There are many factors that influence the design of your call-to-action and it’s certainly a feature that benefits from extensive testing and tweaking.

It’s likely that it’s an area that is somewhat neglected though, as our new Adobe Digital Marketing Optimisation Survey found that a majority of companies (53%) spend less than 5% of their total marketing budgets on optimisation activities, despite the fact that a small uplift in conversion rates can translate into thousands of dollars of extra revenue.

Aspects such as the size, wording and colour can all impact clickthrough rate and conversions, but placement is potentially one of the most important factors.

Traditional wisdom states that the CTA needs to go above the fold so that potential customers can’t avoid it, but as these case studies show that isn’t necessarily always true…

Unbounce A/B test

Unbounce ran an A/B test on the CTA placement on a landing page for paid search ads. The aim of the page is to get people to sign up for one of Unbounce’s services, for which there are three different options and pricing plans.

The original design placed the CTAs below the fold, however there was a secondary directional CTA at the top of the page that instructed users to “Pick your plan below.” This then used a scrolling effect to move users down the page to the pricing plans.

To try and improve the page’s conversion rate Unbounce moved the CTAs above the pricing grid. This meant that the buttons were now above the fold of the bottom of the page (after the smooth scroll created by the button at the top of the page).

In the A/B test the redesigned page produced a conversion lift of 41% over the control page.

Florida Tix

Travel company Florida Tix experimented with placing its CTA at the bottom of the page rather than above the fold.

Control

The problem was that the product offer is complex so there was a lot of copy for potential customers to get through.

Placing the CTA above the fold meant that customers were being asked to take action before they’d been persuaded of the product’s value.

New design

The new design leads the customer through the product offer before asking them to book tickets. The result was a 20% increase in conversions.

A/B boosts conversions by 304%

An anonymous Danish company tested the CTA placement to try and increase sign ups to one of its subscription services.

The page in question was a landing page from paid search ads that asked people to fill out a contact form so the sales team could get in touch.

As it was a complex product offer the page was quite long, but the CTA was placed at the very top.

The web designer felt that this design was potentially too aggressive as it was forcing the customer to make a decision before they even knew what they were signing up for.

Therefore the page was rejigged so that the CTA came at the bottom of the page after the product offer.

The A/B test was run until it had a sample size of around 100 conversions and a 98% level of statistical confidence. In the end the new page outperformed the control version by a whopping 304%. 

According to the designer Michael Aagaardc:

If the product/offer is complex, and the prospect has to digest a lot of information in order to make an informed decision, positioning the CTA lower on the page generally works best.

Boston Globe

The Boston Globe tested three different page designs as it sought to increase sign ups to its paid content service.

Two of the designs had the CTA above the fold, while the third inverted the design so the product information was at the top and the CTA was at the bottom.

And the result was… it found no significant difference between any of the designs.

The perceived logic for this was that The Boston Globe’s “audience is highly motivated, and putting a button above or below the fold didn’t matter as much as the newspaper’s respected journalism.”

Giant page = giant rewards

In another example showing that it’s not all about putting the CTA above the fold, The Heritage Foundation managed to increase revenue by 274% by moving its sign up form to the bottom of the page.

The control page was a fairly standard two-page layout where the call-to-action (CTA) begins above the fold.

In comparison, the redesigned page placed the CTA right at the bottom of the page under a huge amount of copy describing the product offer.

Apparently the site owners felt the design was so clunky that they didn’t even want to publish the page. You can see both designs in the Marketing Experiments blog.

However by making a greater effort to explain the value of signing up The Heritage Foundation achieved some excellent results:

  • 74% increase in donor conversion rate.
  • 189% increase in average gift.
  • 274% increase in revenue.

Consolidated Label

The case studies in this list have basically shown that there are no hard and fast rules for CTA placement – it’s down to sites to run tests and work out what works best for them.

However one obvious rule is that it’s better to have at least one CTA than to have no CTA at all.

Printing company Consolidated Label ran an A/B test with a new page design that included a prominent CTA button. The original design didn’t have any CTAs, it just displayed a phone number in the header.

Control

Unsurprisingly, the new design managed to achieve a 62% increase in conversions over the original design.

New design