I’m seeing a very disturbing trend among retailers when it comes to their PPC advertising. Retailers seem to be dropping the ball on user experience for their PPC landing pages. I’m finding more and more that major retailers are missing out on the basics of PPC advertising best practices by sending users who are searching on specific product related keywords to their home page instead of to that specific product. My bet is that the CTR is high but the bounce rates are also high. Searchers will click on PPC ads in the hopes of going directly to what they want and when they get there and find they are going to have to search through a retailer’s web site to find it, they will back right back out and go to the next ad. These retailers are Wasting precious money and losing potential sales for lack of a proper landing page.
In the example below I found that the top 3 ads on this page were not going to relevant pages at all. The top page goes to Lift tables, but they are not coffee tables, this is a case of broad terms gone bad, this ad most likely gets a high click thru rate and an even higher bounce rate when users find it isn’t what they are looking for. The 2nd ad goes to JC Penney’s Home Page, not at all helpful to someone who is searching on such a specific term. If this bid is on the broad term ‘coffee table’ it should at least take the user to the coffee table page, this will cause high bounce rates for those users who don’t have the patience to go drill down through the JC Penney site to search yet again for what they want. Meanwhile the 3rd ad by Rotmans at least takes the user to ‘coffee tables’ but those who are looking for specific type like this keyword is it might be best for them to bid on that term and do exact match as well in order to mitigate the possibility of loosing people on this page. All three of these ads landing pages are disassociated from the exact term they are driving traffic to. They are all getting high CTR but also high bounce rates and lower conversion rates as a result. This is also skewing their cost per conversion high.
Meanwhile, the 4th, 5th, and 6th slots to the right are perfect examples of a good PPC landing page experience. These ads take the user to an exact matching product that matches clearly with the keyword. They have pictures featured which also tells the user immediately that this is the product they are looking for. These ads will be paying a slightly lower CPC and have high CTR and most likely lower bounce rates and a resulting higher conversion rate and their cost per conversion will also be lower.
It is easier for some PPC advertisers to just send their ads to a single url, their Home Page or to a general page thinking the user will find what they want, but it isn’t true. You want to have focused PPC ads that go to a relevant and focused web page that will result in conversions. Paying out on wasted clicks like this will take away from your ROI and keep conversion rates low. Focus the ads and they landing page and you will see a big improvement in the cost per conversion.