Green or Red? Large or small? Square or circle?
Call-to-action (CTA) buttons come in many colors, sizes, and shapes. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the combination of factors that best converts visitors to leads. However, there have been scientific experiments, mouse and eye-tracking studies, and expert opinions to guide marketers on the CTA button elements that increase conversion rates for every type of content, persona, and buyer journey stage.
While there are many elements to the online marketing, the CTA button is one that is easy to optimize, quick to test, and often lies as a piece of "low hanging fruit" on the website conversion tree.
The Best Color
It is not red.
It is not green.
In fact, there is no one color for CTA buttons that always works best. The CTA button that will convert best for you will depend on many elements, and the best way to find your winning color is to test several options. There are some pointers, however, that do always (well, almost alwaysâ€¦) work:
CTA buttons need to have a noticeable color (take into account background colors or images, website color palette, etc.).
For example, on their home page, the landing page experts at unbounce.com use a button that contrasts against the blue background because it is orange:
It is not always colors that are opposites on the color wheel that attract the eye. Notice this button on a landing page for a social network tool. It is in the same color family as the rest of the page's palette, but still, it stands out:
CTA buttons should be designed as buttons.
Some sites have tried text links instead of buttons or buttons in odd shapes that are not immediately recognized as buttons. This rarely (if ever) works. Design your button to look like a simple button.
For example, this landing page for an IT monitoring service uses a simple button (incidentally, it is blue). The color works well against the dark background and is the first thing visitors' eyes are attracted to when they first view the page:
CTA button colors: the final verdict
What we can learn from these examples (one orange, one green, one blue) is that it is that the color of the CTA button cannot be examined in a contextual vacuum. We need to examine the colors within the page and its color scheme.
For example, if we take the blue button that works so well for pagerduty and place it on the unbounce page, we get a page that would undoubtedly be less effective as the button is less noticeable:
To identify which color CTA button will work best for our page, we need to choose several colors that are noticeable, design simple buttons, and test them against each other. Of course, the Key Performance Indicator to look for is conversion rate (do more visitors convert with a blue button or an orange one?), but you may also want to add other measureables such as bounce rate, time on page, scroll patterns, eye tracking, and other customer experience metrics.
The Best Copy
Some experts have asserted that the words on a CTA button are more important than its color, size, or placement on the page. But according to the Global Language Monitor, there are over a million words in the English language. CTA buttons often have more than one word, so the combinations are virtually endless. How do you know which words to use?
Luckily, in this case, you need to keep in mind three things:
1. Keep it simple, but not generic
Neil Patel has said that generic phrasing, like "click here" or "buy now" doesn't really impact conversion rates by much.
Check out this landing page for project management software, which uses straightforward copy, explaining exactly what will happen when you click on the button:
2. Keep it action-oriented
Many companies have tested the difference between buttons that say "Free Trial" versus those with an added action word such as "Get Free Trial" or "Start Free Trial" or "Plans and Pricing" versus "See Plans and Pricing." Action-oriented language always (wellâ€¦almost always) comes out ahead.
Cloud accounting company Xero shows good use of both examples on their landing page:
How many CTA buttons for the free trial do you see? 1? 2? 3? Which do you think is the most effective?
The Best Test
As we have explored, it is impossible to say that all CTA buttons must be of a certain color or contain certain words to convert more. But there are guidelines to create buttons to test and determine which ones work for your product, target audience, and page designs. CTA buttons should be designed as buttons of a noticeable color and use action-oriented, simple language.
The key to finding the CTA button that converts best for you is to test it. Your test should send traffic from the same source, at the same time, to different variations. It should track conversion rate improvements, bounce rate reductions, and overall customer experience levels.
May the best CTA button win!