There seems to be a slew of new landing page tactics popping up every year. In 2018, you’d think that the scope of landing page best practices would look radically different after years of new trends and tactics.
But, truth is, you still see quite a few marketers harping on the same old “trends” that we’ve all read about a dozen times:
- keep the CTA above the fold
- keep your goal conversion clear
- keep your copy value/benefit oriented
- etc. etc. etc…
It’s admittedly quite difficult to find lasting changes to the landscape of landing page optimization.
Most trends fall by the wayside — either because they’re nothing but fancy hand waving, or because they’re too difficult to implement just to see a small bump in conversions.
So what defines the distinction between a “trend” and a “best practice?”
Statistically significant split testing (say that five times fast) is how marketers turn trends into best practices. Is each trend worthy of keeping in your bag of conversion rate optimization (CRO) tricks? Or should some be left behind as you continue the never-ending story that is CRO?
The only way to know for sure is to do some testing of your own.
To make things easier for you, KlientBoost has compiled our own list of landing page tactics to look out for in 2018. We’ll address the different aspects of a landing page to make sure that we cover all our bases — all five of them to be exact:
- Value Proposition
- Social Proof
We’ll dive into the new trends of each category, what makes these new trends so exciting, and why you should consider implementing them in your own campaigns.
So, let’s get ready to…
10 New Landing Page Tactics Out Of 2018
It’s true that the more technology evolves and the more digitally savvy users become, the more our landing page tactics must adapt to keep up.
These days, users not only expect a smooth and streamlined digital experience, they know all too well that it’s out there.
In a post-digital marketing world, having a sleek and clean website design isn’t enough to stand out, its a base requirement. Marketers need to do more to distinguish themselves from their competition.
So what new landing page tactics in 2018 will help you stand out? Let’s start with the basic design trends that are making waves.
Depending on what you’re marketing, the design of your landing page can make a big difference with your conversions. From product pages to lead gen pages, different designs encourage different actions.
Here are the three biggest landing page design trends that you should look out for in 2018.
1) Particle Backgrounds
In a world of hero shots and static imagery, you may have considered using video as the background for your landing page before.
If this is the case, you may also have noticed that it takes up quite a bit of bandwidth to do so.
This is where particle backgrounds come in.
These animated, geometric backgrounds can give your landing page a more interactive and motion-based feeling without the cost or load time of a video background. And when a slow load time can hurt your landing page performance so much, this is a big win.
These backgrounds can vary quite a bit. Some focus on creating certain shapes or a sense of motion in the background, while others follow the cursor around the page to help gamify the conversion experience. Regardless of the specific design, these motion graphics do a great job of grabbing users’ attention.
On top of that, motion graphics like these are becoming more popular on social media (the realm of infographics, GIFs, animations, etc.). So, bringing this popular design theme to your landing pages probably isn’t a bad idea.
2) Color Gradients
Some design trends lean towards the fancier side, like the one above. Others lean more towards simplicity. Such as color gradients.
Thanks to big brands like Instagram leading the charge, color gradients are making a comeback. If you’re looking to highlight your product/offer in a simple but mood setting way, these are for you.
Color gradients can be leveraged a few different ways on your landing pages:
- highlight specific actions (click a button)
- guide reader through important copy
- serve as visual metaphor for value offer
- help create visual hierarchy on landing page
You can check out the example below to get a better sense of what I mean:
Especially with color gradients and pastel designs becoming so popular on social media, this is another trend that you can bring to your landing pages to liven them up for a wave of younger digital consumers.
3) Two Column Landing Pages
There’s a long-waging war between the above-fold landing pagers and the long-form landing pagers that’s nowhere near ending.
Having said that, you don’t have to be caught on either side of the fence.
Splitting your landing page up into two columns may help you keep all the content you had on your long-form landing page and get it above the fold.
This is also a great tactic for landing pages that use videos, as you can have the video in one column with your value copy and conversion form in the other. Making sure your CTA is continuously visible while your video plays is part of the landing page video commandments, after all.
Splitting up your landing page into two columns can also help bring it a sense of yin-yang balance.
This can make accessing important purchase information easier for your users, and helps you highlight your product in a more dramatic and memorable fashion.
Both of which should be good for your conversions.
This is where you get to show off your product and display the value of your offer. The old saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, so you need to make sure you’re getting your dictionary’s worth.
Statistics show that users remember 80% of what they see, while only retaining 20% of what they read and 10% of what they hear. And I don’t think those stats are going to be moving towards the literacy category any time soon.
So make sure that you’re displaying your products/offers in a memorable way — one that not only catches your user’s attention, but also explains to them the value of converting.
4) Product Demo GIFs
Here’s another 2018 landing page tactic that takes an old CRO trend and tries to make it more functional.
We all know that displaying content that explains how your product/service works helps inform users and encourages them to convert. But we all also know that jargon-free explainer videos can be difficult to make.
Product demonstrations GIFs simplify your explanation so the user still gets the essentials, without diving into too much depth. This is good for a few reasons:
- first, keeps the interactions short and sweet
- second, simplifies your content and cuts down page load speed
- third, teases the user with a snippet instead of entire tutorial
These product demo GIFS are a great example of the “show don’t tell” strategy that most marketers try to adhere to.
You can use them to display how to use your product, how to navigate within your app or site, or even as a simple product tour if you want to show off your sleek user interface.
As far as versatility goes, Des Traynor of Intercom says it best:
“The GIF is the cockroach of file formats. Every time we think it should die it reappears with a new use case.”
5) Real People On Pastel Backgrounds
Landing page imagery varies in complexity just as landing page design does. So, it’s no surprise that while one very interactive, animated tactic pops up in 2018, a very clean and simple imagery tactic is accompanying it.
Using real people in your landing page imagery has long been considered a good way to improve the authenticity of your offer. Recently, brands have started to use real people in their photos combined with pastel backgrounds (like above).
These passive backgrounds do a great job of highlighting the human action in the photo, which is usually a rather dynamic pose.
Juxtaposing the calm background with an eye-catching pose with a real person can make for a very memorable image. These are used quite a bit in social media advertising, where your ad creative can make or break your CTR. Landing pages that are linked to these social campaigns often use similar imagery.
You may even consider this trend a combination of using color gradients with the classic tactic of matching a real human face to your brand.
But as you can see in the examples above, if you balance the two well, you can get some very unique images with some powerful brand messaging as a result.
Matching your CTA to where your user is in the sales process can make a big difference in whether or not they convert or bounce off your landing page.
At KlientBoost, we call this the Ice Cubes Versus Lava Effect. And, more often than not, we find that marketers fail to properly match the temperature of their incoming traffic to the heat level of their CTAs.
6) Non-Sales-Focused Headlines
It’s no surprise that, as CRO becomes a more widely accepted digital marketing practice, even our CTAs, headlines, and forms are being called into question.
In 2018, as users grow continually more annoyed by sales-driven digital ad campaigns, it’s vital you can convey the value of your offer to your potential customers without sounding to “salesy.”
This isn’t exactly a brand new trend — as in 2017 we saw a rise in the usage of almost-invisible headlines that followed the same logic. But, it’s a trend that has become all the more important as social media becomes a driving eCommerce channel.
Making sure your headlines are emphasizing the experience of your brand or the user-focused benefit of your offer is key.
Don’t be preoccupied with emphasizing the monetary savings in your headline or your “limited time offer.” You may think you’re leveraging urgency to encourage converting. But you may just be coming off as a sales-monger. And no post-digital user wants to give money to a brand that’s more interested in their bottom line than their user’s experience.
Instead, keep your headlines focused on building your brand sense in the user’s mind. Let your landing page copy and imagery do the work of conveying your value to your users.
Your headline should do the work of welcoming users in for a pleasant experience. It’s your actual page’s job to close the sale.
7) Conversational Chat Forms
Chatbots are a great way to bring a personal touch to your landing pages. And the more advanced and interactive chatbot technology grows, the more versatile it’s uses become.
Most landing page tactics involving chatbots will focus on answering specific user queries with chatbots. But you can also ease the conversion process itself by using integrated chatbot forms.
These chatbot form integrations create a conversational format where your user can casually give you their necessary conversion info. This way, instead of having a static and intimidating form asking users for their name, email, company, budget, etc., you can get all that information in a low friction conversation.
A large amount of conversion issues stem from marketers’ over use of forms to collect user information. So these chatbots are a great way to bring the human-communication element back to digital marketing.
You can use chatbots to promote specific content that users who land on your product page may find interesting. Or you can simply rely on them to ease the friction levels of your CTAs overall. The uses are rather diverse.
2018 Value Props
There are many different ways to convey the value of your brand to potential customers. If you’re a big brand recognized by the market, you can sometimes ride off the coattails of that alone. It’s why so many digital agencies love to cite that they’re a Google partner.
If you aren’t leveraging brand strength to convey the value of conversion, then you have to rely on your skills as a copywriter (or designer) instead. You can emphasize the time saving value, the actual monetary savings, or even the simple solution of making a difficult task easier. But regardless, it’s important you speak in terms of the user’s value for converting.
As opposed to headlines, where you want to keep things light and casual, you want to focus the user on converting here. And I mean really get their focus.
8) Custom Icons In Value Proposition
Many landing pages solve the user-focus problem by explaining the value of converting in a step-by-step process. Of course, these explanations tend to be a bit simplified in terms of content — hardly how-to infographics.
But even though in 2017, this step-by-step value proposition format became popular, it hadn’t really been optimized yet. Landing page designers would still rely a bit too much on copy to explain the actual value of converting. And so, the imagery in these walkthroughs tended to be stock icons that marketers can buy or download in sets.
In 2018, we’re already starting to see certain brands begin to optimize the smaller design assets on their landing pages. You can see an example below that’s fixing the icon problem mentioned above:
Success in digital marketing, these days, comes from focusing on the little things. It’s important every aspect of your landing page conveys a unified message — from the header and the background color to the text size and your most insignificant icons.
9) Integrated Animations
Sometimes users aren’t interested in reading up on how your gated content will benefit them. After all, the saying goes “show don’t tell,” right?
This is where integrating animation into your landing page experience can be a big help.
Even if it’s in a simple animation that explains the time-saving value of converting, conveying your value offer to users in a unique and delightful way can be a huge conversion booster.
Integrated animation on landing pages can be a great way to explain complex systems or solutions to users. Instead of creating a giant text-heavy landing page explaining how you do things, these animations can say a lot more in a lot less space — which makes things easier on your users.
This, in turn, should mean a performance increase for your landing pages.
It’s important to distinguish these types of animations from particle backgrounds (which also use animation). These animations should be more story-based, rather than design based. Instead of developing a mood for your page these are specifically for communicating value to your users.
2018 Social Proof
Social proof can be a huge booster to landing page performance. As the late, great P.T. Barnum once said:
“Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.”
Having said that, marketers have somehwat run the gamut on landing page social proof’s different uses. Consider all the different forms of social proof that have been employed on landing pages over the years:
- customer testimonials
- video reviews
- third-party site 5 star ratings
- quoting case studies
- citing how many customers have converted before
It’s time social proof gets a kick start from the users who are supplying it. So, here’s what’s something new in the game of social proof.
10) User Generated Content (UGC)
With 2018 comes a new form of social proof — one that puts the power of content back into the user’s hands. And it’s aptly named as well: User Generated Content is the big social proof tactic to keep an eye out for in 2018.
UGC is already flooding social media news feeds, especially on image-focused platforms like Instagram. You can see a few really strong examples of submitted UGC below:
Using UGC on your landing pages gives a sense of authenticity to your social proof that other reviews and testimonials simply don’t offer. It’s one thing to reach out to clients/customers and ask for reviews, follow up, collect reviews, and comb through your collection to find the ones that truly shine. It’s another to have your users submit their own content showing how happy they are using your product.
On top of that, UGC often sees more engagement and social shares than ordinary content. It also tends to convert at a higher rate. Just a few more reasons to start collecting some UGC of your own.
Bonus) Thank You Page Optimization
Too many marketers these days let their users hit the Thank You page and consider it a job well done. But don’t forget: these pages are also a great opportunity to kick your remarketing campaigns into overdrive.
More importantly, you don’t have to stop at remarketing campaigns to see big gains from optimizing your thank you pages. You can also use them to retarget users who actually did convert on your landing page — tracking them down later for upgrades and upsells that increase their LTV (lifetime value) to your brand.
In 2018, make sure you aren’t letting any loose leads or potential upsells slip through the cracks. The best way you can increase your ROI and ROAS is by maximizing your wins and revenue from your existing campaigns.
So, get maximizing.
Best practices are tried-and-true. This is what distinguishes them from their trendy counterparts. In order to call yourself a true PPC and CRO master, crossing the bridge from trend follower to best practice creator is necessary.
How do you do this? Simple:
Testing, testing, testing.
That’s the only way to take your trends and turn them into tried-and-true best practices.
Now go get ’em – 2018 won’t last much longer, after all.