It can be tempting to think that Google Ads works in the same way traditional ads do. If you pay the money for a TV spot, a roadside billboard or a full-page newspaper spread, you’re guaranteed to be displayed. There’s never a doubt.
But unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing allows platforms like Google to gain instant and comprehensive feedback on any ad it displays. And with user experience front of mind in the digital realm, if the ad isn’t effective, Google won’t be super keen to display it.
But how does Google decide whether your ad is worthy of display? Today we’ll be taking a closer look at content marketing, in particular the relationship between Google Ads and your landing page experience.
Website performance is tied to Google Ads performance
A potential customer searches online for a product you sell or a service you provide. They see your ad and click on it. At this point, Google doesn’t just allow this user to fly out into the ether. They continue to track.
If the user clicks the ‘back’ button within 10 seconds, this is registered as a ‘bounce’. Bounces can hint at a few potential issues:
- Your Google Ad doesn’t match the intent behind the user’s search.
- Your Google Ad doesn’t accurately reflect your product, service or website.
- Your website/landing page experience is so bad that people instantly leave.
No matter which of these issues applies, Google considers a bounce as a bad experience for the user. If enough users bounce, you’ll begin to face consequences:
- You’ll begin to pay more for each click.
- Your ad will slowly drop down the page.
- If your score becomes bad enough, your ad will eventually stop showing.
In good news, Google has managed to wrap up all of this complexity into a single, key metric: Quality Score.
Understanding Google Quality Score
According to Google, Quality Score is “a diagnostic tool meant to give you a sense of how well your ad quality compares to other advertisers.” Google compares your ad to the ads of other advertisers that were displayed for the exact same keywords over the previous three months. They measure this comparative performance on a scale from 1-10, basing the score on three factors:
- Ad relevance: How closely does your ad match the user’s search intent?
- Expected clickthrough rate (CTR): How likely is it that your ad will be clicked on when it’s displayed?
- Landing page experience: How relevant, useful and user friendly is your landing page to people who arrive there?
It’s this last component that we’re interested in today. Landing page experience is a crucial factor – if a user has got this far in the process, it’s a fair indication that they’re rather interested in what you’re offering. If you can nail this final step, you’ll be well on your way to a sale.
A sale is the obvious end goal, but speaking purely in terms of your Quality Score and Google Ads performance, you’ll want a number of things to happen when a visitor arrives on your landing page:
- They stay there for at least 30 seconds.
- They engage with your site, ideally visiting three pages or more.
- A healthy percentage of them convert (and in a way that can be tracked by Google Analytics.)
The next question: how do you make all that happen?
Creating a Google Ads-optimised landing page
A novel could be written on creating a high-converting landing page, but at a base level, there are a handful of things that you can do to ensure fewer visitors bounce and more convert.
- Link to a landing page that aligns with your ad: Never link to your homepage in a Google Ad, as this forces a customer to search your site for what they need. Create a custom landing page for the product, service or deal, then create ads that closely align with the look, feel and intent of that landing page.
- Create unique and compelling content: Do this for both the landing page and the Ad. Explain your value proposition immediately. Use punchy copy like lists, numbers, bullet points and speech bubbles. Feature a clear and concise CTA, and use A/B testing to refine it.
- Incorporate social proof: People don’t trust brands to talk about themselves. People trust other people. Where possible, include social proof like ratings, reviews and customer testimonials in your landing page and Ad copy.
There’s no marketing recipe that guarantees Google Ads success. But by understanding the link between your website/landing page experience and your Google Ads performance, you’ll be well on your way to increasing your Google Ads reach and conversions, and ultimately your bottom line.
And if you’re looking for help in doing all that and more, our friendly team at Traction is ready to help. Get in touch today!