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Hope I can get this explained clear enough.

We are currently developing a new social web service and have a bit of a discussion about what should be the landing page.

There are two possibilities (I'm going to use Instagram as an example):

1. Promo page with authentication

This is a page that contains graphical elements such as background etc, some text about the service and what is it about, login and registration options (Instagram when logged out).

2. Home page with essential content

This is the page where all the content is and where users makes actions (Instagram when logged in)


So, what I want is to make a page to promote the service, tell users what it is about, let it be graphical to please eyes on first look and let users to have an easy way to log in or sign up. This would be option 1.

With option 2, the first page user would see when going to the page is a page where the user can interact with the content, navigate through features, etc. Then the app would ask to authenticate user only when he/she is trying to do something that requires an authentication.

What would be the best practice here?

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Oh my, this is going to be one of those "It depends" answers. But I'll try my best to avoid it.

At first we need to know what purpose you have with your landing page. Since your referencing Instagram my assumption is that your conversion rate is the number of new users per day, ore something like that. This is very close to the Wikipedia definition of a Landing Page

The purpose of the transactional landing page is to persuade a visitor to take action by completing a transaction. This is accomplished by providing a form that needs to be filled out. The visitor information is obtained in order to add the visitor’s email address to a mailing list as a prospect. An email campaign can then be developed based on responses to transactional landing pages. The goal is to capture as much information about the visitor as possible. The ultimate goal is to convert the visitor into a customer.

This is option 1, no doubt about it. You can't see anything unless you sign up with us. That's the general way to use a social network such as Instagram. Sure you can see content via direct links not having an account, but not on the Landing Page.

All you need now is to be credible enough to gain users fast. And that's hard. I've discussed the trust issue with several users both as private consumers and as business consumers and all have the same kind of doubt: "Why should I sign up before I know what benefit I can get?". And this is important. It takes longer time to get users in your network, than if you show them up front how things work, what your benefits are and how fun it is. And that calls for option no 2. In my experience showing what you get before you sign up is ALWAYS better than the opposite.

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    Thanks for your input. I actually were looking for this kind of reasoning about why option X would work rather than option Y. Definitely helps my decision about UX of the app! – jIsles Dec 14 '15 at 22:43
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I personally like #2 more because you are showing people how the experience works before they need to provide personal information. That means people are more sold on the benefits (probably) before they are asked to 'convert' to an account.

However, it probably matters more which one actually turns visitors to the site to accounts. You should test both and see which performs at that conversion better.

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