Refining Calls to Action

Calls to action are essential components of effective marketing. From radio and tv messaging through to billboards and social media ads, there isn’t one part of a campaign they don’t touch. Given their prevalence and role in sales pipelines, getting them right can be the difference between a successful campaign and one which falters.

What Are Calls to Action?

Calls to action are mixtures of copy, images, and functions within ads which prompt people to take an action. You’re already highly familiar with many of them; Shop now signs, website URLs, register here buttons. CTAs can be as simple a few words and as complex as QR codes driving towards registration forms. In every case, they leave the reader with a clear set of instructions of what to do next, or at least, they should.

We’re often asked what makes a CTA good and why selecting the right one matters. The truth is that a “good” CTA can vary wildly per campaign. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few pointers to determine the most impactful CTAs for your organisation,

Define Success Early On

Before selecting a CTA, it’s important to determine what success of the campaign looks like. Think about what the campaign is intended to get the user to do. Is the user meant to register for an event, download an app, or simply learn more information? This decision will immediately narrow down the options for CTAs on digital platforms, which tie available CTAs to the campaign objective.

Then there’s internal expectations. While marketers are often tasked with multiple objectives, CTAs are built with a single one in mind. A user shouldn’t be expected to do research, sign up to an email list, and register for an event all in one web visit. The CTA should have one clear objective to drive a user to complete single next step. More importantly, it should never be judged on additional actions it wasn’t designed to do.

Meet User Expectations

The content of a call to action sets certain expectations in mind – an anticipated follow up of what’s to follow.  For instance, clicking on a “read more” button should intuitively drive to a page with relevant additional information. Driving instead of a registration form would confuse someone and almost certainly cause them to click off.

It’s important for your CTAs to “pay off” in the user’s mind, after all, they took the next step wanting something. Don’t break the flow by failing to meet the user’s expectation.

Adjust Per Platform

Different platforms offer different CTAs. That’s because user behaviour changes immensely from platform to platform. This relates to both functionality and flow.

For example, a “swipe up” CTA is common on Snapchat, fitting within the apps vernacular, but is foreign to Meta’s platforms.

Then there’s user behaviour tied to each tech. TikTok is infamous for holding users video after video. It’s much more difficult to have a TikTok user click off the platform and convert in the moment vs other platforms. Your CTAs might want to be higher level on that platform depending on your product offering

We can contrast digital interactions with billboard ads, which have limited ability to drive users to web pages. You can list a website url and encourage users to visit, but the process is manual without aid of QR codes.

Marketers should have these behaviours in mind when determining which CTA to leverage.

Test and Iterate

It’s always recommended to test various CTAs to initially find out what works with your audience. This can change over time, especially as users move lower down the conversion funnel. You won’t know what truly works unless you trial several options.

That being said, try not to overthink it too much. If you have a CTA that’s working, stick with it. It’s not an exact science and audience opinions vary, so keep note of what’s working and optimise from there.

Want to learn even more? Reach out to us for additional advice on CTAs and how you can improve the performance of your ads.