The Call-To-Action Guide

Nivo Digital

17 June 2020

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A call to action is a prompt to a potential customer, encouraging them to carry out a specific action, such as buy a product or sign up to a newsletter.

Much like in print adverts, these are designed to be big and bold, with short sharp text like “Buy Now” or “Sign-up Today”. In today’s world, new apps and advertising space have opened up new possibilities for CTAs.

You should be using CTAs wherever your customers engage with your brand, including your ads and landing pages.

As the digital space has become more competitive, companies have looked to innovative CTAs to draw their customers in.

Call to action examples

Example 1 – Starbucks advertising on Instagram, using the ‘Swipe Up’ action to compel the viewer to find out more.

Example 2 – Spotify is utilising 2 CTA buttons on their webpage, encouraging the customer to click. Immediately, we are compelled to click on the premium option (which is of course more beneficial to the business) as it is highlighted more heavily than the second free option using the colour differences.

Example 3 – Mint uses simplicity in their CTA and design, providing an easy-to-understand message for their customers

How to create good CTAs

Much like what you should be doing with your ad copy, following these steps will help you create great Call-To-Actions:

Clear message – Clearly state the benefit a user will get from clicking on your CTA.
Good design – Having a good balance between size and shape will help users engage with your CTA. Creating oversized CTA buttons will make your page look silly!
Actionable – Your CTA should be an action that the user will carry out e.g. ‘Sign-up’ or ‘Buy’
Short & sharp – Use as few words as possible to get the message across e.g. ‘Buy now’ not ‘Buy our product here’
Urgency – Using words likely ‘now’ and ‘today creates urgency and compels the user to click on your CTA. People don’t like missing out, so create some FOMO!

How to test what works

Testing what does and doesn’t work is an important part of any business. Your CTAs are no exception.

To test the efficiency of your CTAs, you should use A/B testing. This ensures that each element is being tested fairly, giving you the most accurate results possible.

There are multiple elements you can test within your landing page and ads:

The action – Varying the action itself e.g. Buy vs Get
Urgency – Testing different urgency words e.g. Today vs Now
Structure (ads) – Position of CTA in ad e.g. Headline 2 vs Description Line
Design (landing page) – Varying size, shape, position, colour

Testing on landing pages

Thankfully, testing on landing pages couldn’t be easier. Designing and tweaking your CTAs is simple with most website builders, such as WordPress.

You can duplicate your page, no-index, no-follow it and change the title. Then in Google Ads…

You can use Google’s Drafts & Experiments to create tests:

First navigate to the Campaign experiments of Drafts & experiments in the navigation bar.

Create your new draft

Choose the campaign you want to test the landing page in. Make sure you label the draft a suitable name – We recommend using the description to outline the exact elements you’re testing for future reference.

Finally, navigate to keyword level to change your URLs

Testing CTAs in ads

For ads, you can simply create an experiment ad using the ‘Ad variation’ tab in Drafts & experiments.

Once you’re here, follow the same steps as above to get your first ad variation test set up!

Testing best practice suggests testing on one element variation per test e.g. Change to Headline 1 only. This helps you to build a clear picture on what exactly it is that resonates better or worse with your customers

How do you know what’s working?

Once you are at this point, your main gauge for knowing what is and isn’t working is conversion rate.

You may have to leave the experiment running for a number of weeks to gather enough conversion data to decide which is best (we recommend at least 10-20 conversions)

For your ad variations, you can also look at metrics like Click-through rate.


Utilising a strong Call To Action at customer touchpoints is a sure-fire way to generate more conversions.

Testing different CTAs, varying different elements such as action or design, can help you improve your ads and landing page performance.

Looking to improve your marketing strategy? Get in touch and find out how we can help.