PPC campaigns can bring you a lot of profit – it’s a quick way to reach your audience and satisfy your clients. Yet, if people keep clicking on your ads without converting, you can also lose a lot of money. Every click without a conversion feels like a lost opportunity, a dent in your budget, and a pinch to your professional pride. You know the issue lies somewhere in your PPC landing page design, but you struggle to identify it.
Facing your client in the next meeting, trying to explain the disappointing performance of their search ads, feels like a looming storm cloud. You’re not just worried about the present campaign; it’s your reputation at stake.
I remember that feeling. As the owner of a digital marketing agency, I had to learn the ins and outs of both PPC and landing page design. My efforts weren’t always successful.
It took trial and error to come up with best practices for PPC landing pages that you can follow to improve your conversion rates.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through 13 proven PPC landing page design strategies that have doubled, and sometimes even tripled, conversion rates for my clients. By implementing these, you’ll be able to save your current marketing campaigns and confidently tackle future PPC challenges. And you won’t have to stress ahead of client meetings again.
Table of Contents:
- What Is a PPC Landing Page?
- 13 PPC Landing Page Design Best Practices To Improve Your Conversions
- 1. Create A Single PPC Landing Page For Each Of Your Ads
- 2. Understand the Customer’s Journey Before Designing A PPC Landing Page
- 3. Match The Messaging Between Your Ads And PPC Landing Pages
- 4. Create Content Before Starting The Design Process – Many Marketers Get This Part Wrong
- 5. Optimize Your Page For PPC Keywords Visitors Are Using – But Avoid These Mistakes
- 6. Use Social Proof and Trust Signals To Show Visitors That They Can Trust You
- 7. Don’t Be Afraid To Evoke Sense Of Urgency – It Can Significantly Increase Your Conversion Rates
- 8. Ensure Your Primary CTA Is Action-Driven And Available All The Time
- 9. Keep Your PPC Landing Page Forms Short To Stop Scaring Visitors Away
- 10. Remove Navigation Bars To Minimize Distractions
- 11. Tailor Your PPC Landing Page Design To Your Brand To Secure Consistency
- 12. Optimize Your PPC Landing Page Design For Mobile Devices and Speed
- 13. Keep Polishing Your PPC Landing Page Design With A/B Testing
- Do You Want To Create High-Quality PPC Landing Page Designs Faster?
What Is a PPC Landing Page?
PPC landing pages are web pages that you build specifically for your pay-per-click advertising campaigns. It’s those pages your visitors see after clicking on one of your ads.
Whether the end goal of your PPC campaign is to generate leads, raise brand awareness, or sell products – a dedicated PPC landing page will improve your chances of achieving it. Such pages are typically designed around one specific goal, a single action you want visitors to take upon arriving.
If you’ve been running your campaigns without investing in PPC landing page designs, you’ve been missing out on a significant opportunity.
Not Investing In Landing Pages For PPC Campaigns Can Cost You A Lot – Here’s Why Every Business Needs Them
Now, you might be wondering – why not send the audience to my pre-existing web pages? Isn’t building a separate landing page for all of your ads expensive?
While I understand where your question is coming from, there are strong reasons why businesses need PPC landing pages.
People Are Clicking On Your Ads Without Converting – PPC Landing Pages Can Help You Turn This Around
It’s great when many people click on your ads – it means your ads are working. But if those clicks don’t turn into actions, like buying a product or signing up, then something’s off. Often, the problem is that the page they land on after clicking doesn’t match what the ad promised.
Think of it like this: You see an ad for a cool new pair of sneakers. You click on it, excited, but instead land on a page showing all kinds of clothes, and you can’t find those sneakers. You’d feel let down, maybe even a bit tricked. You might just leave and look elsewhere. That’s what’s happening if your ad and the page it leads to don’t match up.
Simply directing ad clicks to your homepage or a generic product page can dilute the message and intent of your advertisement.
A PPC landing page can fix this. It’s a special page made just for your ad. When visitors land on it, they find exactly what the ad showed them. This makes them feel they’re in the right place. A good PPC landing page grabs their attention right away and guides them to take the next step, whether it’s buying something, signing up, or another action.
A Well-Crafted PPC Landing Page Design Can Boost Your Google Ads Quality Score
In paid search advertising, not all clicks are priced the same. And a lot of it hinges on your Google Ads Quality Score. Now, what many don’t realize is how deeply linked this score is to the design and efficiency of their PPC landing pages.
This is essentially a metric that compares the quality of your ad to the ads of your competitors. It directly affects your ad’s position on the search page and how much you pay per click. Simply put, the better your score, the better your ad position, and the less you pay for each click.
By investing time and effort into a well-designed PPC landing page that aligns perfectly with your ad’s promise, you’re not just improving the user’s experience. You’re also signaling to Google that you’re providing quality content. This can lead to a boost in your Quality Score.
Even if the boost seems small at first, it can have big effects over time. A better score means your ads could appear more often, in better spots, and at lower costs. And that can lead to a significant increase in ROI, even giving you an edge against competitors vying for the same keywords. Such advantages are invaluable in the long run.
13 PPC Landing Page Design Best Practices To Improve Your Conversions
In this section, I’ll show you 13 PPC landing page best practices you can easily apply to improve your conversion rates. If you’re not satisfied with the return on investment from your search ads, I recommend reading this carefully and trying to identify where things went wrong with your PPC landing page design.
1. Create A Single PPC Landing Page For Each Of Your Ads
When diving into the world of PPC advertising, one fundamental rule stands out: each ad should have its dedicated landing page. At first, this might seem excessive or redundant, especially if you feel multiple ads can lead to a similar conclusion.
Although there are cases where multiple ads can lead to the same landing page, creating a single landing page for each can make a big difference. Here’s why:
- Easier Analytics: Having a one-to-one relationship between ads and their landing pages simplifies tracking. You can quickly identify which ads are performing well and which ones need tweaking.
- Tailored User Experience: Each ad might appeal to a slightly different audience or tap into varying interests. By directing them to a specialized landing page, you ensure that the content directly follows up on the ad’s promise, enhancing the user’s experience.
- Fine-Tuned Optimization: With separate landing pages, you can make specific changes to improve conversions without affecting the performance of other ads. Maybe one ad’s audience responds better to video content, while another’s prefers bullet points. Separate landing pages give you the freedom to cater to these nuances.
- Clarity in A/B Testing: If you want to test variations of a landing page, having a dedicated page for each ad keeps things neat. You won’t be left wondering if changes in performance are due to the ad or the landing page tweaks.
2. Understand the Customer’s Journey Before Designing A PPC Landing Page
The work starts before writing a single word for your ads and your landing page copy. Before you even think about designing your PPC landing page, you should first try to learn as much as possible about your target audience.
Before the aesthetics, before the functionality, even before drafting the landing page copy, your primary task is to delve deep into the psyche of your target audience.:
- What are their pain points?
- How knowledgeable are they about the subject?
- What triggers their interest?
- What motivates them to take action?
- Do they even know there’s a solution to their problem?
It’s like mapping out a journey before embarking on it – you need to know the starting point, the route, and the destination.
Once you understand which phases your audience goes through before finally buying your products or services, you’ll be able to strengthen your landing page funnel and streamline the journey for your customers.
There are many variations of the customer journey you can use as a starting point – usually including three or five stages. Here’s how a five-step customer journey might look like:
If a segment of your audience has just become aware of a problem but isn’t yet in the solutions phase, hitting them with a hard sell might not be the right approach. Instead, at this early stage, your landing page could be geared towards offering valuable information in exchange for their contact details, such as email addresses. This nurtures a relationship, keeps your brand at the top of their mind, and gently guides them down the conversion path.
On the flip side, pushing too aggressively for a sale when they’re still weighing their options can feel intrusive, leading to a lost connection – a classic case of a missed opportunity.
3. Match The Messaging Between Your Ads And PPC Landing Pages
One of the fastest ways to lose landing page visitors and get high bounce rates (this happens when people leave your website without taking any action) is to have a discrepancy between your ads and the PPC landing page. This is one of the main reasons you need a dedicated landing page for each ad, but it’s possible to create such a discrepancy even in such cases.
Here are a few strategies I use with my PPC agency in Chicago to ensure our messaging matches between ads and landing page:
- Use similar headlines: You don’t need to mirror the ad headline word-for-word on your landing page, but the essence should remain the same. For example, if your ad headline reads “50% off Winter Jackets,” your landing page headline could expand on that with something like, “Grab Your Perfect Winter Jacket at 50% Off Today!” It’s about building on the initial promise, amplifying it, but never deviating.
- Use the same main keyword: Keywords are phrases your audience uses to search for your products or services – that phrase they typed in the browser seconds before your ad appeared. I’ll explain how to find the best keywords for your PPC campaigns later. For now, remember that the main keyword from your ad headline should match the main keyword on your landing page. If your ad was triggered by the keyword “Eco-friendly Yoga Mats,” ensure that phrase prominently features on the landing page, reminding the visitor of their original intent.
- Reiterate Offers and Promotions: If your ad promotes a special offer, discount, or bonus, that exact deal should be front and center on your landing page. Whether it’s “Free Shipping,” “20% Off First Purchase,” or “Buy One, Get One Free,” make sure it’s clearly highlighted. Avoid introducing new or different promotions on the landing page that weren’t mentioned in the ad, as this can confuse visitors and make them question the legitimacy of the offer.
- Maintain Visual Consistency: Beyond just words, visual cues play a massive role in a user’s experience. If your ad features specific images, colors, or branding, it’s essential that these elements are mirrored on your landing page. For instance, if your ad showcases a blue sneaker, your landing page should prominently feature that same blue sneaker, not a red one. This visual consistency immediately tells the visitor they’re in the right place and reinforces brand recognition.
4. Create Content Before Starting The Design Process – Many Marketers Get This Part Wrong
The mistake I see many marketers make after discovering AI landing page generators or other tools is that they create the design first and only then start writing copy. I’ve tried various approaches and found that the content-first path yields the best results. But why?
Crafting visual design can limit the space you have for content. It might force you to cut a sentence or two, and those sentences can be exactly what would make some visitors convert. There’s a common misconception that your landing pages should be short, but statistics suggest that long landing pages can yield up to 220% more conversion rates.
My landing page design agency handles this problem by maintaining close communication between our writers and designers. Once the copywriters create drafts, they send these to designers, who can then start working on wireframes. Two teams then stay in touch to address any change on time, resulting in both quality and speed of delivery for our clients.
5. Optimize Your Page For PPC Keywords Visitors Are Using – But Avoid These Mistakes
Keywords embody the intent, the needs, and the desires of your target audience.
Optimizing your PPC landing pages for keywords you’re bidding on is vital for two main reasons:
First, it helps you match the intent of your target audience, immediately showing them that they’re in the right place.
Second, it can improve the relevance of your ad copy, possibly improving your Google Ads Quality Score (these are my assumptions, not officially confirmed).
However, there are several mistakes you want to avoid when optimizing your PPC landing page design for various keywords:
- Keyword stuffing: In the quest to optimize, you must avoid the mistake of overloading your content with the primary keyword. This not only disrupts the natural flow of the content but can also set alarm bells ringing at Google, leading to potential penalties by the most popular search engine.
- Avoiding long-tail keywords: While optimizing your landing page copy for short-tail keywords with the largest volume may seem tempting, you’re missing a huge opportunity by ignoring long-tail keywords. Those phrases that contain two or more words tend to be more specific and can result in high-quality traffic. Instead of just “shoes,” try experimenting with keywords such as “women’s red leather boots,” “white sneakers for summer”, etc. I’ve explained this in more detail in my guide on PPC keyword research.
- Ignoring search intent: Every keyword carries with it a hidden intention. For instance, “how to bake a chocolate cake?” carries an informational intent, the person wants to learn how to bake a cake. In contrast, “order a chocolate cake” has a transactional intent. When optimizing, it’s crucial to discern this intent and craft the landing page accordingly. If someone is looking to buy and your page only offers information, you might lose a potential sale.
6. Use Social Proof and Trust Signals To Show Visitors That They Can Trust You
People trust people. Social proof statistics suggest that 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. This tells us that you can increase PPC landing page conversion rates by incorporating the following elements in your design:
- User Reviews: Genuine feedback from past users or customers can go a long way. Displaying positive reviews, complete with names and preferably photos, humanizes the feedback and makes it more relatable.
- ‘Our Partners’ Section: Showcasing who you’ve worked with, especially if they’re well-known brands or entities, can elevate your credibility. It’s an indirect way of saying, “Look who trusted us!”
- Visual Testimonials: Beyond just written reviews, video testimonials or pictorial stories can resonate even more. Watching or seeing real people vouch for a product or service can be a potent endorsement.
- Trust Seals: Certifications, memberships, or seals like “SSL Secure” or “Verified by Visa” can provide assurance to visitors about the safety and legitimacy of transactions on your site.
- Payment Assurance: Icons of popular payment methods, like MasterCard, PayPal, or Apple Pay, can reassure visitors that their payment details are in safe hands.
These elements will add an extra layer to your PPC strategy, making it easier to establish trust with visitors and increase conversions.
But there are other emotions successful businesses try to evoke on their PPC landing pages too…
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Evoke Sense Of Urgency – It Can Significantly Increase Your Conversion Rates
Creating a sense of urgency can increase conversion rates by up to 30% for your PPC landing page design.
This powerful psychological mechanism that often keeps us scrolling social media so we don’t miss some great posts can drastically speed up the conversion process. A discount countdown timer on a product landing page can make us pull out our credit cards before even reading a full copy or finding an answer to all our concerns.
Here are some ways to evoke FOMO with your PPC landing page design:
- Countdown Timers: These are especially effective for limited-time offers or sales. Watching seconds tick away can motivate visitors to act faster than they would have otherwise.
- Limited Stock Indicators: Statements like “Only 5 left in stock!” or visual cues like a decreasing stock bar can create a palpable urgency, driving the visitor to make an immediate purchase decision.
- Flash Sales or Offers: Promotions that are explicitly stated to last only for a short duration can push visitors to seize the opportunity while it’s still available.
I advise against unethical practices here. Fake timers or deceptive stock indicators can erode trust once users catch on. Genuine urgency can be a potent tool, but feigned urgency can backfire.
So don’t use FOMO as the only mechanism to drive sales – demonstrating a clear value for visitors is critical.
8. Ensure Your Primary CTA Is Action-Driven And Available All The Time
If you’re wondering, “Why is my conversion rate so low?” one of the first things to check is your call to action button. Is it action-driven, does it clearly indicate what happens when campaign visitors click on it, and is it quickly available to the user? If your answer is negative, it’s time to fix your CTA.
Here’s what to keep in mind when crafting your CTA buttons:
- Single Clear Goal: Remember when we talked about setting a singular, clear goal for your landing page? This principle extends to your CTA as well. Having multiple CTAs can disorient campaign visitors and dilute their attention. Instead, hone in on one main action you want them to take.
- Visual Appeal: Your CTA button should be a visual magnet. Utilize contrasting colors that make it pop against the background. Adding a buffer of white space around it can also allow it to breathe and stand out.
- Always Available: For short pages, one well-placed CTA might suffice. However, for lengthier content, especially when adhering to landing page optimization best practices, peppering multiple CTAs throughout ensures that one is always within the visitor’s sightline.
- Descriptive and Personal: “Click Here” is too generic. Your CTA text needs to be action-driven and resonate with the visitor. Think “Get Your Free Guide” or “Start Your Journey.” The language should not only indicate the action but also create a sense of ownership or benefit for the user. You can also experiment with various texts to see how each impacts your marketing campaign results. I’ll show you how later in this guide, as we’ll be exploring the importance of A/B testing for improving PPC landing page performance.
9. Keep Your PPC Landing Page Forms Short To Stop Scaring Visitors Away
Whether it’s to sign up for a newsletter, access exclusive content, or request a quote, the landing page form is the gateway to the next stage of the conversion funnel.
While there’s a discussion on what is the ideal length for your forms, there’s no precise number for this. However, I usually suggest clients to keep their forms short and sweet – without asking for excessive information. Three to five form fields are enough to generate high-quality leads. One marketing tactic that often backfires is trying to extract too much information too soon.
Let’s break down why shorter is typically sweeter when it comes to forms.
- Less is More: While it might be tempting to get all the details you can about a visitor in one go, overwhelming them with excessive form fields can deter them from filling it out. The rationale is simple: the longer the form, the more daunting it appears, especially to mobile users with smaller screens.
- Prioritize Essential Information: Decide what’s most important for your immediate goal. Do you need a full name, or will just the first name suffice? Can you follow up for more details later? Remember, the more you ask upfront, the greater the risk of a visitor bouncing off.
- Streamline for Speed: We’re living in a fast-paced world. Short forms cater to this by ensuring visitors can complete them quickly and move forward in their journey with your brand.
- Build Trust Gradually: Think of the form as the starting point of your relationship with a visitor. You wouldn’t ask someone for their life story the moment you meet them. Similarly, starting with basic details and gradually building a rapport with your audience allows you to request more information as trust develops.
10. Remove Navigation Bars To Minimize Distractions
While having a well-designed navigation bar is essential for your website, this design element can distract visitors if you put it on your PPC landing pages.
The purpose of a PPC landing page is razor-sharp: to guide visitors to a singular, defined action. Whether it’s signing up, downloading a resource, or making a purchase, the goal is clear-cut. Without a navigation bar, visitors have a clear path to follow. There’s a beginning, middle, and end to their journey, all leading to your intended action. Now, introduce a navigation bar into this setting, and suddenly you have multiple exit points, potential distractions, and alternative paths.
11. Tailor Your PPC Landing Page Design To Your Brand To Secure Consistency
As potential customers keep progressing through your marketing funnel, it’s essential to maintain consistency with your PPC landing page design.
Imagine navigating from a vibrant ad on social media, only to land on a page that feels disconnected and unfamiliar. It’s jarring, and often, a swift recipe for mistrust. Ensuring your PPC landing page design resonates with your brand identity strengthens the conversion path and amplifies brand recall.
Also, by tailoring your landing pages to your unique brand identity, you’re setting yourself apart. When potential customers land on your page, they should instantly recognize it as yours, distinguishing you from competitors.
I recommend avoiding landing page templates for this reason, despite their convenience. They often lack the personal touch and uniqueness that a brand-specific design brings. If custom design services are beyond reach, leveraging tools with customization features can be a game-changer. For example, Instapage offers design flexibility and makes it easy to edit your landing pages in bulk (which comes in handy when you have many PPC landing page designs). You can learn more about this tool’s capabilities in my Instapage review.
12. Optimize Your PPC Landing Page Design For Mobile Devices and Speed
Statistics show that 53% of PPC traffic comes from mobile devices. Yet, we can still see landing pages that look horrible on smaller screens. Don’t allow this to drag your conversion rates down. Ensure your PPC landing page design looks equally great across various devices. Here are some tips that can help you:
- Responsive Design: Embrace a design that automatically adjusts to the screen size it’s viewed on. Whether a user is on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop, your landing page should look flawless.
- Simplified User Interface: Mobile screens are limited in space. Avoid clutter. Focus on clear, concise content, larger buttons, and easily clickable links.
- Streamlined Forms: Mobile users don’t have the patience for lengthy forms. Keep them short and ensure form fields are easily selectable.
- Reading Patterns: Mobile users typically follow an ‘F’ or ‘Z’ reading pattern. Organize your content to cater to these patterns, placing key information and CTAs along these lines.
Another factor that often goes under radar is page speed. With each second passing between the user’s click on your ad and your landing page loading, you’re losing potential customers. To improve page speed you can try to:
- Optimize Images: Large image files can slow down your page. Use tools to compress them without compromising quality.
- Leverage Browser Caching: By storing some files locally in the user’s browser, you can cut down on load times for repeat visits.
- Prioritize Above-The-Fold Content: Ensure content that appears above the fold loads first so users aren’t left waiting.
13. Keep Polishing Your PPC Landing Page Design With A/B Testing
Continuous improvement is the name of the game when it comes to achieving a high converting landing page design. No matter how adept you are, there’s always room to refine and enhance.
One of the proven marketing techniques for conversion rate optimization is A/B testing. Essentially, it involves making small changes to your PPC landing page design, one at a time, to see how it affects your conversions.
Here’s a straightforward guide to get started:
- Identify Your Landing Page Goals: Before testing, have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve. Is it more sign-ups? Increased product sales? Newsletter subscriptions? Define clear KPIs.
- Choose One Element At A Time: While the urge might be there to change multiple aspects, stick to one. This way, you can accurately determine what’s causing shifts in performance.
- Set Up Two Variants: The original version (A) and the changed version (B). Drive equal amounts of paid traffic to both and closely monitor the outcomes.
- Leverage Tools: Platforms like Google Analytics can give invaluable insights into how your variations are performing, which can be crucial in guiding your PPC strategy.
- Avoid Common Pitfalls: Ensure your sample size is large enough to draw accurate conclusions. And be wary of external factors, like holidays or unique ad campaigns, that could skew results.
- Act On Insights: Once you’ve found a winner, implement the change. But remember, the landscape of user experience is ever-evolving. What works today might not work tomorrow, so regularly revisit your testing.
- Learn From Mistakes: Not every test will result in a positive outcome. Sometimes changes might tank conversions. Instead of seeing this as a failure, view it as an invaluable lesson. Knowing what doesn’t work is as crucial as knowing what does.
Do You Want To Create High-Quality PPC Landing Page Designs Faster?
I remember the days when I would stare at the analytics screen, puzzled, wondering why my meticulously designed PPC landing pages weren’t converting as expected. The challenge to find the right balance between compelling design, crisp copy, and user experience felt immense.
But here’s what I’ve learned over time: perfection in PPC landing page design is a journey, not a destination. It’s about continually evolving, learning, and implementing. It’s about understanding that every brand, every campaign, has its unique nuances.
If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, you don’t have to go it alone. Sometimes, an outside perspective, combined with experience, can illuminate the path ahead. Leveraging the right expertise can mean the difference between mediocre results and landing pages that consistently deliver.
So, if you’re ready to sidestep the trial and error, to harness strategies that have been tested and refined over multiple campaigns, let’s chat. Together, we can accelerate your PPC landing page success, drawing from both our shared challenges and proven solutions.
Why not take the next step? Schedule a call with me, and let’s dive deep into crafting landing pages that resonate, captivate, and convert.