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CTA Button Terminology Matters – Choose Wisely

Welcome to the Series: 1000 Demand Generation Ideas – In this series, I share 1000 actionable Demand Generation ideas with examples for you that you can use for your marketing campaigns.

Idea: 1000 of 1000

In their book A/B Testing, Dan Siroker and Pete Koomen (Founders of Optimizely) discuss an example where the choice of words increased donations by millions of dollars.

When Clinton foundation was raising money for Haiti, the goal was to increase donations per pageview.

The original CTA (Call-to-action) button had the text: “Submit,” but the word Submit, lacks emotion.

A study at Harvard, “Emotion and Decision Making,” revealed emotions constitute powerful, pervasive, and predictable drivers of decision making.

The team decided to change the CTA text from Submit to “Support Haiti” – hypothesizing that button should reflect the purpose of action, therefore, making the meaning of the click clear to the users.

AB testing example


Results – M O N U M E N T A L

The small change increased donations by several dollars per page view – resulting in an overall increase in several million dollars for the campaign.

“With a disaster like the Haiti earthquake, every second count when it comes to attracting donations, and it goes without saying that every dollar counts,” said Marie Ewald, Director of Online Fundraising for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. “In less than 48 hours we tested eight versions of the donation page, and through this experiment, we were able to generate an additional $1,022,571 in online revenue.”

Example #2:

A few years back, I was working on optimizing the Facebook Ad campaign for a retail client.

As you know, the Facebook Ad campaign CTA button offers multiple options.

AB testing example

We A/B tested two versions with different CTAs.

  1. Shop Now
  2. Learn More 

The client insisted that I use Shop Now because she wanted to make more sales, but I urged that Learn More would be a better option, since its less threatening.

People are on Facebook to check out what their friends are doing – they are not there to buy. So if we nudge them to buy vs. explore, it would lead to lower click-through.

When we tested both versions, we saw a 23% increase in CTA & 47% increase in purchase with “Learn More” CTA (we measured sales resulting via the campaign within 45 days).

As you can see, even though choosing “action” oriented words converted more for Haiti Campaign, “exploration” oriented words made more sense for FB campaigns.

Big Idea:

  • Action & emotion-oriented words work the best when you want users to take action but also keep in mind the channel you are using – web form vs. Facebook Ads (in our case).
  • An action-oriented word might work best for a particular channel but might not work on another channel.
  • A/B test the CTA button terminology and let the data show you what would work best for a targeted customer in the targeted channel.

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