PPC Landing Pages: Less can be More

Reprinted with permission from the Lyris.com blog archives.
By: Dane Christensen

I made an observation that really surprised me while testing our pay-per-click landing pages recently. I was testing two pages that were identical except for the amount of copy on the page. One version had a couple short paragraphs pitching the benefits of our offer and our service. The other version was basically a re-statement of the text ad from the search engine – about 10 words.

Which landing page do you think performed better?

Well, I guess the title of this article kind of gave it away. But I was amazed to see that the minimal copy won by a significant margin.

Conventional wisdom is that concise, pithy copy is better than a wordy tome. But most people, like me, probably assume that you need at least a paragraph or two to inform the visitor about what you have to offer and convince them to take action. Indeed, advice on lists of landing page copywriting tips range from “be brief but give the visitor all the information they need” to “use plenty of description and power words” to “tell an interesting story”.

But our data suggest that it may be best to simply tell the visitor what you have for them in as few words as possible. Assuming your PPC ad text and landing page copy closely match the search keyword, savvy searchers already know what you have to say. Your two paragraphs are just more “yadda yadda yadda” to them. At least that’s how I explain what we observed.

Whatever the underlying reasons, the results were clear. And while I’m not publishing the details of our test in this post, you can see another test that corroborates our findings at marketingexperiments.com. So while various pundits may opine about how to write compelling landing page copy, here are two cases of solid evidence indicating that “less can be more”.

Now, I’m not trying to state this as some kind of “Universal Law of Landing Page Copy”. No doubt the most effective amount (and style) of copy will depend on the nature of your product or service, how obvious your value proposition is, and whether you are going for a direct sale, lead capture, or some other goal. As always, the marketing mantra is “Test, Test, Test”.

So by all means, include a test with minimal copy (and plenty of white space). If it works as well for you as it did for me, you’ll be glad you did.