Click Here: Digital Call To Actions

Call to actions are ubiquitous with marketing, but many ads don’t have them. After a Google search and a search of my bookshelf I couldn’t find one reference that recommended not using one. I did find a quote from famous copywriter David Garfinkel about another one David Ogilvy, “David says ads without headlines are headless wonders. This is a tail-less wonder.” So why do so few ads have them? Click here for the Garfinkel article about Ogilvy in the World Copywriting newsletter.

The call to action debate continues today. A client will tell a marketing firm to put “Click Here” on the banner ad, but advertising people argue that consumers know to click for more information. What about in print? Do more people call phone numbers with the word “Call” in front of it versus just listing the number? I instinctively always write “call now” or “call today” with my phone numbers, but sometimes the art director wants to put the number by itself somewhere else. Click here for an article that says having the phrase “click here” on your banner will increase clickthroughs.

Online call to actions come in many shapes and colors. Recently a British design blog debated about designs for call to action buttons. You’ve seen them, but unless you are a web designer you probably never put much thought into how they look. Click here to see examples of 25 different call to action buttons. The article says, “As a designer, it’s your job to make it as easy as possible for visitors to achieve these tasks and call-to-action buttons are the most powerful tools at your disposal.”

Another web innovation is call to action domain names. One example I found about This becomes a simple and powerful message that doesn’t need any explaining. It’s easy to remember and it has a personal touch that you don’t receive with the regular company website. And you don’t have to build an entire new website. You could just do a landing page with a redirect. Click here for this reference about call to action domain names.

A survey by the Direct Marketing Association showed that the majority of companies that are investing in social media marketing are doing so to increase customer loyalty. So social media call to actions have become important. It is as easy as printing “Follow us on Twitter” on the bottom of a mailer, adding “’Like’ us on Facebook to receive up to the minute event information” to an email message and adding buttons to link to social media profiles or for customers to share information on your company on their social media pages. Click here for a link to the DMA social media survey.

The picture on the right is a mobile text message call to action. This happened during last year’s live broadcast of the Oscars as millions of eyes saw the director of Cove hold us his SMS call to action to get people to sign his online petition. Click here to sign it yourself.

New Media Needs A New Name

I’ve always wondered why people keep calling new media new. Marketers can only use the word new for so long. The FTC suggests a six-month limit on the use of the word new when advertising the introduction of a “new” product not previously on the market.

So how does the media that marketers buy get away with it? Color safe bleach could no longer say it was new ten years after it came out. Dot coms had their boom and bust ten years ago but digital media is still called new! It’s time for a new name for new media. But before we name it, we have to define it.

PC Magazine Encyclopedia gives us two definitions. New media is the forms of communicating in the digital world – publishing on CD-ROM, DVD, digital television and the Internet – using desktop, laptops and wireless, handheld devices. New media also allows smaller groups of people to congregate online and share, sell and swap goods and information. It allows more people to have a voice in the world.

This definition seems a little dated from a marketer’s perspective. I’d say what we’re really talking about is anything that promotes interaction (consumer to consumer, company to consumer, consumer to company) through digital technology. This definition of the media formally known as new includes:

Web Sites, Video ads, Widgets, RSS Feeds, Podcasting, Banner Ads, Short Films, Blogs & vlogs, Chat Rooms, Blue tooth, In-Game Advertising, Social Networking

So what can we call it? I suggest Interactive Digital Media. It know its not that catchy or flashy but it does include all the “new” media listed above while excluding “old” media like traditional one way television, radio and billboard communication. Unless of course you turn a form of traditional media into Interactive Digital Media. A good example is Chicago transit (CTA) using GPS-based bus ads with 50-inch digital screens.

Still craving a catchy name? How about Activigital?