Pattern #77: Ghost Buttons

Pattern Author: Luke Hay - Conversion Services Director @ Fresh Egg

Based on 4 Tests, Members See How Likely This Pattern Will Win Or Lose And Its (?) Median Effect

Almost Certain Loser
Almost Certain Winner
Ghost Buttons
  1. Ghost Button Contrast

    The idea with ghost buttons is to use a transparent fill along with a button border (instead of a color filled button). But does this popular style have a positive or negative impact?

Median Effects



Ex: First Action

(4 tests)



Ex: Leads, Quotes



Ex: Trials



Ex: Future Action



Ex: Transactions

(1 tests)






Ex: Return Visits



Ex: Social Shares


Test #310 Tested on by Stanley Zuo Stanley Jul 25, 2020

Find Out How It Performed With 594,997 Visitors

Listing Mobile
  • Measured by visits to a detail page   |   p-val (?)

  • Measured by membership sales   |   p-val (?)

In this experiment, the style of a button leading to view detailed casting calls on a listing page was changed. In version the style was a filled high contrast blue background, and the the B variation there was a feint "ghost button" style. 

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Test #307 Tested on by Michal Fiech Michal Jul 17, 2020

Find Out How It Performed With 53,618 Visitors

Thank You Desktop
  • Measured by clicks on the secondary button   |   p-val (?)

This experiment measured a shallow click goal on a button that would encourage to repeated the action that was just completed (in this case a contract cancellation). In the control version (A) a thank-you screen shows a filled button style, and the variant (B) there was a ghost button. As a note, I also flipped the A-B in this experiment for the purpose of matching it to our ghost button pattern, which means that Volders in fact was starting  out with a ghost button to begin with. 

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Test #243 Tested on by Jakub Linowski Jakub Jun 05, 2019

Find Out How It Performed With 25,046 Visitors

Home & Landing Desktop, Mobile
  • Measured by visits to pricing page   |   p-val (?)

In this experiment, full red background buttons were changed to ghost buttons (red outline and transparent fill)

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Test #199 Tested on by Luke Hay Luke Sep 13, 2018

Find Out How It Performed

Home & Landing Desktop, Mobile
  • Measured by clicks on any of the primary buttons   |   p-val (?)

In this experiment, standard (filled) buttons were tested against ghost buttons.

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Leak #39 from   |   Jan 3, 2020 Listing

Booking A/B Tests Ghost Buttons, But Their Hopes Fade Away As Predicted

Ghosts buttons. We know that this style of buttons is net negative based on this evidence-based pattern. So when Booking ran this experiment, it's no surpirse that it was eventually rejected - a predictable replication. View Leak

For each pattern, we measure three key data points derived from related tests:

REPEATABILITY - this is a measure of how often a given pattern has generated a positive or negative effect. The higher this number, the more likely the pattern will continue to repeat.

SHALLOW MEDIAN - this is a median effect measured with low intent actions such as initiating the first step of a lengthier process

DEEP MEDIAN - this is derived from the highest intent metrics that we have for a given test such as fully completed signups or sales.