June 27, 2019 blog

When creating a successful advertising campaign, many marketers focus primarily on perfecting the pre-click experience (targeting, ad headlines, copy, images, etc.) and not enough on optimizing the post-click experience (everything a user encounters after they click your ad). Neglecting this essential component results in non-converting ad clicks and plays a monumental role in the 70-90% bounce rate for post-click pages.

Since the ultimate goal is for ad clicks to produce conversions and sales, you must have an effective post-click strategy that includes these 6 design optimization tips.

6 Post-Click Experience Design Tips

1. Ensure Fast Page Load Speed

This is first and foremost because if your page doesn’t load fast enough, the rest of these tips are irrelevant as visitors will never see your page.

In fact, most sites lose about half of their visitors due to slow pages that take more than 3 seconds to load. Yet, the average page load time for the top post-click landing pages is 12.8 seconds. And when you consider that conversions fall by 20% for every additional second of load time, it becomes clear that your page needs to load faster. Near-instantly, actually.

A common solution to combat slower pages is AMP, the open-source framework introduced in 2016, which allows advertisers to create lightning-fast, smooth-loading mobile web pages that prioritize the user-experience above all else. AMP pages deliver near-instantaneous load times, while still supporting styling and branding customizability.

Page speed tools, such as PageSpeed Insights and Think with Google: Test My Site, are available to test your page speed and teach you how to optimize it.

2. Create Consistent Message Match

When prospects click an ad, they do so for a reason. They expect the post-click experience to have the same message as the ad they just clicked. This is called message match—coordinating your ad content to your post-click experience so visitors know they’re in the right place after clicking through.

Consistent message match can be implemented through the same/similar headlines, aesthetic elements (fonts, colors, CTA buttons, etc.), visuals, and most importantly the same overall message.

BigCommerce’s display ad coordinates perfectly with the corresponding landing page:

BigCommerce digital ad and corresponding landing page

Notice that they both include the same main image, graphs, and company logo. On top of that, matching colors and very similar CTA buttons promote the offer.

With 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 it, visitors could easily become confused, skeptical, and likely abandon the page.

Dynamic text replacement can also be used to make your post-click experience more relevant to the visitor’s search terms.

3. Add White Space

White space (the empty space in between and around page design elements) is great for providing visitors with a pleasing visual experience, but also plays a vital role in persuading visitors to click your CTA button.

This negative or empty space (it doesn’t actually have to be white) helps isolate and draw attention to important elements on your post-click page, like headlines, images, forms, and CTA buttons.

Outbrain surrounded their headline, subheadline, and form/CTA button with ample white space to make it stand out at the top of the page:

Outbrain's uses white space effectively

By surrounding key elements with white space, you reduce clutter, improve readability and comprehension of the offer, and effectively tell visitors what you want them to focus on.

4. Follow an F- or Z-pattern

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, and there are essentially two different ways they will: in an F-pattern or a Z-pattern.

The F-pattern resembles typical reading behavior:

  1. Users first read in a horizontal line, starting from the upper left part of the page.
  2. Eyes then move down the page and read in a second horizontal movement.
  3. Users finish by scanning the left side of the page in a vertical movement and move to the right as content permits.

Airship’s post-click page clearly follows an F-pattern:

F pattern page scan

In contrast, the Z-pattern reading method follows this order:

  1. Users start from the upper left corner of the page and quickly scan across the top.
  2. Then they look left and down simultaneously in a diagonal path.
  3. Lastly, their gaze moves across a horizontal line from left to right again.

This ConnectWise page follows the Z-pattern precisely:

Z pattern page scan

It’s important to note that users don’t only look at the areas mentioned in this section, but eye movement there tends to be slower and more focused. You can use this knowledge to place elements strategically—put the most important elements in the areas where your visitors are most likely to notice them.

5. Use an Appropriate Form Length

A lead capture form is one of the most critical post-click elements, yet many marketers struggle to create them the correct length. They’re either too long and intimidate prospects from completing them, or too short and generate MQLs instead of SQLs.

Form length should be based on the marketing funnel stage of your offer. Generally, the further down the funnel, the more information you can request from visitors and still see desirable results.

Use these quick tips to help determine how many form fields to include:

  • Top of the funnel offers are meant to generate as many leads as possible (think free resources such as guides, whitepapers, etc.) so not many form fields are needed.
  • Middle of the funnel offers explain why your product or service is the best option to solve the visitor’s problem. Since there’s more information provided here (webinars, case studies, free samples, etc.) additional information may be requested.
  • Bottom of the funnel offers are aimed at leads in the decision-making stage. Since they’re in the market to buy now, brands can get away with longer forms (product demos, free consultations, etc.)

If you require a lot of lead information, you can also use a multi-step form broken down into smaller sections so the visitor isn’t overwhelmed by a single lengthy form.

Move, Inc. does this on their post-click page, with a progress bar on the top to indicate what stage of the process the prospect is in:

moving.com progress bar

6. A/B Test Your Campaign with Call Tracking Metrics

A/B testing is one of the most proven tactics to gather insights to improve conversion rates. More specifically, to see what changes lead to the most significant performance improvements.

With every post-click experience, consider testing factors such as:

  • Page load speed
  • Headlines
  • Page layout and length
  • Form length
  • Trust indicators
  • Calls to action
  • Media
  • Color schemes

However, inbound calls are often the most valuable conversions, generating 10-15x more revenue than web leads, and converting 30% faster. So, to truly optimize the post-click experience, you must track the total number of conversions you’re driving—both online and over the phone.

GlobalMeet likely does this since their post-click experience includes a lead capture form and a click-to-call phone number (top-right):

GlobalMeet form fill

They could even run a test comparing local vs toll-free numbers to see which performs better, encourages the most calls, generates the most high-intent conversions, etc.

Either way, without call tracking metrics in your A/B tests, you could be making decisions based on an incomplete data set.

Optimize Your Post-Click Experience Starting Today

By focusing on the post-click just as much as pre-click, you motivate more leads to convert. Always connect your ads to fast-loading, personalized post-click experiences with message match and an intentional design pattern.

Take the time to A/B test your efforts with both web and call tracking metrics and let the data guide your future designs.

To learn more best practices for using call analytics data to optimize your digital ads and website, download the eBook: The Marketer’s Big Book of Call Tracking Success Stories.

To learn more best practices for using call analytics data to optimize your digital ads, download our eBook: The Marketer’s Big Book of Call Tracking Success Stories.

Download My eBook →
About the author:

Tyson Quick

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.

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