When it comes to ad continuity on the landing page we often think of keyword match. Are the actual words you’re using in your ads being displayed on the landing page? And that’s a good start. However, when it comes to increasing conversion rates beyond “average” (~4% according to sources like MarketingSherpa and FireClick) we should be thinking beyond just keyword match and getting serious about ad continuity on the landing page.

A message is more than just the words that comprise it. When you have a conversation with someone you look for a variety of verbal (tone, inflection, speed, laughter, etc.) and nonverbal (facial expressions, body language, gestures, etc.) cues to determine the “whole message.” While we can’t see the nonverbal cues searchers are relaying when clicking an ad, we can determine a variety of key factors about the searcher based on the ad they do click on.

Looking beyond the keyword

Forrester put out a research paper in August of this year called, The Future of Search Marketing where they discuss “a number of changes that will force interactive marketers to think more like business planners than channel managers.”

In the paper, Forrester stresses the importance of optimizing landing pages for conversions and says, “Potential customers can’t convert if their post-click experience isn’t relevant.”

The most obvious way to make the landing page relevant is to have concise message match between the ad and the page. While concise message match will help yield you a good Google Quality Score and a decent conversion rate, as marketers we hope to knock words like “decent” and “average” out of sight. To do this, I suggest looking at more than just keyword match. Just like you would in a regular conversation, look for the additional factors that can help you have a better conversation with your visitor; match not only the keyword, but their tone, mood and so on with your copy, graphics, pictures, etc. This can be done by looking beyond the actual ad message and thinking about how that message might be conveyed in day-to-day conversation. What does it tell us about the visitor beyond face value?

If the ad reflects excitement or urgency, it makes sense to then match colors/images/copy to reflect that mood and keep it going. However, if the ad promises something more informational, it may best to reflect a serious and all-business page.  Bloomberg University’s Department of Instructional Technology offers this guide to using color to reflect moods, which provides good tips that translate to landing page design.

You’ll also want to choose your words carefully. While your landing page copy should always be persuasive, it often goes about persuading in different ways for different personas and where they are in the buyer cycle. Consider your visitor types when you choose the verbs to use in your call-to-action and the adjectives you use in your copy.

Message match is no doubt a key link between the ad and the landing page. Just remember to think beyond just the keyword to the full message to really skyrocket conversion rates!

Kristina Allen, online marketing manager at ion interactive, wrote this guest post. ion specializes in landing pages and conversion rate optimization. You can chat with Kristina @allenkristina and @ioninteractive.