The Spin Test for PPC Landing Pages

I’ve seen thousands of different landing pages, and probably even more landing page evaluation tools. However what I haven’t seen is an effective (free) tool or trick to evaluate before launching a landing page.

We all know that there are standard best practices (keep form fields minimal, use relevant images, clear value adds etc.).  What if you had ONE head-smacking test to say in 5 seconds or less this landing page serves its purpose? Well, I’ve created that test using a simple tool we all have at our desks – our chairs.

The Spin Test is a quick gut check that I give to most of my landing pages and competitor pages. Open up the landing page, and immediately turn your chair away from the computer. Give yourself a pedal so you spin slowly (kind of like Mr. Krueger) and get a few seconds to look at the landing page. Then, answer the following questions:

What is this page for?

If your answer is focused on the image but not the product, maybe the image is too much of a visual focus. If all you can say is the company name, you better hope you have a strong brand. If you didn’t pick up anything in the spin test, your text is probably too small (you don’t want users to squint!) and the page may be lacking focus.

What am I supposed to do, and why?

The “what” is almost always to fill out a form or buy something, but you need to give the searcher a quick hit why they should fill out a form or buy something. In the ecommerce spin test, you should be able to pick up a price, promo or shiny picture displaying the item. After the lead generation spin test, should be able to pick up some trust elements (VeriSign or other security badges, customer testimonials), quick hitting value props and a “reward” for giving up your info.

And make your privacy policy prominent – if you can’t pick up the privacy policy in the spin test, there’s a good chance a Google smack down may be in your future.

Is this what I want?

In paid search, we don’t have long to grab the users attention. Compare the landing page to the search terms and copy you’re using. If you can’t establish relevance between the three things (keywords, ad copy and the landing page) with the spin test, you may find a lot of users backing out before you even get a chance to talk to them.

Let’s try the spin test on a few LPs… Warning, you (or I) may get dizzy.


Keyword Searched: “SEM Software”

Ad Copy: Marin ACLanding Page: 

What is this page for? Leading SEM software! Yay!

What am I supposed to do? Fill out a form. Why? So I can get a demo. However, I don’t know if I can trust them (since there’s no privacy policy).

Is this what I want? I searched SEM Software and its right there front and center. However, the ad promised me that I’d save time and get more conversions. I can’t get that from the spin test, because it’s buried in tiny light blue-on-dark blue text.

Grade: Pass! The landing page is exactly what the user searched for, the ad copy blends seamlessly with the LP copy  The user gets what they searched for and knows what to do on the landing page, even though some of the details discussed in the ad copy aren’t ultra easy to see.

Tax Slayer: 

Keyword searched: Tax Software

Ad Copy:   Landing Page: 

What is this page for? The Gator Bowl? I don’t really know what to look at since the page is quite cluttered

What am I supposed to do? Start online for free, or file for free, or start for free. Why? Honestly I don’t really know. There are 14 different places me to start, but I don’t know why.

Is this what I want? There is nothing I see in the spin test that indicates software. As far as the average flighty searcher goes, this may as well be an accounting firm.

Grade: Fail. The user searched for tax software, and got to a page with a ton of options (none of which really seem to be software).

Try it yourself!

This test certainly shouldn’t be the end all be all for your landing page evaluations. Since we’re in a field that’s rich with data, make sure to test, evaluate, re-test ad nauseam. That said, give the spin test a whirl with your current landing pages and see what you find. You may be surprised!

Note: If you don’t feel like getting dizzy, you can also drop your landing pages into Five Second Test, a neat little tool that shows your landing page to a panel of users for 5 seconds and asks them a similar series of questions.