Why You Shouldn’t Use Dynamic Landing Pages For PPC
by Andrew Warren • December 11, 2014
It seems like dynamic landing pages are all the rage in the conversion rate optimization field nowadays. So wait, am I really recommending that you not use them!?
Well, you’ll have to read this post to understand where I’m coming from, but first I want to make sure you know exactly what dynamic landing pages are, how they can be used, and the impact they can have on your PPC campaigns. Once you’ve finished this post you’ll understand why you should…or shouldn’t…be using dynamic landing pages for your website.
What Are Dynamic Landing Pages?
Well, it’s a landing page… that’s… dynamic. Easy right? Ok, ok. I’ll explain. Dynamic landing pages are landing pages that can be manipulated to give your visitors a customized experience. Instead of creating different landing page for every single campaign or service, you can create template-style landing pages and switch out content based on what your visitors are looking for. Today I’m going to focus specifically on dynamically swapping out text based on keywords and user searches.
Your job as an advertiser is to show the searcher the most relevant ad based on what they searched. So, in a perfect world, when a searcher clicks your ad they should see a relevant landing page that matches their search query closely.
(By the way, using Single Keyword Ad Groups is a great way to make sure you’re staying very specific and relevant at the keyword and ad levels.)
Once a searcher clicks your ad, how do you make sure you’re showing content consistent that ad? Well, you could build separate landing pages for every single keyword and ad group, but that could be pretty intense if you’re working with dozens or hundreds of ad groups or keywords.
That’s where dynamic landing pages come into play. Instead of making multiple pages, you can use dynamic text to make a single landing page specific to multiple keywords. Let me give you an example:
Let’s say you have a set of ad groups that are targeting “polar bear conservation fund” and other closely related keywords:
“Polar Bear Conservation Fund”
“Polar Bear Conservation Charity”
“Polar Bear Conservation Donation”
So, if we wanted to be ultra cool and relevant we have a couple options.
[Tweet “Use dynamic landing pages to be specific to multiple #PPC keywords at the same time”]
Option 1 – The Hard Way
We could make a static landing page with the headline “Polar Bear Conservation Fund,” duplicate the page into two other copies, and switch out the headlines and other elements where we want the keyword variants, leaving us with three separate landing pages.
– OR –
Option 2 – The Easy & Awesome Way
We could create one baseline page and use dynamic text to swap out the headline, page titles, and other hotspots on the page by altering the destination URL in our PPC ads.
I’m voting for option 2 here. Let me show you how we’d do it. We use a platform called Unbounce to create our landing pages, which lets us easily build and test landing page variants without require any coding to implement dynamic text insertion. If you don’t already have the ability to easily test landing pages on the fly, then I would strongly recommend taking a look at Unbounce.
Creating Your First Dynamic Landing Page:
Step 1: Create Your Page
For this example, I’m going to use a template page provided by Unbounce:
Step 2: Set Up Dynamic Text On Your Landing Page
Ok, remember our three keywords? “Polar Bear Conservation Fund” , “Polar Bear Conservation Charity” & “Polar Bear Conservation Donation”.
We need to set up a few different places to swap out that text. The first and most obvious place is the headline.
Unbounce makes it really easy: just highlight the text you want to dynamically change and click the ‘Dynamic Text’ button. That will open the Dynamic Text editor. There you’ll have three things to set:
- URL Parameter – You will use this parameter in your ad’s destination URLs. I use ‘kw’ because it’s an easy reminder that I’m using dynamic text to swap out keywords.
- Default Text – Set text that will be a placeholder until it’s swapped out by dynamic text.
- Text Style – Since we are doing a headline, title case makes most sense.
Now my pretty landing page is ready to be manipulated based on the specific keywords, but first we need to set up the URL parameters in our AdWords account under the ad destination URLs.
Step 3: Insert Your URL Parameters into your Ad Destination URL
In order for the dynamic text to work on your landing page you need to set URL parameters in the ad destination URLs. We defined our parameter as ‘kw’ so that’s what we will add to our URL, followed by the text we want to insert.
Here is what your original destination URL looks like:
Here is what it looks like with URL parameters added.
This URL is telling the landing page to swap out our headline with ‘Polar Bear Conservation Charity’ instead of ‘Polar Bear Conservation Fund’
Check it out! Now you have one landing page, but it will change depending on the search term entered by your visitor. This isn’t limited to headlines either. You can dynamically swap out locations, phone numbers, title tags, and a number of other elements of your page using this simple but effective tool.
You can show a more targeted message to your visitors, increase the likelihood of conversion, and improve your quality scores all at the same time. Pretty rad, right?
Some Dynamic Landing Page Best Practices:
Before you run headfirst into the the dragon’ss den of dynamic landing pages, here a few best practices that would be wise to follow:
- Don’t overfill your landing page with keywords. It’s gross, it gives the user a poor experience, and Google doesn’t like it either.
- Utilize the hotspots on your page. The title, call to action, and headline are some great places to test dynamic text. Anywhere that is an action spot on your page is great to test.
- Does it makes sense? You can easily use dynamic text anywhere on your page, but make sure it fits appropriately. You don’t want to swap in text that makes the page harder to read or doesn’t make sense.
So, why wouldn’t I recommend using Dynamic Landing Pages? I wouldn’t do it because I’m hoping that after reading this you know it’s just common sense to use them. No recommendations necessary.
Seriously though, I hope that if you weren’t using them before today, that you start using them right away. You can make a solid impact with less effort than building multiple separate pages. If you need help setting up dynamic landing pages for your business, leave us a comment or click here to get a free conversion rate optimization proposal for your business!
I look forward to hearing from you 🙂