This is the first in a two-part series about choosing the right image(s) for your PPC landing pages. This post will focus on the technical aspects of landing page images. My next post will focus on the art, science and emotion you should consider when choosing images.
Images and/or graphics are an important part of your PPC landing pages. They can seriously impact how visitors interact with your page and ultimately convert. Landing page experience can impact your quality score and ad rank so here are some technical aspects to consider when choosing images for your PPC landing pages.
Find High Quality Photos
Using high quality, high resolution photos on your landing page these days is a must. Pixelated, poor quality images can make your landing page look unprofessional and thrown together. It’s a good idea to set aside a couple of marketing dollars to look at some professional stock photo sites. This will allow you to avoid the headache of usage rights while quickly attaining the perfect picture for your landing page.
Here are a couple of stock photo sites that might come in handy when planning your next landing page:
- iStockPhoto (which is soon acquiring Veer.com which offers fonts, illustrations and stock photos)
- Getty Images
I recommend giving the site a shakedown to make sure that you’re going to find what you’re looking for before you do any monthly subscriptions. When it comes to paying for quality stock images, I think it really makes a difference. People notice when your image doesn’t quite fit the topic at hand or if it’s a photo that they’ve seen elsewhere.
Bottom line: Help your page standout from the crowd by choosing some professional photos from a reputable site.
If you absolutely must look into free stock photos that are royalty free, this post does a good job of outlining the process so you’re not in hot water with usage rights later. (Tip: It’s definitely not as easy as stealing something off of Google Images.)
Photo Size Can Matter…
It’s important to test the size of photos on your landing page because it can impact your conversion rates, as shown here. In several studies, the larger images performed better, but that can also mean less room for copy and “above the fold” space. If you’re concerned or unsure, running an A/B test for at least 21 days can help reassure that you’re sizing your image correctly.
Bottom line on photo size and conversion rates: No one can tell you which will perform better for you, but testing is always great and will likely tell you what your customers prefer.
…But Size Can Impact Your Page Speed
There’s no telling what size of an image will appeal to your customers, but there’s one thing that large images do for a fact and that’s slow down your page load speed. Like this post says, it’s tempting to grab a 2,000 by 2,000 pixel image and use HTML to size it down. However, this will also mean that the browser is still trying to load that monster image. If you size the image down to the size you need it on the page, this will help your page continue to move smoothly.
In PPC, it’s important to have a quick-running site because Google uses your site speed as a factor in your Ad Rank. I like the rule of thumb mentioned in the post I linked to above from HubSpot: Since most websites are only 900-1,200 pixels wide on a computer, you’ll rarely need to worry about images in the 1,000+ pixel range.
In a study by SEOChat, a study of top performing websites in Google had an average loading time between 9.82 seconds to 13.84 seconds, so if your page falls within these loading times, your site’s loading time is “average”.
Bottom line: We live in a fast, ever-moving world, y’all. Your customers (and Google) will not stand for slow landing pages.
Shorten the Page Length
That’s right – with images. Because “pictures are worth a thousand words,” right? When it comes to the length of your landing page, some say “the bigger the ask the longer the page”, which shows how important it is to choose relevant, useful photos for your landing pages. By choosing a photo that truly speaks to you call to action, you can cut down on copy length, thus keeping your landing page short, sweet and to the point!
Check out this example from Netflix below:
This photo shows you that you’ll be able to House of Cards binge watch your brains out without actually having to say that.
Bonus: The shorter your page is, the less time it takes to load – Win!
Make Sure It’s All Good For Mobile Customers, Too
After all of this, be sure you’re still keeping your mobile customers in mind. It can be a bit mind boggling to keep all these technical specs in mind when choosing images, but it’s especially important to remember mobile customers. Even when we think that mobile traffic is going to top out at some point, it seems to keep growing and growing, so we as marketers need to continue to grow with it.
When designing landing pages, there’s several different options for mobile design: a responsive design, dynamic serving, or a mobile site. All three options have their pros and cons so I recommend checking out my previous link for a full list of those. When it comes to images and content, responsive pages generally loads more quickly in browsers, but if there’s a lot of images to load, responsive design could be a little on the slower side. For some other on responsive design, check out this post.
Keeping the number of images to a minimum on your mobile pages will help load time and likely result in a better experience for your mobile visitors. When choosing images, fewer pixels will result in a quicker loading time as will vector images for logos, icons, etc. Raster images such as .gif, .jpgs, and the other image formats you likely often use are better for photographic images but they might take a little longer loading.
What tips do you have for choosing images for your PPC landing pages? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments!