User experience is one of the primary factors that determines success or failure of a landing page conversion. A lot depends on the gaps between what a user expects to see and what he or she actually experiences in the first five seconds of a page interaction. Anything unsatisfactory, even a broken link or a poorly visible CTA button is simply ruled out.
If you do not know what landing pages are performing bad, and to what extent, you may not reach a consensus and take corrective actions. Having a detailed and dynamic report on landing page performance is necessary to identify the actual scope of work.
Landing page creation is effort-intensive
Typically a landing page needs to go through a series of acid tests before it starts producing effective results. Whether it is a PPC landing page or a product/service page from the main website, a marketer has to put an equal amount of effort and time to improve its user experience. More importantly, it is a team activity where web designer, UI and graphic designer, content writer and product/solution expert have to work together to come out with a presentable and result-driven landing page. After all you cannot gamble with high value lead generation campaigns and clients’ expectations.
Landing page modification is sensitive
The time spent in A/B testing and other iterations concentrating on design, layout, content and messaging pattern makes landing page creation a costly and risky affair. There could be various reasons for a landing page not performing to the expectations.
This indicates that dealing with ‘landing page creation and optimization’ as a practice is always a sensitive issue. Without regular observation of landing page behavior, a data-driven decision cannot be taken. And, anything arbitrary or based on assumptions may misguide the whole process resulting in total failure. It is imperative that marketers consult tool based metrics to analyze landing page performance and take better decisions.
A landing page creator can customize every element of your landing page and make the tool based metrics easily comparable between any two versions of a page. You can easily apply as many changes as you want to improve a landing page, and then compare performance for each of the templates individually. Thus, landing page modification process becomes efficient and result-oriented.
As a matter of fact, Google Analytics (GA), by far is the most reliable and widely used analytical tool to track landing page behavior against a number of useful metrics. The analytics software comes for free and you can use it to any extent. There are a few more awesome tools for landing page analytics and optimization including Google Analytics that you could consider using.
In this article, we will focus on how webmasters can use Google Analytics to analyze under-performing and top-performing landing pages and determine controllable factors to improve the landing page experience.
Let us get started with Google Analytics
Once signed into your Google Analytics account, go to the ‘Behavior’ tab in the left pane of the dashboard. Next, click on the ‘Site Content’ tab and drill-down to the ‘Landing Pages’ for a snapshot of website activities. The dashboard for ‘Landing Pages’ contains a bunch of statistics like Number of Sessions, % of New Users, Bounce Rate, Pages/ Session, Average time per session, Conversion% and Conversion Number. Each of these metrics helps in understanding the popularity and stickiness of a landing page.
Fig: The Dashboard of Landing Page showing Important Metrics
If your website contains two to three levels of subpages for each major landing page, visiting ‘Content Drilldown’ tab may also be helpful. Content drilldown data shows how visitors tend to respond while drilling down to each subpage path level. This helps you to locate which supportive pages need better treatment so as to reduce the overall bounce rate of a landing page. Apart from bounce rate, ‘Content Drilldown’ also provides statistics like Pageviews, Unique Pageviews, Average time on Page and %Exit which helps you understand the user behavior for inner pages.
Fig: The Dashboard of Content Drilldown showing Metrics for Subpages
How to use landing page data
You may start by comparing statistics of one month, six months, and twelve months. This will give you an overall idea of how the pages have been performing over a year; what went up and what got down.
Identify pages to work on – The trend in the ‘Sessions’ and ‘% New Sessions’ determines if a particular landing page is winning or losing importance to web visitors over a period of time. These act as a signal for you to understand which of the major business pages need immediate attention and a quick remedy. You may even track the post-optimization results to see if the changes made by you result in any improvement or not.
Monitor and reduce bounce rate – Bounce rate is another important sign of landing page performance. A high bounce rate of a landing page means that the keywords or the sources generating traffic to the page are less relevant. Web visitors who appear on the page do not see what they are searching for and, therefore, leave the page immediately. The more optimized a landing page is, the lesser the bounce rate is.
Once you know which landing pages to work on, there are a few ways you can try reducing their bounce rate.
First, check if the keywords leading visitors are relevant to the page content. If you are running PPC campaigns, modifying the keywords can help. The page content should reflect keyword relevancy. To view what PPC keywords pertaining to a landing page need revision, go to the tabs Acquisition>> AdWords >> Keywords and analyze the keyword bounce rate against a targeted landing page.
For organic search visits, you need to check if the on-page content pertaining to a keyword serves the purpose of users.
Second, verify if the visitors find the landing page too confusing and leave the page without any interaction. A good landing page needs to be functionally and logically adept.
Third, analyze if the landing page maintains a hierarchy of three major components of a page – a Problem Statement, the Solutions, and a clear Call-to-action. Without any one of them readers have to depend a lot more on guess work leading to high bounce rate.
Drill-down to specific data
This helps you to further analyze a particular landing page by secondary dimensions like Acquisition, Advertising, Behavior, Custom variables, Social and other relevant factors. By selecting the Traffic Source and Traffic Type for each landing page, you will know visitors from which channels lead to higher bounce rate. You can further filter out the results by Ad Content and Keywords to understand what AdGroups or keywords resulted in higher and lower bounce rate. Closely monitoring the dataset pattern and comparing them against a specific period of time clearly shows how well you have been able to optimize the landing pages and what else needs to be done to reach the target.
Fig: Secondary Dimensions to Analyze a Landing Page
Track conversions by setting up goals
Google analytics allows you to set up specific goals for your landing pages and track conversions. You can decide on goals like ‘Thank you for registering’, ‘Thanks for downloading’ and measure the count of interactions visitors have with your landing page. The statistics clearly shows how well optimized a landing page is based on completed goals. You can also track landing page performance by setting Template based goals like Revenue, Acquisition, Inquiry, Engagement as well as custom goals.
By comparing completed goals with time you should be able to understand if the changes you made in landing pages are working or not. Run these landing page A/B Test ideas to create as many landing page versions as you require and then measure conversion rate on a weekly and monthly basis.
Fig: Goal Completion Statistics to measure Post Optimization Results
Thus with Google Analytics data, marketers are in a better position to perform root-cause analysis of what needs to be fixed, how, and to what extent. It also shows if the paths adopted to fix landing page issues are correct or not. When marketers have the real-time data in graphical format, they can use them invariably to analyze a landing page in every possible way.
In addition to Google Analytics, you may also try a few inexpensive paid tools like GetClicky.com, HaveAMinnt.com, and KISSMetrics.com. I suggest reading more and more articles on landing page optimization tips before you dive into the process.