Stick the Landing: Google Shines a Focus on Landing Pages
Have you ever been disappointed at the end of a long journey? Perhaps you went out to see a movie and came away feeling that by the third act, the suspense had fizzled out. Maybe you spent an entire year wanting a particular present for the holidays, only to get it and realize it was really just a piece of junk. Whatever the case may be, we all understand the importance of following through with the conclusion of something.
The same is true for digital advertising. In particular, this means that landing pages are an essential part of your advertising strategy. Google has recently rolled out a new initiative to help advertisers build landing pages that are successful and user friendly, and have made it into one of the bedrock components of the new AdWords Experience. What does this change entail? Why does Google care about its marketer’s’ landing pages? Let’s have a look.
What is the Change?
Ever since Google announced the new AdWords Experience, changes have come in rapid succession. The new experience is streamlined, aesthetically placid and heavily automated, with the company placing ever increasing trust in its machine learning capabilities. With all the new bells and whistles, a focus on landing pages could easily be overlooked. Wise advertisers however, would know better than to do this.
The change is a simple one: AdWords will now have a screen in its interface dedicated entirely to landing page performance and experience for users on your site (see screenshot above).
Specifically, Google will be monitoring how many users click through to the page, remain on the page, and stay long enough to complete a valuable action, or conversion.
“Landing page experience” estimates how relevant and useful your landing page is to people who click your ad. It takes into account factors such as how well your landing page content matches a person’s search term, and how easy it is for people to navigate your page.
Landing page experience is one component of your keyword’s overall Quality Score. (Learn more)
A huge focus of the landing page initiative will be on mobile users. Mobile is swiftly becoming the chief means by which users interact with your ads and landing pages. Thus, Google has placed a premium on the importance of mobile landing page experience. If your landing page isn’t up to snuff when it comes to mobile devices, Google wants to help you improve.
“Mobile-friendly click rate” is the percentage of mobile clicks on the Search Network that go to a mobile-friendly page.
A page’s mobile friendliness is determined by Google’s Mobile-Friendly test. This data may be up to 14 days old. If you’ve made recent updates to one of your pages, you should wait up to 14 days for those changes to be reflected in this column. (Learn more)
Landing pages have always been a critical component of digital marketing. They calculate into your ad’s quality score, determine how likely you are to earn a conversion, and generally set the tone for users visiting your site. So why now, of all times, does Google feel the need to reinvigorate the landing page?
For starters, Google data shows that 64% of smartphone users will switch from your site to another if your site is needlessly complex or has too many steps to get what the user wants.
Additionally, a third of smartphone users will switch immediately if they dislike your landing page.
In a world where mobile is so rapidly coming to dominate the market, advertisers can’t afford to lose so much of their traffic.
Dollars and Cents
Advertising revenue is a gigantic cash cow for Google, and the company understands this. If an advertiser is getting their ads out there, and users are clicking through, but in the end they fail to convert, the advertiser may rightly begin to question the value of their investment. Why bother spending budget on AdWords that could go to other marketing platforms, such as print or radio? Because Google knows that this is a possibility, they are striving to help advertisers avoid frustration with their AdWords campaigns. Successful landing pages make successful advertisers. Successful advertisers make a successful Google.
Finally, Google also wants to ensure a positive experience for its users. If you make a search on Google, you expect that one of the first few links it provides you with will contain an answer to your question, a solution to your problem. This is Google’s entire business model. If you make a search and your experience is negative, perhaps next time you will search elsewhere for your solution. Google rightly feels that this would be bad for business. Thus, they want to help advertisers create landing pages that work to make everyone happy (and wealthy.)
Google is encouraging advertisers to take another look at their landing pages. Take advantage of this opportunity to do so. Improving quality score, increasing the likelihood of a conversion, and creating a positive user experience can go a long way toward making your AdWords campaigns more successful. Focus on the conclusion of the sales process and give all your website’s guests a satisfying ending to their journey.