A few months ago my digital marketing agency, Instinctmarketing.co, was on the hunt for a reliable and feature-rich landing page builder that didn’t break the bank.
We narrowed our decision to three landing page builders: Instapage, Unbounce, and LeadPages (WordPress page builders didn’t make the cut).
After giving them each a trial run, our team loved Instapage the most and so did I. It’s clean, intuitively easy, works great for paid advertising landing pages, and has a good reputation among big brands and digital marketers alike.
By the end of this Instapage review, you’ll understand:
- Instapage’s unique features.
- Their new 2021 pricing structure.
- Instapage’s pros and cons.
- Why we ultimately chose Instapage over Unbounce and LeadPages.
So whether you’re an marketing agency owner, freelancer, or a digital marketer who needs to build an email list, this review will help you decide if Instapage is for you or not.
Instapage is landing page platform that helps users create landing pages for their marketing campaigns.
Founded in 2010 by Tyson Quick, Instapage set out to help marketers and agencies increase their conversions and lower their cost per acquisition. They accomplished this by allowing its users to create beautiful landing pages without coding skills.
Fastforward to 2021 and Instapage has big brands that build landing pages on their platform including Verizon, HelloFresh, Vimeo, Ebay, and ADP to name a few.
Here are a few feature highlights before we get to the Instapage review good stuff.
- Dozens of landing page templates.
- An easy-to-use landing page builder.
- An intuitive form builder.
- Crazy useful landing page widgets.
- Instapage provide hosting for all the landing pages in your account.
- Unlimited custom domain names (digital marketing agencies will love this).
- Lightning fast loading speeds thanks to their Thor Render Engine (cool name).
- Instapage has built-In analytics and reporting. Which includes conversion tracking, heatmaps, and A/B testing reporting.
Let’s explore these features and more below. We’ll cover pricing and the pros & cons afterward.
In this section, we’ll explore some of Instapage’s key features one by one.
Instapage has 120+ professional page templates to choose from when you start to build your first landing page. Like most page builder software you can also select page templates based on use case.
Whether you’re looking for a landing page that can help you generated leads for a business, sell a product, event registrations, or to get app downloads Instapage has a template for it.
You can always start with a blank page template, but by choosing a landing page template, all you need to do is rebrand it for your company (or client’s) branding, and you’ll be set.
If you need to add a custom element to your page template, you can do it with their landing page builder.
The Landing Page Builder
I’ve heard some people on my team say Instapage is one of the best landing page builder experiences they’ve had in a while.
They like the freedom of a non-grid page builder approach where they can drag and drop elements on a page anywhere they please. But, I see this as a double-edged sword.
With such a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) page builder approach comes pixel margin, padding, and element alignment responsibility (a responsibility that people get the hang of eventually).
This amount of pixel-building freedom can get overwhelming, but Instapage has a solution that helps — only if you let it help. Instapage displays helpful markers to make sure everything looks pixel perfect on their landing pages.
As you start moving elements on your landing pages, you’ll notice horizontal & vertical,l purple lines (for pixel distance) & green lines appear to help you align elements on your page, so they look the way you want the page to look.
The landing pages you create on the Instapage builder desktop version carry over to mobile nicely. It’s the same WYSIWYG builder experience. Plus, you can hide what you want shown on mobile, but not on desktop (and visa versa).
Customizing Page Elements
Editing elements on the page to your liking is intuitive. You simply click on the element you’d like to customize, and you can edit on the spot.
When you click an element on the Instapage page builder interface, you’ll have an option to edit the basics of that element and further customization settings on the right-hand sidebar.
If needed, you can add custom CSS to elements to further compliment your landing page designs.
If you’re consistently going to be creating landing pages for different projects or clients, Instapage has a time-saving feature called Instablocks.
Instablocks are a library of element blocks you can use on a new landing page that you’d typically have to build from scratch in other software.
For instance, let’s say you started with a certain Instapage template, but you wanted to change the appearance of your Top Bar, Footer, and Testimonials elements.
With the Instablocks library, you have a collection of professionally made blocks ready to be plug and play!
This is an excellent little time saver that helps us build professional landing pages quickly. Also, you can create your own My Blocks for your own block design elements that you can reuse in the future.
With that said, changes to Instablocks will not be updated automatically in the Instablock library unless you have the Converting plan (more on prices soon).
Lead Form Builder
The form builder is simple and easy to use. Whether you only need a form that collects emails or you need the name, phone, email, dropdowns, checkboxes, etc., Instapage can do it with just a few clicks.
Once your form and landing page are created, you can set up lead notifications for people on your team and/or your clients. You’d do this in the Instapage dashboard, under your corresponding page settings.
I really like that you can update the notification style with your own branding!
Pop-ups just work! We installed them on all the landing pages created before using Instapage, but Instapage pop-ups only work for click events.
Meaning, Instapage pop-ups can only work when you assign them to a hyperlink or button on your landing pages. And yes, you edit and style your form on the same Instapage page builder you use for pages.
If you want an exit-intent pop-up for desktop, a pop-up to show up after X seconds, or one to show up after X seconds of inactivity, Instapage falls short — unfortunately.
This was a minor drawback for us initially when we were on our 14-day trial, but we stuck with Instapage after shopping for 3rd party pop-up software. More on this in the integrations section coming up.
After you’ve designed a few landing pages, you’ll want to make them reachable by assigning a domain to your pages.
For published pages, Instapage gives you four options. Publishing your pages via a custom domain, WordPress, Drupal, or free subdomain.
Typically, you’re going to use one of the first three publishing options above. Once you’ve connected your domain, it’ll sync to the page settings you’re configuring.
A highlight feature for us that made Instapage separate itself from its competitors is that there’s no limit on the number of custom domains or subdomains.
The only caveat is that the max landing page limit on the Building plan is 30 landing pages.
Tip on Overcoming the Landing Page Cap: To overcome this drawback, we stopped using Thank You pages in our Instapage account and started using success messages instead (which you can track conversion with any advertising platform).
Instapage comes with a lot of integrations. If you need to use 3rd party marketing tools, Instapage most likely has a native integration to it!
Popular Instapage integrations include:
- Marketing Automation (Hubspot, Marketo, SharpSpring, Keap, etc.)
- Email Marketing Services (MailChimp, Constant Contact, GetResponse, ConvertKit AWeber, etc.)
- CRMs (Hubspot CRM, Salesforce, Keap, Pipedrive, etc.)
- E-Commerce (Shopify, Stripe, PayPal, Venmo, and Kenshoo)
- Analytics (Google Analytics, Hotjar, Google Tag Manager, Kissmetrics, etc.)
- Advertising (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Microsoft Ads, etc.)
- Call Tracking (Callrail & DialogTech)
- Exit Intent & Pop-Ups (OptinMonster, OptinMonk, Hello Bar, etc.)
- Live Chat (Intercom, LiveChat, Zendesk, etc.)
- And a lot more!
If there’s an app/service you can not integrate with natively, you can use Zapier to make it work.
Marketing Teams & Agency Features
Next up in our Instapage review, some powerful Instapage features marketing teams and agencies can benefit from using.
Instapage Workspaces are great for team collaboration and client projects. Straight from Instapage:
“Team Members, Domains, and Integrations are now connected to and managed directly from individual workspaces.”
So if you’re working on a company project, you and your team members can access the same Workspace folder in the dashboard to build beautiful landing pages, leave each other feedback, and present the final page(s) to the team lead for approval.
If you’re an agency, you can use Workspaces per client, but you’ve maxed out at 5 Workspaces in the Building plan.
To get around this, what a lot of marketing agencies do, is use one Workspace for all clients. This is still a great option because, within Workspaces, you can organize clients into project folders!
The only drawback is you won’t be able to get feedback from your client(s) directly on the Instapage interface — without your client also seeing your other client folders.
This wasn’t a big deal for us (and other agencies) since we can get feedback on our landing pages from our clients with email and/or Zoom.
Google Ads Integration
Instapage tries to make the Google Ad management experience more accessible by letting its users manage PPC campaigns within their platform.
It’s not a bad idea; however, it’s not for us. We prefer the traditional Google Ads dashboard experience. However, some agencies/companies may find this feature very helpful!
Dynamic Text Replacement
PPC agencies use Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) to create more effective landing pages.
A DTR example is when a searcher types in a SEARCHER_SEARCH_PHRASE in Google, clicks on your ad, and then the headline of the landing pages use the SEARCHER_SEARCH_PHRASE.
This happens every time a new search happens and depends on the user’s search phrase initially.
DTR is a powerful feature, and it depends on the PPC specialist or agency’s taste on whether or not dynamic text replacement will be used on pages.
Instapage makes it easy to set up dynamic text replacement.
AMP Landing Pages
You can create AMP pages with Instapage’s advanced landing page builder. If your company or client needs AMP pages, you can do it with Instapage.
Analytics, Reporting, & Split Testing
One of the great features of investing in a platform such as Instapage is that you can set up your conversion goals to be tracked (and reported on) internally.
You set up both your internal and external conversion goals at the landing page level.
Internal conversions include standard form submission tracking and clicks to links on the page (you can identify which specific hyperlinks should be counted as conversions — great for phone call tracking).
External conversion goals in Instapage allow you to input external tracking codes on an Instapage page.
I love these options as a lead-generation agency! Here’s an example of what the reporting dashboard looks like.
As for A/B testing landing pages — it’s no problem for Instapage. You can set up an experiment for every landing page you create.
As you can see, you even have room for notes about your Experiment Hypothesis.
And lastly, Instapage comes with a built-in heatmap tracking tool for all your pages.
Instapage’s heatmap tool works in both desktop and mobile view and had different analysis modes: Scroll Depth, Clicks, and Mouse Movement (for desktop).
With included heatmaps, you get to see exactly what page elements are most popular and what is (and isn’t) working.
There’s not much of a need to pay for a heatmap tool with Instapage.
Now that you have a better idea of how powerful the Instapage platform is, you’re probably wondering how much does Instapage cost?
Instapage starts with the Building plan, which costs $199/mo when paid annually and $299/mo when paid monthly.
The Converting plan is custom pricing and requires a demo from the Instapage team first to tailor your pricing to your needs.
This is the cost of using one of the best landing page builder platforms on the market today: Instapage. They’re priced competitively when compared to their competitors when you realize that they do not have a custom domain cap.
With that said, some people may have price sticker shock. However, it’s important to realize that Instapages’ primary users are marketing teams and agencies who run paid advertising campaigns.
If you’re this far into our Instapage review and are uncertain if Instapage is for you, you should give sign up for a free trial.
Instapage Pros and Cons
Let’s get this out of the way — there is no perfect landing page software for creating landing pages. Instapage came close to checking off most of the boxes for our agency but fell short in one to two spots.
Here are the pros and cons of using Instapage.
- The Instapage landing page editor can give any competitors a run for their money with how simply intuitive it is.
- With a mobile view editor, you can quickly create mobile-friendly landing pages after creating your desktop landing page version.
- Their landing page templates are second to none.
- Unlimited custom domains.
- A/B testing capabilities.
- Instapage offers Workspaces (i.e. individual project folders) where team members and/or clients can collaborate on a specific project.
- The Instapage knowledge center how-to articles are helpful, and if you need human support, their live chat support is always a click away.
- Built-in heatmaps for your Instapage landing pages (both desktop & mobile) include scroll-depth, clicks, and mouse movement.
- Limited landing page cap based on Instapage plan — you get a 30 page limit on the Building Plan.
- Other limitations on their starting plan include 30,000 visitors per month, five workspaces, and five team members. You can raise these limitations on a custom plan.
- Instapage pop-ups do not have exit intent pop-up capabilities — this was unfortunate as our past client landing page design always included exit-intent pop-ups. Still, we coupled Instapage with ConvertBox to make up for this missing feature.
- The cost. Instapage is expensive compared to some of its competitors but does have some advantages in its prices (see the alternatives section below).
These are the benefits and drawbacks Instapage has based on my own and my team’s experience using it for PPC campaigns.
Is Instapage Worth It?
After three months of using Instapage, I’m glad we made the switch. The Instapage dashboard and page builder let us onboard a new client (or project) in minutes.
Will Instapage be worth it to you?
That depends on how you’ll use Instapage. In my experience as a blogger and a marketing agency owner, I’m convinced that Instapage is more suited for company marketing teams or digital marketing agencies that focus on paid advertising.
For company marketing teams, Instapage can help create a professional-looking landing page for your new product launch.
Additionally, you can collaborate on the new product launch in an Instapage Workspace by splitting up the work on designing multiple landing pages and giving each other feedback without logging out of the Instapage dashboard.
For marketing agencies, paid advertising campaigns are the name of the game. With Instapage, you can create custom landing pages for your clients’ Search Ads (i.e. Google & Microsoft Ads) and Social Ads (i.e. Facebook & Instagram Ads).
Instapage agency users have the option to use Workspaces (limited depending on your plan) or organize all clients into one Workspace and thus reap the benefits of adding unlimited custom domains.
The only thing you’d miss out on is sharing your Workspace with a client, so they can provide feedback on the Instapage platform (which wasn’t necessary for us).
With that said, Instapage usually attracts users that can afford at a minimum a $299/month monthly expense. Other drawbacks include those in our previous Cons section, but those can be overcome.
The Bottom Line: Instapage is a premium landing page platform for marketing teams and agencies alike.
If you think Instapage is worth testing out, sign-up for a free 14-day trial right now!
That concludes my Instapage review. If you have additional questions feel free to reach out to me. If you’re still shopping around, check out the section below.
As you’ve seen in our Instapage review above, Instapage focuses on companies with a budget, not particularly for solopreneurs or e-commerce use.
Some of the competitors below may have a better or preferred pricing structure for your needs — even if you’re an agency.
Below are the Instapage competitors we considered before sticking with Instapage and why they didn’t work out for us.
Unbounce (Good Alternative for Agency Use)
We tried Unbounce before we chose Instapage for a month or so. I noticed that many big pay-per-click agencies used it for their clients, so I thought it would be the one.
However, two things ended up being the nail in to coffin for Unbounce: speed of implementation and their domain cap.
The speed of implementation for creating multiple landing pages the way our agency was used was obstructed by Unbounce’s page builders (plural) and the tedious micro-steps of implementing a text-shadow.
Unbounce has 3-page builders. One for their landing page design, another for sticky bars, and one for pop-ups. We disliked having to go to different parts of Unbounce to assign these elements.
Why didn’t they just include everything on a one-page builder like the Instapage builder interface (sigh)?
Lastly, thinking Unbounce was going to be our go-to tool, I started writing operation manuals for the agency and realized that there had to be a better tool. I was writing technical SOPs on how to add text-shadow, button shadow, how to apply CSS to single/multiple elements on a page, how to add icons, and more.
Then came the other problem we had with Unbounce: domain limitation. Unbounce starts at $80/mo for 1 connected domain (good for 1 client) and $300/mo for 15 connected domains (15 clients).
At the time, we had 10 PPC clients. If we grew beyond 15 clients with Unbounce, we’d need to get a Concierge plan that requires booking a demo with their team and quoted a custom price that was probably more than $300/mo.
Unbounce isn’t all bad, though. Each of their plans includes unlimited landing pages, which is something they have over Instapage. But, it wasn’t enough for us at the end of the day. You can find out more on Unbounce’s pricing page.
WordPress Sites (Good for All)
Creating a WordPress site for our clients’ advertising campaigns was an option. We were set up to do it as we had company web hosting and WordPress page builders (Elementor mainly).
The issue with using WordPress for our clients was the speed of implementation. If we onboarded a new client, the steps that it would take would be plentiful, and authorization bottlenecks would interrupt the onboarding workflow.
Onboarding a WordPress PPC client would look like this: buy the PPC domain, add it to your web hosting, install WordPress on it, add all the necessary free and paid plugins, build the multiple pages you need to make it work, etc.
The process of gluing your tech stack together slowed us down, and the thought of WordPress for our clients’ advertising campaigns was out.
Leadpages (Good Alternative for Single-Member Users & Agencies)
Leadpages is a good product and has been around the online marketing and advertising industry for a while. It’s not made for agencies, though, and that’s where we parted ways.
Their $321/mo Advanced plan could potentially be used for our agency, but we’d eventually reach their 50 sites (aka. Custom domain) cap and have to pay more.
With that said, Leadpages is excellent for non-agency users and can benefit users who do lead generation and light e-commerce.