Live optimization of PPC landing pages, continued


At our recent clinic on PPC campaigns, our optimization team critiqued actual landing pages and ads submitted by attendees. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to get to all of them in the hour-long session.

One page we weren’t able to cover was sent in by FreedomVOICE Systems. You can click on the screenshot for a larger view of the page and sample PPC ad. (To avoid skewing their numbers, we won’t use the real URL.)


FreedomVOICE said top performing keywords included “toll free number” and “800 numbers” and that optimization steps they’ve already taken included testing ad copy, using negative keywords, and setting position preference.

The analysis and suggestions that follow are from two of our leading analysts, Jimmy Ellis, Director of Optimization Research, and Aaron Rosenthal, Director of Channels Research.

Jimmy Ellis:

The current page is trying to do too many things at once. The objective of this page is most likely to get someone to “search” for the phone number. And the results page (if they find an available number) should be trying to get them to “start their free trial”.

Some of the obstacles and problems I see include:

  • Ad copy starts with 800 numbers and a 15 day free trial and landing page starts with “unmatched reliability” and no “real” headline.
  • Design does not flow properly and has multiple competing elements and objectives that are not in the proper sequence. Currently visitors are asked to “order” … then to learn “more” … then to “search for 800 numbers” … then to compare plans… but why are there contracts with a free trial?
  • You should never put an “order” section or button on a free trial offer. It instantly increases customer anxiety and makes them second guess the benefit of the free trial.
  • The sequence that would likely work best would be: Search for the toll free number, then compare plans, then start the free trial (ordering is removed completely), with links to allow them to learn more if they need more information after their number search.

To reduce friction and anxiety, increase the expression of the value proposition, and improve the clarity from top to bottom, here’s how I would redesign the page:

  1. Start with a headline that says something like, “Toll Free 800 Numbers — 15 Day Free Trial”.
  2. Subhead: Search for your new Toll Free 800 Number.
  3. Then feature the blue phone/search box.
  4. Security and credibility indicators go under the blue box (move up from the bottom of the current page).
  5. The End.
  6. The order info, features, and comparison would be displayed and communicated on the phone number results page — when they are ready to make a decision.


Aaron Rosenthal:

  • That incentive “Free teleconferencing for 1 year” at the top of the page gets lost in the design. Most people won’t even see it.
  • All the different boxes make the information very difficult to digest.
  • As for the ad, you may also want to test using “free” in the headline and in the URL subdomain.
  • Also, make sure to test subdomain vs file folder. We have seen that subdomain does not always outperform a file folder; sometimes the file folder format works best. Example: (subdomain) vs. (file folder).
  • If your rates are substantially lower than 2.9 cents per minute you may want to test using this in your ad copy because it would give you an advantage over the advertiser in the number one spot.
  • That takes me to your value proposition: If you are the least expensive, or you’ve been doing this the longest, or …? Test that in your body copy.


I concur with all of the above and would reiterate that the eyepath on this page needs immediate attention. We know that your designer will hate our suggestions. Nevertheless …

  • Try using heatmaps and clickmaps to see where visitors’ eyes and clicks are going. Then simplify the graphics. There are 18 shiny bubbles on the page, including the keypad and five different call-to-action buttons, splashed from corner to corner, drawing visitors’ eyes all over the place. The different colors don’t provide enough contrast to overcome the similar shapes. Plus, all the shiny bubbles and fish-eye warped stock images convey more of a funky, grab-a-ringtone vibe than a B2B offer.
  • I’d also examine the analytics against your sales funnel to refocus those calls-to-action. How many clicks do you get on the live help, “Click to Call” button? Not many? Test a new page without it.
  • You could also use stronger calls-to-action on buttons if you broke out of the bubble shape with an oval or rectangle. Example: “Get Your New Number” instead of the “Search” button below the keypad.

The goal is to strip out any elements that get in the way of a clear path to a decision/conversion. By making this a more focused, relevant page that closely matches visitors’ expectations from the ad, you can expect significantly better results.

We hope you find these ideas useful and, just like our clinics, we’d like to hear your feedback as well. Use the comments feature to share your thoughts on the page and/or these suggestions.

Thanks again to FreedomVOICE Systems for providing its campaign information for the live optimization critique.

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  1. Nick Gowdy says

    Great feedback, guys — thank you very much for taking the time to make this a blog post.

    At the time of the webinar, we already had a new page in development that peeled away the “Click to Call” button (instead displaying toll free # more prominently), the “Reliability” text box, the “Features” text box, and the “Safeguard” floating text. We’re definitely starting to see how we can create a much better landing page by simplifying, reorganizing, and rethinking what we’re trying to accomplish at each stage of the conversion path.

    Needless to say, we’ll be testing some further revisions based on your advice and will keep you posted on how things go!

  2. Hunter Boyle says

    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for posting and for submitting your landing page and ads for optimization. We’re all glad to hear you found the review suggestions helpful. And we’re looking forward to hearing how your tests work out. Please keep us posted. I hope you’ll join us for future clinics as well.

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