Marketing

Clicks but no Conversions? 19 Tips on How to Convert Paid Traffic into Qualified Leads

Got clicks but no conversions from your ad campaign? 30+ marketers share actionable strategies for improving paid traffic conversions.

Jessica Malnik Jessica Malnik on February 10, 2021 (last modified on February 9, 2021) • 21 minute read

Paid ads are one of the few levers where you can drive traffic in a short time frame.

This means some marketers treat paid ad campaigns like ATMs.

They throw money at Google or Facebook and expect traffic and leads to emerge.

This leads to a lot of wasted ad spend, because without a proper strategy in place, investing in paid traffic won’t necesasrily bring you qualified leads and conversion.

In this post, we’re sharing 19 tips to help you increase your conversion rate from paid ad campaigns, including:

What is Paid Traffic?

Paid traffic is one of the quickest ways to generate more traffic to your site. However, it comes at a cost. 

Assuming you have an advertising budget, there are no shortage of paid traffic channels, including: 

  • Paid Search –  This is the OG digital ad channel. Google Ads have been around in some capacity since the early 2000s. They work great if you are trying to reach people who are already problem-aware.
  • Paid Social – You can run ads to reach your target audience on pretty much any established social media site from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to Reddit, Pinterest, Linkedin, and TikTok. These tend to work best for brand awareness campaigns.  
  • Display Ads –  These are banner ads that you can see either through Google Ads or natively on websites. Banner ads tend to have the lowest conversion rate.. 
  • Sponsored Newsletter Placements – With the rise of free and paid newsletters, this also means you can pay to be mentioned in your favorite ones. 
  • Sponsored Podcast Ads – You can also pay for ads on your favorite podcasts. 

While there are many different options available, most people will be advertising on either Google or Facebook. If you are not sure which one works best for you, check out our Facebook ads vs. Google ads guide.

Editor’s Note: You can use this Facebook Ads and Google Ads Paid Marketing Overview Dashboard to monitor the performance and ROI of your campaigns in one place. 

Facebook and Google Ads Dashboard

What is the Best Paid Traffic Source?

Wondering which paid traffic channel converts the best? According to our report, 68.7% of people said that Google Ads convert best. 

Based on your experience, what paid traffic channel converts best?

19 Ways to Increase Paid Traffic Conversions

The following tactics work across any paid traffic channel – including paid search traffic sources (such as Google ads and Bing ads) and paid social traffic sources (such as Facebook ads, to LinkedIn ads, Twitter and Instragram ads, and so on.)

Let’s dive in.  

  1. Nail your offer
  2. Make sure your CTAs stand out on your landing page
  3. Use clear, concise and compelling language
  4. Reduce distractions on your landing page
  5. Set up landing pages that match your ad intent
  6. Track your ad campaigns
  7. Set up your funnel
  8. Create a lead magnet
  9. Offer free samples
  10. Sell the benefits not the features
  11. Add videos to your ad landing pages
  12. Dial in your ad targeting
  13. Optimize your landing page for conversions
  14. Focus on BOFU keywords
  15. Make it easy for leads to contact you
  16. Add live chat to your website
  17. Run A/B tests
  18. Take advantage of structured snippets
  19. Run remarketing campaigns

1. Nail your offer 

This might sound obvious, but before you spend any time creating your landing page or setting up any ad campaigns, make sure you have a compelling value proposition. 

Peep Laja of Wynter says, “The most important part is the offer on the landing page, your value proposition. It comes down to the messaging you use – does it resonate or not? Are you getting people to nod their heads, or not? Conduct message testing to find which messaging hits home.” 

2. Make sure your CTAs stand out on your landing page 

Once you have a compelling offer, it should be your primary call-to-action (CTA) on your landing page. 

“One way to effectively convert paid traffic to a lead or even a sale is to have a strong CTA,” says Noelle Del Grippo. “Having a strong CTA will drive the users who clicked on your ad to perform an action when they are on your site. 

A strong CTA should tell the user what you would like them to do once they are on the site, such as, Sign up for a free trial, Request a quote, or Schedule a demo/call rather than having a generic CTA of Contact us.”

Nicholas Hollinger of Visitor Queue adds, “Ensure that you have a call to action not only at the end of every page, but also placed throughout the content. How many will depend on the length of the content, but having at least one half way through the content is very important.” 

One way to take this a step further is to create different landing pages with custom CTAs for each keyword or ad set. 

For example, Dario Zadro of Zadro Web says, “With paid traffic, we have many advantages — one of those being choosing the paid campaigns’ target page. To have the most effective conversion on paid traffic, it’s best to build highly targeted landing pages to drive that traffic. Even better would be to push the keywords used (applies to Google Ads) and display the keyphrase on the landing page. Obviously, make sure there’s a form on the landing page to capture the lead. Paid traffic is one powerful channel in the many others that exist for converting traffic.” 

3. Use clear, concise, and compelling language 

While there are many places where it pays to be cute or clever, your ad landing page copy isn’t that place. 

“The best way to convert paid traffic into a sale is to be clear about what you’re offering on your landing page,” says Chris Wilks of BrandExtract. “We’re at a point now where users know they’re clicking on an ad so if they’ve made the conscious decision to click on your ad, they’re expecting something worth their time. Be clear about what it is you’re offering in both your ad and your landing page and you’ll begin to see more conversions.” 

4. Reduce distractions on your landing page 

Another best practice is to keep your landing page focused on your offer. 

“Maintain advertising scent and reduce distractions,” says Alex Birkett of Everything But The Plant. “An ad should drive a specific motivation and that scent (derived through the copy and imagery you use) should be maintained through the landing page and up to the conversion/thank you page. It should all feel like the same experience. An example of how *not* to do that is to drive ads to a specific campaign or offer and then have a landing page with different imagery and 4 different offers. That leads to confusion and a bounce. Make it specific, relevant, and remove as many extraneous distractions as possible.”

5. Set up landing pages that match your ad intent 

One of the biggest ways that advertisers waste money is when your ad copy and landing page aren’t in sync. 

Matthew McEwan of Medallion Capital adds, “To maximize conversion rates, create a separate landing page specific to the paid ad the customer clicked on. If you offer a number of products and services, don’t send them to your general website and force them to find what they’re looking for. Put it right in front of them with a landing page dedicated solely to the product or service that led them to your ad in the first place.” 

John Ross of LSAT Test Prep Review agrees, “Do not just link users over to an existing page where you have mass amounts of information about your product or service. 

Create a custom landing page that is tailored to align with the nature of your ad. 

Make this landing page short and sweet. Users that come though paid traffic are generally more skittish than users than come through organic, so you need to hook them fast and hard. 

Give your landing page a simple layout, with a clean design and focus on product highlights and price. 

In our experience, a simple landing page tied to your ad has a 3.4% higher conversion rate than landing users on existing pages.”

As others have alluded to, setting up custom landing pages for specific ad sets or campaigns can dramatically increase your ROI. 

For example, Matthew Lally of TheGiftYak says, “After investing over 50 million dollars worth of paid advertising traffic for high flying startups in Silicon Valley, I can without a doubt say this ONE thing will help you convert more paid traffic to leads & sales:

Have dedicated paid advertising landing pages. Organic traffic flows through your blog and category pages. While Google may rank those pages for organic searches, that does not mean it’s the best experience for paid traffic.

With dedicated paid traffic landing pages you can optimize the funnel more quickly and get real time insights from your paid traffic. Most advertisers find success on the lead side by using lead generation pages which effectively lock off people from clicking around your site. This funnels them into your lead flow. Organic pages are quite the opposite. Internal linking, different product and category pages to click through. It’s a huge differentiator for successful paid programs and unsuccessful paid programs.” 

6. Track your ad campaigns 

Another simple tweak is to actually measure your campaigns on a regular basis – ideally weekly. 

Andrew Schulz of Lake One says, “Use analytics to understand how effective your campaign tactics are, and where you must make changes to generate quality leads.”

Editor’s Note: Looking for a simple way to monitor all of your Google Ad campaigns? Use this Google Ad Dashboard to analyze your campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and engagement metrics to improve your ROI. 

Google Ads Dashboard

7. Set up your funnel 

In addition, if you are running ad campaigns to cold traffic, building a marketing funnel can help you nurture these prospects. 

Rahul Singh of Techcopes says, “Use a sales funnel. Direct traffic to a lead capture form with little or no other distractions on your page.” 

Steve West of Entrepreneur Nut adds, “While paid traffic can bring visitors to your offers faster than organic methods, it can often be challenging to convert that traffic into leads and sales.

One of the most effective ways around this issue is to use an optimized funnel to capture leads on the front end and then sell on the back end through email. A strategy that works well is to send the paid traffic to a landing page that either offers a free gift or presents a low ticket but high-value offer on the front end. Either way, your funnel should collect the visitor’s email at this point.

When the visitor hits the ‘subscribe’ or ‘buy’ button, depending on what you are offering, you can then instantly redirect them to an upsell page to offer them an additional product that will also appeal to your target audience. If your funnel and sales copy is optimized well then a percentage of people will also buy the upsell offer. For those who don’t take you up on the second offer, you now have the chance to follow up with them over time via email.” 

However, you want to make sure you are being strategic about when and how you message prospects once they are in your marketing funnel.  

Deepak Shukla of Pearl Lemon says, “Things to consider when designing your sequence are giveaways, knowing when to pitch, value creation to recipients and creating interesting landing or opt-in pages.” 

8. Create a lead magnet 

Another common tactic to get prospects into your marketing funnel is to use a lead magnet, such as an ebook or whitepaper. 

Shawn Lockery of Invivo Bio Systems says, “In this technique, you can offer an eBook, tutorials, newsletters, podcast at least once to your visitors for free, in exchange for their contact details such as email, phone number, etc.

When the visitors sign up for a trial version or download any free item, they effectively exchange their details for a lead magnet. A compelling lead magnet can effectively convert paid traffic to leads. However, you should create your lead magnet according to your target audience.” 

For example, Natalia Blair of Noetic Marketer adds, “As a marketer for a digital marketing agency, we get clients that are unsure of launching PPC campaigns for many reasons. One is that it costs too much money, and another is that it may not convert as well as organic traffic campaigns. The main way to combat this uncertainty is by connecting an ad to a lead magnet for high results.

A lead magnet is the most effective tool to convert paid traffic to leads and sales as it focuses on one call-to-action and provides immense value. For example, a music streaming service can link to a lead magnet offering a free 14-day trial for users who enter their contact information. Not only does the user get to benefit from the free streaming, but the company receives their contact information for future campaigns. It is much easier to sell, upsell and cross-sell when you’ve already begun a positive relationship with your leads by giving them a free trial.

As I mentioned earlier, a lead magnet should only have one call-to-action. In following this best practice, users that enter the lead magnet will only have one task to complete, instead of flipping through hundreds of webpages with no obvious next step to take. When there’s only one action to take, prospects are more likely to submit their information to begin receiving value from your offer.” 

9. Offer free samples 

If you don’t want to write an ebook, free samples or giveaways can be another tactic to get people into your funnel. 

For example, Buzz Carter of DotcomBlinds says, “We use free samples of our products. It’s a lot easier to convince someone to take a free sample than it is to spend hundreds of pounds on a product and once they have the free sample with them, we find they are much more likely to convert and purchase products as they can see the quality of the products close up without any initial investment.” 

10. Sell the benefits not the features 

“Focus on the benefits, not the features,” says Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers. “Focus on the problem you solve.

Paid traffic (whether it’s with Google ads, Facebook ads, Youtube or some other channels) can be very powerful and bring your business up or down very quickly. What paying for traffic, you want to make sure that traffic is targeted and qualified. How do you measure that? By analyzing the number of leads and sales you generate from that traffic.

The quality of your ads is only 1 factor for success. What you want is to make sure that people going on your website convert into leads and later on into customers. How? 

By explaining the problem they’re facing and most importantly the solution you have for them. People have problems and what they want is to find solutions. Don’t write too much about the features of your products, focus on the benefits instead.” 

This is not only great advice for writing better ad copy, but also for all of your copywriting. 

11. Add videos to your ad landing pages 

Videos allow you to put a face to your words. This can build trust and credibility. 

“Effective landing pages are an obvious thing, but one element that seems to pay off more than others when it comes to landing page design, is video,” says Cristina Maria of Commusoft. “There is a clear conversion difference, from visitor to lead, between our landing pages with videos (a short 1-2 minute spot about why they’re on a landing page) and those featuring just text.” 

Related: 13 Video Marketers Reveal The Tactics Behind Their Top-Performing Videos

12. Dial in your ad targeting 

Google and Facebook are incentivized to show your ads to as many people as possible, so that you keep spending more money. 

Whereas, you want to get the most bang for your buck. This means that ad targeting falls on you.  

Nora Leary of Ironpaper says,”To convert paid traffic to leads and sales, you must target effectively. Unqualified leads that come in from paid traffic will only end up bouncing off your website because you don’t solve any of their pain points. 

Before even beginning a paid campaign, it’s crucial to understand your buyers, their pain points, and how your solution solves them. When you create ads, be sure you know if you are targeting these leads in a specific sales funnel stage and you address their pain points instead of going for the hard sell.” 

Carl Lefever of Improve & Grow, LLC adds, “In short, refine your ad targeting. Poor targeting is the single largest cause of wasted ad spend. Use the tools provided by the ad platform to analyze your ad performance data by various audience attributes. Pull in user behavior from Google Analytics where possible. Use what you learn to cut out underperforming audience segments and use more of your budget on the high performing segments.” 

13. Optimize your landing page for conversions 

On the topic of wasted ad dollars, you should audit both your ad targeting strategy as well as your landing pages. 

“Paid traffic is only worth as much as you manage to convert the visitors,” says Peter Thaleikis of RankLetter. “It’s key to optimize your landing pages for conversation. The two key elements here are: speaking to your audience and making calls-to-action truly actionable.

Being greeted on a website with a big “Welcome” is neat, but doesn’t help conversation. Make sure to write your hero headline custom for the audience and include a value proposition. If you are running an exam study service, you could say something along the lines “Master the next exam with only 15 minutes studying per day”.

The following CTAs should hook into the hero and address the most common objections. If, for example, people don’t like to share their credit card details for the trail “Start today! No CC needed!”. Within several variations for each of the elements up is part one.

Part two contains AB testing these for each channel and campaign. You are likely to see results differ from channel to channel as well as from campaign to campaign. This doesn’t just improve your conversation for PPC but also for organic traffic.” 

14. Focus on BOFU keywords 

Focusing on high buying intent keywords is one way to stretch your ad budget. 

Sasha Matviienko of growth360 says, “One thing that new and smaller website owners need to understand is that, in the beginning, their focus has to be on the bottom-funnel keywords. In other words, keywords that consumers are likely to search for when they are close to purchase.

This will get highly-qualified visitors to your website. The second ingredient here is having a well-optimized landing page that summarizes bullet points of why a customer should buy from you + gives an easy way to convert (e.g. webform). Remember, in most cases a good landing page for Paid Search traffic has to be laser focused on generating Leads, as opposed to other pages on your website that tell a story.” 

For example, Travis McGinnis of Vye adds, “For paid search, target keywords with commercial intent that are related to your products and services, and then optimize the landing page for conversions.

For display ads, use a compelling offer and incorporate graphics and images from the landing page into the ads themselves so everything is congruent and consistent.” 

One caveat is this approach only works if your offer is something that these folks view as valuable.  

Alicia Blessing of OuterBox says, “Based on our experience, the best way to convert paid traffic to leads and sales is to offer something of value. Today’s savvy consumers can see right through gimmicks so if you aren’t offering something of value, you are going to get ignored. Consider offering some kind of free assessment or strategy session and actually provide a valuable service.

For us, Google Search ads have converted the best (outside of organic SEO). With Google Search ads, you’re capturing leads based on their search intent and not simply blanketing people with ads they didn’t ask to see. Targeting people when they are actively searching for a product or service similar to yours automatically gives you a leg up.” 

15. Make it easy for leads to contact you 

This sounds obvious, but it is easy to forget that ad traffic is usually cold – unless you are running retargeting campaigns (More on that later in this post!). They are probably going to have questions before they are comfortable buying something. 

Matt Glodz of CV Pilots says, “Make it easy for potential clients to easily contact you via the landing page you use for paid ads, driving them specifically toward your highest-converting contact method.

For example, we found that clients who call us convert at a much higher rate than those who simply fill out a form.

Based on this data, we shifted our messaging from contact us to book an introductory call, resulting in higher conversions.” 

16. Add live chat to your website 

Live chat tends to convert better than other contact methods, like phone and email. 

“Add a live chat option to your site so that visitors can have their questions answered in real-time,” says Jasmine Hippe of Augurian. “This will reduce the time people have to spend on your site trying to hunt down information and will promote trust between your brand and site visitors.” 

Mudassir Ahmed of Blogging Explained adds, “While the users land on your page and evaluate your brand in moments, they would likely to search for a quick and personal interaction. So having a support representative via chat option makes a big difference. In fact, chat yields 50% more conversion rate than forms (https://databox.com/forms-vs-chat).

If the landing page fails to offer what the set of users are actually looking for, then live chat can be important in encouraging them to discuss their requirements.” 

17. Run A/B tests

You can run A/B tests for pretty much any aspect of your ad campaign from the copy and images in the ads itself to different landing page variants. 

Emod Vafa of Verticalscope recommends, “Monitoring the user journey on your landing page with tools such as HotJar, or Mouseflow. And then making continual improvements to your landing page, updating the UX, the content, the design, or the overall workflow can dramatically improve your conversion results on your landing page. 

And, Patrick Smith of Fire Stick Tricks says, “One method may not work for one product or may not be effective for one segment of the market and the other will work. Once you find out a productive and effective way of marketing and converting the paid traffic, it’s time to optimize the conversion rate. There are several strategies to increase conversion which may include updating the website design or layout, working on user experience and satisfaction, and adding appealing and engaging content. These methods are some of the effective ways to increase conversion and improve sales and profits.” 

18. Take advantage of structured snippets 

With Google Ads, you have the ability to add structured snippets and call-out extensions. 

Jonathan Frey of Urban Bikes Direct recommends, “Take full advantage of structured snippets and call out extensions in your Google ads. Structured snippets allow you to prominently display a streamlined rundown of your entire range of products or services. With callout extensions, you can quickly distinguish your brand’s unique selling point and highlight special offers.

Utilize both of these Google ad features to catch the attention of searchers looking for the exact solutions you offer. Sometimes, lead conversion is just a matter of communicating the right bit of info to searchers on a mission – before they even click through.” 

19. Run remarketing campaigns 

The perfect ad still won’t convert everyone. This is where retargeting campaigns come in handy. 

Jamie Gemmell of Search Jam says, “It’s vital when running paid ads, to run a re-marketing campaign alongside it to show your adverts to people who’ve already clicked on your paid advert. My top tip is to limit the frequency of how often these ads show. Nobody likes to see the same advert following them on the internet.” 


Most people don’t like to waste money. However, that’s exactly what many are doing when they just throw money into paid ads. If you want to increase your ROI for ads, these 19 tactics can help you convert more traffic into leads and customers. 

About the author
Jessica Malnik
Jessica Malnik Jessica Malnik is a content strategist and copywriter for SaaS and productized service businesses. Her writing has appeared on The Next Web, Social Media Examiner, SEMRush, CMX, Help Scout, Convince & Convert, and many other sites.

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