What does it take to write a Grammy Award winning song?
Does a trend become popular because it follows a composition formula that’s truly engaging or is it a shallow one-hit-wonder?…
Though not all trends will stand the test of time and make the greatest hits list, they’re at least popular in the short-term for a reason (hopefully a good one).
Best way to find out if a landing page trend will last through the years is to test it out.
When you’re trying out the trends, find out if they really boosts your conversions. Is each trend worthy of keeping in your bag of conversion rate optimization (CRO) tricks?
Categorized into six topics, here are 34 landing page trends to try out for yourself:
- Basic Design
- Animated Page Elements
- Call-to-Action (CTA)
- Value Proposition
- Social Proof
Landing Page Trend #1: Long in Length
There are tests that show both long and short form landing pages that win more conversions. Landing page length has previously trended toward short form with everything pushed above the fold.
Today we’re moving toward longer form landing pages, where you no longer have to squeeze everything into the top to score that conversion.
Here’s an example where Highrise completed an A/B test that resulted in 37.5% more conversions on the longer landing page:
Length also gives you a chance to strategically include several CTAs (just be sure to test and place them carefully so you’re not distracting from the main goal).
The idea behind this trend is people want to find out more details about their options. It’s becoming more of a buyer’s world where people are making informed decisions and seeking out the info vs. the old way where companies basically blasted info at consumers.
Hubspot’s Mimi An describes how sales needs to evolve:
“Today’s business buyers independently seek out information about products. During the awareness stage, buyers rely on search, vendor websites, and newsletters/emails as their top channels to find information. Once they’re ready to buy, they opt to connect with a sales representative.”
This isn’t to say longer landing pages are the preferred case every time – it’s a trend and the important thing, as we know, is to always be testing.
Landing Page Trend #2: Simple and Minimalist
The simple and minimalist design trend has been around and is here to stay. Design principles that keep your pages clean and uncluttered still matter. It’s a way to keep the cognitive load small (Usability Testing Tip #26) and a way to avoid having your visitors think too much.
Businesses are smartening up and doing all the heavy lifting for visitors by keeping things super easy to ingest.
Specifically, the simple and minimalist design trend includes things like:
- White space
- Simple direct copy
- Clear direct headlines
- Clear direct CTA
- Contrasting CTA colors
- Fewer overall colors
- High readability
Here’s a clutter vs. clean example, test conducted by British Gas:
Landing Page Trend #3: Split Screens, Two Columns
This one’s less common and likely trending because it also takes on a smaller cognitive load and spotlights the headline. By using a split screen design, information is visually categorized into large encapsulated buckets of info that make it easier to process.
This makes it easy for the brain to process various types of info. Here’s an example from Stitch Fix where visitors can quickly look left for the visual explanation and look right for the readable content:
Here’s an animated example of split screen from Typeform:
Landing Page Trend #4: No Navigation Bar
This trend visually cleans up the landing page and allows you to better achieve your 1:1 attention ratio goal (best practice #2). It’s a recommended best practice to exclude distracting navigation bars and footers on landing pages.
Bonus trend: For homepages, businesses are using “if you really want it” navigation instead. Also known as the “upside down landing page,” the nav bars are at the bottom of the page. Leaving any nav bars out of the first fold especially keeps your visitors focused on the landing page goal.
Videofruit’s Bryan Harris popularized this idea and claims his email subscriber count went up by 35% as a results.
Landing Page Trend #5: Headlines That Answer “I want to…”
No longer are the days of evasive salesy euphemistic headlines. Businesses are using super clear and obvious headlines that speak to the basic needs of their visitors.
The trend is to answer in the actual headline’s larger font: “I want to…” as if the visitor is thinking or speaking the headline. This is a direct way to explain your unique value proposition and from the perspective of your audience.
Here’s what Close.io does:
Here’s another fill-in-the-blank headline from our friends at Unbounce:
Landing Page Trend #6: Almost-Invisible Artless Headline
This trend goes one step further and differentiates from the classic headline ways even more. The artless non-fancy (yet trendy) way to display your landing page headline is by making the headline message so clear it doesn’t feel like a headline.
Here’s an example from Dakwak where the headline consists of a question and a direct answer about the solution:
The almost-invisible headline follows the general trend of visitors not falling for cheesy salesy pitches any longer. The trend is to be real and be direct in your headlines.
Landing Page Trend #7: Mobile Apps
There’s a build-up of mobile users that we can no longer ignore. The trick to reaching these visitors is to have your offers live where your visitors hang out on mobile.
Since we have this many people hanging out on mobile nowadays:
For those who have a super useful mobile app (non-useful ones just shouldn’t exist), dedicating a landing page to the mobile app is a significant trend. Here’s a Pearr mobile app landing page examples:
As we increase our time spent on mobile devices, we’ll like see easily downloadable offers more and more.
Why people are jumping on this trend according to MarketingLand:
Landing Page Trend #8: Social Sites
It’s becoming popular to create landing pages that are specifically designed to reach your audiences hanging out on social media platforms. It’s no wonder because your visitors feel and behave differently on social media so you want to address that and tailor your designs and message.
Here’s an example of Plate’s social media ad:
And their matched social media landing page:
Tip: Tap into their decision making cycle, their mood, their location, their mental mode and tailor your landing page to that stage of your visitor’s experience.
Landing Page Trend #9: Dedicated Mobile
Usability is such a big deal in general, and making sure the experience is functionable on several devices is a must these days.
Most businesses are at least using more responsive landing page designs with better performance, however the trend of using a dedicated mobile experience that’s only optimized for mobile traffic is the more effective trend.
According to Maximiliano Firtman at Smashing Magazine:
“People convert more because their experience on mobile devices is now better and faster than whatever solution was in place before (whether it was a crude mobile version or a crammed-in desktop layout).
So, yes, responsiveness is better than nothing and better than an old mobile implementation. But a separate mobile website with the same design or even a smarter solution done with other techniques would achieve the same conversion rate or better.”
Landing Page Trend #10: Videos
For those that can afford it, this trend is proving to be an effective way to communicate to visitors. Explainer videos are becoming widely adopted by business. Tell your story through your landing page video.
The trend is blossoming across devices, too. Here’s another example test, where video vs. image was placed prominently in the center of Lostmy.name’s landing pages:
Landing Page Trend #11: Autoplay Full-Screen Video
Beyond the standard video, autoplay full-screen video is also a latest hit. The video file loops in the background with an overlay so your landing page content can still live on top and be featured center stage. The full-screen video gives off an interesting living dynamic on your landing page.
CoSchedule uses a full-screen vid below their overlay:
This is also referred to as contextual video. Instapage’s Fahad Muhammad describes contextual video:
“Contextual videos help set the mood for the conversion. Your customers are triggered emotionally with the subtle imagery and are persuaded to click the CTA button. With full screen videos, you get to include more than a single image on your page, which means you get to have more than one conversion opportunity to make an impact.”
Landing Page Trend #12: Custom Photography
The days of using stock photography are disappearing and keeping it real is in. People want to see unique real humanistic images and experiences that they can relate to, so it’s no wonder custom photography is a landing page trend.
Here’s what AutoPilot does:
After a certain point, we’ve browsed enough sites to where it can feel like your visitors have seen the same stock images, especially the ones specific to your industry. Custom photography is a way to be totally different, creative and real, making your product and offer stand out from the rest.
Landing Page Trend #13: Evocative Background Images
Another way to stand out is to evoke emotion. This landing page trend of including an evocative background image is emerging. It’s a way for companies to visually communicate to their visitors without taking up too much landing page real estate. The copy and other written content can easily glide over the background image.
Here’s what Creatrix does:
Landing Page Trend #14: Illustration vs. Image
Illustrations are trending now and give companies a chance to be more creative and unique. Illustrations offer a quirky alternative to using images are another artistic way to customize your brand.
Here’s an example of how KlientBoost’s own designer Olivia Taylor improved our client’s landing page:
The illustration version increased our client’s conversion rate by 13%.
With branded illustrations, you can be more playful and stand out from your competition since your illustration will likely be custom and artsy. When you think of illustrations you typically think about the artist behind the work, which makes it more human.
Landing Page Trend #15: Flat Design vs. Material Design
According to Cubet:
“Flat design is characterized by the eradication of the elements of realism leaving behind a simplified design.”
According to DesignModo, some pros to using flat design:
- It embraces the limits of the screen and works with them instead of trying to be something else.
- It streamlines designs and gets rid of unnecessary graphical and animated elements, decreasing loading time.
- The lack of skeuomorphic elements can also speed readers’ progression through your content.
- Removes all unnecessary design choices as well, facilitating faster site design.
- Flat design’s simplified sites are endlessly adaptable and extremely easy to make responsive.
Some pros of flat design according to Cubet:
- Flat Design is Trendy
- Simple Mobile Interface
- Bright Color Sets a Mood
- Focus on Great Typography
- Visuals are Sharp and Clean
- Flat Design Discourages Boredom Decoration
Plus, remember this trend?
Landing Page Trend #16: Imagery of Product Being Used
Putting your offer into context for users is thankfully a trending landing page element. Showing your visitors and prospects social proof through imagery makes it easy to show off your unique value prop without having to use words.
Here’s an example of an ebay golf shop:
Here’s another example from Club Fix:
Landing Page Trend #17: Use of Cards
The use of cards is a trending concept on landing pages and better organizes info on the page by encapsulating content. On ecommerce sites, this works especially well for showing your product options and direct links to them.
Here’s an example of a Clarks case study:
Here’s another example of law firm Quincy Requin’s use of cards, where various features and options are tiled into neat boxes:
Again, testing is most important. This one could just be a trendy easy-on-the-eyes fad that may or may not convert better. It does pull away from the 1:1 attention ratio after all.
Animated Page Elements
Landing Page Trend #18: Entrance Pop-ups
Pop-ups and welcome mats are becoming more popular. It’s an animated way to engage your audience after they’ve already arrived at your page.
Tip: Depending on the content of your landing page, make your entrance pop-up offer relevant to the stuff on that exact page.
Similarly, after a handful of seconds browsing through The Muse’s website a welcome mat comes in and fills the whole landing page screen, so the opt-in offer looks like this:
Landing Page Trend #19: Interactiveness
You’ll see more interactive design and interactive opt-in processes on landing pages. It’s a way to get people to initially engage and then move them deeper into the opt-in process.
Check out the impact of passive vs. interactive according to Demand Metric and Ion Interactive:
LeadDoubler has an interactive calculator to engage its visitors first:
Tip: Create an interactive quiz to get your visitors involved.
According to MarketingLand’s Scott Brinker’s research:
“BuzzFeed has generated millions of Facebook shares through interactive quizzes such as ‘What State Do You Actually Belong In?’ and ‘What Career Should You Actually Have?’ that have broken social sharing records.
In fact, all of BuzzFeed’s top 10 stories in January were quizzes.”
Landing Page Trend #20: GIF for Product Demonstration
This trend features animation that simply demos your product offer. This makes it easy for visitors to gauge their expectation.
Here’s an example from Languages that combines the mobile app trend (Landing Page Trend #8) and a product demo GIF:
Landing Page Trend #21: 3D Parallax Scrolling
Storytelling through an animated GIF can make your offer come alive on your landing page. This can also double as the imagery-of-product-being-used trend (Landing Page Trend #17) or the GIF-for-product-demonstration trend (Landing Page Trend #21).
Here’s a pretty obvious example on the Lix Pen page:
Landing Page Trend #22: Interesting Load Screens
Especially as fancier interactive designs hit the mainstream, this trend becomes increasingly necessary while people wait for landing pages to load.
Here’s an example from Food of the Food:
Landing Page Trend #23: Experience-Oriented CTA
What’s out: bland unclear CTAs like submit, click here, sign-up, register.
What’s in: CTAs that speak to the user experience and are typically action-oriented and a whole phrase (even short ones).
Here’s an example from Instapage:
Here’s what Reverb does:
Landing Page Trend #24: Two CTAs
This trend goes against the best practice of having one single goal per landing page, however if done properly, the two CTAs trend can have a tortoise and hare effect.
Each CTA is presented as if it’s addressing a different step. One’s for the exploring visitor that’s still researching options. The other is for the visitor ready to engage.
Here’s an example from LanderApp:
Landing Page Trend #25: Ghost CTA Buttons
This trend works well with the above two-CTA’s trend, where you have your ready-for-action CTA as the dominant button and the exploratory CTA as the ghost button.
Here’s what Quill does:
The ghost button is reserved for the conversion that’s colder and further away from the sale, so to speak.
Landing Page Trend #26: Multi-Step Forms
More businesses are opening up to the multi-step forms idea, where you increase the number of form fields and increase the number of form steps.
Here’s how Danielle Olivas describes the trend:
Increasing the threat level as you move through the steps is a must-do in this trend.
Landing Page Trend #27: Sneak Peek Product Visuals
Without giving the farm away, businesses are offering a glimpse into their products and services through sneak peek visuals.
Images of real people using your real products, and better yet, images of happy people benefiting from using your products, is a trend that can help you entice more users.
Here’s how WeWork’s Santa Monica landing page uses the trend:
The idea behind this is to tease your users into wanting to see more.
Landing Page Trend #28: Step-By-Step Structures
Being very clear and obvious with your value proposition can be accomplished through the step-by-step structure trend. This one has to do with outlining how easy it is for your visitors to use your product or service.
The simpler and cleaner your directions, the better. Think paint-by-numbers easy, like here:
This will help to shrink any objections your visitors may have and also eliminate any fears of a learning curve.
Landing Page Trend #29: Guided Product Tours
This trend speaks to our psychological need to “try before you buy.” By offering your visitors free explanations of how your offer works, you can more easily sway them to use it. Plus, by taking them through the demo, it’s as if they’re already playing the client role, helping with the priming process. Keep that relationship dynamic going.
Hubspot uses an interactive self-guided tour format:
Hedvig uses a video guided tour format:
Landing Page Trend #30: Free Tools
Tapping into your visitor’s sense of reciprocity has proven to be beneficial, and you can see this as businesses are catching onto this trend of offering free tools. Free tools is a big one if you can afford the development cost.
Mayo Clinic offers a free BMI calculator on their site:
What it does for our psyche – by offering something for free with no strings attached, we as users, feel the need to return that favor. We have a natural urge to reciprocate the kindness. In terms of offering free tools on landing pages, your visitors will naturally feel like they owe you the sign-up since they took advantage of your free tools.
Landing Page Trend #31: Animated Storytelling
This a fun trend on the rise. There’s no better way to express your benefits and value proposition than to do it through storytelling. Even better, make it an animated storytelling session, so your visitors really don’t have to do any of the thinking.
Here’s an InfoQuest example with an interactive animated storytelling page:
Might be worth the expense once those conversion roll in. Be explicit in your storytelling.
Landing Page Trend #32: Conversational Copy
The trend is to be more human and to use conversational elements when you have the opportunity on your landing pages.
Here’s how KlientBoost’s Olivia Taylor upped another conversion rate using this trend:
… to the below landing page, which increased the conversion rate by 31%.
You can be conversational in presenting your value proposition by using questions, giving your copy personality, shortening your sentences or using two-way dialogue.
Landing Page Trend #33: Free-Range Detailed Testimonials
Social proof has been around a long time. The takeaways to use in today’s landing pages – keep it real. Using real people and real influencers vs. overpriced celebrity endorsements, with more detail is the latest and greatest way to use testimonials.
The free range element of it gives your visitors and prospects the chance to see real user angles from the field. With Basecamp’s list of 49 displayed testimonials, there’s bound to be a customer experience from a similar industry that pretty nearly every visitor can relate to.
Using Twitter testimonials is another way to represent authentic customer feedback on landing pages. The trend looks like this:
Rather than make up user scenarios, real user quotes of their experiences are what people will likely relate to since they’ll probably encounter similar scenarios themselves.
Landing Page Trend #34: Thank You Page Optimization
Remembering that the Thank You page is also part of the landing page experience is a good thing to have trending. Too often companies have forgotten to close the loop and think the hard works stops after the conversion happens.
Just because someone clicks on your offer doesn’t mean the user experience is complete. In fact, quite the opposite happens. Now that you’ve persuaded someone to engage in your offer, prove to them your awesome qualities and show them how great it is to be your customer.
Here’s what Orbit Media Studios does:
Delight your customer on your Thank You page. Tell your visitors exactly what to expect, when and how your offer will be delivered. Also, this is the spot where you can show off extra rays of shine. You can include social shares, additional related helpful offers, navigational links to explore more about your company, and so on.
So which trends are here to stay? Let’s find out. Give these landing page fads a whirl and let us know which ones tested the best for improving conversion rates.
Then we can figure which of the hits make the landing page best practice list and add them to our ammo of CRO tools.