Optimise your CTAs to boost blog subscriptions

Matt Scaysbrook
Director of Optimisation

Optimise your CTAs to boost blog subscriptions

Part five of our Lessons in CRO Mini-Series (5 of 10)

This mini-series covers 10 lessons we have learned from some of our favourite recent experiments (and the results).  If you're facing similar challenges and want to understand why some things work better than others, or you simply want some new ideas to test, we hope these lessons help guide and inspire you with your next experiments.

Here's lesson five:

Lesson #5: If you don’t ask [at the right time], you don’t get


  • 361% increase in blog subscription
  • 17% knock-on impact on lead generation
  • £2.55m in annual influenced revenue

The problem

This team had invested heavily in a content platform to support its wider sales strategy. They needed to create enough subscribers for the investment to be a success. They knew that subscribers were significantly more likely to become customers. With subscription rates lower than their projections, the entire strategy was at risk.

What we did

To ask for the subscription at the right time we needed to measure the quantity of content that a visitor reads.

We did this using a scroll depth % measure. We started it from the opening line of the first paragraph of the post's content and finished on the closing line of the final paragraph. This allowed us to remove the hero image & footer from it as they didn’t represent the true % of content consumed.

An overlay containing the sign-up fields triggered for a visitor when they reached a predefined scroll depth %.

This overlay highlighted the benefit of subscription. It also meant the visitor had to take some action, positive or negative, to continue on the site.

We controlled how often the overlay appeared to minimise interruptions for the visitor. No subscribed visitor was asked to subscribe again, nor any single visitor asked more than twice.

The reasons it worked

Content quality = draw of subscription

Visitors need a chance to read & value the content before they can reasonably be expected to agree to hand over their details.

The power of contextual signposting

The inpage Subscribe CTAs required proactivity on behalf of the visitor. Our overlay was more overt, demanding immediate attention.

Humans are significantly more likely to act when the choice to do so is presented clearly to them.

Changing behaviour is more challenging than reflecting existing behaviour

Fundamental behavioural change requires bold action. A softly-softly approach is highly unlikely to deliver the desired result.

Your next experiment?

Test scroll depth to find the right time to make the most impact.

To trigger action, create a binary choice.

Give visitors a yes/no choice - passive CTAs are easily ignored.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to follow us for the rest of the blog mini-series ( 5 parts to go!)

In case you missed it here's part 4.

If you have any questions about experimentation, Matt our Director of Optimisation offers a free no-pressure 30 minute CRO consultation. He's always happy to answer any weird and wonderful CRO questions you might have!

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