Landing Page Software Comparison and Analysis
At Lucid Agency, we always try to use the right tool for the job. When it comes to landing page development, landing page software can decrease build time and costs significantly. Online landing page software helps us get a product out the door quickly, and allows us to capitalize on tested user interface patterns that are proven to convert. This year, we took a look at our existing landing page software solution (Unbounce), and compared it to some of the newer offerings on the market. We hope that our analysis helps others that are trying to understand the difference between some of the most popular landing page builders.
The four platforms that we analyzed were:
Instapage is incredibly easy to use. Of all the platforms we analyzed, I found this to be the most intuitive. Things contributing to ease-of-use include:
- Intuitive keyboard shortcuts (ctrl+c, ctrl+v, ctrl+z, etc.)
- Distribution and alignment options
- Click-and-drag resize for elements and page sections
- Auto-resizing on mobile preview
If you are familiar with the popular wireframing platform, Balsamiq, then Instapage should feel like second nature to you. The overall interface and drag-and-drop grid are remarkably similar. For $126/mo, agencies can enjoy all the bells and whistles, including unlimited A/B testing, 50 published pages, and 10 team members.
Each platform includes a list of “elements” that may be added to a page. Here are the options on Instapage:
Instapage has integrations for several popular services that our clients actually use:
- Campaign Monitor
- Google Adwords
- Google Analytics
Additionally, Instapage allows users to integrate with other software via Webhooks or manual code.
Ease of Use: As mentioned, this platform is amazingly intuitive. Users can build pages quickly with keyboard shortcuts. The panel is quite simple.
Unique URLs: It is possible to host an Instapage anywhere, including subdomains of existing sites (such as page.clientdomain.com) or even directories (such as clientdomain.com/page). Instapage also offer a WordPress plugin, which allows users to access the Instapage via the wp-admin backend. This allows the user to display the Instapage as a natural extension of an existing site.
Free stock images placeholder gallery: Like Unbounce, Instapage has a free stock image gallery for placeholders. This helps clients visualize the pages, and makes the pages seem more “real” during the design approval stage. Instapage also offers a stock photography integration via BigStock.
A/B Tests: You can create A/B tests directly within the Instapage application. It’s simple to change one element or several elements at once.
Fonts: Users have access to any Google Font within Instapage (40 are pre-loaded, the rest are available within a few simple clicks). This is crucial because many of our clients include a Google Font as part of their digital brand guidelines. Instapage offers a Typekit integration as well.
Support: Support includes a searchable digital reference guide, a forum, a ticket system and a live chat option.
Webhooks: Instapage includes webhooks to integrate with other services, besides their official integration partners. This is incredibly useful for our agency because each of our clients has a different lead management CRM.
Columns: For us, this presents by far the biggest challenge. The design of the pages is not column-based. Therefore, to “line things up” the user is dependent on math, grid snapping, and alignment/distribution tools. There are no rulers in Instapage, so this becomes more difficult and time-consuming than it needs to be. Instapage gives you the flexibility to place things wherever you want, outside of columns, which I actually think is a bad approach. I would rather the design be restricted to columns so that the mobile view is a no-brainer, and populates automatically with no adjustments needed.
Bugs: Instapage gets a little buggy when selecting more than one item at once, which is often necessary for grouping, alignment, etc.
No mobile-first option: This is pretty typical across all options. In fact, none of the options I looked at (Instapage, Convrrt, Unbounce) allow mobile-first design. Like the others, in Instapage, your mobile view is generated from your desktop view, so you are required to work on the desktop view first. This could be limiting for dev teams that typically take a mobile-first approach to UX and web design.
Ecommerce: It doesn’t look like Instapage has any ecommerce connection options, outside of inserting your own HTML code, which could be challenging.
Lucid Agency has a personal relationship with the creators of the Convvrt app – they’re local in Phoenix! We have met the founders many times, and even beta tested the platform. Convrrt is a “newer” option that is just out of beta. As a result, it is not quite as sleek as the other options out there. It’s got some great features that, frankly, the bigger players should have thought of, such as the ability to add pre-defined content blocks and the option to set up columns in a layout.
Each platform includes a list of “elements” that may be added to a page. Here are the options on Convrrt:
- Header and paragraph
- Individual form elements (input, text area, radio, checkbox, etc.)
As of the writing of this article, Convrrt only has 2 integrations: Zapier or Infusionsoft. I am surprised that SharpSpring isn’t on the list, since Convrrt built the SharpSpring Pages platform.
Pricing: Convrrt has a free 14-day trial. After the trial period is over, it costs $70/mo for unlimited sites and unlimited pageviews, which is the lowest pricing we saw for a landing page builder.
Ease of use: Convrrt, overall is really easy to use once you get the hang of it. I personally find it more difficult than Instapage, but way easier than Unbounce.
Column-based design: Convrrt is column-based, unlike Instapage and Unbounce. With Convrrt, you can’t just place elements anywhere you want – the elements are bounded by the columns you have selected. This is great because the columns will automatically rearrange themselves perfectly in mobile, as any site built on a responsive grid, with no additional “manual” work required. I cannot understand why the other solutions are not column-based as well.
Mobile: As stated, there is no need to manually rearrange anything on the mobile view, because the design is column based. Some users may not like this, especially if they are used to the complete flexibility of a solution like Instapage, but I personally like this approach. It is a timesaver.
Blocks: One of the best parts about Convrrt is the ability to build a page with “blocks.” Blocks are pre-defined blocks of content that are already styled, but still editable. This is great for people who want more flexibility, but are not designers. Convrrt is the only platform that offers this. The other options (Instapage and Unbounce) offer pre-built templates and stand-alone do-it-yourself elements, but no pre-made blocks.
Fresh Look: Convrrt’s elements and aesthetic feel “fresher” than Unbounce. The default buttons, for example, are flat design and look like they would fit right in on the AirBnB site. On the other hand, the default button element on Unbounce is neon green and looks like it’s from the 90s
Stock Image Library: Unlike Instapage and Unbounce, Convrrt does not have a stock image library.
Bugs: It is buggy. This platform was released relatively recently compared to competitors, and there are elements that do not work exactly as expected.
Goal-Tracking: I can’t understand the goal or conversion tracking options on Convrrt. It looks like all you can do is track form submissions. This might be fine for us, as long as we insert the Google tracking codes in the HTML of our landing pages.
Support: The online support is relatively barebones at this time. At the time of writing, it appears that there used to be a queue for support tickets, but this is not currently active.
The guys over at Convrrt also created the landing page platform for SharpSpring. Lucid Agency was excited to hear this, since we partner with SharpSpring to offer Marketing Automation services to several clients. We thought this might be a great option, specifically for those clients. We would also be able to use this service for clients that do not subscribe to Marketing Automation services, since SharpSpring does not limit the number of clients on our subscription.
The platform for SharpSpring is exactly the same as Convrrt, so it has all the same pros, cons, and elements. SharpSpring landing page builder does not seem to integrate with anything directly, but we could presumably integrate with services like Campaign Monitor or MailChimp using Zapier or via HTML.
Because it’s the same platform as Convrrt, I will only focus on the pros and cons that are unique to the SharpSpring Pages solution.
Price: For us, the pricing on SharpSpring is a “pro” because we already subscribe to SharpSpring for Marketing Automation. Therefore, the landing page builder would not incur any additional cost. The SharpSpring platform as a whole runs anywhere from $400-$800 per month, depending on the number of contacts that you have in your database.
Funnels: With SharpSpring pages, you can create a series of linked pages designed to funnel visitors and prospects. Because everything is fully integrated with SharpSpring, we can have full visibility for every interaction on any of these pages. We can build our own funnels or choose from 7 categories of pre-designed funnel templates.
Dynamic content: Watch this video. This is cool and something I think could be very appealing to our clients. It does not appear that any other landing page solution offers this option.
Options: The SharpSpring Pages builder is a slightly watered-down (and outdated) version of the full-fledged Convrrt platform. For example, Convrrt has more of those pre-built “blocks” than SharpSpring. The SharpSpring Pages version is missing some pretty essential ones, such as “footer.”
Templates: There are only 10 pre-built, standalone templates to choose from. This isn’t a tremendously big deal, since it takes about 5 seconds to create your own template from the “blocks.”
Time: It would certainly take longer to set up these pages, since each page requires funnels, workflows, and triggers. It’s you’re going to support fully integrated campaigns, this is great, but it might not be the best option for quick, one-off landing pages.
Bugs: Unfortunately, I don’t think this is quite usable yet due to the number of bugs.
Unbounce is more intimidating than either Instapage or Convrrt, but it also looks more robust. Everything about the interface is much more “technical.” Whereas Instapage feels like Balsamiq, Unbounce feels like Adobe Illustrator. It’s also the most expensive option at $159/mo.
I personally find Unbounce so complicated as to be a unusable, especially as compared to Instapage. There are no options to group elements, align elements, or distribute elements – it’s extremely frustrating. I have no idea how you’re supposed to keep things lined up on the page, since there are no rulers. I think you’re supposed just do math for everything, but it’s so much more work to position things correctly than it is on Instapage.
Each platform includes a list of “elements” that may be added to a page. Here are the options on Unbounce:
Unbounce allows the following integrations, among others:
- Google Analytics
- Tag Manager
- Campaign Monitor
Support: Support includes a reference guide, a forum, a ticket system and live chat.
A/B Testing: Unbounce does have robust A/B testing options. It has the same options as Instapage, they are just harder to figure out.
Ease of use: As mentioned in the overview, Unbounce is not intuitive. There are simply too many options on each feature, and everything is more technical than it needs to be. For example, elements on Unbounce have a “z index” value, whereas on Convrtt or Instapage, you would simply choose “send to front” “sent to back.” Non-technical users will have a much easier time wrapping their heads around the controls in Instapage than Unbounce
Columns: As with Instapage, Unbounce does not use columns in its design. Even worse than Instapage, Unbounce doesn’t have alignment or distribution options. So not only are your elements floating around on the page, but there’s no way to align them to one another, group them for easy movement, etc. The only way to do everything correctly would be to use math to calculate the exact position of each element
Mobile: Because nothing is column-based, you must manually move and resize each element on a page to create the mobile version.
We use a variety of landing page systems – based on client needs, technical requirements, integrations, A/B testing capabilities, speed to deploy and more. Most often, we’re using Instapage currently, and have great success with it, but you should certainly pick whichever landing page platform works for your organization, as each has it’s “sweet spot” for different use cases.