Context Dropping – The Smoke and Mirrors Behind Landing Page Optimization

Let’s remove the smoke and mirrors around Landing Page Optimization and start putting things into context.

When asked the common question, “What’s your favorite car?” Some of us quickly blurt out “Ferrari” or “Porsche”, all of whom never care to think—well in what context do you mean favorite? Because with a limited budget I’m going with Honda, and If I have an increase in budget and looking for a well-rounded mid to great performance car, Audi (as4 of course). But if I’m headed up to Tahoe and have to deal with the snow, I’ll take a little Honda Civic Hatch Back (it’s a snowboarding thing, sorry). Now, if I have an unlimited budget, and want a weekend car, I would go with the Bugatti Veyron.

What I have provided is context around a question that will be answered completely differently based on each person’s interests and conditions. For example, a person with a family is going to need an SUV or Van to make it to Tahoe for the weekend, NOT a Honda Hatch Back.

Let the smoke and mirrors begin.  Now for the guys who quickly answered Ferrari and Porsche the questioner pokes fun. “You going to fit your entire family in that Porsche?”, “How you going to make it to Tahoe, driving through 2 feet of snow, in a Ferrari?!”. The questioner has dropped context, though is seemingly an expert in what the best car is– now that’s not very nice.

We have all seen this before— you know, where a speaker will hold up 2 screen shots of Landing Pages and ask all the CEOs, CMOs and Directors of Marketing in the room to guess which recipe won? And just like before you have guys quickly blurting out, “The first one with the red button!”, “No! The 2nd landing page that says free!”… “Porsche!
Ferrari!”  Now I don’t blame the CEOs, CMOs and Directors for quickly rushing to judgment, they are just victims of their own enthusiasm. But ever notice that the speaker doesn’t always put the question into context? For example, if we are going to guess what the best landing page is, don’t we need to know in what context they arrived?  (Paid
Search, Banner Ads, Email etc.) And if they tell you that much, do they let you know what the marketing message reads or looks like before they arrive to the landing page? Rarely. So here you are, Mr. CEO with all your years of experience answering a question with no possible good pick because you were provided no context in which to make an educated guess– now that’s not very nice.

The speaker reveals that the winning recipe is the landing page with the red button.  You guessed wrong and the presenter is instantly viewed as omniscient. But if the entire story was presented from the start, you just might have learned that the main traffic source was from display ads with bright red buttons, and the consistency of using red button color kept visitors on track from banner ad to landing page.

Let’s remove the smoke and mirrors around Landing Page Optimization and start putting things into context. If you want to understand how to best optimize your landing pages, stop looking at your landing pages (stop looking at other people’s landing pages) and start looking at your traffic sources.

Any visitor who arrives to your site has an expectation.  Commonly, just by addressing this expectation you are increasing relevance. How do you do this? Well, an example for SEM, or any other traffic source, is to look at the language used in your ad, ad text or ad groups. Is the expectation you set in your ad consistent with your landing pages? In most cases it’s not, and the more detailed you are in keeping your marketing messaging reading and looking consistent, the more likely you will see a big increase in conversions. If you apply this principle to all your traffic sources, big gains are inevitable. There are many ways to optimize landing pages, but all too often understanding what context to optimize, is overlooked. (Once your marketing messages are consistent from ad to landing page, then start addressing other testing strategies, such as; trust, decrease friction, increase specific value propositions, re-designs etc.)

As for playing the guessing game, just not a lot of value in guessing these days, we all know we need to test so lets get on with it – tell the story and provide some context because thats where the real value is.

– Brion Hickey

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One thought on “Context Dropping – The Smoke and Mirrors Behind Landing Page Optimization

  1. Flora says:

    Cool stuff! Totally shows out now these days a large amount of people don’t do much in reality, but dream, sugar coating or extra value BS on stuff actually just a punch trash. It happens all the time. Good eyes, Brion. 🙂

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