Running paid ads through Google, Facebook, and other online platforms can help you accelerate your clients’ marketing and leads generation.
Paid ads on digital platforms can feel pretty overwhelming and unless you set up everything correctly, can end up costing more money than they should or need to.
But here’s the secret – you can do everything on the ads themselves to optimize them, set up everything the way that Facebook or Google loves, but unless you’ve done the work on the destination website first, it won’t matter much.
Optimizing A Website for Paid Ads
Paid ads, after all, are just a way for you to get the right people to visit a website – faster and sometimes more accurately than you could organically. Whether or not they make that purchase, sign up for a webinar, or send a contact email through that website all depends on what happens on the website after that target customer clicks.
There are a lot of ways that you may lose someone once they’ve hit a website from an ad, but there are things you can do to connect and convert those interested buyers.
1. Set Up a Landing Page for the Ad
This one may seem simple, but it’s a mistake I see a lot of new businesses make. If you’re running any kind of ad campaign, no matter what it is, you need to have a separate landing page for that ad. You don’t necessarily want to have people click through and go straight to a website’s homepage.
A homepage or even the correct inside page may not, and probably isn’t, set up to take targeted browsers through an entire service or product. When someone clicks an ad for a website, you have to get them to quickly like, know, and trust the business because let’s be real, you’re competing against a lot of other advertisers on digital platforms.
Instead, using a landing page created specifically for that particular campaign allows you to hit on the ideal audience’s pain points, showcase how this specific product/service solves their problems, and provide some social proof to back up your claims.
It also, as it turns out, makes it really easy for you to optimize your website for step 2.
2. Make Sure the Message of the Ad and Landing Page Match
There is nothing worse than clicking on an ad, promising you a big solution to your problem, and then having to click through multiple pages to actually find what you were targeted for.
Creating a landing page specifically for an ad campaign allows you to make sure that the message of your ad and the website page you send traffic to actually matches, allowing your customers to go through everything they need to to work with you without clicking around through multiple pages.
If I’m clicking on a highly-specific ad on Facebook, I expect that when I get to that website I’m going to find exactly what I want. If things don’t match, your targeted customers will bounce right off your site. That can lower your bounce rate, lower your ad quality scores, and even end up decreasing your reach later on.
3. Design for Mobile First
After we talked last about responsive web design, hopefully you understand why this is important, but let’s do a short refresher. Most of your traffic from paid ads, especially on Facebook or similar platforms, are going to be from mobile devices. End of story.
Even if a website’s current visitors now are largely on desktop, you have to factor in those in your target audience who are on Google, Facebook, and Instagram in the evenings, TV on in the background, and doing some scrolling in their downtime. Not only does knowing that factor into the types of ads you’ll create, but you have to ensure that the ads and the website are optimized for mobile. By all means, a landing page should look good on a desktop, too, but always think of the mobile experience first.
4. Make Sure Your Website Loads Quickly
You have about 3 seconds or less for your website to load or people will go elsewhere. That’s not a ton of time, but if your website is lagging behind, there are a few things you can do to speed it up.
First, keep things simple, especially with your landing pages. Avoid large images, big video backgrounds, or heavy animations on the landing pages you’re creating for ads.
Second, test your website’s current page speed in Google’s own tool. It will flag major issues for you so you know where to start and how to improve things.
Third, make sure you’re using a quality web host, because where your website lives has a huge impact on how fast it loads.
Fourth, if you have a WordPress website, you can utilize a plugin like Autoptimize to do a lot of background work for you.
5. Track All of the Data
This is, admittedly, a little harder after the recent iOS privacy updates, but it’s still incredibly important to track as much data as you can.
Creating separate landing pages for your Facebook ads vs your Google ads, by the way, can actually make this a little easier post-iOS 14 privacy tracking updates.
At the bare minimum, a website should have a Google Analytics tracking code on every single page of the website so you can track how many people are landing on the website, what they’re doing when they get there, and you can even follow them through their journey of going through the landing page and funnel sequence.
You should also have a Facebook Pixel on the website. While you’re limited on how much you can track now, Facebook can still get data from websites through the Pixel tracking code so it can be sure to target the right people.
Even if you’re not entirely sure how to read the data you’re getting, having both of those codes installed on the websites you’re running ads for and creating a Google Analytics account will mean someone can come back to it later and tell you exactly what’s happened with your ads.
Website or Ad Strategy – What Comes First
The short answer is that once you’ve decided what you want to run ads for, you first do the work on your website to ensure that it’s ready for paid ads and the traffic they’ll bring in.
Remember, the ads just drive people to the website. It’s what happens on your website that controls whether or not those browsers become actual leads and customers.