Updated on January 7, 2019
This quick experiment shows how you can significantly increase click-through rates on your blog posts by adding buttons.
Push Their Buttons
If you want to push people’s buttons (in a positive way) and get them to act, let them push buttons.
We humans just can’t resist a good button. What’ll happen when we push it? The possibilities are endless.
Plus, as we saw in our previous experiment, the more we make choices for our readers the better, and buttons do that. They make it clear to our readers what we want them to do.
Way back in 2007, Al from SelfMadeMinds.com discovered that a simple button made a huge, 50-100%, improvement in his click-through rate.
Does the same apply in 2018?
I ran a quick experiment to find out.
On our popular post on things to do in Coron, Philippines, we want readers to click through to the hotels and hostels we recommend at the bottom of the post. But we didn’t include buttons. We only added text links for readers to click.
To see how much buttons would increase clickthrough to the hotels, I ran a simple experiment on Google Optimize. Half of the post’s traffic saw a button-less post and the other half saw a post with buttons.
I let the experiment run for a couple weeks then compared the click-through rates for each.
What Do You Think the Result Will Be?
Here’s a screenshot of the post I ran the experiment on:
The other version of the post in the experiment was the exact same minus the button.
How much do you think adding the button increased click-through rates?
As expected, the buttons won.
And it wasn’t even close.
The median click-through rate with buttons was 10%, double that without buttons:
One Small Surprise
While the boost in click-through rates with buttons is fantastic, there was one unexpected side-effect: Readers spent 25% less time on the page with buttons than on the page without them.
It’s debatable whether less time on page is a bad thing or not. Click-through is what matters to us and maybe the buttons made it easier and faster for people to act.
Or maybe there’s another reason time on page was so much less with buttons. Do you have any ideas?
Push It. Push It Real Good.
The lesson from this experiment is clear:
If we want our readers to do something, we should make it easy and obvious by giving them a button to push.
Doing so will make them more likely, maybe even twice as likely, to do what we want.
One Answer, More Questions
This simple experiment may have been conclusive, but it also leaves us with more questions.
The first is whether the extra clicks generated by those buttons actually converted more or less than the clicks on the button-less page. We want people to convert, not just click buttons.
Another question is how much we can improve the click-through rate (and conversion) by optimizing the button itself. There are a lot of factors to consider here, including the size, location, color, design, and text.
We look forward to running these experiments sometime in the future.
Until then, check out our earlier experiment recap, where we discovered whether or not recommending two products is better than one.