A few months ago, I showed how Dell had bought a PPC ad for “bestbuy Sony DSC-W80,” and although they were smart to buy this highly-targeted search term, there was no follow-through on the landing page.
Bryan Eisenberg bought the camera last year and was so happy with its performance that he’s been spreading the word around the office ever since. After doing a routine Google search, we noticed — unsurprisingly — that there are a lot of bidders for the term “Sony DSC W80″.
What we soon found was that, much like Dell, the landing pages these other e-tailers were taking visitors to illustrated everything from the good, to the bad, to the PPC-ugly.
Looks like there’s a lot of competition for this search term. If a searcher clicks one link and doesn’t find what they’re looking for, it will be easy for them to hit the Back button, to see if the competition makes learning about it — and eventually buying it — easier.
When customers have this many options, getting your link on the front page of Google isn’t enough; you have to bring them as far into the buying process as you can with the information you are given. Lets take a look at how well the different options presented here do at bringing the searcher closer to the purchase.
Walmart.com had one of the top 3 paid search results. When we click their link, we assume we’ll be taken where we’ll easily find the product that was advertised. Instead, the customer is brought to a non-working page (curiously titled “walmart9.com”), forcing them to click the Back button.
Obviously, Wal-Mart needs to update this URL. While it may have once led somewhere, it now only brings frustration to the camera-seeking masses. They’re losing sales and paid search credibility with anyone who clicks it.
Walmart.com surely has a massive PPC budget to oversee, and updates like this can slip through the cracks. But it serves as a good reminder to keep tabs on your paid search ads. If you notice one is converting poorly, or not at all, you should at least make sure the landing page works.
Thankfully, Vanns.com doesn’t give us a broken link, yet it merely brings us to the homepage. This won’t do.
Since I typed in a specific brand and model number, I expect to be brought to a Product Page — or, at the very least, a Brand Page or Category Page. They have exact information about the product I’m looking for and they just drop me off on the homepage? Leaving it up to the visitor to first find a tiny “Digital Cameras” link, then navigate through the site to find the Product Page, is an unnecessary gamble, especially since the paid search link promised “Sony DSC W80 in stock!”
Why not take me directly to the Product Page instead of making me scan the homepage just to find a Category Page?
You’d think the company that made the product would have something to say about the camera, even if it’s discontinued — which, apparently, it is. At this point, the halo from Bryan’s positive word-of-mouth is beginning to crack. (“Thanks a lot, buddy. Does this camera really exist?”)
SonyStyle.com is missing out on an opportunity here. Although they no longer make the camera, they could provide links to similar cameras, especially if there’s a newer versions of the same model — which there is. They could use this page to show improvements that were made to the newer model. This page provides visitors with nowhere to go besides Back.
• Manufacturers: It takes time to get the word out about your products. If you don’t take advantage of it, you’ll lose some sales from late adopters (a huge chunk of the market).
• Retailers: Don’t forget to capitalize on positive word-of-mouth from older model numbers. Turn would-be customers for those older products into buyers of the newer ones. If you still offer popular discontinued products, leverage that advantage with targeted Pay-Per-Click ads and Landing Pages.
Finally, the product I’m looking for — and it’s right on the landing page. NewEgg.com has it down. They even show visitors the newer model on the same page!
NewEgg removes all the obstacles a visitor might go through to find the product (they’ve already clearly told Google) they’re looking for. They place visitors in the perfect place; this is where customers are in the buying process when they search for “Sony DSC W80″. It was a little harder to find this camera than it should have been, but ultimately, NewEgg shows how to get the most out of your PPC ads.
New research shows that fewer people are clicking Pay-Per-Click ads on Google. In past discussions on this blog, readers have expressed that they no longer use PPC ads because of numerous bad experiences. Perhaps that’s why so many companies out there aren’t optimizing or paying attention to their PPC ads, which — soon enough — affects how useful they are for consumers.
If Pay-Per-Click is part of your online strategy, make sure your ads are optimized. Otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table. PPC can be very valuable when used properly. But if you neglect it, and the experience isn’t useful for customers, these campaigns can negatively effect your business.
To be truly PPC- and Landing Page-savvy, here’s how to appeal to all buying modes.
[Editor's Note: Want to convert more customers with your Pay-Per-Click campaign? Contact us.]