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When we start working with a new client, one of the first things we do is look to see how their landing pages are implemented. If they’re using a low-code platform like Webflow or Unbounce, we often move them to custom-coded landing pages. We usually use a more optimized framework, typically Next.js.
Here are recent results we’ve gotten migrating two clients’ landing pages away from low-code platforms.
1. A consumer brand spending 1mm+/month on paid advertising we moved from Webflow to Next.js:
- 224% increase in top-of-funnel conversion rates
- 28% increase in mid-funnel conversion rates
- 24% increase in SQL conversion rates
2. A cloud services provider spending 500k/month on paid advertising we moved from Unbounce to performant WordPress:
- 30% increase in conversions
- 22% increase in paying customers
Why do we see these results? A lot of it comes down to speed.
Low- or no-code builders are designed to make it quick and easy to pull together attractive landing pages or websites, but the same things that make it easy to move elements around ultimately make the code less efficient. This can have a negative effect on page speed which, in turn, impacts conversions.
Moving to custom-built landing pages using something like Next.js will typically accelerate page load by around 30%.
In turn, we’ve observed that going from slow to fast (sub 30 lighthouse score to 90+ lighthouse score) can lead to anywhere from a 10%-50%+ increase in conversion rates. The average in our experience is around 20%.
That gives us a simple rule of thumb: If the dev costs associated with improving page speed are less than 20% of what you have spent on ads in the last 3 months, you should do it and it will almost certainly be a net positive.
So do we always recommend steering clear of low-code platforms? Not necessarily.
In this piece, we look at when a platform like Webflow is a good idea and when it’s time to consider something more advanced.
Note: Want to know how your landing pages are performing? Sign up for a performance audit.
Low-Code Platforms Can Work Well For Smaller Marketing Budgets and Moderate Traffic
Low-code platforms have their advantages. They’re cheap, fast to set up and have built-in testing functionality.
If you have a small marketing budget, say $5K a month or less, then sticking with a cheap and fast landing page builder is in your best interest. At this point, trying to iterate and build out landing pages using developer-heavy resources is probably unrealistic and won’t have a high return on investment.
Custom Coded Landing Pages Are Better For Larger Budgets and Heavy Traffic
As we mentioned above, low-code landing pages are typically slower than the alternative. This can mean a lot when you’re sending thousands of users to your landing pages a month.
For companies with bigger campaign budgets, small differences in performance can really add up. For instance, if you’re spending $500k a month on paid campaigns that are driving traffic to landing pages, and you’re seeing a 5 percent drop-off in users because of the page loading speed, that 5% amounts to $50k per month in wasted spend. 600k per year! Not to mention the loss of revenue that 5% might’ve brought in.
At these levels, performance gains may be substantial enough to justify dedicated marketing engineers.
Low-Code Platforms: Ok When Early Stage And Iterating Quickly
If you’re early stage with a business or product, and you’re moving really fast and making daily changes to your landing pages and testing everything, then it can make sense to use a drag and drop editor that only takes an hour or two to set up and a few seconds to change.
Custom Coded Landing Pages: Better When Ramping Up Spend And Testing in A/B Platforms
Once you’ve gotten to the point where you may only make a change every couple of weeks or months, your priorities are different. Design speed matters less than optimizing performance.
The Cost of Development Should Decrease Over Time
The cost of developing landing pages can vary widely, but once you’ve got the first landing page built out, you should be able to start reusing components which makes other landing pages faster to develop. You can also build out a CMS which makes deploying landing pages much faster, as well.
We’ve also found that marketing teams who have access to their own development resources are able to move faster, test more, and improve the value of their initiatives and assets. Building out performance-optimized landing pages is just one piece of the funnel. (This is why, unlike many other agencies, we have a dev team on staff.)
When teams have to rely on their engineering department (who often have their own priorities) to set up tests, make changes to the funnel, etc, then performance can really suffer.
Note: Landing page optimization is just the start. We work with companies to optimize the entire sales funnel. Sign up for a free comprehensive performance audit for personalized recommendations.
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