How Color Choices Impact Your ROI
Color choice is an important decision in branding, marketing, and sales. While preferences are effected by each individual’s inclinations, experiences, upbringing, and context, there are still certain basic generalizations that can be made about the impact of specific colors on human psychology – and, as a result, about the effect of color choices on buying decisions.
The bottom line is that certain colors are more likely to increase sales.
Researchers have identified and assessed how each color makes a potential consumer feel, and whether specific colors encourage the decision to make a purchase. And while the impact of color choices may be subtle, the difference is effective enough to be worth implementing.
The following guide reflects recent color research and provides the ABCs of which colors encourage purchasing behaviors:
- Red: Stimulates sales. Red is known to be the buying color. It draws attention to a specific message or area. But it should be used in small amounts; large amounts can be a turn-off.
- Orange: Grabs attention. Orange is irritating, and it is not a popular color. However, it is associated with affordability. Because it draws attention, it’s popular with direct marketers. Use it sparingly.
- Purples: It depends. Some people love them, some people don’t – attitudes toward purple are highly subjective. Traditionally, the purple family is associated with royalty and spiritual healing.
- Blue: An international favorite. Blue is understood to be a tranquil and peaceful color. Lighter blues are associated with fantasy, and darker blues are associated with authority.
- Green: A feeling of the outdoors. Green implies relaxation and is a passive color, reminding people of the forest or the grass.
- Yellow: Good for accents. Yellow is the first color seen by the retina. But since it’s so bright, it should be used in moderation.
- Brown: Traditional values. Brown can be relaxing or casual. In general, lighter shades are associated with affordability, and darker shades are associated with richness.
- Black and white: Black and white, when used exclusively, give a sterile feel. Used as an accent, they can enhance primary colors.
Red vs. Blue: What’s Best for Conversions?
Red and blue are generally the most common colors used to promote sales and highlight price discounts. While both are seen as good for conversions, a number of studies have shown that perhaps red is the better choice.
In the sports arena, a study of the 2004 Olympics examined the gear won by contestants and its relationship to the outcome. The study, which included boxing, Tae Kwon Do, Greco-Roman wrestling, and freestyle wrestling, found that athletes wearing red had a higher chance of winning than the athletes wearing blue.
In the online arena, most research illustrates that red buttons tend to convert better than buttons of other colors.
However, in some studies, blue did end up with a higher conversion rate. For example, ConversionXL describes four online case studies in which websites tested the impact of different colored buttons on conversion. In three out of four studies, the red button was superior – while in study 4, the blue button won.
Of course, it can be difficult to isolate the impact on color and draw absolute conclusions since so many other factors are involved – factors such as gender, industry, and website design. However, it’s probably fair to say that red promotes a sense of urgency which appeals to many buyers, whereas blue is best when trust is a significant factor in the purchasing decisions.