Landing pages are a gateway to your success. They introduce visitors to your company, your site, your product or service, and the benefits you offer.
Your ad’s job is simple: it needs to catch the eye, communicate your offer, promise to deliver it, gain users’ trust and intrigue them enough to click.
The real conversion, tho, happens on your landing page. Sending users to a wrong place could reduce conversions.
In the process, we found that the way businesses use landing pages changed significantly over the past three years.
What we discovered may surprise you.
A landing page you send Facebook users to is sometimes more important than the ad itself.
With the right ad, message, and call to action (CTA), you increase not only click-through rates and conversions but also the time people spend exploring your site.
Depending on your ad campaign — whether it’s to increase brand awareness, traffic, or engagement — your landing pages and ads work together to reinforce the main message.
But what works now? What are other marketers doing? And what should you do with your Landing Pages to turn them into a powerful “converting machine”?
The only way to know was to investigate! So we cross-examined 752626 real Facebook (and Instagram) ads to find the real answers for you!
Landing Pages Discovery #1:
Links to Internal Facebook Pages Have Increased
The data shows that over the past three years, the majority of Facebook ads linked to external website landing pages.
So regardless of the types of ads used — image, video, or something else — many of these ads redirect leads to an external company landing page that asks leads to complete an action — submit a lead form or buy something, for example.
However, it’s worth noting that during the same period (2015/2018), there was a significant increase in ads that linked to internal Facebook pages.
What’s interesting about this growth is that while the number of companies with Facebook pages didn’t necessarily grow at the same rate as ads linking to them, more companies chose to link to their page instead of an external landing page.
There are three possible reasons for this steady increase:
- Companies know where their customers spend time online and are targeting them there.
- Facebook’s most recent enhancements to company pages allow for more flexibility on the platform than ever before.
- It costs advertisers less to keep leads on Facebook.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors to understand how they influence internal linking.
Companies know their customers well
As customers interact more with companies via social media, companies get more insights into user preferences.
For example, with a little analysis, companies can see where their web traffic comes from and where their customers are most engaged. If their target audiences and customers spend time on Facebook, it makes sense to engage with them in the place they spend the most time.
Getting leads to complete an action, like filling out a form, is easier if they’re on Facebook vs. having to leave the platform to do the same thing.
There’s a chance that asking leads to leave the platform will result in them not taking immediate action.
Whether they’re browsing events or scrolling through their News Feed, asking them to leave the platform interferes with this flow.
Facebook gives businesses more options
Facebook is constantly releasing enhancements in an effort to optimize user experience. That’s also true for Facebook Ads, and the effort, in this case, is to optimize the ROI of businesses that use the platform to sell, promote, and connect with customers.
With improvements like the introduction of Lead Ads, there’s no need for companies to redirect leads and customers to external sites.
For example, companies can run a lead-generation ad campaign to capture leads from within the platform. That way, they don’t have to ask leads to leave the platform to submit information on another site.
What’s also great about this approach is that Facebook already has end-user information, so leads don’t have to manually fill in a form. They just click the CTA, submit, and they’re done.
The easier you make it for users to complete the desired action, the more likely the leads will follow through and do it.
Did You Know That…
In AdEspresso, you can create your Lead Generation campaign using your lead form and set up some experiments to help you optimize later on?
This makes the entire campaign creation process easier and allows you to make your data even more valuable.
If you are curious to know more, check our $2,000 Facebook Experiment: Landing Pages vs. Lead Ads
Internal links are less expensive
Facebook wants its users to spend more time on the platform. That means giving businesses a way to save on advertising costs.
Facebook advertising can add up, especially in the early days, when you’re still trying to figure out what combination of audience attributes, ad objectives, and so on, net the best results.
Add to this the expense of creating custom external landing pages for every campaign you run and the costs start to mount.
You can instead create a company page for free on Facebook, and then link your ads to it.
This gives you more flexibility to test new ad strategies or refine the one you have in place because your only expense is the advert itself.
Having a verified Page can give you a great advantage, of course! Click here to learn how to verify your Facebook Page, step by step.
Landing Pages Discovery #2:
Links Take Leads to General External Landing Pages.
The general consensus used to be that ads had to take leads to specific landing pages to maximize conversions.
So product ads linked leads directly to corresponding product pages, event ads linked to event pages, and so on.
Our data shows that this trend has shifted so that now more links take leads to general external landing pages.
Fast forward a few years, and you’ll see that ads themselves have become more general.
Instead of specific product ads that lead to particular product pages, we see more general brand ads that link to pages that showcase a range of information.
For example, external landing pages might include a section that highlights product benefits, a section that has a video of customers using the product, and an option to request a product demo.
Unlike before, there isn’t a straight line from ad to landing page. Leads have more chances to explore and learn about the brand, in general, before making a commitment and buying something.
On the technical side, this shift means that query strings on pages have dropped.
Query strings are the “?” you sometimes see in URLs. When a lead clicks on an ad, the query string at the end of the URL redirects to specific product pages.
With less specific ads and landing pages, the less the need for query strings.
In the table above, you can see a drastic drop in links to pages with query strings compared with all other landing pages.
This data verifies that more Facebook ads are linked to more general landing pages.
Landing Pages Discovery #3:
Linked Ads Lead to External Landing Pages; Other Ad Types Link to Facebook Pages
With so many ad types to choose from, it’s easy to assume that all you have to do is select a format that matches your goals for the campaign and then link to your landing page to complete the campaign. While this thinking isn’t wrong, our data shows that there’s an emerging trend based on where different types of ads link to.
We found that linked ads generally lead to external landing pages.
These pages give people a chance to learn more about the product and the company before making a purchase. This approach makes it easy for leads to verify — before they take some kind of action — that the product or service will indeed meet their needs.
We found that video, event, and photo ads typically link to internal Facebook ads.
Let’s look at Event Ads as an example.
With Facebook’s events feature it’s easy for users to scroll through local events until they find something they’re interested in.
If you’re using Event Ads, it makes sense for the ad to link to an internal Facebook page — you can create and promote an event and get people to sign up for it within Facebook. This takes into consideration the users’ experience and makes it as easy as possible for them to follow through on the call to action.
Remember that because Facebook offers so many features within the platform for businesses to interact with their audience, it makes sense to keep leads on Facebook rather than direct them to an external page.
Also keep in mind that the ad you choose depends a great deal on the goal of your ad campaign.
Let’s say you have a new product and want to drive traffic back to your site to familiarize a new audience with what you have to offer. Choose a link ad.
That way, you pique their interest with a high-quality image that links back to your website, where they can learn more about you, your product, and the benefits for them.
Landing Pages Discovery #4:
Link Destination and CTA Type Are Correlated
It doesn’t matter how unique and revolutionary your ads are: If there isn’t a correlation between your CTA and the required action, your ads won’t get as many click-throughs as they could.
Why? Because it’s confusing to leads.
If you’re selling something, but your ad’s CTA is “Contact Us,” leads won’t know what you want them to do. Do you want them to buy something or send you a random email?
Our research shows that successful ads have a clear link between the CTA and the link destination.
“Shop Now” CTAs usually link to external pages.
“Watch More” CTAs usually link to internal pages.
“Learn More” CTAs usually link to either an internal or external landing page.
This distinction is important because the correlation reinforces the chances of leads following through and completing the desired action in the “right place.”
Meaning, if you own an eCommerce store and run a Facebook ad with a “Shop Now” CTA, it makes sense to link to an external page so that people can search through your gallery of products.
If you’ve produced videos of your product, another option (that our findings show works pretty well) is to use the “Watch Now” CTA and link to an internal page.
When leads see the ad, it’s clear that you want them to watch your video, and with Facebook videos growing in popularity, you can keep people on your internal company page instead of sending leads to a site like YouTube to watch the video.
Plus, Facebook offers over 30 unique CTAs to choose from. So, depending on your ad’s focus, you have lots of options.
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Putting the pieces together
As you can see, the way companies advertise on social media is changing, AdEspresso exclusive analysis of more than 150k Facebook ads proves it.
This shift has led to a new normal, which has, in turn, made it much easier for people to do business with companies while on Facebook.
Before you launch your next campaign, take a minute to consider these findings.
Do you have a company page?
Take advantage of the many new features available to you. This is especially beneficial if you’re just starting out.
Do you have a new product offering that you want to get maximum exposure for?
Then link back to your external landing page. Be sure to include lots of relevant information to not just pique your audience’s attention but also get them excited to take action.
Facebook advertising has evolved to the point that there are many options available to you.
What’s important is that you experiment to confirm what works for your brand.