The attack of red buttons: how GSM.nl reduced bounce rate by doing a simple change
It has been criticized, but it is always guaranteed to work. What is that we are talking about? Yes, you guessed it right: red buttons! No matter how many people consider such A/B tests as a trivial exercise, every now and then they have been demonstrated to increase conversions.
The theory of red buttons also worked for one of the Visual Website Optimizer’s users, although they use orange, which fits their color scheme, instead. GSM.nl is one of the Netherlands’ largest eCommerce shops selling mobile phones, GSM plans and other mobile accessories. As you can imagine for an eCommerce site, they have Buy Now buttons used all over the website: product pages, catalogue pages, special offers pages, etc. The challenge for this particular A/B test was that they had to vary ALL buttons on the site at once. A lot of pages (such as the homepage) contain multiple instances of the order button, one for each featured product. This seemed complicated, but with Visual Website Optimizer they designed it in a matter of minutes.
All they did was created an alternative CSS stylesheet, and run the A/B test on the different stylesheets. The stylesheet defined how Buy Now buttons looked like, so if they do a split test of stylesheet they will automatically split test ALL the buttons on the website. Clever!
Here are different variations that were tested:
|With text buttons||With green buttons||With red buttons|
The test results showed that the red (well, technically orange) buttons increased overall website engagement by 5% (statistically significant). Engagement is defined as click on any link on the page, so an increase in engagement means a reduction in bounce rate. Sales were also measured as one of the goals, which showed an increase too, but due to the relatively short test period, did not yet prove statistically significant)
As a follow up, of course, this test will be run long enough to determine if button color has any effect on actual sales. We are guessing that it makes a small contribution to increased sales, as more people use the site actively, but taken into account that a decision to purchase a product involves numerous variables such as product cost, shipping costs, discounts, etc, it is hard to measure if the change in color is the determining factor.
The case suggests it is safe to say to that a bright button color works well for catching attention and reducing bounce rate, and might even help actual sales. No matter how strong your gut feelings are, ultimately data tells the truth.
In the case of GSM.nl, it proved Visual Website Optimizer could easily test difficult questions, and provide answers in a matter of days.