Can Color Psychology Really Increase Conversions?

Colors are like visual flavours.

They enhance and enrich the way we experience the world. And carry different meanings for different cultures. For example, white is the color of death in China and Japan. But in Europe, it suggests peace and innocence.

Studies have shown that darker colors like red and black can increase visual weight; while lighter colors reduce it. One interesting study even suggested that red outfits give athletic advantages to athletes.

So colors can influence how we think and feel, that’s obvious. But the question is: Can they impact our persuasive power as marketers and help crank up conversions?

That’s what we will look at in today’s post.

Let’s go.

How Colors Boil Our Emotions

Colors go beyond aesthetics and decoration. They have the ability to nudge our emotions in a specific direction and trigger feelings. Before diving deeper into color psychology, let’s take a brief look at how colors influence thoughts and feelings.

  • Green is symbolic of nature. It indicates health, well being and calmness
  • Black feels like a heavy, serious color doesn’t it? Well, design experts say that black oozes sophistication, glamour and luxury
  • Pink signals femininity, care, and seduction
  • Blue indicates trust, calmness and serenity
  • Red helps create a sense of urgency and activity
  • Orange radiates energy. It indicates competition, confidence and haste
  • Yellow makes things appear friendly and fun. Think about MCdonald’s arches. (Interesting fact: 75% of pencils sold in the U.S. are yellow)

If that feels like a lot to remember, don’t worry. This Kissmetrics infographic below summarizes the information above nicely:

How Color Psychology Has Worked For Others

“If a good color sells, the right color sells better.” (NeuroMarketing)

Just how much of a difference can color make?

As this case study from Bing shows, color can have a huge impact.

When Microsoft was designing Bing, they conducted a series of tests to find the optimum color. And their results were shocking.

When switching the color of links to a shade that was “quite similar to the one used by Google,” they skyrocketed ad revenue by $80 million.

Microsoft’s Ray Bradbury even concluded “that color and contrast were more important even than the typeface used for search results.”

And in a case study by Dmix, switching to a red CTA button boosted conversions by 34%.

Another popular color case study comes from Hubspot. They tested two identical pages and and switched the CTA button color green to red.

The results?

The red button beat the green one by 21%.

So, does this mean that the color red holds some kind of magic marketing power?

Not really.

And this question brings me to my next point…it’s not about using one color over the other. It’s about how that color impacts your visual hierarchy, how it compliments your brand, and what it triggers in your prospect’s brain.

How Colors Can Work For You

People who land on your site want instant gratification; the human brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text; and research that shows that 90% of snap judgements are made by color alone.

Tying the above facts together tells us that: Before processing a single word of copy or clicking on a link, your visitor will subconsciously make split-second decisions – based on your images and color – about your business.

Which means to use colors effectively, you should focus on:

  • Using colors that deliver the right brand message
  • Setting the mood for visitors
  • Using colors to strengthen the visual hierarchy of your page and drawing attention to important elements.

An exemplary use of color psychology comes from Quicksprout:

There’s a healthy helping of positive colors like white and green. The white communicates ease and simplicity, and the green is synonymous with health, well-being, and profit/money. Which is closely linked to Quicksprout’s brand message of growth.

The use of color also stands out in the opt-in form.

The shade of green at the top of the form is slightly more vibrant, and the background is a passive, soft grey color. This subtly draws your eye to the form without being too jarring, and makes the orange CTA more prominent and “energetic”.

The Hollman Hotel also does a great job of using colors to communicate:

This hotel website does a praiseworthy job of using colors, images and design for an impression that lasts.

The hotel focuses on giving a personable, fun service that gives “you a home away from home”. It boasts having only 25 rooms and claims their smaller size helps them take better care of guests.

And their color scheme definitely backs that message.

The abundant use of orange injects the site with confidence and warmth. Luxury and sophistication is hinted by the dark black background. Mix that with funny images and cheeky copy, and you’re able to immediately grasp what the hotel is about.


Conclusion

The aim of using color psychology isn’t to control emotions and actions like a ventriloquist controlling a puppet. It’s not about manipulation or trickery.

It’s about using colors to strengthen the visual hierarchy of your page, and communicating the right message to visitors.

Hassan Ud-deen is a content marketing fanatic and a Growth Geek. He specializes in writing articles and case studies to help businesses attract traffic and snag more leads. Troll him on twitter here.

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