Most of us are familiar with the idea that “correlation doesn’t equal causation,” but that doesn’t mean we remember it automatically at all the right times. This is a fundamental logical truth, but it’s counter-intuitive… especially when you’re connecting the mathematical dots on a screen full of numbers.
This article from Harvard Business Review did a great job breaking down the specifics of “conversion rate” and what that term actually means. That’s not to imply that you have the wrong definition in mind; to us, the point is that marketers (like all people) can get carried away whenever we stop thinking critically about the familiar information in front of us.
Another big lesson, boiled down to a sentence: your real goal is to reach the people whose behavior you can change. A lot of marketing dollars are wasted by preaching to the choir, by reaching people who’ve already bought or would’ve bought anyway, when you should be finding fresh blood instead.
WHEN WEIRD CTAs CAN WORK: A lot of the time, it would seem.
This SEJ article on the subject starts with a good question: what compels a person to engage with a call to action (CTA)?
Is it the language used? Perhaps the placement? Could it be the color? If there’s a button, does the shape of the button matter?
Nutshell answer to all five questions: yes. Except seriously, and we quote: “Often, there is no rhyme or reason and for no seemingly good reason at all, the weirdest possible CTA option is the winner.”
But unlike most other published ambiguities, we’re not cynical or upset to read this sort of conclusion; sometimes “we don’t know the answer” is still a meaningful answer. That’s just a reflection of buyer psychology and all of the marketing quirks that come along for the ride. CTAs are a never-ending experiment; what works best for your audience might not work for anyone else’s (and it’ll probably change over time anyway).