In any organization, growth is driven by a team’s ability to generate conversions. From prospects to leads, leads to customers and loyal advocates, advertisers must be able to move visitors to action at key moments in the buyer’s journey. To accomplish this, they turn to personalized landing pages.
The problem is, creating personalized, conversion-centered pages at scale are impossible without the right platforms. Those platforms have been unavailable until now.
Post-Click Automation (PCA) represents a breakthrough in the advertising industry; it has enabled businesses to match the targeting of their ad on the post-click landing page. Campaigns can now approach 1:1 relevance. Personalization can be carried through end-to-end.
In this State of Post-Click Automation Report, we consult the available data, define its components, surmise why there is still an industry-wide gap in campaign personalization, and look forward to the future of Post-Click Automation.
What is the current state of Post-Click Automation?
Every day it seems a new marketing technology promises to solve advertisers’ biggest obstacles. For lead generation, there are drag-and-drop builders; for optimization, analytics and testing tools; with personalization, platforms for pinpoint targeting.
Despite their growing prevalence, these tools fail to address the most glaring shortcoming of the digital ad campaign: scaling personalization in the post-click stage. While some have attempted to–with builders or heatmaps, UTM generators or testing tools–these one-off solutions can’t personalize pages quickly and effectively. They don’t support scaling at the speed of advertising.
Yet they’ve been the only option. So, advertisers construct piecemeal tech stacks and wrestle with integrations. They endure the havoc of countless bugs. They tediously complete tasks that should’ve long ago been automated.
On average, an enterprise tech stack can span between 28 and 90 tools. The coordination needed between these tools, and the manpower to operate them, have left marketers simultaneously overwhelmed and underequipped.
- What tech are you investing in at each stage or channel of the advertising campaign?
- Are any tools redundant?
- Do any tools fail to deliver the ROI you expect?
An overwhelming majority of the ad tech for enterprise brands is focused on the pre-click stage, whereas the post-click stage deserves just as much attention because that is where conversions happen.
Survey question: Are marketers getting personalization right?
Despite living in a time when marketing technology is more available and more powerful than ever, businesses still say they struggle with personalization. Only 32% think marketers are “doing it right,” only 18% say they are very or extremely confident in their personalization strategy, and only 16% are very or extremely satisfied with their implementation of the tactic:
This struggle is evident in industry benchmarks. Looking at available conversion data, it’s obvious advertisers are having trouble reaching audiences with meaningful content. For Google Ads users, the average conversion rate across all industries is 4.40% for search and 0.57% for display:
On Facebook, those numbers were higher, with an average conversion rate of 9.21% on the network:
When click-through rates are also low, even a 9% conversion rate means a major missed opportunity. Conversion rates can be higher, but advertising must do a better job of reaching the right audiences under the right circumstances, i.e. personalization.
According to McKinsey, serving personalized content at scale is only possible with technology that integrates the three “D’s”: data discovery for uncovering audience insights, decision making for segmenting audiences based on data, and distribution of content in a widespread manner.
With four pillars–ad mapping, automated creation, personalization, and optimization & AI–PCA software integrates the three “D’s” to enable users to create meaningful content that converts better. On average, PCA users see higher conversion rates due to scalable, personalized experiences that meet the ad narratives established at the pre-click level.
The four pillars of PCA and how they empower users (Data)
Circling back to the survey results, consumers don’t think brands are executing personalization correctly. The state of Post-Click Automation will become more mainstream as more brands and agencies begin implementing the four pillars.
Creating a seamless, personalized user experience throughout the campaign requires an organized view of the pre- and post-click stages. Unfortunately, advertisers don’t have that.
Instead of an interface that allows for end-to-end campaign management, PPC managers are forced to take a siloed approach. One of the most common ways of tracking ads and corresponding post-click landing pages is with a spreadsheet, which is disorganized and cluttered, and it can easily result in a lapse in campaign personalization.
Ad mapping solves this because it visualizes the campaign from end to end–ad to post-click experience–in a single interface:
It works by importing the users’ Google Ads account. From there, users can select ads and create a post-click experience for each, and they can return to that ad and landing page pair at any time to update it. No more spreadsheets. No more painstaking manual entry or editing.
You wouldn’t run the same ad to two different audiences. This would compromise the relevance of its messaging. In the same way, you shouldn’t use an identical post-click experience for two different audiences. Each ad should have its own dedicated post-click landing page.
The problem is, that scaling ad creation is much easier than scaling post-click landing pages. Platforms like Google and Facebook both have ad tools that enable mass creation and editing to make segmentation possible. While some landing page builders have templates and duplication functionality, this is not sufficient for scaling post-click landing page creation.
With PCA, you can scale post-click experiences as easily as ads. By capturing personalized content into commonly used content blocks, users have the capability to automate the creation of hundreds of landing pages that are optimized for the highest possible conversions. These content blocks allow you to save any element or group of elements and insert them into a page later–whether that be a completely new page for a different audience or an optimized version of a former page.
With global content blocks, you can implant any of these saved blocks on groups of pages from a single place. That means any campaign-wide update like new copy, or any cross-campaign change like a rebranding or customer testimonial, can be reflected in moments.
Together these features enable users to move at the speed of advertising. With their help, PCA users have been able to publish nearly 1.8 million pages and 2 million experiences, respectively, across industries.
For advertisers, McKinsey calls personalization at scale “The Holy Grail” for its power to drive growth. Leaders in the tactic have seen a 5-15% increase in revenue and a 10-30% increase in spend efficiency:
Personalization at scale is achievable in the pre-click stage through a variety of software, but in the post-click stage, nothing can provide the solutions needed to continue that personalization through the campaign.
With the personalization components of a robust PCA solution, users can pass key targeting parameters through the pre-click stage to the post-click stage, which will dictate the content they see in the post-click stage, like geo-location:
This ability to scale personalization has enabled PCA users to create more relevant content from the click to the conversion. Average conversion rates have reached as high as 39%, and all but one industry has used PCA to generate conversion rates higher than the average (4.4%) on Google Ads:
Average conversion rate by industry
Optimization & AI
Conversion rates can always be higher, but achieving any meaningful and sustained result is very difficult. The process is complex and it’s fraught with threats that can do worse than doom a single campaign. As important as it is to have an experienced tester on staff, it’s just as important to have tools capable of empowering that tester.
With PCA, an advanced analytics dashboard reveals deficiencies in a campaign. This allows testers a basis for optimization. To test their theories, there’s built-in experimentation functionality, heatmaps, and traffic allocation. Page duplication, edit variations, split traffic are all possible. At its conclusion, the system automatically updates your page layout as our system gets smarter and recommends content based on machine learning conversion insights.
These capabilities have contributed to a monumental number of conversions across industries. In total, PCA users have generated nearly 356 million conversions to date.
What does the future of PCA look like?
The state of Post-Click Automation will continue to grow and advertisers can expect to see the following four trends emerge.
More personalized ad campaigns
Until now, existing tools have forced businesses to make concessions. Now that PCA is enabling advertisers everywhere to scale personalization, regardless of the size of their team, you can expect to see a surge in personalized campaigns.
These personalized campaigns won’t just be “more” in terms of number, but “more” in terms of their level of personalization. Here’s why:
- Dynamic text replacement is not personalization.
- Message match is a crucial component of the post-click experience, but it’s not personalization.
Personalization can only be attained with content that matches the targeting parameters you set in the pre-click stage. The components of PCA make it possible. As it becomes more widespread, you can expect to see more meaningful personalization throughout the ad campaign.
Greater reliance on qualitative data for optimization
Though quantitative data is more common and easier to come by, qualitative feedback can provide more meaningful insights. If your goal is more meaningful personalization, qualitative data is enormously helpful.
- How are your prospects behaving?
- Where are they clicking and hovering?
- How deeply do they scroll?
This is the data you can uncover with heatmaps, a crucial component of PCA. Though not entirely qualitative, these maps allow users to visualize numerical data in a way that can better inform design:
By determining where your visitors are moving their mouse, you can answer questions like: Are they consuming the entire page? Are they clicking non-clickable elements? Noticing my CTA button? Watching my demo video?
As the adoption of PCA grows, so will reliance on the kind of data heatmaps can provide. The result will be more meaningful personalization.
More teams will specialize in generating conversions
Though 500+ enterprise advertisers have used PCA to improve the post-click experience, Post-Click Automation technology is far from mainstream. The philosophy that drives it is as well:
Every potential customer deserves a personalized post-click experience.
As more advertisers come around to this idea, we can expect to see a greater emphasis on training and hiring teams to scale personalization. Like PPC managers, copywriters, designers, and strategists collaborate on ad creation, so will a team dedicated to PCA.
Machine learning & automated optimization
Machine learning and AI are revolutionizing digital advertising and it will help eliminate the guesswork for marketers as optimization is done automatically.
The state of Post-Click Automation continues to evolve
As the benefits of Post-Click Automation become more well-known, more advertisers will turn to PCA to raise their conversion rates above the industry average. But, even this is not without its challenges. Businesses scaling from 100 to 1,000 post-click landing pages may find themselves unable to dedicate the resources necessary to personalize each page.
We would like to offer you a complimentary analysis of your ad campaigns including competitive insights against your top 5 competitors and the top sites in your industry. Our team will share insights on how we can increase your conversion rates, in addition to a comprehensive competitive analysis.
We will review your campaigns to analyze your post-click health, compare your site against industry and competitive benchmarks, and identify the most effective opportunities to increase your ROAS. Request your analysis here.