The way people build websites has rapidly evolved over the years.And it is not only the "how" that has evolved, but also the "what".Static websites, dynamic websites, and subcategories of both have come to life, like websites built entirely on the basis of "funnels."Tools dedicated to building specific types of websites have emerged, and in this blog post, we'll compare two of the most popular ones: Clickfunnels vs Instapage.
THE VALUE OF PAGE BUILDERS
This doesn't just apply to ClickFunnels and Instapage, but to most visual landing page software.In the old days, you needed a web developer/designer to create a simple website, so tools that made life easier, like Microsoft's Frontpage, came into being.These tools still required some technical knowledge and skills to organize and upload the pages created to a web host and manage things from there.
When page builders emerged , they greatly reduced the barrier to entry.Most offer cloud hosting accounts that support your own domain name, which means that creating a website is pretty much as simple as signing up for a Facebook account and customizing your profile.
Try Instapage right here (free trial) or Try Clickfunnels right here (free trial)
CLICKFUNNELS VS INSTAPAGE VS. GENERAL PURPOSE
There are many "general purpose" website builders, such as wix.com.Wix helps you create an online presence for your brand.ClickFunnels and Instapage, however, were created to fulfill a specific purpose: to create better PPC landers (Instapage) and to create a funnel from the fully functional and high-converting AZ, including checkout (ClickFunnels).
If you simply want a basic online presence for your brand, namely: a start page, a page, a team page… etc. Just to serve the purpose of "existing" online or educating your audience about your brand, then you might want to choose something like Wix.com or WordPress (more advanced, if you need more control).
If you're just trying to drive traffic to landing pages to encourage visitors to take specific actions, then you should consider ClickFunnels and Instapage.It's also worth noting that if you're thinking of building an entire website that depends primarily on SEO for traffic, click funnels and IP may not be your best bet.For this, I would recommend WordPress.
If you're doing this, but you also need the power of landing pages and it will drive paid traffic to them, then you should consider combining WordPress with IP or CF or a plugin like Thrive Architect.
At the end of this blog post, I will provide specific recommendations on tools based on your specific needs and usage scenarios.For now, let's start comparing ClickFunnels and InstaPage face-to-face.
PRIMARY USE CASE
Before we get to the heart of this section, there's one thing to do first.Theoretically, you can get both tools to do exactly the same thing.However, depending on the use case and the tool you choose, you may need to "glue" a bunch of things together, skip some hoops, and implement some workarounds to make the tool work as desired.
These "hacks" can cause instability, and despite all the effort you've invested in them, they make things more likely to break.Therefore, in my opinion, it is a better approach to choose the tool that "has" you and your specific use case in mind.
For example, you can create a funnel in Instapage, but things would be more hectic than in ClickFunnel.You can also create single-page landers in ClickFunnels , but that would mean defeating the purpose of the software, in addition, their page builder, although very fluid and easy to use, is not as advanced as that of Instapage.
Okay, though.I understand that in many circumstances, you would both want to.You want PPC lander functionality and complete funnels.If this is your situation, then is it really a matter of asking yourself which one you need the most?If it's a difficult question to answer, ask yourself: Which brings more value to your business?What tool would help you do better what you do now and grow more?
As mentioned above, these tools cater to fundamentally different market segments, and you can see this very clearly on their website.Instapage basically positions itself as a landing page tool for PPC advertisers, while ClickFunnels' placement is more geared towards people looking for an all-in-one platform to "market, sell, and deliver your products and services online."
To shed light on the focus areas of each of the tools and help you make a more informed decision, let's dive into a small tour of the product to compare them.This will not be a tutorial on how to use both because you can easily find support on their respective websites.Instead, this will focus more on the differences between the two.
So the first impression, the dashboards.I will add both one after the other for easy comparison.Here's what I see after logging into ClickFunnels:And this is the Instapage dashboard:The first thing you notice is probably also the first thing I noticed.
The ClickFunnels dashboard is quite crowded compared to Instapage.Now, to be fair, ClickFunnels' "all-in-one" approach versus Instapage's focused approach would naturally mean that the ClickFunnels interface needs to do a lot more.
The problem is, however, as you can see, the ClickFunnels dashboard isn't really crowded because it's "full" of features, but rather because "ads" take up most of the screen real estate.The red arrows show two "ads" and so you can see useful notifications in between.
Now I don't know you, but I really don't appreciate cramming a paid product with ads/upsells, especially one that costs $297/month.Instead, give the stats the full full screen or have this area contain only useful notifications, such as "Let's create your first funnel."
This has always been Russell Brunson's approach.I really love his stuff, he's a marketer's hell and a salesperson, but his "intrusive", overly "commercial" approach isn't always my cup of tea.When I access a paid tool that helps me in my business, I want to see information about how my business is doing, featured and centered.While this, in a way, is still included, it's taking the "minimal" screen immovable on the right side versus the "upsells" that take all the spotlight in the middle.
On the other hand, the Instapage dashboard is what you expect it to be.It is very clean and concentrated.Since Instapage focuses on PPC landers, the dashboard shows a list of all landers that gives you an idea of their raw conversion numbers and conversion rates at a quick glance.You can also organize them into "Groups," a feature similar to folders.
On the left side, you have the main navigation which provides quick access to all the main features of the product.The navigation bar in the top menu has options like account settings, billing, help and support settings, and notifications.
So, first, the Instapage constructor.From the dashboard, when you click "Create New Page," you're presented with three options: Standard page, AMP page, and Upload page.AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages and is an intuitive way for Google to create pages that load very fast.However, it is only available in Business plans.The "Upload" function allows you to upload a previously downloaded/exported Instapage lander.
Finally, the standard page is the typical Instapage feature without bells and whistles.Once I selected "standard", I was asked to choose a page template or to start from scratch (blank page).Landing page template categories include: lead generation, two-step, click-through, thank you, webinars, eBooks, events, and apps.They cover a wide range of different use cases and give you a good starting point for your creative juices to flow.This is useful if you don't have a solid idea of how you want your page to still look like.After choosing a template, the page builder now loads:
One thing I noticed right away is that I was completely free to grab and move any element of the page, however I liked it.The elements are not "trapped" inside the columns.I can move them freely or even place them on top of each other.While this may seem like an obvious feature that every page builder should have, many builders lack it, including ClickFunnel'.
The first default building block in Instapages is called "Instablock".The instablock is basically just a new blank section of your page.Once you've created a section, you can then add any of the available items to it with the click of a button and drag that item anywhere you want.The "drag" process is extremely smooth and responsive.
Available elements to insert into the page include: title, paragraph, image, video, button, forms, shapes, social, timer, and custom HTML.Each of the elements is fully customizable using a very convenient inline editor.
Now it's time for the ClickFunnels builder.
When you choose to create a new funnel with CF, you will be presented with the above.The "Classic Funnel Builder", is just as described, their basic builder.It asks you to choose one of three goals for your funnel: collect emails, sell products, and host webinars.It then asks you some questions and sets off to build your own funnel.
As mentioned above, CF is "funnel-centric," meaning that every "funnel" you build is usually a series of pages, not just a single page, as is the case with Instapage.The second, and particularly interesting way of building funnels, is using the "Cookbook".
The recipe book contains a variety of "funnel recipes" that are basically "made for you" funnels that you buy (or receive for free) and that you modify to suit your needs.These funnels are generally built for a specific purpose and are available to "copy" to your account with the click of a button, including all funnel "steps" (landing page templates and pages).To test their builder, I chose the recipe book path along with the "Lead Magnet" funnel.The "recipe" was then copied to my account, and as you can see below, it included two steps: the lead capture page containing the opt-in forms and the thank you page.
Once you're in the editor, you can tell right away that it's not as fluid as Instapage's.To add content to your page, you need to add a "section" and then add "rows".The page structure is generally quite rigid compared to Instapage.
You can't move items freely, items need to be inserted and locked into sections, rows, and columns.To move any element, you would have to change the structure of these "blocks" which is not as smooth as that of Instapage."Fluidity" may sound like a fancy term but when building landers and funnels on a large scale, speed is a really important factor, and "fluidity" helps you get things done much faster.IP Builder is much more intuitive.
That said, there's an important question to ask here: Do you NEED this level of flexibility?In many, many cases, I think your answer will be no. If you don't need this level of flexibility and don't need to build hundreds or thousands of landers, then CF would serve you well.
YOU WANT TO CREATE SMART AND RELEVANT INTERNAL LINKS… QUICKLY?
Link Whisper is a revolutionary tool that makes internal linking much faster, easier and more effective.Make it easy to boost your site's authority in the eyes of Google.You can use Link Whisper to:
- Show your orphaned content that isn't ranked
- Create smart, relevant, and fast internal links
- Simple but effective internal link reports: What has many links and which pages require more links?
The rest of the features are almost on par, but I've noticed that CF offers a lot more elements to put on your page, including shopping cart options (which makes sense as they're an "all-in-one" solution), FAQ sections, progress bars, navigation options, polls, and more.
SPLIT TESTING AND ANALYTICS
Clickfunnels allows you to divide test variant 1 of each step against a control version, for a total of two variations for each step.You can choose to distribute traffic between variations evenly or in any percentage you want.
As for statistics and analytics, CF assumes you'll use their various integrations (like Google Analytics) for advanced analytics, so their dashboard provides limited (but useful) data.Page views, number of leads / sales … etc. and conversion rates.Many people would find this way too easy, but it is actually enough for many CF users, especially if they depend on third-party analytics software.
Instapage, on the other hand, is much more robust when it comes to analysis and split testing.Within the editor, I was able to immediately create 8 variants of my current split test page.I created these 8 and didn't reach any limits, so it looks like you can create more.
I don't know if they have a hard limit on the number of variations of A/B tests.I tried looking for it in their help center, but found nothing.In any case, most people will only run 2-3 variations at a time, so I think it's safe to say that 8 simultaneous variations is more than enough for most users.
As you can see above, IP also provides more A/B testing data than the simplistic approach taken by CF. In addition to raw numbers and conversion rates, you can also see the % improvement over the control change, as well as cost per visitor and cost per lead/sale (you need to connect to an advertising platform for this).
One small issue that isn't really problematic, but which I found quite annoying, was the ability to determine traffic sharing for each variant available in the analytics reports.This doesn't make any sense to me, as I think it would be much better to allow myself to do it within the editor itself.
The analysis section, in my opinion, should be reserved exclusively for data visualization and interaction/filtering of different reports, but not for adjusting important settings like this.In any case, I could have easily omitted this part, but I found the placement of the function very strange, so I had to comment on it.
CHARTS, REPORTS AND HEAT MAPS
The IP not only beat CF in A/B testing capabilities, but also offers much more comprehensive built-in reports.The IP connects directly to major advertising platforms such as Facebook Ads and Google Ads.It is then able to extract traffic costs directly from the platforms and view statistics such as cost per lead/per purchase, this could be valuable and non-existent in ClickFunnels.
You also get performance and cost charts that track data such as raw traffic and conversion numbers, conversion rates, and cost per conversion (if the traffic source is linked).You can also see a visual comparison of this data plotted on a separate graph for the different variants of the split test.You can also filter the data to show only unique visitors or all visitors.
A very accurate feature provided by the IP is also the heat map.Many third-party tools provide features like Crazy Egg, Hotjar, and Lucky Orange.These tools can be quite expensive, especially if you're getting a lot of traffic.Having built-in IP functionality is a pleasure, especially since heat maps can be a great inspiration for split test ideas.With Instapage, you can do it all in one place.
IP Supports Heatmaps with click, scroll and mouse movement.The image below shows what heatmaps look like in IP, credits for the image go to this article from their help center.
Instapage integrates with an extensive suite of tools and services including advertising and analytics, email marketing automation, webinar hosting, live chat support, CRM, and others.As for ClickFunnels, the only public page I found listing its integrations was this one, but it's dated December 2016, so a lot of things may have changed since then.
However, it would seem that Instapage natively supports multiple integrations.But both platforms support zapier which allows you to connect to over 1000 different apps, tools, and services.
ClickFunnels has a huge Facebook group, there are almost 200,000 members at the time of writing this post and growing rapidly.I'm honestly not a member of the group, so I can't attest to the quality of the posts and how helpful the members are to each other, but it's safe to say it's a pretty active group.
HOW I BUILT A NICHE SITE THAT EARNS $2,985 PER MONTH
You want to start a niche site that can bring in $3,000 per month… or more?Here I discuss:
- The tools you'll need
- How to get started with a budget
- The best way to generate income quickly
As for official support, they seem to offer email support Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST.
Instapage doesn't have a huge group on Facebook, but it does have a "community" forum on their website where you can ask questions.It seems that the "community" only includes staff members and people who ask publicly.So it's more of a "public support ticket system" rather than a real community.If you prefer to contact them privately, you can always open a private support ticket as well.
They also say they offer Live Chat support but I couldn't see a button or link to reach it (even though it's not the weekend, so maybe they stopped offering it).IP also states that their support team is available Monday through Friday, but they don't specify hours or time zones.
Instapage has two floors.The master plan costs $99 per month when paid annually and $129 per month when paid monthly.It includes the most common features.The Enterprise plan seems to be listed on a case-by-case basis and includes "Global Blocks," "AMP Pages," and "Real-Time Collaboration" among a few other things like a dedicated account manager.
I don't see any "killer" features in the business plan that I wouldn't be able to live without, so I think the $99 per month plan would suit most people.There's a "fine print" that wasn't very easy to spot, however, which involves the $99 plan being limited to 30,000 unique monthly visitors, 30 published pages, 5 sub accounts, and 5 team members.So even if you don't need the extra features, if you reach one of these limits you'll probably be forced to upgrade.
ClickFunnels, however, has two plans and doesn't advertise any "custom" plans.The plans cost $99 and $297 per month, respectively, and don't seem to advertise discounts for annual subscriptions.The $99 ClickFunnels plan is limited to 20,000 monthly visitors and 20 funnels, but keep in mind that the 20 funnel limit will likely end up being much more than IG's 30-page limit because a single marketing funnel can contain many steps/pages.
For example, let's say you want to create a landing page, which leads to another and then another, then to a thank you page.It's 4 pages in Instapage.In CF, however, it is only 1 funnel.In CF, you can create 20, then 20 × 4 = 80 pages.To create 80 pages in IG, you need the business plan.
The $300 plan offers two additional main "modules."The "Actionetics" module and the "Backpack" module.Actionetics is basically an integrated email service provider that aims to help you avoid paying for additional third-party tools like ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, GetResponse… .Etc. Backpack allows you to run your own affiliate program, again saving you from having to pay extra fees to use tools like iDevAffiliate or others.
In any case, both platforms offer a free trial.The free trial version of IG can be easily activated without requiring a credit card, while that of CF requires the insertion of a credit card.
I think this review so far has been slightly biased compared to ClickFunnels because Instapage has clearly excelled in most points of comparison.The "Backpack" and "Actionetics" modules in the CF top-tier plan are really useful, however, not only because they save you from paying for third-party tools, but because they help keep everything in one place.No cluttered integration.
The disadvantage here, of course, is that you don't get every feature expected under the sun from each of the modules.The only way to achieve this is if you opt for a dedicated solution for each required function.The additional "gluing and stitching" needed to make funnels work properly with Instapage is a big breakthrough for me too if I were to use the platform primarily for funnels.
You may have heard people say that CF and IP are apples and oranges.I agree to some extent, and after reading this, you'll probably understand why.Basically, both tools allow you to create web pages using a drag-and-drop editor, but they are much more than that.
Ultimately, what you choose will depend on your needs.I know a lot of people find this phrase annoying because it doesn't provide enough guidance, so I'll go ahead and give you some.Read the two groups of bullet points below, find out which group best represents your needs (The group that contains the most bullet points you agree with, that's my recommendation for you!), So you decide.
Use ClickFunnels if:
- You're creating a complete sales funnel for a product, service, or webinar.
- You have a multi-pass funnel with upsells, downsells … Etc.
- You depend on third-party tools for analytics or you're not a data nerd.
- You need a good page editor that gets the job done but doesn't require maximum flexibility.
- "Selling" is a pIF factor here.If you don't sell something, you lose many CF benefits (upsells/downsells, payments, backpack… etc.).
Use Instapage if:
- You need highly flexible landing pages for lead generation, but most of your pages consist only of a compression page and a thank you page or a purchase and thank you page (no funnel needed).
- Being able to move every element of the page anywhere you want is an important feature.
- You need to split the test more than 2 variations of a page at once.
- You want to connect your traffic platforms and see traffic costs combined with lander statistics in one place.
- BIP is displayed in better analytics and consolidated heat maps in a single platform.
Eventually, this puts you on the right track to choose the platform that best suits your needs.If you have any doubts about what to choose for a specific scenario or use case, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will try to respond as soon as possible with a recommendation.Also, if you have experience with one or both of these tools, feel free to share.