With more executives dedicating increasing amounts of their marketing budget to digital advertising, you need to prove ad spend is generating positive ROI for your business.
And as someone who aspires to advance your career, it’s your responsibility to show management you’re worth promoting by justifying that ad spend.
To ensure you can do that, you must provide prospects with relevant and personalized experiences.
Unfortunately, though, many businesses today are discovering their personalization efforts aren’t cutting it because they neglect the post-click experience. To prove your value and cut through the noise in today’s competitive online landscape, you must show results.
The way you do this is to acknowledge that personalization goes beyond the pre-click experience and into the post-ad-click experience.
Let’s start with a brief explanation of the post-click experience and then identify five key elements you must provide people on your post-click landing pages.
Defining the post-click experience
There are two primary stages in a digital ad campaign: the pre-click experience and the post-click experience.
The pre-click experience includes everything that happens before the ad click, all contributing to the likelihood that the person clicks through:
- Advertising platform used
- Ad creative (media, colors, headline)
- Targeting methods
- Brand equity
If all of those components are properly set up, the user will click the advertisement leading to the post-click stage.
The post-click experience is everything that happens after the ad click and contributes to the conversion, including:
- Page load times
- Landing page design
- Lead capture form length
- Offer value
Advertisers who only focus on pre-click while ignoring post-click, are not providing the same relevancy from start to finish. They may show a targeted ad that leads to a homepage, product page, or another web page. Look at the examples below.
But they’re not efficiently using their ad budget because they’re paying for ad clicks that have little-to-no chance of converting. In fact, far too many digital advertisers fail to optimize the post-click stage.
Since the goal is for ad clicks to result in conversions and sales, it’s imperative you have an effective post-click automation strategy. You must send users who click your segmented ad to a highly-relevant, personalized post-click landing page where they can easily redeem your offer, like this one from Amobee:
To better explain, below are five components to keep in mind as you optimize the post-click experience. Mastering each of these will help position you to stand out to upper management and ultimately advance your career.
What makes a personalized post-click experience?
1. Fast page load speed
First, your page must load instantly (or near instantly). If it doesn’t, people won’t wait for it to load and they will never see your page, making the rest of these tips irrelevant.
So no matter how personalized the page may be, a slow-loading page is likely an unseen page. To make your personalization efforts worthwhile, your page must load quickly.
Two primary ways to improve page load time and increase the chances of people sticking around to evaluate your page include:
- Removing unnecessary images — Images are the biggest contributors to page weight, yet they can be an easy and significant fix. By simply removing the images that don’t improve the user experience (e.g. unrealistic stock images), and only keeping images that help visitors evaluate your offer (e.g. product photos), you can easily speed up page load time.
- Using AMP — A common solution to combating slow page load speed is AMP, the open-source framework introduced in 2015. AMP allows advertisers to create lightning-fast, smooth-loading mobile web pages that deliver near-instantaneous load times, prioritizing the user experience above all else.
2. Message match consistency
Online users choose to click ads for a reason: they see a potential solution to a current problem they face. Once they click, people expect the web page they arrive at to include the same message as the ad they just clicked.
This is known as a message match—coordinating your ad to your post-click experience. Establishing a message match is crucial for reinforcing your campaign message in prospects’ minds, letting them know they’re in the right place after clicking through and instilling trust in them by showing consistency throughout their journey.
After all, trust and assurance are the basis for every transaction or conversion, and if your post-click page is disconnected from the pre-click stage, visitors can become confused, skeptical, and even abandon the page altogether.
To guarantee a message match, both assets should contain the same or similar aesthetic elements including:
- CTA buttons
Pay attention to two other fundamental components: Offer and headline.
Your offer is why visitors came to your page, so it’s pivotal that the offer matches exactly what you promised in your ad. Further, it’s essential that the headline in both places conveys your offer truthfully and valuably. If prospects believe they’re redeeming one thing after seeing your ad headline, and then realize your page headline doesn’t fulfill the ad’s promise, they’re unlikely to stick around or convert anywhere on the page.
This ad from PlusThis closely matches the post-click page it leads to:
There’s no question that the two campaign components are related because:
- The offer is exactly the same on both the ad and post-click pages.
- The headlines match, and the subheadlines are similar.
- Branding is present in both, with the logo in the top left corner of both assets.
- Similar imagery is present on both.
- The “free” ebook is conveyed on both the ad and post-click pages.
- The color scheme matches; so even without reading, visitors know they’re in the right place.
With a message match like this, the user experience remains consistent from start to finish, and visitors are more likely to fulfill the post-click conversion goal. Without this streamlined approach, visitors may become confused, doubtful, and less likely to convert.
It’s especially important to maintain a message match between pre-click and post-click advertising in retargeting campaigns. Whether they’ve visited your site previously or purchased your product already, these prospects have been exposed to your brand at least once. Retargeting is your second chance to persuade them into converting. Take note of where they are in the conversion funnel, understand their purchase intent, and don’t let them land on your page only to wonder if they’re even in the right place.
3. Dedicated page for the offer with no exit links
This is an integral part of the post-click experience. Because when multiple offers, CTAs, and/or hyperlinks exist, visitors have too many options, which negatively affects conversion rates. Even worse, visitors could bounce altogether without converting on any offer.
Since a post-click landing page is a standalone page created to promote a single offer, the CTA button should be the only clickable element—no other navigation or exit links on the page. This way, visitors are not distracted by anything else, increasing the likelihood of a conversion.
There is one caveat though: one offer doesn’t only mean one CTA button. You can promote the same offer throughout the page, with similar buttons at multiple places for visitors to redeem the offer.
NewsCred’s post-click page does an excellent job of providing one dedicated page for the offer with no exit links:
- The NewsCred logo in the top-left is used for branding purposes and isn’t linked to the homepage.
- No header or footer links are present, nor are there any social media links that could take prospects away from this page.
- No other external navigation links exist; so for visitors to exit, they have to close the browser window.
- The promotion is for a guide, and every landing page element including the headline, copy, images, CTA buttons, and social proof are relevant to the offer.
- All four CTA buttons promote the same post-click action with the same exact copy, “Get the guide”.
After optimizing the pre-click experience to persuade people to click your ad, you don’t want to lose them as soon as they arrive on your post-click page. So, keeping visitors focused and engaged on your page is your best chance at earning conversions.
4. Understand how people read online
The order in which elements appear on your page also plays a vital role in increasing conversions. When designing the layout, you must consider the way visitors are likely to view your page. There are two different patterns of how people read online: an F-pattern or a Z-pattern.
The F-pattern resembles typical reading behavior:
- First users read in a horizontal line, starting in the upper left part of the page.
- Then they move slightly down the left side of the page and read in a second horizontal movement.
- Users finish by scanning the left side of the page in a vertical movement and moving to the right as content permits throughout the remainder of the page.
This GoCanvas post-click page clearly follows the F-pattern:
- Users focus first on the page headline, then move over to the form headline
- Then they move down the left side of the page to read the bullet points and back over to the form and CTA button
- Then down the rest of the page to view the remainder of the content
In contrast, the Z-pattern follows this order:
- Users start from the upper left corner of the page and quickly scan across the top.
- Then they look left and down simultaneously, creating a diagonal path.
- Lastly, their gaze moves across a horizontal line from left to right again, and this order continues throughout the rest of the content.
See how readers on Optimove’s page would read in a Z-pattern:
- First the image in the upper left corner
- Then scanning over to the page headline, “Automate Your Customer Marketing”
- Diagonally down and left to the paragraph of copy and bullet points
- Finally, horizontally right over to the form and CTA button
Note: Users don’t only look at the areas mentioned in this section; however, eye movement tends to be slower and more focused in these specific regions. These patterns help advertisers strategically place their most important page elements in the areas where visitors are most likely to notice and focus on them (like the benefits in bullet form and the form/CTA button above).
5. Thank You page
A fully optimized post-click experience doesn’t end with the landing page CTA button click. Connecting your post-ad-click page to an optimized thank you page allows you to acknowledge and thank the visitor for converting. This makes them feel appreciated, builds a stronger relationship, and presents you with another conversion opportunity.
Ideally, an optimized thank you page includes:
- A “thank you” note for the customer
- An image of the offer (if applicable)
- An explanation of the next step in redeeming the offer
- Any related offers
An optimized thank you message can also be sent via email, and still show acknowledgment and appreciation to leads and customers, strengthening relationships and nurturing them further down the sales funnel.
Now that we’ve covered the five primary ways to optimize your post-click experience, you need a way to create those post-click experiences as quickly and easily as ads. Enter post-click automation technology.
Adopting post-click automation technology
Sophisticated advertising platforms, marketing automation, social media platforms, and many other MarTech solutions have existed for quite some time. However, since your goal is career advancement, don’t rely on traditional solutions to produce consistent results for your campaigns.
You need to think differently than your peers and adopt new strategies to propel you to that next stage in your career. You have to be aware of new and emerging technologies that make your workflow easier.
Enter post-click automation technology.
Post-Click Automation is the category of marketing technology that maximizes advertising conversions for marketers by delivering 1:1 personalized post-click experiences at scale.
Specifically, adopting post-click automation technology can:
- Map your ads to personalized experiences
- Simplify your team’s workflow
- Scale your ad campaigns efficiently
- Personalize each ad to page experience
Advertising technology continues to get more refined with each new update, and software technology is becoming more automated by the day. Stop neglecting the post-click stage, and instead, create relevant experiences personalized to each audience segment in every stage of the funnel with post-click automation. Your prospects and bottom line will both thank you.
About the Author
Tyson Quick is the Founder and CEO of Instapage, the leader in post-click automation. He founded Instapage in 2012 after seeing how performance and growth marketers were losing money in underperforming advertising campaigns. Since then, his vision has been to create a suite of post-click automation products that maximize returns through advertising personalization.