Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
You’ve planned your campaign, you’ve got your target, your strategies and your content. Now, where do you put it? Marketing Automation Platforms boast easy-to-build landing pages that don’t require developer support. However, there are possible disadvantages to using a landing page vs. website page that must also be considered.
Unfortunately, there is no easy or “right” answer to how to handle marketing campaign content. But our team of experts can help you determine the best solution based on your organization’s structure and needs. Let’s dive into one of our most commonly discussed questions where we’ll share our considerations and encourage you to share yours in the comments below.
Considerations for MAP Landing Pages vs. Website Pages
Landing Page Lifespan
The most common argument to use a MAP landing page is for short-term needs, like webinar and event registration. These pages aren’t used long enough to provide any long-term SEO value. Thus, it makes sense to stand up a MAP landing page for an event and take it down after registration is closed. Be sure your marketing automation platform is set up with a default fallback URL and/or redirect each individual page to prevent 404 errors and a poor user experience.
Look and Feel
Landing page conversion rates probably get the most attention when running paid campaigns. Sure, all marketing tactics have an associated cost, but the CPL (Cost Per Lead) for webinars is typically much lower than than the CPL for paid media campaigns.
A quick way to improve your conversion rates? Reduce the number of distractions by removing links that aren’t your CTA (Call to Action). By design, landing pages typically do not include navigation or the menu at the top of website pages. With developer assistance, it may be possible to turn off the navigational display on certain pages of your website.
The easy solution: create a landing page that matches your paid messaging and imagery, even if that looks slightly different than your website. In fact, landing pages are an opportunity to explore messaging and design that differs from your over-arching brand.
Advanced Marketing Automation Platform Features: Personalization, Dynamic Content, Pre-fill, Progressive Profiling & Tokens
Many marketing automation platforms include built-in features that make it easy to display personalized messaging. Eloqua’s Dynamic Content app makes it simple to insert dynamic content from Oracle Content Marketing into emails and landing pages. Marketo and Pardot also feature dynamic content functionality to improve a lead’s web experience.
Another way to improve the user experience is to employ form pre-fill and progressive profiling, which changes which form fields are displayed for known users. You can use a script to enable pre-fill embedded forms, but the simplest method is to use a MAP landing page with forms.
In addition to creating a better experience for visitors, marketing automation platforms include templates and features to improve scalability. In particular, Marketo’s My Program Tokens can dramatically improve efficiency when using program templates to build repeated campaigns, like webinars or re-occurring events.
That said, Marketo and other MAPs do offer web personalization features for an additional cost.
You pour over your campaign content, your designs and your brand. But have you taken the time to consider how your choices impact conversions?
According to Marketo, only 52% of marketers who use landing pages test them to improve conversion rates. But an overlooked feature makes it easy to A/B test Marketo landing pages. There are similar features to A/B test campaigns in Eloqua and test and refine landing pages in Pardot.
Features included in your marketing automation platform can make it much easier to test one or more variables to improve conversion rates—and your bottom line. Consider using landing pages for A/B testing and implement your findings into your website designs.
Since MAP landing pages are individual assets, they do not scale well for global design changes. If you organization changes a brand color, logo, etc., you’ll have to update each individual landing page and risk having outdated content on the web. Conversely, website pages can typically be updated at a global scale, with changes made in one place reflected across all pages.
Centralized Resource Center
With content marketing a core strategy for many marketers, many company websites include an educational resource center. By entering content into your website/CMS, you fuel the resource library without having to create a landing page for each and every piece of content. Moreover, CMS typically include features for tagging and categorizing content in ways that marketing automation platforms do not.
If you choose to host your content in two places, be sure to include the canonical URL for your land pages and keep a record for updating.
Curate Related Content
Speaking of tagging content, with enough data, machine learning can be applied to make dynamic content recommendations based on which content is most likely to be both relevant and engaging for a particular audience. While it is possible to create “related content” suggestions using MAP landing pages, it will require custom code and spreadsheets.
We can’t talk about websites without touching on SEO (search engine optimization). Unless your marketing automation platform uses a reverse proxy setup, which is uncommon, your MAP landing pages live on a subdomain. For example, instead of CompanyWebsite.com/LandingPage, the URL is Subdomain.CompanyWebsite.com/LandingPage. Some experts say your primary domain won’t benefit from the wealth of keywords available in your content, but others find the value negligible.
“Duplicate Content” Penalties
Landing pages that replicate your website pages also run the risk of being counted as duplicate content. Duplicate content can result in penalties or even prevent your pages from appearing in search engine results. Search engines are smart enough to recognize similar content as duplicate, even if it isn’t a word-for-word match.
To mitigate the risk of duplicate content and cannibalization of SEO value, landing pages should reference, by URL, a website page counterpart as its canonical URL. However, it can be difficult to track and keep in sync with the website if a URL changes.
It’s important to consider the types of information you’d like to report on as well as your (team’s) access to reporting tools. Marketing automation platforms typically have conversion reporting built into their landing pages, whereas this may require additional website setup. Marketo can track website activity on pages tagged with Munchkin code, but reports will only be known visitors. Anonymous visitors and more advanced UX activity are better captured by Google Analytics and similar reporting tools, some of which will require IT or developer involvement to setup or access.
Often, one major advantage to using a MAP landing page instead of using the company website is time to completion. Landing page templates, like Marketo FLEX Templates, bridge the gap between web development and marketing. Depending on your company, team structure, and campaign deadlines, Marketing may need to choose a landing page vs. website page simply for the turnaround time.
Landing Page vs. Website Conclusions
Unfortunately, it seems there is no clear winner in the battle of landing page vs. website. For A/B testing, short-term campaigns, and the ability to move at the speed of Marketing, MAP landing pages generally win. But if your page has some permanence, more care and rigor should be applied.
Let’s break it all out in grid format:
|MAP Landing Pages||Website Pages|
|Easy to Clone||Yes||No / Dependent on CMS|
|Look and Feel||Designed for conversion||Same UX as website|
|A/B Testing||Yes||No / Dependent on CMS|
|Personalization||Yes||No / Dependent on CMS|
|Dynamic Content||Yes||No / Dependent on CMS|
|Form Pre-fill||Yes||Requires additional setup|
|Conversion Reporting||Yes||Requires additional setup|
|Acquisition Program Reporting||Yes||No|
|UTM Parameter Support||Yes||Requires additional setup|
|Auto Cookie Tracking||Yes||Yes|
|Social Form Fill||Yes||Yes|
|Social Sharing Buttons||Yes||Requires additional setup|
|SEO||Limited impact||Can boost website SEO|
|Turn around time||Speed of Marketing||Dependent on CMS and team structure|