How effective are Facebook’s call to action buttons?

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 2.25.08 PM

One of the most popular ad formats on Facebook right now is the call to action button, which allows a brand to make its pitch on Facebook accompanied by a button the user can click on or tap. On mobile, it can lead a user back into that brand’s mobile app to make a purchase or convert some kind of action, and on desktop, it can direct the user to sign up for more information or to shop.

Hussein Fazal, Founder of Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer AdParlor, spoke with Inside Facebook about how advertisers are utilizing call to action buttons for success. AdParlor published a study of these call to action buttons for three advertisers, comparing the clickthrough rate, cost per acquisition and conversion rates on ads that had the button compared ads without.

A fashion and apparel brand ran both kinds of ads. Those without the call to action had a CTR of 0.424 percent, compared to a CTR of 0.783 percent for the ad with the Sign Up button. The call to action also led to a cost per acquisition roughly that was roughly half of the CPA for the ad without the call to action.

Fazal took some time to talk about this study and how the call to action buttons have helped Facebook advertisers.

Inside Facebook: Are you seeing more brands utilize call to action buttons now that there are more options?

Hussein Fazal: Yeah. The key thing about call to action buttons is that they’re actually making a difference. The call to action buttons tell the user what they’re really getting themselves into. So you have a call to action button like, “Book Now,” or “Buy Now.” When the user clicks on the button, they know what they’re getting themselves into and that increases the conversion rate or whatever action you want the user to take. That increased conversion rate ends up in an overall lower CPA. So they’re working and there’s no additional cost, per se, to use those buttons. It’s just a little tweak and they’re getting good results.

IF: Do you feel that users are more apt to click “Sign Up,” rather than “Buy Now,” since they don’t feel the pressure as much?

HF: In a couple of test cases, we’ve seen that “Shop Now,” or “Buy Now,” has a lower clickthrough rate because people are a little bit scared to click on it. They think that as soon as they click on it, they’ve made a purchase. But in the end, the conversion rate goes up proportionally higher than the clickthrough rate drops. You end up with an overall, more effective CPA. To be honest, you only want people clicking on it who have some intention to make that purchase because that’s the reason you’re taking out the ad.

IF: What are some of the most creative ways that a brand has motivated a user to click on that button?

HF: Let’s take a step back. If you look at our business, we’re about 1/3 gaming, 1/3 direct response and 1/3 brands. What we’re seeing now is a lot of brands have direct response goals. So it’s starting to kind of merge together. One of our clients is MGM. MGM Resorts, well you can say, that’s a brand. They have branding campaigns, but at the same time, they have a direct response goal, which is getting people to click on an ad and book a hotel room. If you look at before the call to action buttons came out, it wasn’t really descriptive of what we were trying to do. We were still trying to get people to book a room. The objective was the same and the creative was pretty much the same, it was just the text on that button was inaccurate based on what we wanted the user to do.