[My client requests that we keep the landing page as the homepage because someone searching for one of our services might also be interested in the similar services that we show on our homepage and it provides a warmer welcome for our brand. What opinions do you have about this? Does AdWords still penalize you for this? In my view, it does make sense to keep the homepage as the landing page.]
You have targeted a specific keyword along with highly relevant ad text that aligns perfectly with the intent of users, but then you drop them off at the home page instead of the most relevant page? :confused: Hoping they find their way to the page they expected to land on and not get distracted along the way? Yeah, that sounds like a way of optimizing conversions.
Why not confuse you, visitors, make them browse your entire website before they are allowed to view the page they came for, based on your reasoning, wouldn’t that be an even warmer welcome? Maybe go all out and track the pages viewed and keep redirecting them until they have viewed every other product except the one they came for. That would be in line with your reasoning, right? Of course, that is taking your logic to a more complete utilization, but hey, if it is sound reasoning, why not full implementation?
Ask yourself “when you click an ad about a product you are specifically interested in, do you want to be taken instead to a page about other products?” When that happens, does it give you a warm feeling? I never really thought of bait-and-switch as a generator of warm feelings, how about you?
If the goal of your advertising campaign is branding, not conversions, then yes the homepage as the landing page is just fine.
The main purpose of branding is to get people to recall your company, service or product from memory. The primary benefit is that they may recall your company name and seek you out at some point in the future, or choose your ad the next time they are shopping. It is very different from direct response advertising where the goal is an immediate conversion to a lead or a sale.
Quality scores are based primarily on CTRs. Generating a large number of impressions is the main objective of branding campaigns, and higher CTRs drive the CPM costs up, which is at cross purposes with the primary goal of Branding campaigns, generating the highest number of impressions at the lowest cost.
Generally, it is a good idea to run separate campaigns for branding and direct response. And to take full advantage of your branding campaigns you may want to run a simultaneous direct response campaign.
Branding campaigns are still common, but not quite as popular as direct response campaigns since the introduction of PPC advertising. Many folks use PPC campaigns for branding, but they try to keep the cost per impression rate as low as possible. The goal is to get millions of impressions at the lowest Cost-Per-Impression as possible.
When AdWords introduced Quality Scores it made it much costlier to do branding campaigns within the search network. Most branding campaigns moved to the content network (display network), where they are still popular today.
If you are advertising in the search network you are probably better off sticking with direct response campaigns. A great way to do this creates a custom landing page designed to generate a response in the form of a lead. An example might be a landing page optimized for converting ad clicks into leads via a form for a free estimate or something along that line.
Once you get them on your landing page, engage them with sales copy written in a conversational style. Make a compelling case to fill out the form. Then after you get that lead you can redirect them to your homepage or perhaps optional products or services. The point is to try to prevent them from being distracted with multiple choices and too many decisions before you get their contact information.
That would be too much of a hard sell for a lead generation form.
You don’t need a long sales letter for lead generation. just a short paragraph or two that provides a clear description of what your client provides and why they should choose your client over similar offers. When it comes to lead generation less is more.