Should I use a landing page form to measure my display campaign performance?



I was recently talking with a business owner about the value of display advertising online. After showing him how it could get his ads in front of a relevant audience and improve his search engine marketing strategies and brand searches, he seemed pretty psyched to give it a try.

And then we hit a road block. He wanted to measure the success of the campaign by driving the display ad traffic to a landing page with a form for users to complete. He felt that if the ad worked, he could track every lead using the landing page and form.

I explained that there were two problems with measuring the campaign using these parameters.


The average CTR for display is around .1%. That means that only about one in
one-thousand people are clicking on display ads. But that’s not a bad thing because thousands of others are being impacted by display. Just like traditional media (that you can’t click, btw), display improves brand recognition and recall, leading users to search for the product or service by name when they are ready to buy.

This drives users to the business’s site, usually by way of a search engine. Thus, they would not end up on the landing page where the form is ready and waiting to track their visit.

So basically, a huge percentage of the people who find their way to the site thanks to the display ads, aren’t even going to get the chance to complete the form and be tracked.


When you are really interested in a product or service, and given the opportunity to simply call the business or complete a form, which are you more likely to do?

Most of us will just call. Why?

  • We’re interested. We want the product or have questions and the quickest, easiest way to get what we want is to pick up the phone and call. What’s the point in waiting on someone returning a call?
  • We don’t want to complete the form because it’ll probably get us added to a mailing list that will result in more junk mail.

So we call. And the form sits there, claiming to be an accurate measurement of the leads created by the display campaign.

Maybe you’re one of the few who would complete the form. According to an (admittedly small) survey I ran across my social media channels, the majority of us will choose to make the call, rather than complete the form. Here’s a peek at my Facebook survey results:


If you’re thinking, “Well I’ll just use a call tracking number to track the leads.”, then I refer you back to my first point. The reality is that both the form and tracking number will only be able to track the direct traffic from the display ads. And based on the overall traffic increases we’ve seen coming from display campaigns, there are a lot more than one in one-thousand users who will find their way to your site after seeing a display ad.

So unless you’re willing to track every phone call that comes from the web and give a percentage of credit back to the display ads, you should probably just come to terms with the fact that landing pages, form completions and call tracking numbers aren’t full proof ways of measuring display campaign success.


When you first start to look at how display actually works, it can be frustrating to learn that measuring the click, the call, or the form completion isn’t going to be accurate. This is web advertising after all and we expect to be able to track it better than traditional media.

Well, there’s good news on that front. Display does a couple of things really well. First, it drives more traffic to your website. These visitors may not come from a direct click, but a lot of the users who see your ads as they surf the web will go directly to your site or they will search for your business by name.

And if you’re using targeted display to place your ads in front of a relevant audience, it’s pretty likely that you’re going to see a higher quality website visitor too. So if you want to measure your display campaign’s performance, look for:

  • An overall increase in web traffic
  • More name/brand searches
  • Higher quality web traffic (Look for higher time on site, more pages visited and lower bounce rates.)

When you see these results in your analytics, you’ll know that display is working. For more details, check out “Using Google Analytics To Measure Display Campaign Success”.

Thanks for reading.

David McBee