Know Your Audience

Tailor Your Landing Pages for Conversion Wins

In the world of digital media, there are a few universal truths: Google is king, the space changes at the speed of light, and — perhaps most important of all — not all paid traffic is created equal.

For sophisticated advertisers, a high level of thoughtfulness and care goes into the landing pages for paid traffic. Testing of different elements is ongoing to drive the highest conversion rates (and the highest return on digital ad spend). However, it is common for advertisers to drive all paid traffic — from search engines, social channels and online display — to the same landing page experience, potentially losing conversions in the process.

Users who land on these pages will have very different mindsets and intent depending on where they originated and what drove them to your page. In order to effectively convert this traffic to inquiries, it is key to tailor your landing page experience to the user based on how they got there.

Search Engine Traffic: Most Engaged
Users who reach a landing page from paid Google, Bing, or Yahoo ads are the unicorns of paid traffic — the best of the best. These are users who are actively searching for your institution, or a specific program or degree that you offer. They are highly engaged and open to your message. Not only are these users likely to be your highest converters from click to inquiry, they are also likely to convert highest from inquiry to start than any other paid digital source.

At a basic level, to best convert these highly engaged users you must drive your paid search traffic to the most relevant page possible based on their search term. For instance, a prospective student who searches for “nursing degrees” should be driven to a page with nursing-specific content, rather than to a more generic “about us” page. To remove as many barriers to conversion as possible, ensure that the user does not have to dig for the info they expected when clicking on your ad.

Additionally, because these users are seeking information, visitors from paid search ads should be served enough content to move them to the next stage in the process. Out of any paid digital source, these users should land on pages with the most content.

Paid Social Traffic: Most Targeted
Unlike traffic from search, users who land on your page from paid social ads were not looking specifically for you or your school’s offerings. While social media channels offer targeting capabilities that are extremely specific and allow you to serve your ads to a highly targeted audience, these users may not be as comfortable being driven off the social platform to your landing page, and this lower intent can lead to higher bounce rates and lower conversion rates.

To combat this, use a streamlined landing page that organizes and presents your content in a visual manner; you need to impress upon a user within seconds that your school offers something that resonates with them. Additionally, because nearly 60 percent of Facebook users exclusively access the platform from a mobile device, it is also extremely important that your landing page is mobile-friendly.
From there, frequent testing is crucial to determine what landing page elements will resonate with your target audience. Try utilizing the same or very similar creative assets in both your ad and on your landing page to make users feel as little dissonance as possible from being driven off the social platform to your landing page.

You should also test out Facebook’s lead ads, which allow you to generate inquiries without driving these users to a landing page at all. Instead, users can submit their information directly within the Facebook interface, alleviating the dissonance of being driven off the platform.

Online Display Traffic: Most in Need of Nurturing
Finally, users who click through a display ad, whether it be static banner, rich media, online radio or online video, are going to be the least engaged and therefore, least likely to convert.

Based on this, your landing page strategy should be focused on moving these users through the funnel. Test out a very prominent form with fewer form fields than you are capturing on forms used for search. Consider only capturing email address for these users and leveraging a nurturing strategy through email marketing that will develop this inquiry over time. Because these users are so early in the process, it will take a longer time frame and a different content strategy to convert them to an inquiry. However, online display is a critical piece of a holistic digital media strategy that maintains a steady inquiry flow.