Are Marketers Missing the Point on Landing Page Optimization?

Marketers tend to talk a lot about optimizing email, but where is that email trying to take people? Email is always leading to a landing page, whether that’s a designated landing page or a home page or even a Facebook page. Emails aren’t an end in themselves. They are always leading somewhere else because they have to “land” the recipient somewhere, should that person decide to click through.

Getting someone to click through is not enough, however. You’ve only won part of the battle with that click, because the conversion hasn’t happened yet. That’s the landing page’s job, to convert that interest into something concrete like a registration or a sale.

And that means optimizing your landing pages—whatever form they take—will increase your ROI.

Landing page optimization
What’s the point of putting all kinds of effort into optimizing your emails if you don’t do the same for the destination your email is designed to get people to?

While optimizing your emails gets more people to click through, landing page optimization (LPO) means maximizing the numbers of conversions. With that in mind, the researchers at Ascend2 decided to do a survey to find out what marketers are doing to optimize landing pages, and what they struggle with. The survey was fielded in April 2015 with 342 marketing professionals participating. And as usually happens with these studies, I found some interesting correlations and conflicts.

The most important objectives
To do the study, Ascend2 started with the question, “How are marketers optimizing the performance of landing pages dedicated to conversion?”

landing page optimization most important objectives

Marketers know they need to convert those visitors to their landing pages. When asked about the most important objectives of a landing page optimization strategy, 93% of respondents placed “increase conversion rates” at the top of the list. Next was “improve lead quality” at a mere 58%. And that makes sense. LPO is about increasing conversions, so it should be at the top of the list of objectives. However, maybe we’re forgetting that other objectives can help to get us there.

It’s interesting to note that “improve mobile optimization” was only 9%, almost at the bottom of the list. Also interesting to note is “improve testing methods” was in the top three objectives for only 7% of the respondents. Wouldn’t spending more time on these two things potentially improve conversions? Maybe if marketers took a step back from the big picture focus on increasing conversions, they would see that more specific objectives like improving mobile and testing would help with conversions?

The biggest challenges to LPO
Not that marketers are saying improving conversions is easy, no matter how important it is as an objective. They face plenty of challenges when pursuing that goal. According to the survey, when it comes to LPO, marketers are challenged by:

  • Lack of internal resources (45%)
  • Poor content (41%)
  • Lack of an effective LPO strategy (40%)

According to these marketers, other challenges much lower in importance are:

  • Inadequate analytics at 26%
  • Lack of testing skills at 23%
  • Adopting mobile optimization at 15% (at the bottom of the list)

Again, this raises the question of where the emphasis is being placed. Perhaps if marketers paid more attention to analytics, testing and mobile, landing page conversions would improve. Even if they paid more attention to just one of these, they’d improve LPO, and I suspect they know it…

landing page optimization biggest challenges

Marketers see value in testing; they just don’t do it
When asked the most effective method for optimizing conversion rates, 52% of the respondents placed A/B testing in the top three methods, placing it at the top of the list. At a close second at 44% is segmentation/targeting, and almost as important at 43% is copy optimization

Yet many marketers don’t test. According to this study, only 18% do extensive testing, while 53% do limited testing and 23% do no testing at all. (That’s almost a quarter of the respondents who are not testing their landing pages to improve LPO.)

My takeaways from this research
Looking at these numbers, I get the impression that many of these marketers know they need to do better and they have a sense for how, but they are focused on the wrong things. They keep placing analytics, testing and mobile low on their lists when asked about objectives and challenges, yet the very thing they are trying to do—improve landing page conversion—would happen if they focused on these three things.

 

Note: If you want to see these numbers for yourself and see how your organization stacks up when it comes to landing page optimization, you can download the Ascend2 report free of charge at http://ascend2.com/home/latest-report/.