NewsMar 3rd, 2020

Diminishing Returns: How Many CTAs Should You Have?


Several of the DealerScience tools integrate directly into dealership websites. This means that throughout the process of discussing our products with a dealer, installing and onboarding that store, and then ongoing account management, we see a lot of different website setups and digital retail integrations. As a fresh set of eyes on a dealership’s website, we can often offer suggestions that help the performance of a dealership’s website by making it more user-friendly for the everyday consumer. Customers are more likely to interact with a tool that’s well integrated into a thoughtful experience than a bolt-on payment widget next to eight other buttons but as dealers who live and breathe this information, it can be hard to recognize that on our own websites. So as a part of our process, the DealerScience team offers our dealers recommendations for ways we have seen websites more successfully engage the customer. Some are common sense, like ensuring data is consistent and styles match. Others are learned from observing what the best in other industries do and applying those concepts to automotive.

During a recent installation, a dealer asked us how many calls to action (CTA) they should have on their search results page (SRP). We had two different opinions on the team:

  1. Simple is better. Let’s focus customers down a specific funnel where we want them to engage.
  2. Every customer’s journey is different. We need to offer a variety of ways for them to interact with a dealership. 

How does the DealerScience team handle something like that? Together, we researched some digital retail leaders in other industries so we could feel confident in what we suggested for this dealer. 

So we started with Amazon, specifically targeting high dollar items like televisions and computers for the closest comparison to purchasing a vehicle. What we found was not surprising for Amazon: it’s how we were all used to shopping there. But reviewing it through the eyes of automotive digital retailing, we were surprised. Their SRP showed upfront pricing, user ratings, and key feature comparisons as well as Amazon badging and free delivery by date. We could also see four horizontal tiles at once, making it very easy to compare different models. And the biggest takeaway? Amazon’s SRP had only a single CTA that directed a consumer to their version of a dealership’s vehicle details page (the VDP). 

As a consumer, this made it clear that if I was interested in that item, I needed to go to the VDP. So we clicked. And it’s on the VDP that we started to see some real CTAs. The right side of the screen displayed a low commitment button allowing consumers to add the product to their cart followed by a higher commitment button to buy now. We considered those the primary CTAs. But there were also secondary CTAs as well. Below the primary buttons were options to add the product to a consumer’s wish list or add an Amazon dash button. We could also add a protection plan or accessories (simple checkboxes with hyperlinks that display a modal with more details) or for certain products, like a Nintendo Switch, begin a trade-in process. It became clear to us that Amazon prioritized calls to action on their VDP and, while they had many, each reinforced purchasing to the consumer. 

Our takeaways? Amazon carefully crafted their CTAs to match the page the consumer was reviewing so that they can review and compare items to select the one they’re interested in and then offering them several options to move them towards a purchase. So both DealerScience opinions were right: simple, focused tiles on the SRP with a primary CTA help condense space and move customers to the VDP. And a thoughtful variety of CTAs on the VDP empowers customers to choose their journey towards purchasing.

The DealerScience team shares this information with any dealer we are onboarding or any of our customers who ask for an unbiased review of their website. It’s one of the most valuable things we can do for our dealers. While I would be happy to help any dealer review their website, you can also do this too: go through your SRP and VDP and measure which CTA’s don’t get clicked. See what happens if you change or remove some of them. Don’t like your results? You can always change it back! Or ask a family member or a friend unconnected to the automotive world to go on your website and try to perform a specific task. Watch over their shoulder but don’t say anything. Observe where they get stuck if they have questions, or why they can’t get the information they want. It’s a low-tech way to follow their customer journey on your site. Sometimes it takes watching a fresh set of eyes, like the DealerScience team who was initially asked about CTAs, to highlight opportunities for better customer engagement.

Authored by

Andrew Gordon

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