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7 Min Read

Psychology of Colors in Marketing & Its Impact on Your Conversion Funnel

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Astha Khandelwal
Content Marketer At VWO

Colors serve as one of the most powerful visual cues to draw someone’s immediate attention and even evoke them to take the desired action. Scientists have long found that colors, when used most appropriately, have the prowess to instantly change a person’s mood, behavior, thinking, and even their perception of a brand. In fact, did you know that nearly 92% of individuals say that visual dimensions serve as the first influencing factor which affects their purchasing decision, let alone any other important factors such as taste, smell, texture, etc.? Or that color plays an important role in shaping a brand’s perception and increasing conversions by about 80%

psychology of Colors

But, how can we use the psychology of colors in marketing to our leverage? How can we use them as a tool to market our brand and increase conversions? Let’s find out!

Colors Convey your Brand’s Personality

Notice carefully, financial institutions like Chase, Citibank, Barclay’s, Bank of America, Prudential, and Merrill Lynch, almost all of them use the color blue as their primary color. Obviously, it’s not a mere coincidence, rather a strategic move. Blue, as a color, conveys a plethora of emotions. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, depth, and stability. Practically everything that we humans expect from a financial institution.

psychology of colors in brand logos

Similarly, Coca-Cola uses red as its signature color, as red is known to increase one’s heartbeat and instill excitement. 

Coca-cola and the symbolism of red in their brand color

Colors are not just about capturing a person’s attention. They’re more like a crucial element that represents your brand’s image and a tool that communicates with your target audience. If you don’t put much thought into the kind of colors which must represent your brand’s personality, you run the risk of people making assumptions about your business and its offerings, which aren’t true. So, the smarter the color choices you make (cold or warm colors), the better will be your brand’s image, and the higher are your chances of getting more conversions.

Contrasting Colors Create Curiosity

An average consumer, according to Jakob Nielsen, spends about 10 to 20 seconds on a web page looking for what they want before finally bouncing off. Amazingly, in this short span of time, nine out of every ten purchasing decisions are influenced by colors alone. Is this surprising? Well, most of the things we see around us are a perfect example of contrasting colors. Let’s again take Coca-Cola as an example.

red and white scheme of Coca-Cola's brand image

Coca-Cola’s red and white scheme has been a permanent success for the beverage company. Besides using the contracting color theory combination in its logo, Coca-cola also uses the same hues in its copies as well, mainly the headings and call to actions (CTAs). The reason being, while white is a neutral color, it allows its contrasting colors (red, in this case) to create a lasting impact. And, believe it not, we humans will, at least once, focus our attention on these contrasts. 

The very principle of ‘conversion-centered design principles’ aptly applies here – design your page elements in a manner that they immediately capture the attention of your visitors.

black and white scheme of Apple's brand colors

Taking another example here, Apple likes to keep things clean, uncluttered, and simple. Its choice of black and white color helps create an impression that Apple’s products are technological marvels, and yet are easy to understand and operate.

Creating Color Associations 

Most people tend to abandon websites that are difficult to navigate. If your site is loaded with a lot of information, try using different colors to organize your site’s information into logical categories and even assign them specific colors. For instance, VWO offers a plethora of products to its customers across the globe. To enable its visitors to process all the information given on the site easily, the company has allotted different colors to each of its product categories. Here, take a look:

brand color scheme of VWO Testing
brand color scheme for VWO Insights

Similar to a binder file with colored tabs, using different colors to differentiate between various web pages can make your site look more organized, user-friendly, and even keep visitors interested and engaged on your platform. A phenomenon known as the Von Restroff effect (also known as the isolation effect) also explains the same. It states that an item that stands out (owing to its color scheme) is more likely to be remembered than others.

Convincing Colors can Convince Customers

The next key to colors and conversions is to keep in mind what your target audience expects from your brand. If you’re marketing your products mostly to enterprise-level companies, then the choice of your colors should most likely be conservative than flashy. On the other hand, if you’re marketing your products to the youth ageing between 18 and 30 years, you might very well want to use bright colors to grab their attention and convey a sense of playfulness.

Hurly Burly Live Cultures, for example, is a leading food brand based out of Ipswich, England, that uses bright, playful and complementary colors to represent its brand image. Its color palette typically draws inspiration from its actual food colors.

bright colours scheme being used in Hurly Burly Live Cultures

Asana, a workflow management tool, on the other hand, uses a mix of conservative and colorful gradients to represent its brand motto – clarity with energy. While clarity means being on top of things, energy portrays a feeling of making progress.

brand color scheme for Asana.com

As a brand, it is important to understand that the best way to cultivate a strong emotional connection with your customers is to understand what colors would best sooth them. Use these colors to your advantage and strike straight to your target audience’s hearts.  

Customizing Colors to Match Cultures

As per Professor Ian F. Wilkinson, a Professor at the University of Sydney, the meaning of a specific color changes depending on a specific culture

For instance, a wedding planning company planned on widening their business horizon – move beyond the Asian market and capture the Middle East. While doing their research, the company concluded that they would continue to use their native red color scheme in their logo and across the website for the Middle East market as well. For the reason that the color red directly associated with passion and excitement. 

Six months later their branches in the Middle East were on the verge of closure, as not many people were engaging with their brand. So, what went wrong? What made them fall?  

After digging deep, the wedding planning company found they majorly missed on contemplating Middle East’s cultural color context. Where the color red is associated with love, passion, joy, and sensitivity in the Asian countries, the same in the Middle East nations is equated with danger and caution[6]. Hence, their venture failed. 

Note that understanding the very essence of a color and its underlying meaning according to a specific region’s culture is crucial. For it is these colors which can make or break a deal for a business. Here, the company should have opted for golden and white to flourish in the Middle East Market.  

A/B Testing Color Combinations for Best Conversion Results

Central to this, regularly running A/B tests to ascertain whether or not your chosen color schemes will have a positive impact on your conversions is equally important.

RIPT Apparel, a Chicago based online retail store, managed to increase their conversion rate by a whopping 6.3% simply by running an A/B test on the color of their CTA button.
They replaced their conventional undefined black CTA button with a defined, prominently visible green colored CTA button.

Here’s what the control looked like:

control version of A/B test run by RIPT Apparel

Here’s what the change (variation) looked like:

variation of A/B test run by RIPT Apparel

The company understood that it is not only important to give your CTA buttons a defined structure and work on their prominence and placement, but also use colors that grab the attention of the website visitors right away. 

To conclude, a lot of color studies need to be undertaken to ascertain how effective color choices really are when it comes to influencing the decisions of your target audience. There already exists a wealth of evidence to suggest that the correct use of colors in the right 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 and how color affects human behavior can significantly help you make intelligent branding decisions and get more conversions on your plate.

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Shanaz from VWO

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