Why is the Bounce Rate so High on Your Landing Page?

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A landing page is the page on your site which people land on when they click on one of your paid ads – be they search ads, display ads, social ads, or others. And so, many marketers and the companies they represent expect that some percentage of people who land on those pages will end up leaving before the do anything else.

In analytics terms, we call that a bounce. And the page’s bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who expect your website before completing any additional action.

A high bounce rate is clearly not a good thing. But traditionally, marketers tend to be more tolerant of a high bounce rate on a landing page, where a visitor has come from an advertisement, than they would be on other pages of the site. And I am not here telling you that you should expect visitors you pay for to behave the same way as visitors who come to your site organically.

However, just because we expect higher bounce rates on our landing pages, doesn’t mean we should be okay with them. And it doesn’t mean we can’t work to lower them.

So make 2019 the year you refocus on landing pages, and cut those bounce rates in half.

How? Start by understanding why people are bouncing in the first place.

Here are five possible reasons:

  1. You are advertising to the wrong people.

  2. Your page doesn’t provide enough information.

  3. Your page is not optimized for mobile.

  4. You are not clear about what they should do next.

  5. You don’t give them any incentive to take action.

Let’s explore each of these possibilities and what you can do about them.

You are advertising to the wrong people.

If the wrong people are landing on the page, it’s no wonder that they are leaving. This may happen if your targeting is too broad, meaning that your ad is being shown to people who are not in the market for your offerings. It also can happen when you use the same landing page for multiple channels and audiences. It is a best practice to make sure your landing page is specific to each audience. To accomplish that, you may need to create multiple landing pages for each campaign.

Your page doesn’t provide enough information.

Many companies treat landing pages as teasers for a certain product or service. They provide just enough information to whet a customer’s appetite and get them to take the next step. But what you think is enough information to tease a product, may not answer the questions that most of your visitors have. And rather than take the required next step, they leave your site and go looking for alternative solutions.

Your page is not optimized for mobile.

We are living in a mobile-first world. More web activity is taking place on phones and tablets than ever before. And your landing pages absolutely must be geared toward the mobile visitor. This means focusing on load times, readability, and usability. Challenge your own perceptions of your landing pages by looking at the bounce rate for mobile users separate from desktop users. You may find that solving for mobile alone can cut your bounce rate in half.

You are not clear about what they should do next.

Some people will leave your site because they simply don’t know what else to do. A strong call-to-action is an important part of any landing page design. Once you have provided enough information to convince the visitor that they are in the right place, give them an action to take. It could be a phone call, a form to submit, a button to start the sales process, a web chat. And make it obvious. The more they have to search for it, the greater the likelihood that some will give up.

You don’t give them any incentive to take action.

Why do this now when I can do it later? That is the mentality of most consumers. It is up to you, as the marketer, to give them a reason to act now. Perhaps it’s the opportunity to claim a special offer, perhaps your offer is only good for a limited time, or perhaps they don’t want to have to wait in line. As a marketer, you are constantly fighting for attention. So don’t squander that attention when you get it by letting consumers leave without taking the next step.

Don’t Judge a Landing Page by its Source

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Landing pages are some of the most important pages on our website. They are the pages that people will see when they first click through on an ad, and give us a chance to make the kind of first impression that piques their interest and gets them moving through the sales funnel.

And because landing pages have such an outsized influence on the marketing process, these are the pages we are most likely to test. We want to know which pages lead to higher conversion rates and lower acquisition costs.

But a word of warning for all the would-be optimizers out there. Do not judge a landing page by its source.

Let me explain.

While it can be tempting to open up your Google Analytics account and jump down the Landing Pages to compare the metrics of one page against another, here is why that is not a good idea.

To truly test whether one landing page works better than another, we need to make sure that all other factors are equal. There are a lot of things that might influence the performance of a landing page, such as whether visitors are seeing it on mobile or desktop, the action we are asking them to take when they land on the page, what the ad said that brought them there, and of course, the source.

Visitors from Facebook might perform different than visitors from Google, from Bing, from Twitter, from Yahoo, etc.

So in order to truly test landing page performance, we must ensure that the types of visitors getting to the pages are the same. How do we do that? We test different pages in the same ad groups.

In Adwords, we duplicate ads and change the landing page. In Facebook, we create two ads in the same ad set and send them too two different landing pages. For our banners, we create campaigns that use the same ads but send traffic to two different pages.

Instead of using Google Analytics to determine what pages are working best, we use the platforms themselves to split the traffic between multiple pages and report back on performance.

Data and analytics are great for marketers. But unless you are wary of all the ways data can deceive you, you risk making poor decisions with it.

How to Use Video on a Landing Page

Your landing pages are the pages that people land on after they click on one of your ads. They serve a purpose. They are there to convert people from interest to action.

That action could be…

  • Sales,
  • Form submission,
  • Donation,
  • Newsletter signup,

…or any number of other things.

But whatever it is, you should make sure that there is one clear call to action, and one only. Too many choices are bad.

But enough about what landing pages are. This post is about video.

Using video on a landing page is good for a few reasons:

  1. People are more likely to watch a video than read copy
  2. You can say more in a short video than in one page of copy
  3. Video works better for mobile

Adding video to your landing page should serve a purpose. It should tell them who you are, what you’re offering, and why they should complete the action desired.

Make the video big and bold. If you want them to watch it, make sure it’s the first thing they see when they land on your page. But don’t force it to play automatically. That’s annoying.

A few things to watch out for:

  • The video needs to be of high enough quality that it does not turn people off. Cheaply produced videos could do more harm than good.
  • The video should be no longer than 3 minutes. If you can’t say what needs to be said in less time than that, it does not belong in a video, or it does not belong on a landing page. Most people won’t commit more time than that to learn who you are.

3 Signs that it’s Time to Update Your Landing Page

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If you’re advertising, you should be using a landing page and not sending people directly to your website. And because your landing page or pages live off of your main site, sometimes they can get ignored. You create them, set them live, and forget about them.

But perhaps now is a good time to take another look. Here are 3 signs that it’s time to update your landing page:

1.       Your Conversion Rate is Dropping

The percentage of people that complete the desired action (submit a form, purchase a product, etc.) out of the total visitors to the page is your conversion rate. This is a number that you should track religiously, but when you see it start to drop, you are missing out on potential customers. And that is a time when you want to start testing new pages to see if you can get that conversion rate number higher.

2.       Your Costs are Rising

Your conversion rate may not be dropping, but the cost of your advertising is going up. And that means that your cost per conversion is higher. That should signal to you that you either have to figure out a way to lower your advertising cost or increase your conversion rate. And to increase your conversion rate, you should try testing a new landing page.

3.       You’re Launching a New Ad

In a perfect world, you would have a different landing page for every different ad. That is because you want to design the landing page to match the ad. In test after test, a landing page designed to correspond with the ad someone came in on performed better than something more generic. So if you’re creating a new ad, it’s probably time to create a new landing page to match it.

For more help with landing pages, check out the following posts:

  1. Landing Page Handbook Part 1
  2. Landing Page Handbook Part 2
  3. Landing Page Handbook Part 3
  4. 5 Reasons Your Landing Page Isn’t Working

5 Landing Page Elements to Test Today

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Someone clicks on your ad or visits the special URL provided in your campaign and they get to your landing page. What they do next can make or break your marketing plan.

Will they take action? Will they hit the back button? Will they get bored and fall asleep?

To increase the percentage of people that take action, I recommend testing various elements of your landing page on an ongoing basis.

Here are 5 key landing page elements worth testing:

  1. Images. Change up the photos that you use on the page. Try a man instead of a woman. Try someone older or younger. Try using more or less images. A strong graphic captures a visitor’s eyes and could draw them in to read the text on the page. A weak one might turn them off right away.

  2. Headline. Change up the text in your headline. Try one that makes a special offer, or one that promotes the benefits of your product. Try one that matches the headline of the ad they likely clicked on to get here. The headline is the first thing most people will read and it should wet their appetite for the rest of the page.

  3. Call to Action. Change up the wording on the link or button you want people to click. If it’s a checkout button, try “Buy Now” instead of “Checkout”. If it’s a general form submission, try “Go” instead of “Submit”. Try an orange or a green button instead of a red one. Try a bigger button, or a different shape.

  4. Colors. You most likely match the colors of your landing page to your brand or website. But you should treat a landing page as an independent entity. Whatever you can do to increase conversion is worth trying. Test a white or grey background. Test varying the colors of form fields or text. The general color pattern on a page will give people an impression like they either want to be there or don’t.

  5. Length of Text. Generally, less is more when it comes to text on a page. But that rule does not apply 100% of the time. Test a page with more text on it, giving you room to provide more details to those people who are looking for them. If your text is already long, use bullet points and lists to shorten it.

The key is, keep testing, and keep measuring performance. When the conversion rates start to rise, you’ll be happy you did.

For more tips on creating landing pages, read my landing page handbook.