Ask the Board – April 18, 2016 | MANOLO ALMAGRO


What “calls to action” deliver the best results, and how are those results measured?

The effectiveness of a CTA has a lot to do with the context of the message. “Buy now” buttons on social media, mobile or e-commerce sites are designed for a very different experience than the addition of a “Buy Now” or “Buy One – Get One Free” message in the context of shopping at a physical retail location. This effect can be observed with the ubiquitous “buy now” buttons that are being tested across various social media platforms (Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram). Current testing has shown both a negative + positive impact to the online experience. The positive: When someone encounters a buy now button – and has some previous experience with shopping online – they find the one-step to purchase convenient and efficient. However, the people who have not had a lot of experience with the online shopping process feel anxiety toward the buy now button as they are unsure if the next action will automatically purchase the item, or present them with an option to review the purchase prior to committing to the check-out.

When it comes to in-store digital messaging, CTAs have a much different challenge; providing relevancy and meeting the expectations of personalization. The strategy for this is built around understanding the target’s retail behaviors. Coming from an agency perspective, we call it creating a dialog between the brands/retailers that aligns with the target’s four retail modes – whether they are a buyer, influencer, consumer or shopper. In some cases, they can be in more than one of these modes during their customer experience.

The most critical part of determining what calls to action will provide the best conversion rates is not to take short cuts. Testing + Measurement are the keys to evaluating the secret sauce of CTAs. It is not just simple A/B testing, but a rigorous execution, that takes the science of retail analytics, strategy planning and combines that with a significant data set (number of sites and SKUs). Best practice dictates that results should continually be monitored and used to refine the messages throughout the life of the campaigns. 

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Senior Managing Director, Innovation + Technology

Advertising & Brands Council

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