASP or PHP to program your landing pages gives you immense flexibility and testing capability. Using PHP or ASP, you can randomly generate the version of the landing page simply by using the time stamp when the respondent calls the page. For instance, here’s code I use for my PHP pages:

/*assign version based on seconds*/
if ($time < 30) {
/*echo $version;*/
} else {
/*echo $version;*/

What does this code mean? Basically, if the respondent arrives at the page at seconds 1-30 of a given minute, the respondent sees version A. Otherwise, the respondent sees version B. I then set up a cookie to track the respondent’s version, which I pull down into my lead form when he/she fills it out so that, as I evaluate lead quality in my CRM system, I can also see what landing page version the respondent saw.
The 2-Button Approach
As I’ve mentioned previously, many times our target audience may search on terms, even long tail terms, that are the same terms a non-targeted audience may search on. One example is the term “recruiting firms” — both employers and job seekers may search on this term, but mainly employers are likely the target audience for a recruiting firm because employers generate revenue and ROI. So how can you “weed” out the job seekers from your conversion queue?

Case Study: 2-Button Landing Page — Online Survey Company
In the case of an online survey company, we found the same “dual” audienece keyword issue — both those that wanted to take surveys and those that wanted to buy survey products search on many of the same terms. So how can we weed out those that are not in our target audience? We found that, even though our landing page was VERY targeted in messaging to buyers, non-buyers still filled out the forms and clogged the sales queue with unqualified leads.

Using a two-button layout prior to the form, we gave ad respondents a very clear choice — if you want to get paid, go in this direction and click on this button at left. OR, if you want to buy a product, click on the button at left to get to the form. Here’s a sample of the two-button page we designed (company logo is blurred out):

Online Survey 2-Button Landing Page

If the ad respondent clicked on the button at left,”I am looking to take a survey,” the respondent was taken to this page, which explained to them that the company did not work with survey panels:

Sorry Landing Page

This page directed respondents to a Google search for survey panel companies.

When ad respondents clicked on the right button, “I need an online survey solution for my company”, the respondent was then taken to the normal form landing page.

After 30 days of testing the 2-button page landing page option vs. only taking ad respondents directly to the form landing page, we found that the respective pages produced the following percentage of “qualified” leads:

 2-Button Landing Page: 68% Leads Qualified

Regular Form Landing Page: 27% Leads Qualified

In other words, the 2-button landing page DID in fact help weed out more of the non-qualified ad respondents, leaving better quality leads our sales queue.

How Many Buttons to Use?
You’re not limited to using only 2-buttons in this scenario, but we’ve tried testing with as many as four large buttons and found that four buttons appears to be too many choices. Just keep it simple.

The Two-Page Qualifying Approach
Another new concept we’ve tried is coupling a 2-page qualifying approach. If you’re a B2B company, especially one with a lengthy sales cycle (say 3-12 months), then it’s not a bad idea to segment leads into two camps: Marketing Leads and Sales Leads. Sometimes leads from PPC are still just evaluating your product and are not ready to speak with a salesperson. This might include ad respondents that are downloading a whitepaper or watching a webinar — those that have not directly told you that they are interested in evaluating your product yet or want a sales call.

The 2-page qualifying approach allows you to achieve two goals:

  1. It allows you to build up your marketing list with a high quantity of prospects.
  2. It allows you to further qualify leads prior to adding them to the sales queue.

The 2-page qualifying approach works like this. The first landing page has a truncated form — with as few required fields and as few form fields as possible. Studies have shown us that the fewer fields on a form, the more likely an ad respondent is to fill out the form. The second page, which the respondent sees after filling out the first form, is a series of “optional” questions that deal with pre-qualification, under the premise that answering these questions will “help our company serve you better”. Ironically, studies have shown that, of the people that fill out the first page, nearly 80% often fill out the second set of “optional” questions as well! Amazing.

Those that DO fill out the second page questions can be directed to the sales queue while those that only fill out page one can be directed to the marketing queue. This allows the marketing queue folks to STILL BE CAPTURED in some way, and since you are paying for those clicks, might as well capture some data! And this allows you to further qualify leads prior to being passed to the sales queue as well.

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