BrandFrames #011: Ghosting Will Hurt Your Bottom (Line)

I’m resending this because it looks like you’ve missed it.

I’m referring to Ghost Buttons.

Those buttons with a thin colored border and transparent background, and because there is no background color they take on whatever fill is in the background.

Ghost buttons became quite “on trend” in the last few years. The simplistic, clean, modern feel of these buttons became very appealing to designers. When the hero image or video were the focus, having buttons that are less obstructive seemed like a good idea. It was the “cool” thing to do.

The problem is that when used for a primary call to action, ghost buttons are much less effective for conversions, so they hurt the bottom line = sales/profit. Because of their transparency, these buttons are not really commanding or signifying that an action is to be taken. A filled button, with a converting background color is much more visible, and the visitor is quite clear about what they are expected to do. Clear action path – more sales/engagement/revenue, and we all want those.

(of course, designing buttons that are great for readability and contrast is a whole other topic, and I will refer to that in the next issue.)

The only use case that I can see for ghost buttons are when they are secondary to a primary filled button. Actually, in this case a ghost button can give much more prominence to a filled button, by working with hierarchy and therefore highlighting the main filled button.

Buttons are extremely important for conversion. We need to get them right. I intend to discuss buttons at length in future issue.


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