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Testing for Marketers: When Your Site Page Isn’t Enough


When managing paid search campaigns, marketers must determine if directing traffic to a landing page is “better” than directing traffic to a site page. Both options have strengths, so what’s a marketer to do?

The famous philosopher, Billy Madison, once debated a similar conundrum…

Let’s explore the reason for sending paid search traffic to a site page. For starters, it’s ready to go. The product page is already complete, it’s on brand and it is a one-stop shop for users. Teams have meticulously created the content on this page, so it must be good. The brand police has already approved it, and it won’t require any additional resources or expenses to send paid search traffic there.

Brace yourself…it’s actually those very reasons that make using a landing page something to seriously consider. The site page content may be outdated, that “on brand” nav bar may be distracting and the fact that the site is a one-stop shop could cause decision paralysis, hindering conversions.

Marketers can tailor a landing page to the paid search terms. Using the same terms and language from your paid search ads provides a seamless transition, and it shows in the conversion data.

One of our clients recently tested this to get some clarification on the data. They sent 50% of their paid search traffic to their site page, and the other 50% to a custom landing page. The landing page achieved a +124% lift over the site page!  It also outperformed the site page’s AOV, RPV and Sales. The data could not be clearer. This is an example of how data obtained through testing is used to make high impact, high-level decisions.

We’re not saying that site pages aren’t valuable. They are necessary and contain great information, so put them to work! The learnings you get from site pages can then be implemented on a landing page. Landing pages allow a marketer to test using the best parts of a site page, and to remove the potential friction points.

Interested in testing the impact of landing pages, but don’t know how to get started?  Maybe you don’t have it in your budget to create a new page, or you aren’t sure about content. Have no fear; there are plenty of great, low- to no-cost resources out there for you to get started.

Get involved with your community

At Brooks Bell, we live and breathe the value of testing, and we want to share it with our community. That’s why we host events with local business leaders that are trying to develop a testing culture. (Follow us on Twitter to keep up with our events, @brooksbellinc.) We share our expertise and encourage attendees to march on with testing. If you can find a community of people that believe in testing, you’ll find a lot of inspiration to make it part of your culture.

Try it before you buy it

One of the suggestions we give testing newbies is to start with a free trial from Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) or Optimizely. You can take an existing site page and change out specific elements using the super simple user interface. Then, you can split your traffic between experiences. For example, from paid search, send 50% of your traffic to the existing site page (control) and the remaining 50% to a challenger that has a headline tied in to your paid search ad. There’s test #1, and it will send you well on your way to obtaining results.

You don’t have to have a huge budget to begin small tests. A testing culture is incredibly valuable and can change the way you do business. Now, go put these helpful tips to use and start increasing your conversions!

Brought to you by Suzi Tripp and Naoshi Yamauchi!