We documented the evolution of Groupon's home page & the changes they made tell you a lot about what works for them & welcome gates in general. First,...View More let's focus on the simplicity of Groupon's current home page. It's very minimalist, has a headline that is area-specific, presents a straight-forward email opt-in & only allows you to get past it if you are already signed up. If we go back in time to December 2009 (the example at the very bottom), you'll notice that their original version of a welcome gate style homepage is very crowded. They have navigation links, footer links & a much busier page. It all takes away from the main call-to-action. However, look at the examples just months after it. Groupon slowly eliminated all the extra fat. They completely stream-lined it within 6 months & since July 2010, the home page has barely changed. The only changes they really made were to get rid of the logos (since they're already incredibly established & no longer need the social proof) & instead of double-checking the location, they just automatically assume your current location is fine. Also, note how they continue to use photos, but in a much bigger way. The home page always had photos, but in the current version, the photos take up the whole page, making it very visual. However, like modeling any other big brand, we must remember that because they are already established, they can come across with more general & weaker copy. The purpose of this swipe is to demonstrate the simplicity of a welcome gate page, but also keep your copy strong & specific like Groupon did in their earlier days.
Welcome Gate/Home Page from Groupon Swiped in March 2015
The biggest takeaway of this example is that welcome gates do best when they have few competing elements drawing attention away from the main opt-in. Groupon almost immediately ditched all competing links & kept it that way.
Never discount the power of using visuals. Groupon used strong visuals in every one of their iterations.
Although you should follow the simplicity of their latest example, don't fall into the trap of being too vague or general with your copy. Groupon can get away with this because of their brand awareness. Instead, follow their earlier examples for clearer, more compelling copy.
Mike Schaueris the founder of Swiped.co and the main analyst in the swipes section. After intently studying & building conversion-focused websites for 6+ years, he started Swiped to help others master marketing & copywriting through the analysis of great examples!
Visit the archives of this swipe's source URL or view past screenshots of groupon.com below.