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Elements of Display Advertising: the Call to Action

Online Marketing

There are several important parts of successful display ads, but one of the most important would have to be the call to action.  A CTA, or call to action, is usually a button with text that prompts users to click the ad to do a specific action, such as purchasing a product or liking a piece of content. CTAs are not unique to display ads and you find them virtually everywhere online – on blogs, websites, and even in social media marketing. They are a powerful tool to use in combination with other social marketing strategies.

When drafting your CTAs, you want to consider what the immediate goal is for your campaign. You want to encourage the viewer to click the ad while informing them of exactly what will happen next. You want the CTA to be strong enough to entice the reader to participate, but you don’t want it to be so strong that the reader thinks that they have to commit too much so early in the process. Good examples would be “click here to find out more” or “go here to get a free quote.” These are short, honest, and they get right to the point. They don’t ask too much of the consumer and they tell them exactly what they should expect to see when they click.

Because the call to action is so important, when you design an ad it is important for your message to be as visible to the consumer as possible. Since display ads have a generally low click through rate, it is very important to use something more creative than just “click here” as a phrase. The phrase has to be something that the consumers have to actually want or need, but keep it simple. We want the consumer to click the ad and find exactly what you say on the other side of the click.

Designing a great display ad is not hard at all if you follow these tips. Remember to keep the ad simple so that your message is memorable, and be honest about what exactly is on the other side of the ad. If the consumer feels manipulated you can bet that they won’t ever click again.  Examples of how the call to action helps move viewers to act can be found in this blog post on the Vantage Local blog: Calls to Action for Display Ads.

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