Why Call-to-Action Matters in Online Advertising
by Alex Cosper March 9, 2020

One of the most powerful strategies for online advertising is Call-to-Action (CTA), which is a command that directs target customers to take a specific action. These commands appear across web content and marketing, as well as in website navigation. You'll see them in YouTube ads, Facebook ads and other social media sites. Here are primary reasons why you need CTAs in your pay-per-click (PPC) ads.

Let Readers Visualize Action

The internet is a medium that taps into various human senses, particually visualization. The more you can get inside people's minds and inspire them to visualize your product and service, the more you can convert leads to sales. An actionable CTA based on a strong verb is essential to help create this picture in people's minds. Some of the strongest CTA terms for e-commerce sites include "buy," "purchase" or "order." Usually one vivid verb is most effective, although many ads still use two words such as "buy now," as the word "now" adds urgency. Not all CTAs are to drive sales, since there are other reasons for them, such as the following:

- take a survey
- enter a contest
- call for more information
- click for deeper product information
- learn more about the brand
- subscribe to a newsletter
- become a member

Tap Into Emotion

Another reason to use CTAs in your digital ads is to connect with your target audience on an emotional level. Getting them to visualize your product or service is only a start. The goal is to use persuasive language to get them to feel a desired emotion about what you're selling. Building trust while provoking enthusiasm is essential.

FOMO Factor

A new buzz term has emerged in online culture called "FOMO," which means "fear of missing out." It reflects the state of mind when you miss an event that your friends are enjoying. FOMO is generated by marketing phrases such as "be one of the first 100 people to sign up" or "sign up now for this limited offer." Publishers who care about corporate social responsibility (CSR), a rising concern in the business world, should avoid high pressure, which isn't popular online anyway.

Raise Awareness

Strong CTAs can help build brand awareness, such as telling your followers to click a "learn more" link for branding information. The link can go to an authoritative blog that showcases your expertise or to your social media page. Constantly providing visitors with fresh information is a fundamental technique to attracting followers back to your website.

Connect with Your Audience's Devices

It's crucial to check your analytics to learn as much as possible about your audience and their preferred methods for connecting to the internet. If your research shows that most of your target audience uses mobile phones, then your CTAs should cater to mobile device functionality.

If your audience consists more of desktop users then you may want to link to deeper content, since bigger screens display more web content. Google provides many techniques and tools to faciliate online marketing. The search giant gives digital marketers the ability to set mobile preferences for ads. The result is that certain ads are served only to smartphone users, which lets you focus on generating leads through phone calls. Google also gives you the option to enable call extensions so that your phone number shows up in ads or a "Click-to-Call" button displays in mobile search results.

Take Advantage of Mobile Connectivity

One the biggest reasons to use CTAs in PPC ads is that most people now shop with their mobile phones out of convience. Mobile users are the most ready-to-buy leads that come across your ads. While many purchases are still made on desktops, smartphones allow people on the go to search for prices, deals, coupons and your ads to make instant purchasing decisions.

Balancing Data with Creativity

It's usually helpful to include numbers in your ads for various aspects of your marketing. It can be percentages of people that need your solution, product pricing, discount specials or a list of incentives to become a member. You should also make room for creative surprises in your ads that trigger emotions and interest. Sometimes negative words about problems can draw attention to solutions.

You can learn what type of ads work best for your business using A/B testing. This testing involves comparing an "A" ad with a "B" ad, then studying performance with analytics. The CTAs can be different in each ad to find out which one drives the most traffic. Placing PPC ads involves experimentation to explore through trial and error what type of language connects with your target the best.


When you place online ads, always keep in mind you are doing it to get your target audience to generate a certain result. Using strong, vivid, actionable commands is a major key to generating leads and conversions for your online marketing efforts. Use the most relevant CTAs that paint imagery in your customers' minds and stimulate curiosity.

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