So what’s the argument? Do I need to use a pre-lander in my campaigns or not? Depending on the scope of the offer I’m promoting, pre-landers might be an option to use. They are undoubtedly worth split-testing at the very least.
So what exactly do we mean by pre-landers.
A pre-lander is a page that comes between your campaigns and the landing page for the final offer you’re promoting. Rather than sending traffic directly to a merchant’s landing page, you send the traffic to your pre-lander. Pre-landers will typically have a lot more information about the final offer and work as a warm-up.
Say I’m promoting a Bitcoin offer and the merchant landing page has some short information and a signup form, I might choose to use a pre-lander to offer more details and more selling points. The job of the pre-lander is to prepare your visitors for the final signup on the landing page.
The look and feel of a pre-lander will, to a considerable extent, be determined by the traffic source I’m using for the campaign. Native ads, for example, will usually lead to more infomercial-style pre-landers with lots of content and information about the final offer. That fits in with the expectation the traffic has. Clickers on native ads tend to look for more informational style pages. If the merchant landing page is just a signup form, that probably won’t convert very well with native ads. Long-form landing pages tend to convert better with native ads, so using a pre-lander in these cases is highly recommended.
The difference between the flows is shown in the images below.
In the Landing Page Flow, I’ll send traffic directly from my traffic source to the merchant landing page.
In the Pre-Lander Flow, I’ll send traffic to the pre-lander to pre-qualify it, and interested traffic will go to the merchant landing page.
One crucial fact to note here concerns the conversion rates. Using a landing page flow, your conversion rate to leads will be higher, but your conversion rate from leads to checkout will be lower. The leads from a landing page flow won’t be qualified, so there will be a lot of tire-kickers.
With the pre-lander flow, the conversion rate to leads will be lower, but the conversion rate to checkout will be higher. Your pre-lander has qualified the traffic, and those more interested in the offer will click to go to the final merchant landing page.
Again, the use or not of a pre-lander flow will depend significantly on the traffic source. At the risk of getting repetitive – TEST, TEST, and then TEST some more.
Using pre-landers doesn’t only impact your final conversion rates. Pre-landers also allow you to collect leads into your own emailing back-office, for example. Sending traffic to a merchant landing page has one of two possible outcomes. A conversion or not. You’re not collecting any information about the leads, so you have no way of marketing to them again.
Use a pre-lander, though, and you can start to collect information from your leads, such as name and email. Connect your pre-lander to an email back-office, and you can begin to build targeted double opt-in lists of interested leads. You still have the possibility of these converting on the merchant landing page, but you get the chance to market to them directly. For me, this is the most significant advantage of using a pre-lander flow. I get to build relevant subscriber lists I can sell to directly.
Personally, I use pre-landers in all my campaigns, regardless of the traffic source and offer type. My starting point in any new campaign is always the same, and that is that I don’t know anything about what I’m doing. I don’t make any assumptions, and I always start with split-testing between a landing page and pre-lander flows. Experience tells me that the pre-lander flow will convert better, BUT I don’t take that as a given. Split-testing is the name of the game here.
One thing you need to keep in mind with pre-landers is this. Does the merchant offer you’re promoting allow pre-landers? Some won’t for the simple reason that they have no control over the content on your pre-landers. You might be making exaggerated claims or promises of results that the merchant may well object to.
The easy way to make sure is to talk to your affiliate manager and be open about the pre-lander you intend to use. It is much better to get things out in the open beforehand rather than run the risk of your conversions being canceled due to breaching any TOS.
Do you want to incorporate pre-landers into your campaigns? Talk to one of our affiliate managers and take your marketing to the next step.