Stick the Landing: 5 Ways to Improve Landing Page Testing with Better Data

By Amanda Sides | Mar 17, 2014
More Articles by Amanda

Beam_and_feet_(close_shot)Whether you’ve recently taken the plunge and started creating custom landing pages for paid advertising purposes, or aren’t new at all to that concept but you’re still having trouble figuring out exactly how those landing pages are performing, I have some tech-savvy tips to help you improve in that arena. By tweaking or adding a few small pieces of code, you could start getting more insight into how all your hard work is panning out; as a former gymnast, I know as well as anyone that all your hard work could be for nothing if you don’t stick the landing.

Check for Analytics Code

No matter what analytics platform you use, you’ll want to first check that your landing page and any subsequent pages attached to it (think registration steps, thank you pages, etc.) include the appropriate analytics tracking code. You’d be surprised how many folks forget to include it, then wonder where all their data is when they try to run analytics reports down the road.

Use the Correct Analytics Tracking ID

If you use Google Analytics, double check that code you just put on the page or confirmed was already there… do you see the correct tracking ID (hint, it looks like this: UA-12345678-1) ? If you have multiple Analytics profiles, ensure you include your “master” profile analytics code and tracking ID, as well as any other profiles you might need. We’ve had clients in the past with pages reporting to incorrect profiles, making quite a mess of the data, which in turn makes it extremely difficult to figure out how your pages are performing, much less guide you on how to improve them. It’s easy to confirm the code itself is there, just don’t be lazy and forget to check that it’s for the correct profile, too.

Set Up Cross-Subdomain Tracking

Do you have multiple subdomains on your website? In particular, do you use a separate subdomain specifically for PPC landing pages? If you aren’t taking this step, you could be limiting yourself from all your data. We’ve seen it MANY times, where clients don’t properly set up their Analytics tracking for multiple subdomains. Here’s the scenario: you get a visit from, let’s say, an AdWords ad that takes you to initially; once the purchase process gets started it changes over to for the payment process. If your Analytics code isn’t set up to track across subdomains, that purchase is ultimately going to be reported as coming from a referral traffic source rather than paid. To avoid this problem, you just need to change this line in your Analytics code:

_gaq.push([‘_setDomainName’, ‘none’]);


_gaq.push([‘_setDomainName’, ‘’]);

This will ensure the visit doesn’t get dropped then picked back up as a referral as the person jumps subdomains, but will track as one fluid visit, attributing it to the accurate traffic source. Note: Do this site-wide, not just for your landing pages, for the most accurate Analytics reporting.

Set Up Goal Tracking

While you might already be tracking conversions within your ad platform (like AdWords or Facebook), you still want to ensure you have proper goals set up within Google Analytics (or whatever other analytics platform you might use). Goals can range from purchases, email sign-ups and lead form submissions to more minor secondary actions, like a click event on taking a virtual tour or watching a video. Tracking all of these actions will give you a better look at how the visitor engaged with that page as well as whether they ultimately completed an important action, giving you the fuel you need to set up your next test. Without measurable data like this, can you be sure your page is doing what it’s intended for?

Closing the Loop

Sometimes this concept is more difficult than we’d prefer, but having the ability to close the loop in the lead generation process can help you understand not only how many leads your landing pages are bringing in, but the quality of those leads and how they are closing offline after the fact. One way we like to do this is by passing a URL parameter (you’d set that parameter at the ad or keyword level as needed) through a hidden form field.  Some platforms may make this more readily available than others, and sometimes you’ll flat out need to craft the form code yourself to get this working. Either way, your sales team can then report back to you which leads closed and which didn’t, helping you better prepare your lead generation efforts, like landing page testing.


While having a beautifully crafted landing page is something to be treasured, if you aren’t taking all the necessary steps to accurately track what it’s doing for you then all that hard work could be for nothing. Having measurable, valuable data can help you improve your landing page performance more efficiently, and unless you have a complete (and accurate) picture, you could be wasting a lot of hard earned time and money for nothing.

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