“Sign up” or “Membership”? “Donate Now” or “Donations”?

You can create an action button with verb or a noun. Is there any recommendation for increasing the click-rates? Which one is better than the other for having more clicks?

  • 3
    "Sign up" and "register" are both verbs, do you mean "Be a member" for one of them instead?
    – DasBeasto
    Apr 25, 2016 at 16:38
  • 2
    I never ever suggest A/B testing, but I will here. Let us know what you find out. Apr 25, 2016 at 22:58
  • @KenMohnkern I think that they had done an extensive A/B tests, please check the references.
    – Abektes
    Apr 26, 2016 at 7:27

3 Answers 3


Be a voter > Vote now

Christopher Bryan and Gregory Walton (2011) conducted a study for understanding if using a noun or verb statement have an influence on user motivation. According to the results of their study, participants in noun group expressed significantly more interest, 62.5%, in registering vote than participants in the verb group, 38.9%.

Another study about "help" and "being helper" among children validates their hypothesis also with kids

Take-aways from their interconnected studies :

  • “Be a member” or “Be a donor” instead of “Donate now.” is better for click rates.
  • Product description with nouns are better than verbs like " When you are ready to be senior, check out our training courses" than " Check out our training courses"
  • Make-up words are not effective and using common nouns are safer.
  • 2
    That's really interesting, do you have the link for the first study? it seems it wasn't added Apr 25, 2016 at 15:23
  • +1 - interesting conclusion, without reading the article (yet) I wonder if it is because the nouns sound less imperative and the user feels less like they're being forced or told what to do. Would "Want to donate?" be as bad as "Donate now"..
    – DasBeasto
    Apr 25, 2016 at 16:40
  • 1
    @DasBeasto "...using noun-based wording to frame socially valued future behavior allows individuals, by performing the behavior, to assume the identity of a worthy person..." I think that being someone is much important than doing something and that can be the main motivation...
    – Abektes
    Apr 25, 2016 at 16:54
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    +1, very good answer. But I do not know if we can generalize the rule that always nouns are better than verbs. It is true though, for actions that enhance our identity i.e. donator, helper etc Apr 26, 2016 at 5:12
  • 1
    I don't think your question and your answer are talking about the same thing. Your question asks about nouns (i.e Donations) versus verbs (Donate) for calls to action. Your answer is about noun-statements (Become a donor) versus verb-statements (Donate now). I think that's a subtle difference which isn't clear in the question.
    – Midas
    Apr 26, 2016 at 8:02

All of your examples are verbs: sign, register, donate, be

Regarding click-rates; any answer given will be results for a different user base. The only way to truly know what is more successful for your use case would be to do A/B testing with your users, and study the metrics/measures related to your site. Perhaps you could use general statistics if it applies (as a starting point), but keep in mind that even the same users are receptive to different phrasing/terminology within different contexts. Psychology is an interesting field.

This is why personas are important. For instance, when executing some command, mathematically-minded individuals may gravitate towards "compute", whereas managers might relate better to "process". It all depends on your users. Even subtle changes in environment may be enough to trigger certain expectations.


The study of Christopher Bryan and Gregory Walton mentioned in another answer is interesting but there is not a universal rule of which is the best.

Sometimes you might want to show immediacy and use verbs.
Some other times you might need to have nouns for things that are related to identity.

The only thing that could help you here is empathy:
Take a glance at your user persona and then speak the phrase of the action out loud and try to put yourself in the shoes of your user.
This way is will be easier to see which option will drive a higher click/tap rate.

Always imho the ux work is hard and try not to use a rule of thumb in all cases.
Following the safe route? Well I have yet to found one in our job :)

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