Conversion rate optimization is intricately related to web design and user experience. And because design works directly with colors, the logical question that arises is „How does color influence conversion rate?”. Are some colors more powerful in persuading people to take a certain action? Can colors influence how we interpret on-page elements and can they have a decisive impact on purchase decision?
The consumer decision making is a very complex process built upon situational factors, the consumer’s personality, sociocultural factors, and also product factors. But in this very big picture, the smallest detail can make the difference between buying something from a website and abandoning it for another offer. Sometimes this simple detail can be something like the colors used in the layouts, or the color of a call to action element not being impactful enough.
Using colors for conversion rate optimization
It’s not a novelty that colors are important in marketing. In advertising and branding, color has always been considered a central element. However, in conversion rate optimization the role of colors changes.
In branding, colors are used to infuse personality to the brand and to get a certain response from the consumer. For example, black expresses sophistication and power and is associated with luxury products or high tech electronics. Gold is associated with wealth and can be used to suggest a premium price. Blue commands respect and authority.
But conversion optimization is more about efficiency and the present moment. CRO tactics are not aiming to create an impression; they are trying to get a practical response. Their mission is to immediately trigger a purchase, a lead, etc.
Consequently, what interests CRO is finding out if people are more drawn to certain colors or feel more inclined to take a certain action because of a color. Simply put: are certain colors bringing more conversions than others?
Here are a few interpretations of colors that could be interesting from a CRO point of view:
Black – is the color of power and sophistication. On a more negative note, black can signify opacity, the unknown and the dark.
White – signifies clarity and safety, but it is also achromatic.
Blue – it’s the color of calm and serenity. However it can also transmit a cold and not very engaging message.
Green – it’s the color that symbolizes nature and growth. It’s a very energizing color and can be engaging.
Red – it’s the color universally recognized for its powers to attract attention. It is associated with excitement and action.
Yellow – this is the color of optimism and creativity. Bright yellow is a very stimulating color that engages the viewer psychologically.
Orange – being a combination between red and yellow, conserves the power of red and the energy of yellow. It’s the color associated with fun and happiness.
Purple – is an intense, yet more profound color. Bears the connotations of royalty, thus leaves an impression of exquisiteness and mystery.
The aim of the conversion rate optimization is to lead more traffic to the ultimate goal: completing a purchase, generating a lead. And the color of elements which visitors are navigating through can have a great impact on the visitor’s decision to follow a link or a call to action.
There is a very well known debate between the powers of red calls to action vs. green calls to action. For example, Designerdepot.com is categorically against red, as it is “the color of aggression, danger, stop signs, and stop lights” and users might be intimidated by it.
The truth is, when it comes to color, an elixir for the conversion rate does not exist. There is not a unique color that can invariably draw more conversions, when used on any website. The call to action color is unique to every website, and has to be integrated in the color scheme.
The only rule that applies is that the call to action button has to be highly visible. An eye popping color can do the job. A great solution would be to create contrast for the call to action button by choosing a complementary color. Unconventional combinations of colors can also draw the attention of users. Creativebloq.com offers a great list of tools used for deciding color schemes.
There is, however, a certain color theory that helps web designers find the perfect combination of colors to appeal to the user according to the website and company theme. Canva’s color wheel in RGB (red, green, blue) style is ideal for online use, mixing light, much like on a computer or TV screen.
“Color theory is a practical combination of art and science that’s used to determine what colors look good together. The color wheel was invented in 1666 by Isaac Newton, who mapped the color spectrum onto a circle. The color wheel is the basis of color theory because it shows the relationship between colors.”
Conversion optimization has another important ally in deciding the best colors: A/B tests. Thanks to them you can clearly see which color really inspires the desired action. It’s all done in real time, on real customers, so it’s the best proof for your color hypothesis.