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Careful How You Land That Thing

March 22, 2010  
When it comes to your search ad's landing page—the page that captures the imagination and clicks of your potential customers—you can't be too careful. So warns Jared Spool in a recent User Interface Engineering post that describes common pitfalls when creating landing experiences.

To get the most for your search-advertising dollar, Spool recommends, avoid these costly landing-page design hazards:

The Peril of Giving Them More Than They Ask For. Spool presents the example of a grandmother who specified that she wanted a Wii version of Beatles: Rock Band when she typed her query into Google. The query returned a list that included a familiar store. She happily clicked on the link, but the store's landing page didn't present the Wii version of the game as the first result. "The site [wavered] on the platform, presenting a decision our shopper didn't know she needed to make," Spool notes. The peril? She came close to buying a version that wouldn't have worked on her grandkids' system.

The Peril of Not Giving Them Enough Help. "A shopping site with hundreds of games is great; it's nice to have selection," says Spool. "But how does someone choose?" He suggests offering some user guidance, showing "hot games, or the newest, unlikely-to-be-already-owned games," instead of simply listing all games in order. 

The Peril of Missing the Mark Completely. To ensure that your landing pages are delivering what users are actually seeking, use an analytics program to regularly inspect your site's incoming queries, Spool advises. And don't forget to "carefully prune out ads that are missing the mark." 

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  • by Oli Gardner Tue Mar 23, 2010 via web

    Original approach to discussing landing pages - clearly geared towards retail.
    Your example with the grandmother is a great case study and something that I'd approach with a usability test rather that much analytics work.

    You'll most likely glean a ton of information by watching her (in situ) and listening to her frustration as she clicks a single targeted and focused ad only be delivered to an unfocused and untargeted landing experience.

    Another note regarding analyzing the analytics to see who's coming to your page. This can often be the problem, that your organic search is bringing in the wrong people who will naturally convert poorly. If you spot that this is happening re-assess the types of phrasing your target market will be searching for.

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