Should I use a landing page or a redirect?

It’s a question often asked on forums for new affiliates. But it is still a question that even the most experienced affiliate struggles with. On one hand, going direct to the offer eliminates the extra click required for the customer to reach the offer, which may be losing 60% of your customers. On the other hand, pre-selling the offer may increase the final conversion rate. That’s assuming you can even get away with going direct to the offer from your PPC engine. Like almost every topic in affiliate marketing, there is no right answer. It depends on tons of different factors, but most notably the offer, and the traffic source. So in general terms let’s explore these 2 factors.

The offer:

The main question for me is, would this offer benefit from pre-selling on a landing page? If so, is that benefit great enough to outweigh the extra click required to get to the offer? Say your landing page has a bounce rate of 50%, so only half of your purchased PPC clicks actually make it to the offer. By going direct from PPC to offer, you can capture 100% of those, but how many will actually convert? By pre-selling on the landing page, you may entice those 50% that do click through to actually convert more than if you sent them directly to the offer. So how do you find out? By testing.

Say you tested both ways and sent 100 clicks directly to the offer and 100 clicks through a landing page, with a $10 lead payout, and got these results:

Direct to offer
• 100 clicks to offer
• 5% conversion rate
• 5 leads
• $50 gross

Through landing page
• 50 pre-sold clicks to offer
• 12% conversion rate
• 6 leads
• $60 gross

So in this case, yes it would be better to use a landing page, since the increase overall conversion rate offsets the loss of clicks from the extra step of the landing page.

The PPC source:

This factor is extremely important, because the source may determine whether you even have a choice to use a landing page or not. With Google, the answer seems to be you have to run a landing page. Their algorithm will almost immediately catch if you try to bounce a redirect off a landing page to an offer. The conventional wisdom is that you have to build mini sites these days to have a hope of running a campaign on Google. Even a one page landing page will usually get axed by Google, as a “bridge page”.

The other of the big 3, Yahoo and MSN, are not so quick to disallow redirects. So you usually can test out both methods with them. Down the line your ads may get bounced, but you can mostly redirect or landing page it at your own discretion. Lower tier PPC services like Looksmart, Ask, or Miva will usually not have a problem with where you are sending your traffic. They are just happy to have your business.

So the bottom is: first see if your traffic source will even allow both methods. If you have a choice, test to determine if the increase in overall conversion rate offsets the loss of clicks from the extra step of going through the landing page.