Landing Page vs Homepage: What’s the Difference and When to Use?
Landing pages are among the most important tools that marketers and advertisers use to provide online users with targeted and relevant experiences.
At Directive, landing pages are an important part of how we meet the objectives of our digital marketing campaigns. As part of our PPC strategy, we construct ad groups that correspond to defined customer personas. Then, we’ll design unique advertising creative and a unique landing page specific to the target audience for each ad group. This ensures that each of our identified customer personas is being targeted with relevant content after clicking on one of our ads.
We consider this a best practice, but not all advertisers are on the same page. We’ve seen countless examples of advertisers linking to their home page in situations where a customized landing page would have produced far better results. We’ve also encountered links to highly targeted landing pages in places where a link to a homepage would have been more subtle and more effective.
To help generate the best returns on their ad spending, advertisers need to be aware of the differences between a landing page vs homepage and when it’s appropriate to link to each one. We’ve created this guide to help you:
- Understand the differences between a landing page vs homepage
- Understand when to link to a landing page vs homepage in your ad campaigns
Land Page vs Homepage – What’s the Difference
Let’s start by clearly defining a homepage and a landing page in terms of their basic characteristics.
What is a Homepage?
Websites are designed in a hierarchy with the root domain at the top, sub-domains around the middle and other web pages towards the bottom. This hierarchy of content makes it easier for users to navigate to areas of the website that match their goals or interests.
- Root Domain: https://www.directiveconsulting.com
- Sub-Domain: https://institute.directiveconsulting.com
- Web Pages: https://directiveconsulting.com/resources/
A homepage is the page that occupies the root domain of your website. An effective homepage should act as a hub or directory, linking to other important areas of your website. Visitors to your home page may never have heard of your company before, so it is important that readers can use your homepage to quickly figure out who you are and what you do. An effective homepage also lets readers know how to connect with you, such as including phone numbers, social networks, call to actions to contact form or live chat widgets.
What is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a page whose specific purpose is to receive and convert traffic from an advertising campaign.
While each website has just one home page, advertisers can create an unlimited number of landing pages to support their advertising campaigns.
Landing pages got their name because a prospective customer would “land on” one of these pages when they clicked on an advertisement.
We will highlight more defining features of landing pages as we outline the differences between a landing page vs homepage.
Landing Page vs Homepage – Five Key Differences
While the purpose of the website homepage is to help users navigate to the most important or useful areas of the website, landing pages focus on receiving and converting traffic for a specific marketing campaign.
Traffic to the home page of a website typically comes from many sources. In contrast, landing pages should primarily receive traffic from a single ad campaign.
To create the best experience for visitors to your website, it’s important to deliver content that matches closely with user intent. Understanding what your users want when they’re visiting your pages or interacting with your advertisements is crucial for optimizing the user experience and increasing conversion rate for your ad campaign.
Here’s what we mean in specifics:
Visitors arrive at your home page with a variety of intentions. They may just be checking you out, they could be doing a market research project, or they may be checking out your products and services to decide if they want to do business. To deal with this, we design home pages that serve visitors with a wide range of intentions.
Landing pages are very different. A landing page is customized for a specific ad campaign that targets a defined customer persona with an offer. This makes it much easier to understand user intent for a visitor that arrives at one of our landing pages.
Homepages are primarily a navigation tool for your website. Your homepage should include links to all of the most important areas of your website, including basic information about your company, product and service pages, your contact information and any other resources that you offer. A homepage should encourage users to click through to other areas of the website and keep exploring.
In contrast, landing pages are designed to support a specific advertising campaign. They should be designed to optimize the conversion rate for that campaign. The conversion target could be that the customer provides their e-mail address, or that they purchase a product or service. Either way, the landing page should direct and encourage the customer towards the conversion target and not towards browsing additional areas of the site.
Homepages don’t typically need a lot of content. They’re more like a navigational hub that connects your visitors with other areas of the site.
Content for landing pages should be highly targeted towards the user intent of the ad campaigns that they support. They should be action-oriented and encourage the prospect to take advantage of the offer mentioned in the ad that they previously clicked on. They often include call-to-action buttons throughout the page, along with specific information about the relevant offer.
A landing page for an e-mail opt-in could be very short, with just a simple form for readers to fill out. A landing page for a product or service could be much longer, including details about the product and answering customer questions while encouraging a sale or conversion.
Landing Page vs Homepage – When to Use Each One?
So, when should you link to your home page and when is it more effective to use a landing page?
When to Link Your Home Page:
- When you’re filling out your company information on social media profiles, Google Maps and other directories
- When your campaign objective is to increase brand awareness (especially using display ads)
- When you’re writing guest blogs to generate brand awareness
When to Link a Customized Landing Page
- When you’re running a targeted e-mail marketing campaign
- When you’re running paid search ads
- When you’re advertising the launch of a new product or service
- When you’re running Facebook ads
Home pages provide the most general information and a broad overview of your website, while a landing page can connect with visitors with information that is specific to their specific intentions and customer persona. You should gravitate towards using customized landing pages when:
- You understand the visitor’s intentions because you just served them a highly targeted advertisement.
- You have a strong idea of what you want visitors to do after they click on an add, such as respond to a specific offer.
- You have extra information about the visitor, such as a customer persona or demographics, that you can use to deliver a more customized and relevant experience.
The discussion surrounding when to link a landing page vs a homepage is really a conversation about targeting.
The greatest benefit of digital marketing is that it allows advertisers to deliver highly targeted and customized content to audiences, which we know increases conversions.
If you’re delivering a customized ad to a uniquely defined and targeted audience, you should also want to give them a customized experience once they click on your advertisement.
This is exactly what landing pages accomplish and why it’s important to know how to create a landing page for every ad campaign.