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What’s the Best Call-to-Action for Your Killer Marketing Asset?

We put so much effort into that killer marketing asset. We profile our personas and research what they need to hear/read/see to move down the funnel. Then we slave over coming up with engaging, entertaining, thought provoking, and enlightening copy. And, of course, we take it to our brilliant designers for an equally engaging visual experience.

Does whether or not anyone actually read/see our asset boil down to which 2 (or so) little words we'll use for the call to action (CTA) button? "Download now"? "Register today"? "See it here"?

In a Hootsuite blog post, the team shares the results of an experiment conducted by marketing automation firm AdEspresso.

When the firm analyzed over 37 thousand Facebook ads, they found that the most popular CTAs are “Learn More” at 34.2%, “Sign Up” at 22.6%, and “Shop Now” at 30.7%.

The least performing CTAs were: open link, play game, use app.

The firm then set out to test these CTAs on their own Facebook ad campaign, aimed at getting warm leads to download an eBook bundle in exchange for email addresses.

As far as net number of click throughs Learn More, Sign Up, and Download performed just about the same. In terms of conversions, however Download outperformed Learn More by 50.6% and Sign Up by 40.4%.

The thinking is that the closer the CTA is to what actually awaits you on the other side of the button, the more likely you are to follow through with the action prompted. That is – 'learn more' leads you to an unknown (what exactly are you going to learn?). 'Sign up' postpones the gratification of getting what you want, e.g. when the next newsletter comes out. But download is instantaneous and delivers exactly what you clicked for.

This is also noted by, in their article on CTAs:

"Call-to-action buttons should clearly communicate what action a person will make with a click."

When it comes to the CTAs on your website, of course it likewise depends on the type of asset, to which persona it is targeted, and to which phase on the sales funnel it is targeted.

Hubspot discuss this point in their blog post on how to select the right CTA for your website's pages.

If you've been tracking asset performance on Google Analytics, that input should be part of the decision as well – leverage what's been successful, avoid what hasn't.

However, do the same principles for the AdEspresso experiment hold true for a website's preferred CTA? Isn't 'download' boring? Isn't 'learn more' sometimes even annoying?

According to webdesignerledger some of the pest performing words include:

  • Get – communicates benefits

  • See – arouses curiosity

  • Read – invites those thirsty for knowledge (I disagree – I think 'read' can be a turn off; few people want to read these days, people skim – they don't read, online at least, for the most part).

  • Buy – for those who have a clear intent to purchase (you'd need to know that in advance, though, no? There are tools out there for that, check out

The bottom line is that the CTA should:

  • Speak to the anticipated intent of your audience in arriving at that page

  • Should accurately reflect what's waiting for them when they act

  • Should communicate the benefit of what's waiting on the other end of the button

  • And should do all this in 4 (or so) words or less :-)

And, of course, as always – A/B test whenever possible, track, analyze, optimize, repeat.

Want to see which CTAs will work best for your killer asset? Get in touch and let's do some great marketing together >>

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