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Understanding calls to action

Published on 3rd September 2018. Written by Dan.

A call to action (or CTA) is a prompt (typically a button or link) to lead users to a desired next step on a website/product/content journey. Whilst a simple concept, it's easy to inadvertently diminish the effectiveness of a CTA or even completely forget to include one.

We've compiled some easy to follow tips for considering CTAs for video game websites.

1) Clearly define your objective

Before you can implement a CTA, you need to decide on the objective for your site or landing page. It's important to have a clearly defined goal that will have an actual, genuine impact that is aligned with the wider business goals. Making sales, increasing job applications or securing investment might all be valid objectives for a games studio or video game website.

"Increasing page views" or "reducing bounce rate" are not good examples as whilst they are factors that might contribute, they are not by themselves going to have any impact. Don't get caught up in vanity metrics.

2) Keep to a single CTA per page

The "choice paradox" suggests that too much choice leads to indecision and ultimately lower conversion. Having a high level objective is one step, but if you then offer 20 different ways to achieve that objective, users are likely to become overwhelmed and bail. A useful metaphor is to think of your CTAs as tennis balls you're throwing to your audience. One ball and the likelihood is they will catch it, two balls? Maybe. Three? Four? Ten?

Ideally, a single, primary CTA on any one page or content piece will be the most effective. In practice, this can be hard to achieve, getting an entire team to align on what should be the single purpose of a website will almost always prove challenging. But it's a worthwhile aim to aspire to. Having secondary or tertiary options for when the primary CTA isn't applicable is fine. Do however, ensure there is a clear hierarchy of importance. You can also change priority on different content pieces, this allows you to empower users with control, without overwhelming them.

3) Focus on the user

The user needs to be compelled to act. A common mistake is forcing what we want on our users and not thinking about what is best for them. "Buy our game now" is a great CTA from a purely sales perspective, but could be conceived as a overly pushy to a new user. "Buy now and join our passionate community against the evil empire" might imply an opportunity for belonging, and engagement with a new tribe.

4) Big and bold

When implementing a CTA, you want them to stand out more than anything else. De-clutter surrounding space by making use of whitespace. Choose a high contrast colour and feel free to use a larger font and background shapes.

A useful test is to sit back and relax and let your eyes scan over your content, where are you naturally led? What grabs your attention? This is likely your most dominant CTA (whether it's what's intended or otherwise).


Some familiar examples of website homepages, how do you rate their implementations?

5) Measure

The final point to note, is having a CTA is somewhat redundant if you have no way to measure the effectiveness. Whilst not an exact science, there are many data insights that can be gleaned from your CTAs. At a minimum, use some form of analytics to monitor the behaviour of your users and see if usage patterns trend how you would like/expect. If you can tie behaviour to a specific transaction such as a purchase, job application or newsletter sign up, even better. Don't forget though, be mindful of vanity metrics. Newsletter sign ups are great, but are you capturing the right audience? Do you get engagement from your subsequent mailings and do your subscribers ultimately apply/buy/participate somehow?

Let this be some food for thought the next time you're creating content or reviewing your website.

We can help

Building websites for over 15 years, we know what makes for a great call to action. Drop us a message below and we'll get in touch to discuss what will work for you.