Why The Wrong Web Traffic Is Ruining Your Landing Page Test
Why aren't your landing page tests producing meaningful results? Columnist Jacob Baadsgaard explains why you need to take a close look at your traffic.
Landing page testing is a great way to make the most out of your traffic. They’re already on your page — you just need to increase the odds that they’ll convert, right?
You’d think it would be fairly easy to improve your conversion rate, so why, according to VWO, do six out of seven A/B tests fail to produce positive results?
For many companies, the answer lies not in a flawed testing strategy, but in the fact that their traffic itself is wrong.
Why Traffic Matters
Most landing page tests are run under the assumption that your landing page is getting a steady stream of relevant, interested traffic.
After all, if you’ve got a product or offer that meets the needs of your traffic, the biggest conversion obstacle must be your website.
No argument here on that point.
Unfortunately, traffic to your landing page is rarely as good a match for your product or service as you’d like to believe.
For example, at Disruptive Advertising, we’ve conducted more than 2,000 AdWords audits. One of the more surprising things to come out of all those audits is the fact that 12 percent of PPC keywords produce 100 percent of the conversions.
To make matters worse, the non-converting 88 percent of keywords accounts for 61 percent of ad spend.
So, even in PPC marketing, where you have the greatest ability to control who sees your ads, most companies spend 61 percent of their advertising budgets on the wrong traffic.
Is it any wonder that only one in seven A/B tests is a success?
The Wrong Traffic Never Converts
Optimizing your traffic comes with an inherent risk — loss of traffic volume. As marketers, we work so hard to get traffic to our landing pages that we sometimes fall into the trap of believing that if we send enough traffic to a page, some of them are bound to convert.
Back in October 2013, we published an article on our blog called “6 Killer PPC Branding Tactics Even Freddy Krueger Loves!”
It was a fun little content piece that took off overnight. All of a sudden, organic traffic to our website skyrocketed! In fact, we got more hits to that blog post than we did to our home page, and it stayed that way for the next year.
Awesome content marketing, right?
Unfortunately, although the post has driven thousands of visitors to our website, we’ve yet to see a single conversion from it.
Not one conversion.
What went wrong? The post is clearly about PPC branding tactics, which should drive relevant traffic for a PPC marketing agency. So why didn’t anyone convert?
Well, it turned out that our post was showing up on the first page of Google, which explains the thousands of site visitors. The problem was, it was showing up for the search term, “Freddy Krueger.”
Now, I’m not quite sure what Freddy Krueger aficionados thought they were going to see when they clicked “6 Killer PPC Branding Tactics Even Freddy Krueger Loves” — and I’m not sure I want to — but they certainly weren’t looking for pay-per-click advertising advice.
Is it any wonder that our conversion rate was so terrible?
Who’s Really Clicking On Your Ads?
Even if you’ve got the right keywords and an appropriate audience, your traffic still might not be optimized. Sometimes, you have to take a close look at the demographics and interests of your target audience to really understand why your traffic isn’t converting.
For example, a while back we were promoting a blog post on Facebook titled “How to Spice Up Your Love Life With Google AdWords.”
It was a witty, tongue-in-cheek look at a clever way to use IP address exclusions in AdWords — the sort of post that I expected to do rather well with my target audience.
Having run Facebook ads for our blog for a while, I had a pretty good feel for what our audience would respond to and what our conversion rate from this sort of promotion should look like.
As expected, the article got a lot of traffic. However, the conversion rate was much worse than usual.
Baffled, I started looking into my audience data and discovered that yes, I was getting more clicks than usual, but my extra clicks were all coming from one particular demographic: 55+-year-old women.
Apparently, the “Spice Up Your Love Life” angle was really striking a chord with a certain segment of women.
As an online marketing agency, we don’t typically get a lot of leads from the Baby Boomer generation, so it was clear why the conversion rate for this post was so low — we were driving the wrong sort of traffic to our site.
Previous to this post, the online marketing focus of our promoted posts had naturally filtered out the 55+-year-old crowd, but this post had drawn in a new demographic and reduced our apparent conversion rate.
However, when I changed my targeting to exclude people over 50, my conversion rate went back to normal. My click count dropped, too, but I was no longer paying for clicks that had little chance of actually converting.
You can optimize your landing pages until you’re blue in the face, but the wrong traffic still won’t convert. Even if you somehow manage to convince them to convert, they certainly won’t turn into sales — which is ultimately what matters most.
So, if you’re struggling to get your landing page tests to produce meaningful results, you should take a long, hard look at your traffic.
Here are four things to consider:
1. What do you know about your target audience?
Make sure you understand who they are, what they are interested in and where you can best target them. The better you understand your audience, the better your ads — and the better your ads, the better your traffic.
2. Why does your audience need your product/service?
Your landing page should convince your audience that your product or service resolves a pain point for them. With that in mind, your ads should filter and prep potential traffic for your landing page so that when they arrive, they instantly connect the dots and think, “This is exactly what I need!”
3. How specific can you get?
The more closely aligned your landing page is with your traffic’s pain point, the more effective it will be. And the more granular your ad targeting is, the more specific you can make your landing pages. Double win!
4. Is your traffic worth it?
Look at your analytics data. Break down what’s working and what isn’t, and then stop paying for traffic that doesn’t convert effectively.
Traffic: The Secret To Successful Testing
Ultimately, a high-performing landing page isn’t just about optimizing your user experience. It’s about putting the right people on the right page with the right expectations.
Miss any one of those ingredients, and you have a recipe for failure.
With that in mind, review your traffic before you start off on your next landing page test run. Have you really optimized your site traffic?
If not, you’re just setting yourself up for another failure.
You’ve heard my two cents — now I want to hear yours. How have you seen traffic undermine landing page tests? Share your thoughts with Marketing Land on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.
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