For most companies, having an effective web presence all boils down to lead generation – how many new customers are you generating through your website? Smart business owners have invested in social media marketing and created a great blog with plenty of thoroughly researched, well written and search engine optimized content for the primary purpose of driving traffic to their website. However, once consumers reach your website – what’s next? How do you draw in your target market and convert them into paying customers?
One of the most important tool on your entire website is your set of calls-to-action (CTA). For some companies, the call-to-action is a paragraph of text, a video, a graphic or maybe even one simple sentence, such as “Get a free quote today!”. Marketing professionals think long and hard about their CTAs. They play around with buzz words, colors and concepts, but without measuring their performance of the CTAs through various metrics, there’s no way to tell whether it is ultimately effective. Though they may have exercised every advertising trick in the book, and even attracted some new business, the only way to truly discover the success rate of a particular call to action is through A/B testing or split testing.
You probably remember A/B testing from elementary school science class when you measured the growth rate of plants. One group of plants may have been placed under a special lamp while the other group of plants was placed in a window that received direct sunlight. After several days, you and your classmates measured the plants to see which ones grew the fastest. This was not the only data you collected, however. You may have recorded the number of hours the groups of plants received sunlight, the amount of soil and other factors. This is because measuring only one factor may not have yielded accurate results.
Measuring your CTA's performance with A/B testing is really no different. You must measure your success (or lack thereof) by using more than one metric to ensure you’re obtaining an accurate reading. However, companies often only use one metric – and can end up wasting a great deal of money in doing so.
Most web analytics programs allow you to see three different metrics – your click through rate (CTR), click to submission an view to submission. The click through rate shows you the percentage of people who actually clicked on an offer after viewing a call to action. This number is important, but it is not the only number you need.
Even if your CTR is a healthy number, this metric can be misleading without reviewing your click to submission and view to submission numbers. For example, the click to submission may tell you that although many people have clicked on the offer, very few of them follow through with the submission form. The view to submission may also express that the number of people who viewed the call to action versus the number of people who submitted the form is actually very low despite a seemingly high number of clicks.
If you do not take the time to review all three of these metrics, you could mistakenly assume that one particular call to action is successful – only to find that you’re not effectively turning clicks into leads. Without the follow through of a completed submission form, a click is just a click.
How do you determine if and how much your calls to action are effective?