PCM and PPC
In November 2010, Instant Previews were added to Google.com, providing users with a preview of the landing page for each organic search listing as they typed. During April this was rolled out to include PPC ads, and with it has come an renewed appreciation for PPC's post-click marketing (PCM) experience - AKA the landing page.
Not only does the user now have the content and position of the ad on which to choose whether to proceed or not, they will be factoring in the experience they are likely to derive after they click too. For those with a strong landing page design and highly relevant/compelling content this could be viewed as a welcome addition, serving to positively reinforce the messaging they have carefully crafted to fit the 135 character limit. On the reverse, subpar landing pages now possess the ability to mar even the most creative and credible PPC ad copy.
So what's the message? "Simple", Google says, emphasising best practices for landing pages:
- Compelling, high quality design.
- Ad copy follow-through - claims made in the ad must be reflected in the content and images of the landing page.
- Google has not yet made clear how and when they capture these preview thumbnails - ask yourself when conducting any landing page testing for special offers: will users see this in their preview version?
With the CTR metric now representing a blend of the accuracy of your keyword research, the efficacy of your ad copy and the impact of your landing page preview and as a result shaping your Quality Score, landing pages have officially been promoted from post-click destination to pre-click qualifier.