Are sticky CTAs really that sticky?

That’s the newest question answered on our “It Depends” show featuring experimentation experts Paul and Shiva.

This episode breaks down the sticky CTA question into four parts:

  • Tip #1: Consider the device 
  • Tip #2: Consider if there is a UX benefit 
  • Tip #3: Consider your testing priorities 
  • Tip #4: Don’t forget to engage users 

Tip #1: Consider the device 

“Device, specifically, is one thing that comes to mind. A lot of times people tend to just flip the switch on for mobile, because they want the call to action to always be top of mind. And it's one of those things that as experimenters, we always want to test it. I do think that in my head, we have opportunities to be top of mind with the call to action, but sometimes you're too top of mind. Think about chatbots. sometimes they're a great opportunity for people who are just struggling to immediately flip the switch and say, ‘I want to talk to someone. Oh, perfect. This widget's been here the whole time.’ Then there's a flip side of that where it's like, I can't scroll because this GD widget occupies like 30% of the area that I swipe at and it's always popping up and trying to tell me, ‘looking for something?’ It's like Clippy from WordArt. But there are users who will find that helpful and there are users who won't,” Shiva said.

There are opportunities and pages where sticky CTAs make sense, and those where they do not. Consider a long page where you don’t want to have buttons present in every single panel. Sometimes the “it depends” answer can lie on the testing side, and other times it’s on the design side.

“If you had a fixed header or you had a fixed navigation, this is really where it gets into the point. I've seen experiences on mobile where you're really only using two-thirds of your space. So you're having to sort of get people to letter box scroll because there's a fixed header. And then there's a chatbot that gets in the way,” Paul said.

There could be a point where a sticky CTA is just reducing the amount of space that users are able to see.

Tip #2: Consider if there is a UX benefit 

“If you ask the question: if it wasn't there, would people know where to find it on a product page? If it's just making things slightly easier, than yes, there's a user experience benefit that they don't have to go from a review and then scroll all the way back up. But that could be a back-to-top link that's just in the page. The length of the page makes a big difference. I've also seen it where people have wanted to put, if it's a B2B or a SaaS site, They've wanted a certain thing like a ‘schedule a demo,’ but that's not necessarily based on what a user's wanting to do next. So it's like from a business perspective we want a sticky CTA so it's always there. And that's where it can get in the way of, is it a benefit for the user?” said Paul.

If you are just trying to force a metric with a sticky CTA, it can end up having the same effect of banner blindness, where users skim over it because they are inherently not interested.

Tip #3: Consider your testing priorities 

“If you are wanting to run a test on a product page, is that the most important test to run next instead of something else? Because I'm always thinking of the challenge back. Like, it sounds like a good idea, but is there anything else? Is there anything that's better? Sometimes we can get sort of devoid of, ‘okay, well, let's test that’ because it's the thing worth testing. But if it's taking up bandwidth in your roadmap, you maybe have to go: is it going to change really if somebody wanted to buy it?” said Paul.

You always need to consider your priorities and determine which areas merit the most attention. This is where scoring a hypothesis can be helpful to determine if the idea is a nice-to-have or a need-to-have. 

Tip #4: Don’t forget to engage users 

“I think a lot of times people, with what we do as CRO—even though it’s experimentation, but let's just say for intents and purposes it’s CRO—they'll focus on getting that conversion as quickly as possible and prioritize tests to get that conversion as quickly as possible, rather than focusing on engaging users as much as possible so that the conversion happens. And you can tweak button colors all you want, but you're going to have much better ROI if you spend a lot more time getting people to want to click that button,” said Shiva.

All the colors and attention-grabbing effects in the world simply won’t make a difference if visitors are not interested.


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