Call-to-Action Button Copy: How to reduce clickthrough rate by 26%


“Start Free Trial” | “Get Started Now” | “Try Now”

One of the above phrases reduced clickthrough rate by 26%.



Take a look at those three phrases. Try to guess which phrase underperformed and why. Write it down. Heck, force yourself to tell a colleague so you’ve really got some skin in the game.

Then, read the rest of today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post to see which call-to-action button copy reduced clickthrough, and how you can use split testing to avoid having to blindly guess about your own button copy.


How much does call-to-action button copy matter anyway?

The typical call-to-action button is small. You typically have only one to four words to encourage a prospect to click.

There are so few words in a CTA. How much could they really matter?

Besides, they come at the end of a landing page or email or paired with a powerful headline that has already sold the value of taking action to the prospect. People have already decided whether they will click or not, and that button is a mere formality, right?

To answer these questions and more, let’s go to a machine more impressive than the Batmobile … to the splitter!


A/B/C/D/E split test

The following experiment was conducted with a MECLABS Research Partner. The Research Partner is a large global media company seeking to sell premium software to businesses.

The button was tested on a banner along the top of a webpage. Take a look at that banner below. 


Five different text phrases were tested in that button. Since I’ve already teased you on the front-end, without further ado, let me jump right into the findings.




Those few words in that teeny little rectangular button can have a huge impact on clickthrough.

As you can see, “Get Started Now” drove significantly more clicks than “Try Now.” Let’s look at the relative changes in clickthrough rate so you can see the relationship between the calls-to-action.


“Try Now” reduces clickthrough rate by 26%

As you can see, while “Try Now” reduced clickthrough rate by 26% versus “Start Free Trial”; “Get Started Now” increased clickthrough rate by more than 11%.

Did you guess correctly?

An even better question is …


Why guess when you can test?

Subtle changes in words can make a significant difference in performance. By split testing, you can discover the words that will work best for your unique audience and your unique products. More importantly, you can mitigate negative results, like a 26% drop in clickthrough, from these subtle changes by understanding their effect in a controlled environment.

I’m glossing over the real question you want to know the answer to, I know.

Why did “Try Now” and “Get Started Now” respond so radically differently?

For the answer to that question, my colleagues Austin McCraw and Jon Powell taught an entire Web clinic about call-to-action effectiveness, and you can watch the free video replay of that clinic. In 44 minutes and 56 seconds, they’ll teach you five principles for increasing customer response to calls-to-action.


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