Call Tracking Improves A/B Testing for PPC Landing Pages

There are two things that will keep you from ever finding the best PPC landing page. The first is finding a landing page that you think is “good enough” and giving up testing. The other is A/B testing without all the data you need to make the right decisions for your PPC campaigns.

Which PPC Ads Are Making My Phone Ring?

For most businesses, phone calls are the preferred kind of lead. As Melissa Mackey at Search Engine Watch points out “In the B2B world, especially, phone calls are the bread and butter of online advertisers.” You have a prospect right there on the phone, and your trained inbound sales staff can often shepherd the potential client right to a sale. Or, at least, they can start building a solid customer relationship based on competence and trust if it’s the kind of sale that can’t be concluded in one interaction. In either case, that’s the kind of lead you want your PPC campaigns to bring in.

But you might not know which PPC ads or organic search results are leading prospects to call, and which ones just lead to site exits. With modern call tracking, though, we have the ability to give you that information. We can identify which PPC landing pages turn into business and which don’t.

How do we do this? Whenever someone comes to a PPC landing page, they are shown a dynamic number from your number pool. If they call you using that number, you know that lead came from that PPC ad.

But if they don’t call you right away, if they go to your site and browse additional pages via a link from your ad, the phone number stays with them, so that no matter where or when they call, they will use their assigned number and you will be able to track their behavior back to the PPC ad that brought them to the site.

Improving PPC Ads with A/B Testing

Once you’ve got the full picture of how well a PPC ad is converting, you can begin improving it through A/B testing. The bigger your campaign, the more important this is: 93% of people running $100k/month ad campaigns regularly adjust their bids based on call tracking and other ROI data.

The basic concept of A/B testing is simple: you create an alternate PPC ad, landing page, or other content and see if it performs better than the original. To test which performs better, A/B testing shows your original content (A) or your modified content (B) to searchers. If your original content performs better, keep it for now and try a different variation. But if your modified content performs better, it can become your new primary content.

You keep testing until you’ve optimized your ad or landing page.

The Best A/B Testing Strategies

When done properly, A/B testing can really help you hone your marketing efforts. But if it’s not done right, you can end up wasting lots of time and money without learning what you really need to know. Or, worse, making the wrong conclusions and sabotaging your marketing efforts. Here’s how to design A/B tests that yield meaningful results.

First, make changes with a clear question in mind. For example: does the position of the phone number affect conversions? Does the color of the click-to-call button affect conversions? Does emotional or informative content lead to more conversions?

Focus on one question at a time. Making too many changes can obscure the results. Never allocate too much (and especially not all) of your traffic to an unproven landing page or PPC ad. If the changes you made were for the worse, you could really see your conversions tank. Start with 10 or 20% of the total traffic and increase it once the page shows promise.

Track All Conversions

You can’t really tell which version of a page is better unless you’re tracking all conversions. If you’re only tracking form completions but not phone calls you can get skewed results. Some pages will convert more online forms but fewer phone calls, or vice versa.

The disparity can be so great that what seems to be your best strategy for online conversion might actually be your worst performing page overall. It’s only by tracking both that you can get a good idea about which is the better page.

Set the Right Endpoint

Your PPC ad or landing page is only partly successful when it triggers a call. True success is when you bring a client onboard, and that depends on your inbound sales staff. Call tracking for PPC can help you optimize this part of the process, too.

Call tracking lets you know which calls are coming from which landing pages based on which keyword searches, allowing you to immediately know the main concerns of the caller. With whisper messages and other information, you can give your inbound sales staff a huge advantage for closing that sale.

A/B testing can be used to try out different scripts or introductions that are related to particular landing pages or PPC ads. The gross conversion data gives you some basic numbers, but you can use call recording to get a detailed picture of why a certain script succeeds or fails.

Track All Client Engagement

For good A/B testing, you also need to track when prospects leave your PPC landing page to go to your site and then call or fill out a form from there. Many call tracking programs don’t let you track beyond the PPC landing page, but then you’re losing vital data.

Some PPC ads and landing pages work well to attract prospects that can’t be converted just by one page. They might need to browse your site, read reviews, and gather more information before they make a decision. Often, these are prospects who are making high-dollar-value decisions, and not counting them can really skew your perception of the ROI of one landing page or another.

To get a complete picture during A/B testing you need to track all engagement—it’s the only way you will get the data you need to make informed decisions.

Evolve Vacation Rental Network Learns the Power of Mobile

Evolve Vacation Rental Network provides management, marketing, booking, and other support services for homeowners who want to rent out their home to vacationers. And they do it at a lower cost than traditional management firms.

To be successful with their thinner margins, they needed to know that their marketing plan was efficient and effective. Their first tracking solution didn’t allow them to track calls coming from their ad campaigns, and they realized that they were essentially flying blind.

With CallRail’s call tracking, they were able to analyze the acquisition cost of each campaign using A/B testing and other analytical techniques. This allowed them to cut off campaigns that just weren’t performing, which dramatically cut wastage in advertising dollars.

Call tracking has also allowed Evolve to understand how the growing power of mobile devices has increased the importance of phone calls. While online communications were increasing for many years at the expense of phone calls, the pendulum is starting to swing back the other way.

Why? It’s simple. Mobile now accounts for more than 50% of the inbound traffic coming to Evolve, but when mobile users want to make a decision, it’s so much easier for them to push a click-to-call button rather than try to fill out a contact form with their small mobile screen.

The benefit for Evolve is that once they were able to optimize their landing pages for mobile users, they found they got better engagement on the phone. Realizing this benefit, they worked harder to move users to call rather than use the online forms, which resulted in a much higher conversion rate.

What insights will call tracking reveal for your advertising? If you’re ready to put aside the notion that your PPC campaign is “good enough” and learn what’s the best PPC campaign possible, you can learn more about CallRail’s tracking options here and start getting ahead of the trends.

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