HubSpot CTA best practice - when, where, and how to use them

Phil Vallender avatar
Phil Vallender

Dec 11, 2023

hubspot cta best practices

HubSpot Calls to Action (CTAs) are a great way to analyse the performance of a link between two locations on your website. But since they sacrifice performance for analytics, it only makes sense to use them when elevated analytics are beneficial.

Novice HubSpot developers and users often use CTAs extensively throughout their website, instead of standard HTML buttons and links. But this is a mistake for a variety of reasons. Meanwhile, in the right situation, CTAs are a very powerful way to equip yourself with the data and tools to continuously test and improve your website.

In summary, the best practices for using HubSpot CTAs are:


  • Use HubSpot CTAs when you have content that could impact performance if changed, and you want to test variations.
  • Avoid using HubSpot CTAs just for simple links and buttons - use basic HTML instead.
  • Be selective with HubSpot CTAs to maximise website performance and keep analytics focused.
  • Place visual banner HubSpot CTAs at the end of blog posts to promote pillars and offers.
  • Use text HubSpot CTAs within post content to capture those who may bounce early.
  • Don't use HubSpot CTAs as buttons in emails. The analytics are redundant and they show as images, impacting open and render rates.
  • Reserve CTAs for areas of your website where slower page loads are more acceptable if balanced against the benefits of centralised management, testing and analytics.

What is a Call to Action?

A call to action is anything that acts as an instruction, or recommendation, that encourages an audience to do a certain thing. In marketing terms, this usually refers to a piece of website design that compels a visitor to click something in order to go to a new page or complete an action. A call to action can be as simple as a text link between pages. However, they are usually presented as buttons or banners.

What is a HubSpot CTA?

A HubSpot CTA, meanwhile, is a feature of HubSpot's Marketing and CMS Hubs that allows you to encapsulate an actual call to action in an analytical wrapper. This wrapper allows HubSpot to generate data and reports about each CTA (and CTAs in general) that show things like:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Click through rate 

These results can viewed at the top, CTA, level, or drilled down into, clicks on specific pages or posts, for example.

An additional benefit of a HubSpot CTA is centralised deployment and management. After you create a CTA in HubSpot's CTA tool, you can place it in different locations. After that, any changes you want to make to the content, creative or configuration need only be made once, automatically rolling out to all placements of the CTA.

HubSpot CTAs, on Professional Hub tiers, have built-in A/B testing meaning you can easily test the performance of different content on the click-through rate.

In order to provide enhanced analytical data, centralised management, and A/B testing, a HubSpot CTA effectively turns whatever your visitors see on your website into a more complicated set of server calls and instructions, deciding what version of creative to present and tracking the interactions.

Considering creating a website using HubSpot CMS? This guide covers everything  you need to know.

When to use HubSpot CTAs

HubSpot CTAs make sense to use when there is enough content within the CTA that making a change to that content would potentially impact the performance of the CTA, and where testing that impact on performance is a likely and worthy use of your marketing resource time.

CTAs that combine a benefit statement, or value proposition, about an offer (i.e. content or a pillar page) along with an image that illustrates the offer are ideal candidates for HubSpot CTAs. This way, you can make changes to either the text or design to try to influence both the click-through rate and the resulting conversion rate on the destination page. And, thanks to the built-in A/B testing, you can easily compare the performance of variations against one another without having to export or cross-reference data.

Text CTAs, containing the same sort of benefit statement about an offer but without the design elements, are an equally good use case of HubSpot's CTAs.

In both these cases, the potential impact on performance is worth it to gain the ability to centrally create, manage, test, and improve the click through rate and conversion rate of your combined calls to action and offers.

When not to use HubSpot CTAs

Simply put, HubSpot CTAs should not be used when a simple HTML button or text link, without enhanced analytics, would be more appropriate.

A common pitfall of HubSpot users is using HubSpot CTAs in place of simple buttons and links - sometimes in a handful of locations, sometimes for every single call to action on their website. Another common pitfall is extending this approach to using CTAs instead of buttons in marketing emails.

It makes sense. HTML buttons are harder to work with. They typically require a developer to set up their style and behaviour, and the moment marketers want to deviate from what is provided, their powerless to progress.

However, marketers should strive to avoid this approach for a couple of reasons.

1. When you want quicker page speeds

CTAs do impact page speed and performance, albeit slightly and where the benefits are truly beneficial and acceptable. Because of their powers, CTAs require calls to the server to load. More CTAs mean more server calls and more server calls mean a slower page, perhaps imperceptibly to begin with, but cumulative as you add more.

2. When you're communicating simple instructions

Where the contents of the CTA in question is just an instruction, the analytics provided by a HubSpot CTA cannot tell you anything of much value, nor are marketers truly likely to analyse the performance of these simple instructions and try different variations. This includes button text like:

  • Download
  • Read more
  • Click here
  • Explore

Using HubSpot CTAs to contain these simple instructions leads to needless proliferation of CTAs and the dilution of the effectiveness of HubSpot's CTA dashboard and tools as a whole.

Creating simple, instructional calls to action as HubSpot CTAs also makes editing and management harder, unlike when the same benefit statement about an offer is deployed to many locations, as the user will have to leave the context of the page they are editing to go to the CTA tool if they want to make changes to simple links.

Keeping the CTA tool, its dashboard, and reports, focused on CTAs where the data can inform your decisions and influence behaviour maximises its usefulness to your business.

Where to use HubSpot CTAs

The best, most effective places to use CTAs on your website are in your blog posts promoting the resources that offer the reader more content and value on the topic of the post.

Specifically, visual banner-style CTAs work pretty effectively at the end of the post - but not so well within or alongside the content while the reader's banner blindness is still in effect.

And text CTAs, that contain more than a simple instruction, work well in the body of the content as they stand out enough to engage readers who might bounce long before reaching the end, but don't disrupt the flow for readers who want to keep going.

Where not to use HubSpot CTAs

Ideally, you would not use HubSpot CTAs anywhere where the potential performance impact, or the abstraction of editing away from the page isn't made worthwhile by the analytics and other features. This includes most buttons and links that simply help your website visitors navigate from one page to the next.

You also should avoid using HubSpot CTAs in emails for a couple of reasons:

  1. Emails already provide detailed tracking and analytics thanks to the way they are sent and personalised to each individual recipient, meaning you don't require a HubSpot CTA to understand performance at a granular level.
  2. Because of the way HubSpot CTAs operate, they appear as images when used in emails - meaning your recipient has to either allow or accept images to load before they can be seen. Many email recipients will not do this, meaning your HubSpot CTAs will go unseen a lot of the time.

HubSpot CTA best practice summarised

The key to getting the most out of HubSpot's CTAs is to be selective and intentional with their use.

Placing them liberally across your site might seem an easy way to elevate your analytics, but often leads to impacts on performance, usability, and effectiveness that outweigh the benefits.

By reserving HubSpot CTAs for those links and calls-to-action where both the content and resulting data offer opportunities for improvement, you maximise their usefulness without compromise. This considered approach takes more work upfront to identify where CTAs make sense but pays off with centralised management, built-in testing, and focused analytics that genuinely empower you to optimise the conversion path.

In the right places, HubSpot’s CTAs become an invaluable tool to understand and engage your visitors. Used without a strategy, however, they quickly become a technical debt that drags down, rather than lifts up, your marketing efforts.

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