6 in 10 marketing decision makers plan to increase their Internet advertising budget this year. If we are to believe the SRI, we are talking here about investments that will exceed billion euros in Europe, by the end of 2022.
In a turbulent and hyper-competitive environment, advertisers seek to make every euro invested in advertising profitable. Many have improved the excellence of their operations and professionalized their media buying. However, there is still a frontier to explore in terms of optimization, that of the post click experience.
In this article, we define the post-click experience as the interactions between a brand and a consumer, after a click on an online advertisement. This is different from the “post-click measurement” which aims to quantify the impact following an advertising click.
In the following lines, we will deal in depth with this subject which can bring you big profits!
- After defining the concept, we will see why the post-click experience is so important.
- We will then focus on the method to follow to improve your post-click experience.
- Finally, we will discuss the tools that allow marketers to optimize their post-click experience, in an industrial way.
What is post click experience (and why is it important)?
Marketers usually focus on the “media” part
A “pre-click” focus, maintained by GAFAM innovations
When it comes to online advertising, marketers focus a lot on purely media topics:
- the technologies to be used (AdServer, DSP, DMP, etc.),
- creative effectiveness (creative A/B testing, dynamic ads, etc.),
- trading (bidding management, audience targeting, etc.),
- or measurement (attribution, brand lift, MMM, etc.),
These topics play a vital role in advertising effectiveness. So it makes sense for professionals to look into it. Especially since the GAFAs have made tremendous technological progress in this area (eg automation, micro-targeting, personalization, creative industrialization, auction strategies as close as possible to business issues, etc.).
The media is a starting point; this is what happens after he converts a simple visitor into a customer
Despite this obvious progress on the media side, we must not lose sight of the final objective of all advertising: to transform impressions into real hard dollars.
However, despite this hard work on media operations, more than 98% of marketing budgets can be considered “wasted”, since the median e-commerce conversion rate is 1.84%.
The purpose of all digital advertising is:
- to make a brand known,
- to establish links with an interested audience,
- to turn it into paying customers,
- then as ambassadors.
In this process, the euro invested in the media is a starting point. The publicity it generates is only a foot call.
It is the experience provided by the brand “after the click” that will seduce the consumer, then eventually transform him into a lead, a customer, an ambassador.
This is where the notion of post-click experience comes into play.
How does the post click experience improve the impact of media campaigns?
Definition of the post click experience
The post-click experience therefore refers to what happens immediately after clicking on an advertisement.
- It starts with a landing page adapted to the advertising context that has invited the consumer to discover the brand,
- and follows naturally with optimized user paths, capable of persuading the visitor to act.
Conversely, the pre-click experience can be defined as everything that happens before the Internet user clicks on the advertisements (advertising creation, auction management, audience targeting, etc.).
A “cascading” impact: a better post click experience leads to an improvement in KPIs
The post-click experience aims to retain as many prospects as possible as soon as they arrive on site, improve their engagement and guide them more effectively towards conversion.
The volume of conversions is improved:
- The bounce rate decreases,
- which increases the volume of engaged visitors (ex: who add to the basket)
- and leads to a mechanical increase in conversions.
The factors that impact media profitability are also developing favourably:
- Better relevance / user experience leads to lower costs per click (eg on levers such as Google Ads and its quality score mechanism),
- and better highlighting of the offer (eg similar or complementary products) generate higher average baskets.
Positive results on these indicators lead to a mechanical improvement in advertising indicators, such as conversion rate, return on ad spend (ROAS) or revenue per click (RPC). The advertiser thus generates additional revenue at a constant budget.
The post click experience gives control back to the advertiser, in a media landscape boosted by automation and artificial intelligence
Beyond these direct impacts on advertiser metrics, taking care of your post-click experience allows you to regain control over advertisements that are increasingly automated and boosted with artificial intelligence.
Targeting, auctions, ads may be driven by the Google or Facebook algorithm, but you remain in control of the content presented to each Internet user. The post-click experience proves that you can still act on powerful monetization levers.
Just look at the performance difference based on the number of landing pages used to confirm the value of optimizing the post-click experience:
- Companies with more than 40 landing pages get 12 times more leads than those with 5 or less.
- And those with more than 50 post-click landing pages see a 270% increase in leads.
A 4-step method to optimize the post-click experience
Step 1: Start from the “micro-moments” of consumers who interact with your advertising levers
Map the objectives of your consumers (“micro-moments”) for your different acquisition levers
The users who click on your online advertisements are slightly different consumers: they do not all come from the same type of advertisements, their intentions vary (ex: the keyword they typed changes or the offer that attracted them n is not the same), their motivations and their objections differ, etc.
This is why it is advisable to formalize “mini-avatars” for your different acquisition levers.
|Shopping Ads||Compare the price between products in the same category||Choose a trusted merchant to buy a specific product reference|
|SEA||“Best + product category” query to refine your brand selection||Request “review + product brand” to read UGC on the pre-selected product reference||Request “Brand + Coupon Code” before proceeding to purchase||“Brand” request in order to make a re-purchase on the site|
|Facebook Ads||Learn more about “problem X” encountered recently||Learn about a type of product recommended by an acquaintance|
|Membership||Choice of the partner brand that offers cashback||Evaluation of current promotions for re-purchase|
Where to find the data to establish these “mini-personas”?
Rely on the targeting criteria selected on the media platforms (eg: keywords or targeted audiences).
You can also explore your Google Analytics statistics to understand what distinguishes your visitors for each acquisition channel (demographic profiles, interests, behaviors, content viewed, conversion brakes & accelerators, etc.).
At the end of this exercise, you will be better able to identify the decision-making process of each of your personas. This will then allow you to get the most out of each paid click.
Step 2: Map your advertising levers with your landing pages and your KPIs
Create a matrix of your post click experience
Now that you have identified the motivations of your audience for each advertising lever, it is time to personalize their post-click experience.
It starts by establishing a map that matches:
- Your main media campaigns (the 20% that represent 80% of your traffic),
- the landing pages associated with them,
- the conversion experience (thank you page + transactional email)
- and the key performance indicator that measures your success.
|Media campaigns||Landing Page||Thank you page||Transactional Email||KPIs|
|Shopping Ads “Best Sellers”||Product sheet with rec. cross-sell other “best seller” references||“Post-purchase” highlighting of the brand’s new product||Purchase confirmation + promotion code for any purchase of the new product||ROAS “Best sellers” Best seller
purchase price? new product
|Facebook Ads “Promo. product”||Product sheet with rec. complementary product||Ephemeral upsell offer valid for 24 hours||Purchase confirmation + reminder of the ephemeral offer||Average basket|
By laying out your main customer journeys in this way, you will be able to personalize and optimize the post-click experience according to the business indicator you want to improve.
Start from your existing one, then improve it
If you are doing this exercise for the first time, start from your existing one. Then, based on your KPIs, analyze in your post-click experience:
- any points of friction that slow down the visitor’s progress towards conversion,
- the points of distraction that lead him away from the optimal course,
- the motivational elements that improve the probability of seeing the visitor take the action you expect of him,
- the elements of relevance and trust that reassure the visitor to engage in the conversion process.
Once this inventory has been completed, you will have concrete avenues for improvement that you can test once your new post-click experience is deployed.
Step 3: Creation of landing pages for each couple [media touchpoint: micro-moment]
Ensure “natural” continuity with your ads
At this point you know:
- what is the objective of the consumer who interacts with your advertisements (“micro-moments”), for each lever of your acquisition mix,
- and which post-click experience scenario you want to run for each type of media campaign.
Now let’s focus on the first point of contact after the click, the landing page. The latter should be seen as an extension of the ad that caught the attention of the target audience.
- It must ensure experiential continuity,
- create trust,
- and guide the user to the next logical step to engage with the brand.
Take into account the target audience and their “micro-moment” to adapt your reception on site
The challenge here is to make your landing page resonate as well as possible with the audience segment targeted by your media campaigns, as well as with the offers (and their formulations) presented on your advertisements.
You’ll need to perfectly match the intent of your mini-personas, the message of your ad, and the message of your landing page. It is a question of adapting on your landing pages:
- the title
- visual identity
- the visuals used in the advertisement
- the offer relayed on your creative
These elements will tell the user that he has landed in the right place.
Adapt your content dynamically to improve your persuasion strategy
The next step is to know how to persuade your persona to take the action you expect of him. To do this, your copywriting and your ability to inspire confidence are your best allies. For example, you can change the type of customer testimonial that is featured based on the product/audience that visits your site. If necessary, you can revitalize part of the content of your landing page.
Take an e-commerce site that invests in Google Shopping Ads advertising. This advertiser has all the detailed information of their products in their Google Merchant Center account. It is then possible to use the elements of the product feed to dynamically fill the content of a page, and thus create an ultra-relevant post-click experience, depending on the product / category on which the consumer landed.
The case of e-commerce product sheets: very bad landing pages
In the previous paragraphs, we mentioned the case of product sheets, and the possibility of automatically enriching your landing pages with similar, related or complementary products.
It turns out that the product sheets of an e-commerce site are often used as an advertising landing page (eg: Shopping Ads, Dynamic Product Ads, Dynamic Display, etc.).
However, studies show that product sheets pose challenges in terms of post-click experience:
- the general engagement of the Internet user is lower, which translates into a half as high probability of converting the visitor.
- People who land on listings are 72% more likely to bounce than those who land on any other type of page, and see 42% fewer pages during their session.
These observations are not surprising. The anatomy of a product page is designed to encourage purchase after searching and sorting on the merchant site. In no case were they designed to welcome a visitor.
Add to this other blocking factors when product sheets are used as a landing page :
- The loading time of the product page is often long because there is no caching yet (1st page view)
- No greeting/welcome message
- No immediate recall of site or brand USPs
- Few or no general entry keys to similar categories or products (lack of view on the depth of the offer)
- No editorialized entries to current promotions or to current product priorities (stocks, partnership, etc.)
It is therefore important to pay particular attention to the UX/UI of your product sheet, or even to offer different versions for your different acquisition levers if you use them as a landing page.
Step 4: Iteratively improve your post click experience
A continuous improvement approach, based on A/B testing and analysis of user behavior
It is naive to believe that you always succeed in your post-click experience the first time. That’s why your post-click experiences should always be put to the test.
“Data beats opinion” goes the saying… By scrutinizing their web analytics data and performing continuous A/B testing, marketers can identify the best performing variants (that need to be industrialized), and those that require improvements.
Heatmap tools can also provide valuable information to support your A/B testing hypotheses. There are 4 types of heatmaps to understand user behavior after the ad click:
- Click Heatmaps
- Scroll heatmaps
- Eye tracking heatmaps
- Mouse movement heatmaps
Typically, marketers combine web analytics, heatmaps & A/B testing to continually improve their post-click experiences.
Things you can easily test and optimize
Some advertisers are reluctant to conduct tests on their site, because they perceive that these are tedious tasks each time. However, some elements can be tested at almost no cost, and without effort.
- Visuals : the BA-BA of A/B testing… Put different images in competition to see which encourage the most conversion.
- Hooks / copywriting : try different tones, or new arguments… Vary the “substance” and “form” of your content. You may be very surprised by the results!
- Action buttons : test their positions, change their size, color or shape. You can also test their position on the page, or their title. You can also change the actions themselves, and see the impact on the overall journey.
- Forms: forms are crucial pages – real conversion deterrents – that deserve to be tested in detail. In general, you can evaluate different layouts, or the layout of a form itself. In detail, you can vary the wording of the controls, or the help content if necessary.
- Page layout : You can test different placements of certain blocks, and see which page layout generates the most conversions for you.
For a significant impact, test lots of variations of important elements
Sometimes, you are lucky, and your conversion rates double on your first try to optimize your post-click experience. But let’s face it, it doesn’t often happen like this…
The reality is that you will have to repeat your tests over and over again in order to obtain results that can really make a difference. In general, nirvana is found after testing at least 10 different variations!
And if you want to speed up the process, try drastic changes (and I’m not talking about button color). In CRO, one of the principles is that “small changes” bring “small improvements”…
Thus, test significant elements such as changing the offer / value proposition on your landing page, adopting a radically different conversion path, betting on different navigation features (eg: switching from a secondary menu to a filter system or research), etc.
Off-the-shelf solutions exist and industrialize the post click experience
The post click experience requires long and expensive technologies to develop in-house
The scaling issue
The main challenge for implementing a successful post-click experience is scaling: how to create, on the fly, tens or even hundreds of relevant landing pages for all your acquisition levers?
Then, how to boost its post-click experience with algorithms that will automate / pre-cheat certain tasks (eg: recommendation of complementary products)?
Internal projects that remain costly and risky
So the challenge is daunting.
- You need to federate multiple skills within a project team (API expert, media expert, product owner, back-end & front-end developer, ops/infra developers) which quickly amounts to several hundreds of thousands of project euros in FTE equivalent.
- This task force will not deliver anything overnight; such large-scale projects generally take 12 to 18 months, which represents an obvious opportunity cost for your business.
- Finally, you will have to maintain all your post-click experience creations and improve them with successive iterations, which will again represent a human cost that will certainly exceed 100k€.
Off-the- shelf solutions that package the functionality needed for your post-click experience
Solutions designed for marketers, without the need for IT intervention
Fortunately for advertisers, it is possible to equip themselves to set up a post-click experience “in the rules of the art”.
Dataïads, for example, has developed technology for marketers that allows them to create landing pages designed and optimized for Google Ads advertising. The solution connects natively to your media infrastructures, such as Google Merchant Center, and easily integrates into your site, without having to rely on IT teams.
Find in the same places all the optimization levers of the post-click experience
This “off-the-shelf” technology natively embeds all the features you need to deliver your post-click experience:
- Super fast loading time
- Measure incremental performance through A/B testing
- Native Web Analytics & Consent Management Platform integration
- Fully customizable content recommendation algorithm
- Synchronization with your platforms & media infrastructures
- Google Cloud hosting in Europe
The technology has also been developed to improve your loading time and neutralize all side effects (eg negative impact on your SEO natural referencing).
The role of artificial intelligence in personalizing the post-click experience
Personalization of the experience: a driver of satisfaction and performance
Almost two-thirds of consumers expect brands to personalize their experience based on their preferences. And for their part, 90% marketers recognize that personalization contributes to the profitability of their business.
At Amazon, for example, 35% of sales come from personalized recommendations. Every time a Prime member visits Amazon, the entire homepage of the site is personalized for them. Each product recommended is not the result of chance; an overpowered algorithm strategically and intelligently selects the references that will be pushed.
The role of algorithms: predicting the preferences of each user
Algorithms extract data from past customer behavior, such as searches, clicks, and purchases. Then they calculate and make a prediction of what will appeal most to that particular consumer.
This allows e-merchants to highlight products that have a high probability of purchase, create opportunities for cross-selling, accelerate inventory turnover by pushing long tail SKUs, direct the choice of buyers to references in stock, etc.
To predict the most appropriate references for each individual, the recommendation algorithm included in the post-click experience solutions will follow 3 main steps:
- Aggregate data at the user level,
- Analyze all the data collected (structured & unstructured) according to a predictive model,
- Filter the products / content to display to make relevant recommendations.
Technologies that must be accompanied by strong multidisciplinary expertise
The need to orchestrate 3 disciplines between them: media, data and CRO
Although these technologies are accessible to advertisers, it is important to remember that the tool does not produce the result.
Deploying a successful post-click experience requires the synergy of 3 key skills:
- Media: Because the post-click experience is driven by advertising, it is crucial that media managers are involved in the process.
- Data : Scaling the post-click experience requires orchestrating multiple streams of data, which requires expert oversight.
- CRO / Analytics : the post-click experience, to be effective, must be part of a logic of continuous optimization which is similar to the processes mastered by CRO consultants, experts in the art of maximizing the effectiveness of websites.
This is why most post-click experience technologies are accompanied by a service dimension that intertwines these three disciplines and puts to music the skills of multi-disciplinary experts, for the benefit of the advertiser’s performance.
Particular attention to be paid to the quality of the tracking
Given that the post-click experience is part of a continuous optimization process, the quality of performance measurement is a key issue. It is essential that marketing decision-makers rely on reliable tracking, and as precise as possible, to evaluate the returns of their post-click experience.
Too often, the acceptance process is rushed, and the resulting “hasty” tracking causes problems later in the project:
- the impact of post-click experience actions is under/overvalued
- stakeholders lack confidence in reported results
- the company does not capitalize on any reliable teaching.
This is why it is important for a web analytics expert to be systematically involved in a post click experience project, to act as the guarantor of a quality measurement.
In a world where media buying is increasingly driven by artificial intelligence, advertisers can strengthen their competitive advantage in two ways:
- better feed the algorithms with proprietary data, sufficient in quantity and quality to make a difference
- personalize the on-site arrival experience based on the media touchpoint to improve visitor retention and conversion.
Although the first option brings tangible results, it requires a volume of quality data and sometimes presents significant technical issues for companies. This is why the post-click experience is emerging as a simpler alternative to implement in order to make your media spending even more profitable.