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Why the Landing Page of the 2011 App of the Year Is Just “Okay”

by Demian Farnworth

Ever walk into a sushi bar with your date and think twice about staying? I mean, the wallpaper is old, the music is creepy, the wait staff doesn’t notice you and the place looks abandoned.

If that was me, I’d look at my wife, grab her arm and march right out of there.

Online that real-world experience is played out everyday. When visitors land on a landing page that is outdated and you can’t figure out what to do…more than likely you are probably not going to share your personal information or spend your money there.

In fact, you’ll probably click the back button.

So, let’s look at a fairly good landing page design to see what works and how to improve it with the hopes that it can inspire you to create some rock-solid, high-converting landing pages.

Our example today is Instagram.


Click on the image to enlarge:

Instagram Landing Page Analysis

Instagram is one of the most popular photo sharing iPhone apps. Let’s explore what makes their landing page work and what doesn’t.

For starters, it’s really clean and beautiful.

Being a user of Instagram, I know that this user experience is true across all of their products. It’s a great example of design is marketing, and provides an immediate sense that this landing page can be trusted.

“Free Download” Starburst

Instagram Landing Page Heading

The next thing that this landing page has going for it is the “Free Download” starburst. If you are giving away something for free, then you need to promote that front and center.

However, there is one thing I don’t like about this starburst. It’s not apparent that the starburst is clickable. If that is going to be one of your click throughs, then spell out what must happen:

“Free Download: Click here.”

That may seem tacky, but the user doesn’t care. He’s just obeying the unbreakable law of the web and wants to be told what to do. He can’t slow down to think about what he is doing.

He simply doesn’t have time.

Instagram Tag Line

Instagram Tag Line Analysis

After that, you have a brief tag line under the name of the app to describe what the product does.

Tag lines are tough, however.

And I think this one could be improved by talking about the true benefit that makes Instagram so dang popular: it’s not just about sharing photos, but making cool, professional-like photos that you can then share.

It’s fun to take a photo, treat it with their many effects and then to share it on their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter streams.


Instagram Marketing Analysis

The headline I’m talking about is “Meet Instagram.”

While short headlines can be seductive, there is nothing I really like about this headline. In fact, one of the very first things I would do with it is test a different headline:

“Why You Should Download Instagram Now.”


Instagram Copywriting

At this point, they’ve done a fairly good job explaining what it does, but it could do so much better!

For one, it surprises me to see that they do not give you more screen shots of each feature.

Remember, this is a visual product for visual people.

Instead of hoping they click through to the Apple app store and look at some of the screen shots there, break down the features with visuals on a scrolling landing page…kind of like Ugly Mug Marketing does.

Call to Action

Technically, there is no call to action anywhere on this page.

No urging a user to perform an action. Just a lot of telling. Can you imagine a salesperson trying to close a deal by saying, “Available on the app store.”

Okay…and I guess I better go there and download it? Is that what you want me to do?

This is where it is critical to use a verb to encourage people to take an action.

“Learn more.” “Download now.” That sort of thing.

Social Proof

Where this landing page falls utterly flat is in the next three categories.

First off, did you know that by the end of December 2010, Instagram had 1 million registered users.

That’s not too bad for an app that launched in the Apple store on October 6, 2010, less than three months after it launched.

By July 2011, however, they had 5 million registered users. That is a beautiful fact they are sadly failing to capitalize on.

As I’ve mentioned before, social proof is the new marketing.

Use it or lose it.


Next, Instagram has some pretty serious endorsements they are not using to their advantage.

For instance:

Holy smokes, talk about the endorsements to end all endorsements, you’d expect that last one at least to show up on their landing page.

Not sure why.


I’ll let them slide on this one, even though it’s a critical factor in building trust on a landing page, since they’ve got superior social proof and endorsements.

They just need to learn how to use them.


Granted, Instagram probably gets most of their traffic and users through recommendations. When people see their friends Instagram pictures on Twitter or Facebook, they like what they see, follow and then download the app.

But this page needs even more help:

Instagram Call To Action

So, what do you like or dislike about the Instagram landing page? Share your thoughts.



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Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is a freelance writer who hustles the finer points of web writing at The CopyBot. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.


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  1. Raju says:
    December 23, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Yes right in your perspective we can’t reach our product or service landing pages to socialy sure for failure strategy in B2C customer targets. me too agree this above points of Landing page optimization & socialization!

  2. Demian Farnworth says:
    April 6, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Good catch Ramesh! That copyright date is missed on a lot of sites, too. Interesting, eh?

  3. Ramesh Nair says:
    April 3, 2012 at 2:22 am

    Well written Demian! Couple of points more:

    I am not sure why the footer links look so crowded

    The copyright year could’ve been changed to 2012.


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