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7 Min Read

How your Color Choices can help you Increase Conversions (Part 1)

Anand Kansal
Anand Kansal was a marketer at VWO. He has a keen interest in behavioral psychology and decision making. He tweets about online marketing.

This is Part 1 of a 2-part blog post written by David Rosenfeld on how colors can help increase your website’s conversions and revenue.

David Rosenfeld is a director at Infinite Conversions, a conversion rate optimization agency. David spent five years working as a lawyer in Australia and London and three years as an associate in the Mergers and Acquisitions department of a global Investment Bank focusing on technology startups. David’s experience has included significant work on campaign specific conversion optimisation. David holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Software Engineering from the University of Sydney and an MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.

Most people can choose their favorite color if you ask them to, and most people understand that we typically associate color with emotions. This makes color choice an important tool when trying to influence the choices consumers make, or so says the University of Winnipeg’s Professor Satyendra Singh. Singh has noted how retailers attempt to influence consumers using colors in order to drive up profits. Tactics that are used range from targeting consumer color preferences based on gender, to employing subliminal “tricks” such as using specific colors to entice customers to make a purchase. Online retailers take care in choosing their brand colors too, using color psychology to attempt to improve conversion rates when they design their site’s landing pages. If used appropriately, color becomes less of a tool, and more of a weapon.

Using colors to convey your Brand Personality

If you’ve a brand new detergent to send to market, then you’ll want it to be associated with cleanliness and purity, so white seems the obvious branding choice. If you want to express urgency on your site to entice your potential customers to finalize their purchase, then make the “Buy!” button green, as green equates to growth. If you’re an attorney, and you want to express your authority and to make people trust you, then blue is the correct choice.

Color is not just about capturing attention. Color also has a lot to say about a company’s branding image. What do the chosen colors say about a product’s personality? What message is a company trying to communicate? Branding choices need to take into account the way that people typically associate specific colors with different emotions.


Subway Homepage
The sandwich retailer Subway’s site is mainly branded green, which is the color of harmony, growth and good health.

Here are some more “green” businesses.

John Deere Logo
John Deere, a manufacturer of farming and lawn equipment
BP Logo
BP is one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies

As I stated earlier, the color blue inspires confidence and trust. Here are 2 examples where companies use this color to convey this particular emotion.

Deutsche Bank Logo

JP Morgan Chase Logo

So, what are you trying to sell? Life insurance, organic bread or console games? For life insurance, choose the blue path, as blue is associated with confidence and trust. Organic bread? How about green and browns to create a natural, rustic and wholesome image. Console games? Black and reds will excite the minds of your target audience, which is likely to be male teenagers and young adults.

Everything of course depends upon the atmosphere that you are seeking to create, and the way your potential consumers will react to your marketing. Making the proper color choice can mean the difference between a missed opportunity and a successful conversion.

Creating red-hot logos and headlines – even if they ain’t red!

Mr Average has an attention span of around half a minute. A website is lucky if it can maintain the attention of a semi-interested visitor for longer than ten seconds. The average consumer, according to Jakob Nielsen, will spend between 10 and 20 seconds on a page looking for what they want before giving up (if they don’t find it) and looking elsewhere. Amazingly, in this short expanse of time, nine out of every ten purchasing decisions are influenced by color alone. Is this surprising? Well, most of the information we receive about the world ends up in our heads via our eyes, after all. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Coca Cola color scheme

Coca-Cola’s red and white scheme has been a permanent success. Red evokes feelings of courage, vitality and strength. The palette also allows headlines and text to be used that’s both eye-catching and easy to read. It’s a palette that’s served Coca-Cola effectively for over a decade.

Apple color scheme

When it comes to their branding, Apple likes to keep things clear, uncluttered and simple. Black and white creates the impression that Apple’s products are technological marvels, and yet are easy to understand and operate.

Rocket Lawyer color scheme

The site of Rocket Lawyer makes excellent use of the color red which makes their site look vibrant and energetic. However, they also make effective use of whitespace to make sure a visitor’s eyes are not overwhelmed.

RIPT Apparel – a Case Study

RIPT Apparel, a Chicago based online retailer, managed to up their conversion rate by a whopping 6.3 percent simply by A/B testing the color of their CTA button from red to green using VWO.


RIPT apparel - control


RIPT apparel - variation

The question that arises here is that, if green is such a compelling color, why isn’t every single CTA button you see on the internet colored green? The answer is that in this scenario, it wasn’t the specific color of the button that mattered, it was how that color contrasted with the rest of the page. The green button blended in with the rest of the site’s palette, while the red button created a contrast. This is what drove the increase in conversion rates.

Convincing colors to convince customers

People generally do not like to make decisions. From minor decisions like deciding what to have for breakfast, to life-changing decisions such as breaking up with a long-term partner, people prefer to have decisions made for them, or to have only limited choices.

In addition, as discovered by Psychology Roy Burmeister, they don’t like to read, either. To be an effective businessman, it’s really down to you to help your consumers make an effective choice in a way that takes little effort. You can give them a gentle shove in using color to highlight what you think would best solve their needs.

For example, consider Coca-Cola again. Their easy-to-recognize red and white logo has worked so successfully for them since it was created in 1885 that they’ve barely ever changed it. But what’s the secret behind their success?

The rather simple yet sleek design is intended to be associated with youthful exuberance. If a friend or vendor asks you if you’d like a Coke, then the Coke logo instantly pops into your head, re-awakening memories of the beverage that supplies that all-important buzz.

How different would Coca-Cola’s logo appear if they chose to drop red in favor of, say, yellow? Yellow is often used as a branding color that hints at fun and frolics, but it’s also associated with illness and cowardice, which are not aspects you’d necessarily want associated with a thirst-quenching soda (although such a re-branding may work brilliantly in Egypt where the color yellow is associated with prosperity and happiness.)

In Conclusion

The internet is still in its infancy, so further color studies need to be undertaken to ascertain how effective color choices really are when it comes to influencing purchasing decisions. There already exists a wealth of evidence to suggest that the correct use of color in the correct context goes a long way to reassure and inspire site visitors in a way that will boost conversions. In short, taking the time to increase your knowledge of color psychology will help you in making intelligent branding decisions and turning people on to the idea of purchasing your products.

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Shanaz from VWO

Hi, I am Shanaz from the VWO Research Desk.

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