Advertising – only with the right website, or What to check before launching campaigns

The volume of the online advertising market in Russia is growing steadily – it is expected to reach 346 billion rubles by the end of 2020. Any business that wants to get more profit needs to actively promote the site. Nevertheless, all promotion costs will be in vain if the site is not prepared for this.

When potential customers come to a site with ads, they expect to see something that will reflect their needs. Faced with errors on the site, they will not stay on it for a long time.

In order not to drain the advertising budget, before starting the promotion, you need to check how prepared your site is to receive traffic. In this article, I will tell you what common problems you can face and how to fix them in order to turn clicks into conversions.

Before the start

Four basic things are needed to run ads:

  1. The site itself: working, reflecting the needs of the target audience and not containing errors. Quite an obvious point, but a common source of problems.

  2. Call-to-Action (call to action). To do this, you can use any feedback forms, callback widgets, order forms, etc. – you will set goals on them in the future.

  3. Counters: Google Analytics or Yandex.Metrica. A gentleman’s kit for tracking website traffic.

  4. The ability to transfer transactions (visit parameters) for counters. Required for accounting for purchases on the site and setting up e-commerce.

If any of the above is missing, most likely your ad will not work effectively.

There is a problem…

What problems on the site are the most critical in terms of advertising? First, let’s tell you what we at DD Planet most often have to fix before promoting third-party sites.

First of all, poor performance of the site itself… It takes a long time to load, instead of the required pages it gives an error 404 or 301 (redirect), errors in the processing of GET parameters and other technical flaws occur.

Below is an example of how the site loads the shopping cart page. We couldn’t wait for the download.

If you have a unique product that a customer really needs, he may also try to order something, or at least call in case of failure. And if there are many competitors on the market, the failed client is likely to leave for another, more comfortable site for him.

No mobile version of the site… Today, more than half of Internet users make purchases from their mobile phones, and not only a young audience. The lack of a convenient version for them often becomes a reason for leaving the site.

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Feedback form problems… Long form with many fields and incorrect items (for example, the need to enter a delivery address if a person needs pickup). In 90% of cases, such errors lead to the loss of the client.

Legal subtleties… Company websites are subject to generally accepted rules, in a number of industries – also additional ones that guarantee the legality of activities. For example, in accordance with the law on personal data, the lack of a personal data processing policy on the site may result in fines.

The counters of web analytics systems are not installed and the correctness of their work has not been verified… For example, a common problem is setting two codes for the same counter: one is hosted through Google Tag Manager, and the other is placed directly in the site code. This leads to a doubling of the statistics. Also, you may find an empty counter (for example, when the old one is closed, and no one has access to it), and you have to work from scratch.

Objectives not configured in analytics systems… Because of this, it will be impossible to track conversions on the site: calls, purchases, clicks on certain elements, etc.

Calls not tracked or not working… A common problem with client sites is the lack of access to the customer’s account in the call tracking service. Without seeing the data directly in it or through the integration in the ad account, you will not be able to track the sources of calls and the effectiveness of advertising.

It’s good if a marketer comes across an ideal website for promotion, where everything is set up and taken into account. But “crooked” sites, on which you have to make improvements and fix problems before launching advertising, are not uncommon. Therefore, before starting an advertising campaign, you need to check if the site is ready. Let’s figure out how to do it.

The main stages of preparing a website for advertising

There are two important tasks in promoting any product on the market: increasing visibility and measuring results. These are the things to look for when you run online ads.

For these two tasks to work well, before launching it is important to make sure that there are no technical errors on the site, the mobile version works, check the correctness of analytics settings and the operation of feedback forms. And now for more details.


Make sure the site is working

At this stage, it is necessary to exclude technical errors that will prevent users from performing certain actions on the site.

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Automation services can help in fixing errors: Marylin, K50, Alytics and others. Or, in our case, Screaming Frog SEO Spider to automatically check a large number of website pages for 404 errors or redirects, as in the screenshot below.

Checking the site

Check if there is a mobile version

The lack of a mobile version of the site is a conditionally critical bug. If the site is really interesting to users, they are ready to spend time on it by enlarging the page of the full version. Conversely, a bad offer with a good responsive version will not attract many customers.

In this question, all the dots on the i are put by services such as Webvisor, which allow you to analyze user behavior on the site.

Rate the feedback form

When there are no errors on the site, and GET parameters work in the links and UTM tags are transmitted, it’s time to take a closer look at the feedback forms (call, application, etc.). You need to assess how user-friendly the form is and whether he will not get tired in the first step, as well as find out what can be reduced, what functions to implement.

Even if you want to find out everything about a person: his last name, passport number and dog’s name, do not make the form too long so as not to alienate the client. Ideally, provide for the possibility of quick registration via mail and social networks and placing an order in a couple of clicks.

Checking the feedback form

All feedback forms must contain disclaimers stating that filling out the form is considered consent to the personal data processing policy, as well as links to a separate page with an agreement on the transfer and processing of personal data. This point is especially important when the site owner wants to engage in lead generation (for example, when advertising on Facebook) – and here it turns out that there is no page, and there are no warnings on the forms. Although this point is not as relevant as it was several years ago, order is order.


Install counter

To simplify the process, I recommend installing Google Tag Manager (GTM) on your site. When installing counters directly into the site code, you need to give a task to the developer, prescribe what and where to put, then check.

GTM replaces long hours of instructions, makes it possible to install all the necessary tags and counters yourself and gives us a lot of nice buns in the form of direct statistics. GTM is usually owned by many customers, but often they do not own it or they do not even know about it.

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Tag Manager allows you to integrate your website with more than 70 analytics services (Google Analytics, Google Optimize, and others), set up e-commerce and other solutions. Moreover, all counters, tags, pixels and scripts of the services involved are stored in one place.

Installing the counter

Important: if you find two or three GTM codes on the site, the extra one must be removed, because this poses a threat to the site’s security. This often happens if several agencies were advertising, and each set its own counter. If you save it, then even after the end of cooperation, you will be able to install any third-party script on the site. You can check for counters in the source code or using the Tag Assistant tool.

Google Tag Assistant

Check goals

At this stage, it is important to check if the goals are working on the site. They need to be streamlined: to understand what goals are where and how not to get lost in them. You need to clean up analytics, create common goals, funnels and just goals.

For example, on funnels, events or pages we hang the appropriate designations “Funnel | step 1 “,” Application | call back ”,“ Click | call back ”- so in the future we will be able to navigate better and faster in a large number of goals.

Creating a single goal (“Application | all applications”) is especially convenient when there are a large number of goals – this is how Yandex.Metrica can get up-to-date data without segments and filters.

There are several standard tools for checking goals: Yandex Metrica Debugger, GTM, WASP, Analytics Tracking Setup, Tag Manager Injector, GTM DataLayer Inspector, etc.

Check call-to-action

Immediately before launching an advertisement, you need to check and set up tracking of all order forms and feedback, callback widgets on the site, which are designed to simplify the user’s path to conversion. Forms and tools should be visible on the site and understandable.

The very presence of additional tracking – call tracking, callback widgets, email tracking, etc. – is important and critical: without them we will not get a complete picture of the site’s operation and promotion efficiency!

An example of a call-to-action on a developer's website
An example of a call-to-action on a developer’s website. Calls to action: the phrase “Choose your future home”, a phone number with an offer to call back, a block “Details” and a callback widget

The final result of website promotion is influenced by many parameters: from design quality to page load time. I have described the most critical moments for starting an advertising campaign. I hope that this will help in your work, and you will not have to lose money, applications and fix bugs already during active advertising.

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