Friday 17 December 2010

The one big reason why your online ads fail to convert

I see it time and time again. I can't take it any more.

This morning, I see a cute picture of a baby in a snow globe. Cootchy-coo! (and all that). The picture is an ad. So I click on it. Lo! and behold! I find myself on the Kodak Gallery website. Here's what I found:

I'm wondering to myself, how on earth do I get a snowglobe? That's what I want. That's why I've clicked. Yet there isn't a single mention of snow globe anywhere on the page. Not a word, nor a picture. I don't want calendars, cards or mugs. I don't want to share on Facebook.

Meanwhile, the publisher has made a little money either because they were paid by 1000 impressions or per click (unless it was an affiliate deal or on a cost per action basis). There was probably an intermediary ad sales house. It made money too. Kodak Gallery, however, lost money. It paid for advertising but didn't make a sale.

Thanks for (not) shopping!

While the page is quite nicely designed, as a landing-page it is a total user experience disaster.

There is no relationship between the page and the paid-for source from which the visitor came. There is no quicker way to baffle visitors to your site if you don't follow through with the offer. I arrived at the site looking for a snow globe but there was no snow globe on the page. As soon as the visitor has to think about how to get what they've come for, they will most likely hit the back button on the browser.

The URL is also a bag of unfriendly rubbish:

Could they not do ?

Take two
I then went and typed snow globe into my Google toolbar:

Top of the sponsored links, there's Kodak Gallery! Spending hard marketing cash on PPC Google AdWords. This time of year, I imagine "snow globe" is quite a competitive keyword. I wondered what would happen if I clicked on the link. Would I come to the same page as before or would there be a dedicated landing page?

It was a dedicated landing page that looked like this:

3 for 2, the page cries out. Hang on, I don't need three snow globes: I don't even need two. I just want one snow globe made from a cute picture that I've taken. OK, they're going to make me work for it.

Let's scroll down... Calendars, Photo Books, Gifts. Well, I suppose it might be gifts. I'll take a closer look.

Here's what it says in the hard-to-read small print:
These personalised Photo Gifts are the perfect gifts every occasion. We have a range of photo gift ideas from Mugs to Crystals, and Teddybears.
No snow globe. I'm going to click anyway but by now you've probably lost your customer to the next sponsored listing on Google.

I scroll down the page past the 'Mugs' category, 'Wall Décor', 'Home Décor', 'Stationery', 'Games, toys and more'... it must be there. Oh, no. The stuff further down doesn't seem right. Let's go back up. Maybe Home Décor is what I want.

And indeed it is!

But the picture's different to the one I saw earlier and I don't like this one so much. Meh, it was a dumb idea anyway.

How Kodak Gallery might improve its results
  1. Fashion a landing page which deals only with snow globes.
  2. Make an offer in the ad (for example 3 for 2, or 25% off until Christmas) and convey the same offer on the landing page.
  3. Have one stand-out call to action on the page: 'Upload a picture and get started'.
  4. Get a friendly URL. is currently unused.
Rinse and repeat for each product on sale.

Any other thoughts?

In the meantime, search for books on 'user experience'.