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Engaging assets - What we’ve learnt by experimenting with GIF and Video CTAs


At TAN, we run long form content campaigns for both brand and performance in the publisher environment. While our primary KPIs for brand is engagement – usually dwell time and scroll depth, who doesn’t want some double-qualified referral traffic (users clicking on a headline unit, reading an article then clicking a call to action to the brand site)? For a performance campaign, maximising CTAs is obviously key. So, how do you tempt as many users as possible through to your brand site?

Creating CTAs that perform

CTAs in an article can and should vary. We’ll use everything from a simple text hyperlink, to supporting IAB display with a brand roadblock. There’s a craft to successful CTAs, from using the right verbs, to ensuring button colours are consistent with the brand.

Over the last year we’ve also been experimenting with animated blocks, GIF and Video CTAs. We recently ran a campaign for a technology company where we included product GIFs next to CTA buttons in the article and found it achieved a CTA rate x3 better than the other article variants.


How we view content

Online viewing patterns have been widely researched, and long form content has developed two main patterns, Z and F, simply named as the viewing heatmap mirrors the shape of the letters. Both patterns start with scanning the top bar for a credible website, and then scanning down the content until reaching an eye grabbing sub headline, image, video, or key word that the user is looking for. They will then scan across from there and start their reading journey. 


Delving deeper in to layout, research has found that ads are more memorable when animation is placed next to solid text which explains the success of our article that featured a GIF next to a CTA button.

Optimisation of headline units

Grabbing the eye is essential for getting people through to the article page, which is why we continually a/b test headline image and copy across campaigns. On one tech campaign we ran two of the same headlines, only changing “four” to “4”. The headline with the number significantly outperformed the written “four”, highlighting that the slightest changes can make a big difference.

Test and learn

Here at TAN, our technology allows us to analyse every bit of interaction in the publisher environment, from scroll rates to individual CTA clicks and social sharing. By using this data in the form of a heat map, we can optimise campaigns to ensure we achieve the maximum amount of instant referral traffic possible. To learn more, contact us today!