Digital Reach
By Digital Reach | SEM | January 22, 2017

Successful Image Ads: Press The Button

Your image ads all have that PRESS THE BUTTON message that you want for your CTA, or Call-to-Action.

These can range from the simple “Free” or “Buy Now” to “Call for a Free Consultation.”

You may think that it may be enough to attract a visitor, but there’s much more to just picking the perfect phrasing. If your image ads aren’t getting clicked, it’s time to reevaluate not just the phrasing, but positioning, design & layout, and even size.

Any one of these could determine if you do—or don’t get that click. But where do you start?


A good place to start is to determine whether you are inadvertently making simple, but common mistakes are a detriment to your ad. This will enable you to identify the problems, and then address them.

Graph Reading on Decline

Reading is On the Decline


You would think your Call-To-Action phrase would reinforce what you want the searcher to do. Instead, their minds don’t even register what it says. It’s a sad fact that humans don’t read anymore

Couple that with our lack of attention span and it’s getting even harder to get conversion through action buttons.

From 1982 to 2015, reading itself has declined by 13.8%. Although this is a bit of a sad statistic, it reveals why many internet users will simply back away or look at something else once they see lots of words on an ad. It simply doesn’t jump out, and they don’t want to take the time to read it.

This means that your words must be big, bold, perfectly placed and most importantly, have an impactful statement in as few words as possible. Which leads us to phrasing.


Communicating you message in as few words as possible can be tricky, so it’s important to carefully consider what your goal is, what message you want to communicate, and what phrasing would be most attention grabbing. Identify your audience. What are they looking for? What appeals to them? By providing just that you can snag their attention and keep it just long enough to get them to click on your ad.

Rather than just pressing the button, people are asking themselves “Why should I click this button?” As it turns out “Click Here” “Sign Up” phrases just aren’t working anymore. The new thought is to let them know what they’re going to get AFTER they press the button. The image below demonstrates the improved conversion rates by just adjusting the phrasing even just a little.

CTA Conversion Rates

Good Phrasing for Good Conversions

The goal is to inspire people and tease them with the promise to come. Tell them WHY they should press the button.  What are they going to get if they do?

Here are a few phrases to avoid:

  • “Click here to Read more”
  • “Subscribe”
  • “Submit”
  • “Buy Now”
  • “Sign Up”
  • “Download”

Words such as “Subscribe” or “Submit” are types of words you should especially avoid. You’re asking them to commit…and in a world of easy gratification, it’s not surprising that people have commitment problems.

Submission has different meanings for different people and subliminally just reinforces (for most) a negative action. They don’t want to commit to anything unless you show them why they should.

Subscriptions often cost money and can be scary-both thoughts scare the user away. No one wants to have to opt out or end up at a payment screen. This impacts potential clients negatively, and if they’re not ready to subscribe or pay, that can result in an instant bounce.

It’s important to create trust, a promise that you will meet their needs and wants in a positive way.

You can also convey that with your images.


Because people don’t read so much anymore, people are more drawn to appealing images. That makes your image choice and quality exceptionally important. In this case, less is more.

There needs to be ONE area of focus. Simple and understated is more inherently attractive to humans than clutter, which is an immediate turn off. Humans naturally like to look at aesthetically pleasing things.

This ad is a very good example of an effective ad. No, the subject isn’t appealing, but the image itself is stark, the cigarette is directly centered, with the plain black background immediately leading the eye to the focus of the ad, and the simple, but relatable and clever phrase beneath it. The starkness of the image supports the message they’re trying to convey.

If you’re a tourism business, you wouldn’t want to use a color like black. People associate vacations with appealing, often bright colors with attractive, inviting imagery. Your message would need to convey the pleasurable experience you could provide them and the relaxation and fun associated with vacations.

However, even a perfectly chosen image can backfire if it isn’t fully optimized. A low quality, image—blurry, pixelated, spammy-looking causes an immediate sense of distrust and scares away potential clients.

Don’t forget to optimize. It’s all about quality.

CTA Color Change Example

Color Matters


Buttons come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. There’s really no one-size-fits all solution. No one button will work in every instance. What actually works will vary depending on context and layout both of the ad and the landing page.

A great CTA has a foundation that needs to be right before your ad copy can take hold. You want your button to visually stand out and have the eye drawn to it. Here’s a great example of a button using the same text yet different color variant. Simply by changing the color there was a 35% increase in the conversion rate. Color is everything.

However, there is such a thing as too aggressive. Refinement is good. A very large, aggressively colored button is not likely to gain you a click. In certain businesses for example, the color red can transmute a negative, sometimes intimidating message. It’s simply aggressive, even it if is attention-grabbing.

Although, it also depends on your industry. Cars and fast food seem to get away with using the color red, than per say, a clothing or technology company. Worse, using red for a medical service. It’s safe to say most people think of blood in that context, which doesn’t make anyone feel safe. There is a psychology behind how colors affect us, and if you want to make your ad more attractive, it’s crucial to pay attention to it.

The main principle is that not only does the button have to stand out from the rest of the page, it needs to appeal to them visual and in context of your service or product. You don’t need to stick to the formulaic either. You can also use graphics within your button. Don’t be afraid to experiment and test new graphics.


So what have we learned?

The best button copy is a promise – It hints at what’s to come and aligns with your subconscious expectations. The best images match the message you are trying to communicate, and the color of the actual button should also match the tone of your service and appeal to the user visually.

These simple steps can easily lead to a higher conversion rate, meaning that high conversions are just a button click away.

For more SEO, SEM, and Web Development tips, subscribe to Digital Reach blogs, download our ebooks, or watch our webinars.

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