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7 Reasons Why Your Online Ads Don’t Convert

7 Reasons Why Your Online Ads Don’t Convert

It’s beyond frustrating when an ad campaign generates lots of clicks and traffic, but few conversions.

On average, only 4.4% of clicks on Google Ads lead to conversions. It’s even lower on the Google Display Network, with only 0.57% of clicks resulting in a conversion.

Even if your ad campaigns are converting above these averages, there’s always room for improvement. Boosting your conversion rate by even a few percentage points can go a long way to impact your business’s bottom line.

So, how can you raise your online ad conversion rates?

The reality is that your ad conversion funnel has many potential points of friction. Addressing each will help boost your post-click landing page conversion rates.

Here, we cover seven common reasons your ads don’t convert and what you can do to address each one.

1. Your ad targeting is wrong

The fundamental challenge of any ad campaign is to target the right people at the right time. That’s the reason online ads are so appealing: You have the chance to catch your audience in the moment when they need you most.

Here are the three most common reasons ad targeting fails.

You’re targeting the wrong audience

An ad campaign won’t perform to its full potential if you don’t know your customer. 

If you think you may be targeting the wrong audience, go back to basics and reassess your customer personas.

One frequent mistake marketers make with buyer personas is settling for one hypothetical image of their ideal customer, when their real customers may be quite different and highly segmented.

Solution: Create crystal-clear, segmented buyer personas.

Describe the following aspects of your target customers:

  • Demographics
  • Occupation
  • Goals and motivations
  • Challenges and frustrations
  • Interests and influences
  • Favorite online channels

Don’t pigeonhole your audience into one persona. Build as many customer segments as you need—the more specific, the better.

Take advantage of any customer data you already have, and survey or interview your existing customers to learn more. Don’t settle for who you think your customers are until you’ve confirmed your assumptions with data.

Your audience targeting is wrong

Maybe you understand your customer well, but you’re failing to target them.

Solution: Get to know all the audience targeting options available on the advertising platforms you’re using. 

For example, Google Ads audience targeting options include the following:

  • Affinity: based on habits and interests
  • Detailed demographics: based on age, gender, household income, and parental status
  • Life events: based on recent activities, like graduating or buying a new home
  • In-market: based on recent purchase intent
  • Remarketing: targeting recent visitors to your website
  • Customer match: targeting your customer email lists
  • Similar audiences: based on similar audiences to your remarketing or customer lists

By narrowly focusing on high-potential buyers, you’re more likely to increase your conversions.

Your keyword targeting is wrong

The last potential broken link in the audience targeting chain may be that you’re reaching the right people, but at the wrong time.

For PPC ads, for example, this comes down to targeting the wrong keywords.

Imagine you’re a professional translation company targeting any broad-match search for “translation.” You will end up targeting search terms like “English to Spanish translation” from people looking to translate a sentence they just read online. 

When they click through to your ad, they’ll be disappointed to find a post-click landing page looking to sell them translation services—a negative experience for them, and a waste of ad spend for you.

In other cases, you may be targeting customers who are in the wrong stage of the marketing funnel. For example, someone searching “best oven brands” likely isn’t as close to making a purchase as someone searching “buy Sub-Zero gas stove.”

Solution: Revise your keyword targeting strategy to focus on high-intent keywords that signal a customer is ready to convert.

2. Your post-click landing page is poorly designed 

Your post-click landing page design is an enormous factor in whether or not your site visitors will convert. Even the most enticing offer may not be able to overcome a landing page that creates a poor user experience. 

Here are a few ways your post-click experience design may be killing your conversions.

Slow load times

Your page must load as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you risk losing people.

According to Google, a page that takes 3 seconds to load has a 32% higher bounce rate of a website that takes 1 second to load. By 5 seconds, the probability of a bounce increases by 90%. By 6 seconds, 106%.

Google data on slow loading

Solution: To reduce loading times, you should do the following:

  • Reduce the number of server requests.
  • Reduce the amount of JavaScript.
  • Compress images.
  • Minify HTML and CSS files.
  • Minimize the use of plugins.

Alternatively, you can transform your post-click landing pages into AMP pages, where content is preloaded and thus loads instantly. 

For more tips on reducing page-load times, check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Not mobile-friendly

As of July 2020, over 50% of global website traffic comes from mobile devices, up from 31% in 2015. It’s thus vital to optimize your post-click landing pages for mobile devices.

To diagnose this issue, check your ad campaign data. If your ads convert at higher rates on desktop than on mobile, it’s likely due to flaws in your mobile landing page design.

Solution: To improve your post-click landing page’s mobile-friendliness, do the following:

  • Make all content mobile-responsive.
  • Reduce the page load time.
  • Improve the mobile navigation UX.
  • Avoid using popups/interstitials.
  • Optimize all clickable elements for touch.
  • Use full-width CTAs.
  • Use click-to-call for phone numbers.

Lack of CTAs or broken forms

If you make the post-click experience challenging or convoluted, people won’t convert. Too often, advertisers bury their CTAs at the bottom of a page or include contact forms with too many fields.

Solution: Prominently display your conversion elements like CTAs, buttons, and forms, and ensure they work correctly. 

Wrike’s post-click landing page has a prominent CTA button and a labeled form that’s easy to fill out: 

wrike landing page

To avoid losing out on easy conversions, leverage these best practices:

  • Include a prominent CTA or form above the fold.
  • Don’t include more form fields than necessary.
  • Use high-contrast button colors to encourage more clicks.
  • Thoroughly test your forms on desktop and mobile.

An unappealing design

Your page could be perfectly designed from a technical standpoint, but it may still be visually unappealing.

Solution: Audit your page design:

  • Include a healthy balance of text, imagery, and whitespace.
  • Avoid paragraphs of more than two to three sentences.
  • Ask friends, co-workers, or clients for honest design feedback.
  • Test multiple designs to see which performs better.

This Help Scout landing page hits all the right design chords:

Help Scout landing page

3. Your post-click landing page lacks focus

If your ad targeting is on point, but you’re still not seeing conversions, there may be something off with your post-click experience.

One all-too-common mistake in the post-click funnel comes from advertisers sending ad traffic to their homepage.

What is that such an issue? Homepages aren’t designed to convert.

Homepages typically act as a storefront, introducing any generic website visitor to what your business is all about. Your homepage links people to your products or services, your company bio, your blog, and a potentially long list of other pages. 

Your audience has a limited attention span. By giving your audience so many options for what to do, they’re less likely to take the intended action: converting.

Solution: Always send ad traffic to a post-click landing page with a singular purpose. Focusing on a specific offer with one call to action keeps your site visitors on task.

Hide your website navigation and don’t include links to other pages on your site, so that your site visitors have fewer opportunities to get distracted.

The Hootsuite post-click page is focused on one goal—getting visitors to request a demo. 

hootsuite landing page

4. Your post-click landing pages don’t align with your pre-click ads

Another common point of friction in the conversion funnel is a misalignment between the pre- and post-click experiences. 

In simpler terms, your ad creates expectations. If your post-click landing page doesn’t meet those expectations, you won’t see many conversions.

We call this message match. The messaging in your ads must be identical to the messaging on your landing page.

For example, if your ad copy promises “15% off band t-shirts,” but you send people to a page titled “Browse all t-shirts” that makes no mention of the 15% off sale, you’ve created a misalignment.

Here are a few examples of ad-to-page alignment:

Ad message: 15% Off Band T-Shirts

Bad alignment: Check Out Our T-Shirts

Better alignment: Check Out Our Band T-Shirts

Best alignment: Save 15% On Band T-Shirts

The Dollar Shave Club ad and landing page maintain ad-to-page alignment by both promoting the $9 starter kit offer: 

dcs sponsored content
DSC landing page

Another source of misalignment is using a many-to-one ad-to-landing page ratio. For example, if you run a dog grooming service, you may have an incredible post-click landing page that’s solely focused on dog grooming.

With your ads, you may target breed keywords, like “golden retriever grooming” or “poodle grooming,” with specific ad copy for each breed. However, if you send all those ads to your single dog grooming page, you may create misalignment when your landing page makes no mention of the breed in the ad.

Solution: Employ a 1:1 ad-to-page ratio, where each of your ads sends visitors to a landing page that reflects the messaging in the ad. This strategy gives your audience the confidence that you have the specific expertise or solution they expected when they clicked on your ad.

In our dog breeder example, you would create one post-click landing page for each dog breed you advertised.

The challenge here, of course, is the sheer amount of effort it takes to create a large number of landing pages. It’s easy in theory, but difficult to scale. That’s where Post-Click Automation (PCA) comes in.

PCA allows you to scale post-click landing page creation through content blocks. These content blocks allow advertisers to save any element of a landing page for easy reuse on another landing page in the future. This can speed up the creation of completely new landing pages or landing pages personalized for a particular audience.

5. Your post-click landing pages aren’t personalized 

What happens if what’s compelling to one target segment of your audience isn’t attractive to another? A one-size-fits-all approach to your landing pages won’t work in this scenario.

Therefore, a lack of conversions from your ads may have nothing to do with misunderstanding your audience or having a poorly designed post-click landing page. Instead, it may be more about a lack of personalization.

Landing page personalization is the biggest conversion-driving lever at your disposal, and it’s one that very few advertisers take advantage of.

And when we say personalization, it goes beyond the message matching we discussed above. To truly increase conversions, you should think beyond tactics like dynamic text replacement.

Imagine the perfect advertising scenario:

A customer lands on your page at the exact moment they need to buy from you. You know all their specific wants and desires. As a result, you can offer a completely personalized post-click landing page that strikes every chord with this shopper. 

In this scenario, you’d expect conversion rates to be much, much higher than the average Google Ads conversion rate of 4.4%.

Solution: Using PCA, you can get much closer to this reality. With PCA, you can scale post-click experiences as easily as ads. By capturing personalized content into commonly used blocks, users can automate the creation of hundreds of landing pages optimized for maximum conversions.

These personalized landing pages create a better experience for the buyer, as they deliver the right messaging at the optimal time. 

It’s also ideal for you, the advertiser, as it boosts your conversion rates and ROAS. Indeed, PCA users see an average conversion rate of 16%—nearly four times the industry average.

6. Your offer isn’t compelling

It’s possible people just aren’t buying what you’re selling. If your offer isn’t clear or strong enough, you may be losing people on your product or service alone—independent of your pre-click ads or post-click landing pages.

Everything comes back to understanding your audience. It’s up to you to figure out what your customers want and where you’re coming up short.

For example, if you run an ecommerce website, maybe your ads and landing pages are perfect, but your ads aren’t converting because you don’t offer free shipping. 

Solution: Interview or survey your customers and target prospects to figure out your product’s strengths and weaknesses. Then, adjust your offering and tailor the messaging on your landing page to highlight what your customers value most.

7. You rarely experiment or test

Constant improvements are fundamental to boosting your conversion rate. Until you reach 100%, conversion rates can always be higher.

Great advertisers are always A/B testing their post-click landing page design and copy. However, this is not without its challenges.

An average landing page has potentially hundreds of factors at play at once. An A/B test may reveal that orange buttons convert better for one audience, but another audience responds better to  green buttons.

It requires an enormous effort to pull off experimentation and testing at scale. Designing the experiments, collecting and analyzing the data, and implementing the changes all take time.

Solution: A PCA platform can automate the experimentation and testing process through optimization and AI. 

PCA testing capabilities include the following features:

  • Built-in experimentation to easily test and analyze data
  • Heatmaps to track user behavior like scrolling, mouse movements, and clicks
  • Traffic allocation to track how often audiences see a page variation
  • Page editing and duplication directly from the builder
  • An analytics dashboard to track key metrics like visitors, conversions, and conversion rates

These tools unlock new capabilities for advertisers to optimize their ad campaigns in ways that were previously not possible.

Turn clicks into conversions with Post-Click Automation

Generating conversions takes more than creating an appealing, eye-catching ad. That mentality is why advertisers have been stuck with only a fraction of people converting.

Every audience needs a customized post-click experience to push the boundaries of expected conversion rates. However, it’s impossible to pull this off without an automated, scalable solution.

Enter PCA. 

Automation four pillars

Four pillars of PCA enable marketers to maximize and automate their advertising conversions:

  1. Ad mapping allows Postclick to import your Google ads account and map every ad to a separate post-click experience. From a single dashboard, the Postclick team can visualize the entire campaign to ensure it’s message-matched, personalized, and seamless from end to end.
  2. Automated creation enables Postclick to create hundreds of pages at once with the help of content blocks. You can then save,  edit, and import them into new pages or existing ones.
  3. Personalization capabilities allow for the transfer of key audience targeting parameters from the pre-click stage to the post-click stage. With this pillar, Postclick conversion experts can ensure that every audience member lands on a page tailored to their exact personalization profile.
  4. Optimization and AI make it a breeze to improve conversion rates. Technology in this pillar will continually collect data on users visiting post-click pages — learning what they respond positively and negatively to. Then, it will automatically adjust the page layout to whatever is most likely to result in conversions. 

Postclick is a tech-enabled service that combines the industry’s only PCA platform with a team of conversion experts.

We want to offer you a complimentary analysis of your ad campaigns. We will review your campaigns to analyze your post-click health, compare your site against industry and competitive benchmarks, and identify the most comprehensive opportunities to increase your ROAS. Our team will share insights on how to increase your conversion rates, in addition to a comprehensive competitive analysis. Request your analysis here.

Eric Doty
by Eric Doty

Eric Doty is a content writer at Postclick. As a freelance content marketer with expertise in SEO, his mission is to create high-impact content that drives online growth for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Eric is also the Global Marketing Manager for Summa Linguae Technologies, an international language services provider.

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