Submit Button Usability Split Test Results: Size DOES Matter!

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submit.jpgAs we found in the first two “Usability Related Split Test Results” articles, your link color and behavior can play a big part in your response and click though rates.

I also introduced the concept of Primary and Secondary link feedback. And we found that by providing BOTH primary and secondary link feedback, you have the greatest chance for maximizing your conversion rates.

In this article I want to take things one step further and share with you some test results on “submit button” usability and optimization.

Most people have never noticed this, but the “default” submit buttons created by standard <input type="submit"/> HTML tags DO NOT provide primary link feedback in most browsers. (The cursor arrow does not change to a pointer finger to indicate that the button is “clickable”.)

See for yourself:

There is usually a small degree of secondary link feedback in the form of a slight (almost unnoticeable) color change around the edges of the button. But that’s it! That is the only indication that the button is “clickable”.

Of course everyone knows that the buttons are clickable… (Right?)

Well… Take a look at the results of the following test.

During the course of conducting over 250 live usability tests over the past 6 years, I’ve noticed on multiple occasions test subjects who will hover their cursors over “submit” buttons and when the cursor doesn’t change from an arrow to a pointing finger they will either look elsewhere for something to click or even ask questions like: “Is the button broke?” or “Can I click on this?”

Because I’ve observed this behavior (which in some cases has caused the frustrated test subjects to abandon the buying attempt entirely) repeatedly, I decided to conduct a series of split tests to determine if “adding” primarily link feedback to submit buttons would impact response.

Here were the results: (Conversion action being optimized was “opt-in” rate.)

(For information about the particular audience and traffic source for this testing round read my first article in this series.)

“Normal” Submit Button (WITHOUT primary link feedback.) ““ 28.4% Opt-in rate


Variable 1:
Submit Button WITH primary link feedback. ““ 31.9% Opt-in rate


This was not a short term test. During this test we had a sample size consisting of over 2,300 opt-ins, giving our results a 99%+ confidence interval. (Confidence interval is just “geekspeak” for “how sure I am that the results are valid”.)

So by simply adding primary link feedback to the standard submit button, you could see an additional 35 opt-ins (or SALES) from every 1,000 visitors. Not bad at all!

Adding primary link feedback to your submit buttons is easy. All you have to do is add the following code to your submit button tags:


So your full submit tag would look something like this:

<input name="submit" type='submit' style="cursor:pointer" value="submit"/>

But a more surprising (and profitable) result came from another submit button test conducted during the same multivariate testing round.

I also tested the SIZE of the submit buttons… And the results were shocking!

Submit Button, Large Size WITHOUT primary link feedback. ““ 34.7%


Submit Button WITH primary link feedback, Large Size. ““ 35.3%


As you can see, even WITHOUT primary link feedback a bigger button CRUSHED the standard sized submit buttons!

The “Big Button” with primary link feedback produced a whopping 24.3% improvement in conversion rate over the standard button.

To test the “Big Button Trick” on your own submit buttons all you have to do is specify a “font-size” within your submit tag.

font-size: 18px (or whatever size you want to test…)

<input name="submit" type='submit' style="cursor:pointer; font-size: 18px;" value="submit"/>

In my testing arsenal I’ve identified 18 other variables (in addition to primary feedback and button size) that impact submit button response rates. And button size has proven to be one of the most influential factors you can test (it’s actually the 3rd most powerful on my “Submit Button Optimization Secret List”) when optimizing your submit buttons for maximum conversion rates.

I’ve repeated these tests on dozens of sites, in a wide variety of niches and I’ve found similar results in most (but not all) cases.

One notable exception is when using the “Big Button” in niches that are strongly marketing intolerant. There are some high-tech niches, academic niches and anti-business niches (left leaning/socialistic mindset demographics) that seem to react adversely to attempts to draw additional attention to your primary calls to action (even when offering “free” information.)

So, you’ll want to test this in your particular niche.

However, in the vast majority of cases, adding primary link feedback AND using my “Big Button Trick” will produce a very nice jump in submit button conversion rates.

Happy Testing!

Eric Graham

About the Author

Eric Graham is a serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, copywriter and consultant. Enter your name and email address below to get notified when new response boosting tips, tested conversion strategies, updates, articles and videos are posted.

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Related posts:

  1. The ULTIMATE Submit Button REVEALED! Putting all the Pieces Together…
  2. Check Out What Twitter Is Split Testing on THEIR Site…
  3. Usability Split Test Results: Link Appearance Matters More Than You Think…
  4. What in the Heck is “Secondary Link Feedback”?! (And how can it help you sell more?)
  5. Checkout page split test results… (Product descriptions matter!)

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