Goal of Pre-Click Optimization and Post-Click Optimization

In this informative guide, we’ll show you exactly how to maximize your ad spend by leveraging best optimization practices for pre-click and post-click experience.

When implemented the right way, every ad click = leads & money.

As a marketer, you spend a lot of time creating ads. This could fall under Search ads, Social media ads, Display ads, or Email ads.

And for any ad campaign, what you’re mostly concerned about is the ROI. How does it feel when you have ads that fail to help reach your conversion goals?

To say the least, not a good feeling!

Even though some companies are losing money on digital advertising, the trend keeps growing at a rapid pace. A study by DMB Adobe revealed that ad spend is set to grow from $83 billion in 2017 to well over $129 billion in 2021.

But with online ads, there’s no guarantee of any substantial ROI especially if you’re not experienced.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll ever maximize your revenue just because you spent money on ads.

The only guarantee you’ll have is that your ad will run at a specific place, time, or other conditions you set.

This is why, as a marketer, you must focus on pre-click and post-click optimization of your ads.

The need for pre-click and post-click optimization

Pre-click optimization is important because running an ad doesn’t mean people will click on it.

For example, search ads have an average click-through rate of 3.17% with display ads much lower at 0.46%. You have to take steps before your ad runs and while it’s running to attract people to click.

Post-click optimization, on the other hand, is important because clicking an ad doesn’t automatically translate to a conversion. For instance, search ads have a conversion rate of 3.75% while display ads are even much lower at 0.77%. Most marketers spend a lot of time on pre-click optimization and little time on post-click.

Meanwhile, post-click optimization is more important as it improves conversions.

In this guide, you’ll learn steps to take to ensure that you optimize your ad to attract clicks and turn those clicks into leads and sales.

1. Pre-Click Optimization

When you plan to create ads, you want to create more awareness about a product or brand. You also want the right people to click your ad and later along the line, buy your product.

After making the decision to create your ad, you need to engage in pre-click optimization. It’s critical to your success.

What is pre-click optimization?

Pre-click optimization is the series of activities that occur between creating an ad and a target clicking on it.

Most of the steps you need to take during the pre-click optimization stage are possible through the advertisers. You may utilize creatives and banners to create more value at this stage. [source]

Most advertisers would provide tools you need to get more information about the audience you want to target. With this information, you can create your ads and target them more effectively.

Let’s discuss a few core steps in pre-click optimization:

i). Keywords Research

One of the first steps in pre-click optimization is keywords research. Especially if you’re using paid search. Keywords research helps you to identify and target keywords that will bring you leads — these are mostly search terms that your potential customers are searching for.

Targeting the wrong keywords means you’ll attract the wrong people to click your ads — and this will make you fall short of your conversion goals.

In some cases, targeting the wrong keywords means you don’t get enough people to see your ads. Use the Google Keywords Planner tool that’s available in your Google Ads account to perform keyword research before you start bidding for your preferred keywords.

Take notes of the Average monthly searches and Suggested bid.

You can see other details such as the Competition level and the Ad group ideas for your main keyword — these are similar keywords that you can target.

If you need more keywords for your ad campaign, tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Ubersuggest can help.

SEMrush allows you to carry out competitive analysis to see which keywords your competitors are targeting in paid search. With this information, you can unravel keyword ideas you never had in mind.

You can also use other tools that fit your needs. Now let’s get on with another pre-click optimization.

ii). Customer research

If you’re not running a search ad, you may not need keyword research so much. But you need to carry out customer research. It’s essential!

Who is your ideal customer and why do you want to attract them? You need to create a detailed buyer persona.

Your buyer persona will contain as many details as possible about your ideal customer. Also important for your advertisement is the channels they use the most. You can target them on these channels to have more effective ads.

iii). Ad design

After the steps above, you need to design your ad. This could be after bidding for your keyword, in case you’re running a search ad. Your ad design includes the following elements:

a). Headline: This tells a viewer in brief what your ad is all about. It provides basic information of your offer to a prospect. What should they expect when they click on your ad?

b). Meta description: This is what viewers see below your headline. It gives more explanation to the offer in your headline. Meta description applies to search ads specifically.

You can see how your ad will appear while designing it. Or you could tweak it to suit your audience before launching the ad.

But even for other types of ads like social media ads, you’ll still write a description that will appear below your ad headline.

c). Image: If you’re running a search ad, for example, you don’t need an image in most cases. However, if you’re running a display ad, an image is one of the vital elements of your ad.

You must be careful to use an image that resonates with your brand. Here’s a good example of a display ad.

It’s also vital to think of your landing page design while picking an image for your ad. We offer professional landing page templates that will skyrocket your ad conversions.

You don’t want to pick an image that is far off from your landing page design.

d). Relevance: How relevant is your ad to your target audience? This will determine how attractive your ad will be to your target audience.

In fact, for paid search, it’s one of the factors that determines how much you pay for a click.

iv). Search Ad extensions

In pre-click optimization, Ad extensions help you to increase your ad click-through rates. You can add more details to your ad like your business location, the phone number that users can ‘click to call,’ promotions, etc.

Here’s a great example of a Sitelink extension that Hotels uses in their search ads on Google.

Apart from Sitelink extension, some other forms of ad extensions you can use are:

  • Callout
  • Structured snippet
  • Call
  • Message
  • Location
  • Affiliate location
  • Price
  • App
  • Promotion

Below is an ad with the promotion extension highlighted in red outline:

With a Click-to-Text ad extension, Career Path Training Corp. got texts and was able to turn 30% of those texts into qualified leads.

v). Ad targeting

In pre-click optimization, when you know the type of audience you want for your ad, then you can target internet users based on these characteristics.

For any advertising channel you use, you’ll find different targeting options to reach the right audience. For instance, Google offers the following targeting options for their ads:

  • Demographics
  • Affinity
  • In-market
  • Custom intent
  • Similar Audiences
  • Remarketing
  • Topics
  • Placement
  • Content Keywords

Likewise, Facebook offers the following targeting options for their ads:

  • Location
  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Behavior
  • Connections
  • Life events
  • Retargeting
  • Site visitors
  • Contact lists
  • App users
vi). Tests

The reality is that it’s almost impossible to know which type of ad will resonate best with your audience. More so, there’s no perfect ad. Or is there?

This makes testing necessary. You can change parts of your ad copy and track how the changes affect your click-through rates.

For instance, in one of the ads, AdEspresso performed a test by using different ad images. They found that this change in image led to a 50% reduction in cost per conversion.

2. Post-Click Optimization

When people click on your ads, your work is not over yet. Because you’re yet to convert them into leads or buyers.

This is the point where you need to engage in post-click optimization. We’ll show you how to do it. But first, a quick definition to simplify the entire process.

What is post-click optimization?

Post-click optimization is the series of steps you take from when a prospect clicks your ad until they convert to customers. This includes landing page optimization and building a high-converting sales funnel.

What are the activities to keep in mind for post-click optimization?

i). Landing page

The first stage of the post-click optimization is your landing page. Prospects who clicked on your ad would land on your landing page. How do you ensure that the good work you’ve done with your ad continues on your landing page?

a). Message Match

When people click on your ad, it’s because they’re attracted to your offer. When they get to your landing page, they want to see more of your ad offer.

To have a message match between your ad and landing page, you have to make sure the following elements of your ad copy are similar to that of your landing page:

  • Headline
  • Call to action button
  • Color scheme

As simple as this may sound, some ads violate this unwritten rule. For instance, look at this ad below:

Then check the landing page when you click through:

This page makes no mention of the ‘Guide’ even though it looks like there are different chapters of the guide at the sidebar. On this page, there should have been a mention of the guide as that was the call to action on the ad.

Having said that, let’s check some landing pages with a message match to their ads.

This is a display ad by Air Canada referenced from WordStream:

This is the landing page when you click-through the ad:

You can see that the headline of the ad, the call to action buttons, and the color scheme are similar to that on the landing page.
If a landing page collects lead information, in that case after a prospect submits their email address and other details, the thank you page follows the same color scheme.

Another example of a landing page that does this well is connected to a search ad. See the search ad below:

When you click through the ad, you’ll see this landing page:

You can see that the headlines are similar and the offer on the ad appears on the landing page.

b). No Navigation Bar:

The aim of your landing page is to convert a visitor into a buyer or at least a lead. Regardless of what your conversion goal is, you want a visitor to take that action before they leave your landing page.

Perhaps having a navigation bar and links floating around is an obstacle to your conversions?

Trulia’s landing page has no navigation menu bar, which is awesome:

When you give visitors opportunities to leave your page, you’ve also increased the chances of lower conversions.

Yet, only 16% of landing pages are without navigation bars. To increase your conversions, a visitor should only have 2 choices:

  • To submit their information.
  • To close the page.

Below is another example of such a landing page:

This landing page offers no distractions to the visitor.

Does removing distractions on the landing page increase conversions?

Of course, it does. But don’t take my word for it, here’s a proof:

With the removal of the navigation bar from its landing page, Yuppiechef achieved a 100% increase in signups.

c). Clear and Relevant Call-to-Action Button:

Your call-to-action (CTA) tells your visitor what you want them to do. Do you want them to buy a product or subscribe to your newsletter?

You should have a call-to-action that shows your intended action.

In some cases, your CTA could be related to your lead magnet. For instance, if you’re offering an ebook, your CTA copy could be “Download my ebook.”

But if you’re selling a physical product, “Shop Now” may be ideal referenced from Instapage article.

Another point to note with your calls to action button is to make it obvious. This has to do with:

  • The size of your call-to-action button
  • The color of the button

The button should be big enough to be noticeable on the landing page. Likewise, the color of the button should be obvious compared to other colors on the page. Make sure the color stands out. Don’t blend it with the rest of the page elements.

Below is an example of such a page. You can see that the green call-to-action button is obvious on the page:

Another thing to note with your CTA button is that it should appear more than once on your page, if possible. You can have it on top of the fold (i.e., above the fold), in the middle of the landing page copy, and at the end.

The point is that a visitor doesn’t have to read your landing page copy if they’re already convinced by your ad. You should give them an opportunity to convert right at the top of your page.

Another step to take is to carry out tests on how you present your lead capture form. On some landing pages, visitors can fill the form right there. For some, the form only appears when you click on the CTA button.

You can test both and also a variation of both. For instance, you could have a button that triggers the CTA button at the top of the page and have a lead capture form at the end of the page.

Your landing page is a vital part of your post-click optimization. If you have many products or services to offer, you should have as many landing pages as possible to market them.

In a recent study, the Marketing Institute of Ireland found that companies that increased the number of their landing pages from 10 to 15 had a 55% increase in leads acquisition.

ii). Sales funnel

After capturing leads or making sales, the next step is to add your prospects or customers at the right stage of the sales funnel. This is usually done through email marketing via segmentation.

Without an effective sales funnel, you begin to lose your leads and the opportunity to convert them into customers. You should consider these 2 major factors before constructing your sales funnel:

a). Content

No matter the stage of your sales funnel, you need content to make it work. Whether you want to explain a concept to a cold lead or want to send an offer to a sales-qualified lead, you need content to achieve these.

As a marketer, you must pay attention to your content at each stage of your sales funnel.

With poor content, there’s no way to convince a lead to open their purse. If you’re unable to create this type of content, you can find an expert writer who can do that for you.

b). Lead Nurturing

A lead doesn’t automatically become a customer. They usually have to go through the process of lead nurturing.

This is where you convince them of why they need your product and how to get it. Your lead nurturing program can be simple or detailed like this:

Lead nurturing is important as it moves your leads further down the sales funnel till they become customers. For instance, Forrester reports that companies great at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower costs.

Crowe Horwath, a public accounting and consulting firm, increased its ROI by 133% through lead nurturing emails in 7 months.

The stages of your sales funnel to optimize are:
i). Top of the Sales Funnel (ToFU)

This is the initial stage where you can turn a cold lead into a warm lead. You create helpful content that draws a potential lead into your funnel.

You create awareness at this stage without pushing the user to buy anything yet. You want to share as much useful information that your ideal prospects can consume. Don’t hold back your best information.

If you have many products or services, you’ll need many pages of content at this stage to cater for each lead and their interests.

Here, leads will read to gain more knowledge to help them make the decision of a product to go for.

ii). Middle of the Sales Funnel (MoFU)

At this stage, you have warm leads or sales-qualified leads. These people have a high interest in a particular product or service. This video shows you what happens or should happen in the middle of your sales funnel.

From the top of the funnel, it’s a lot easier to segment leads according to their needs and interests.

Your leads usually want personalized messages as they’ve shown you their area of interests through their interactions with your content.

At this stage, you can start showing leads how you have the best product to meet their needs. You can also show them demos and case studies of how your product has helped others to improve their lives.

Lastly, you can send offers about your product to them if they interact well with your previous middle of the funnel content. This will give them various options of what to go for and the potential benefit of each choice.

iii). Bottom of the Sales Funnel (BoFU): This is arguably the last stage of the sales funnel in the customer journey. At this stage, you have people who want to buy your products or customers you want to remarket to.

You have to remove barriers and objections from the sales process. Because this is the best stage to recommend specific offers — having gained the trust of your leads.

Here, you may have people who have visited your sales page and abandoned their carts.

In this case, you can send them a cart abandonment email to bring them back to buy your product. Below is an example of a cart abandonment email by Fab.

With the use of a 3-part triggered follow-up email sequence, Smileycookie.com was able to recall 29% of cart abandoners into sales.

Likewise, your work doesn’t end when a customer buys your product or subscribes to a service. You have to continue to provide your service even after they’ve made the purchase.

For instance, your bottom of the sales funnel content could include onboarding messages about how they can get started with your product or service. You can send them video tutorials to show them the basics about your service.

With a great execution of your sales funnel, you can move your leads effectively from the information searching stage to the buying stage.


Running digital ads takes more than just getting clicks. The conversion process starts a long time before a prospect clicks on your ad and goes a long while after that.

As a marketer, you must have a holistic view of the conversion process and ensure you optimize every stage to get the maximum ROI out of your ad spend. So end to end optimization of pre-click and post-click activities is an essential.

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February 10, 2020

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