View vs Download (Call to Action) - Which is better?

We got this idea about using “View” instead of “Download” from folks at Marketing Experiments, but as any good Conversion Rate Experts would say, always test your hypothesis before incorporating the idea in your website.

For the past one week, we had seen over 12% increase in click through rate when we used “View” instead of “Download” in our call to action. The interesting result is that conversion dropped by 15%. To make sure that the results are not seasonal, we compared the A/B versions with 50-50 traffic over the same day of the week. The results were conclusive.

Control: Download Reference Guide 

Variation: View Reference Guide

Now both the call to actions leads the visitor to different expectations. Strangely, View is less intimidating for visitors. If they click ‘View’ and notices that they have to download the reference guide instead; the conversion is less likely to happen.

What visitors expect with View Reference Guide is the browser opening the guide in pdf format. Instead, if they are asked to fill a form or add guide to cart for purchase, then the conversions are likely to drop.

Lessons Learned

Although, metrics like click through rate, time on site and scroll rate plays an important role in identifying quality pages, it is the sale and leads generated that will count for all online Businesses. Tricks used in Call to Actions are worthless if it doesn’t lead to sale or lead. Understanding this would allow marketers to focus on the metrics that truly matter.