How to Craft a Compelling Call To Action (CTA)

By Brad


Ad Testing, General

A call to action is an ad component that tells a user what you want them to do. Adding a call to action can often increase conversion rates and decrease CTR.

The reason it increases conversion rates is you are telling a user what to do. Therefore, these ads are often clicked on by users who are predisposed to taking that action.

They do often decrease CTR as users who don’t want to take an action (and thus are less likely to convert) won’t click on the ad.

In the end, using a  good call to action generally increases your Conversion per Impression (CPI).

The CTA Problem

Calls to action perform best when they are unique. When everyone uses the same call to action; then they lose effectiveness.

For instance, a simple search for car insurance gives us these headline 2s:

  • Get a Free Rate Quote
  • Free Car Insurance Quotes
  • Get a Free Quote Online
  • Free, Cheap Quotes


Ok, we understand everyone offers a free quote. As the headline 2s are so close to each other; we either look at the brand, other aspects of the ad, or just ignore them all. If just one company used some other type of Call To Action, or even a benefit as at least it would be different, then they would really stand out as these ads are so incredibly similar.

The Standard CTAs

When we look across the web, there are 10 Calls to Action that are so common, they are often ignored. There are 5 that are used so much, everyone is tired of seeing the same two words. How often have you seen these CTAs?

  • Buy Now
  • Shop Now
  • Contact Us
  • Apply Now
  • Get Quote

If you make a responsive display ad within Google Ads, you can even pick one of the boring, standard CTAs that are overused across the web:


Let’s look at how to spice up our CTAs so our ads stand out.

Compelling CTAs

We may never get away from some words, subscribe, call, schedule, download, etc. They are very straightforward actions any user understands. It’s the surrounding words that set the context for the CTA that can make one go from boring to compelling.

What benefits, adjectives, adverbs, and colorful language can you add to your call to action to make it stand out? This is where good ad testers often focus. You want a user to schedule a time to visit your shop online. What does the user get out of it?

You want someone to call you. Why should they? Is calling you special than calling someone else? Can you add a benefit or make it sound scarce or make it sound like the user will miss out on something if they don’t call you?

You want someone to download your ebook. What do they get out of reading the book?

For every CTA you write, just ask ‘why’?

  • Why is this useful for a searcher?
  • Why are we unique?
  • Why does a user get out of doing an action?
  • Why should they do what you tell them to?

Let’s do some examples.


Your CTA: Subscribe to our newsletter.

What a user reads: If I give you my email, I’ll get more junk mail and end up on additional mailing lists so I need to delete even more spam email each day.

What does a user get out of this? Maybe they get powerful marketing tips. Let’s change the CTA to:

Receive Powerful Marketing Tips

Powerful marketing tips sounds much better than a newsletter. In the end, the user will get an email from you. Are they looking forward to some random newsletter or powerful marketing tips?


Your CTA: Donate your time today

What a user reads: You want more of my precious time? Why should I give you my time? While I don’t mind volunteering and I like helping people, you have to tell me why I should give you what little time I have. Let’s change this to:

Volunteer & Make a Child Smile

Who doesn’t like to see smiling children? While both CTAs end up with a user donating time, one shows what they’ll get out of that time donation.


CTA: Schedule Your Visit

What a user reads:  Schedule a visit, schedule a call, schedule an appointment, schedule… is very common – everyone wants my time while making it cost me money to actually schedule something. Why should I give you time on my calendar?

Schedule a time for your New Look

If you’re a stylist, you do a lot of interesting work on people’s looks. A New Look? Do you have an upcoming wedding, prom, formal, etc? Use your long tail queries to create calls to action or benefits: Make time for you. Be the Gorgeous Bride. Schedule Your Visit.

The lists can go on and on.

Look at your CTAs. Are they 2-5 words that every one of your competitors is using or are they unique, descriptive, and call out to searchers that they want to click on your ads and do business with your company?

Odds are, they are boring. Some advertisers are making wonderful CTAs and we applaud them. For everyone else, look at how to test your ads with some new CTA messages so you can increase your conversion rates, stand out from your competition, and use a message that is unique and attractive to your customers.

Related Post


  • Bill Martin

    Good stuff Brad!

  • Emily E.

    I never thought about the possibility of changing the CTAs because they basically all ask users to do the same few actions. I think my favorite tip is to make your CTA focus on the benefits that the user will get if you they actually take the action.

  • Leave a comment

    Discover the issues in your Google Ads Account … and how to fix them fast!

    Check Your Account For Free!
    14 Day Free Trial. No Credit Card Required

    PPC Marketing Tips

    Subscribe to our blog and receive free, powerful marketing tips delivered directly to your inbox.

    Around the Web

    How well is your account performing?

    Find out, in minutes, what your account score is with our FREE audit report.

    Get my account score