June 14, 2017

How colours increase conversions

Published: 14 June 2017 

We know some of the basic ways to increase conversions - on-site optimisation and the increase of urgency, to name a few. However, there is another way to persuade your audience that may not seem as blatantly obvious. This factor is colours.

QuickSprout found that colour accounts for 85% of the reason why we buy a specific product.

This highlights how influential colour choice is within marketing. Pick the colour that resonates with your audience, and you’ve got a winner.

Why are colours so influential? It all comes down to colour psychology. This is the science of how colour affects human behaviour. This is often a field that is not completely agreed upon, with colour psychology having many skeptics. After all, considering how subjective colour preferences are, how can it be possible for a certain colour to cause the same reaction with everyone?

The first thing you need to learn is what influence each colour has. You can then continue on to learn the correct way to use each colour, and select which colours are right for your brand.  

The influence of colours on genders

Source: Neil Patel

Colours have different effects on men than women. Philip Cohen from the University of Maryland found 35 percent of women prefer blue, 23 purple, and 14 green. 33 percent of women said they did not like the colour orange. If you’re targeting women specifically, it’s best to avoid ‘earthy’ colours such as orange, brown or gray. It’s also tempting to lean towards stereotypically feminine colours such as pink. However, this is not a favourite colour of every woman. Instead, opt for blue, purple or green to increase your conversions.

There were some similarities, with men also preferring blue the most, followed by green and then black. These colours are associated with manliness, and are therefore most preferred. Men dislike brown the most, followed by orange and purple.

Symbolic colours

It’s important to consider what colours are symbolic of. Consider what the following colours symbolise and whether you would want that associated with your brand:

  • Pink: can be seen as feminine and romantic, and risks not being as appealing to men
  • Gray: neutral, but associated with loneliness and sadness
  • Black: can be elegant, but also symbolic of death
  • Brown: represents boredom
  • Yellow: optimistic and youthful.

However, it’s important to think about your target market when thinking about what a colour symbolises, as it can change in each culture. For example, white represents mourning and death within China, whereas purple is symbolic of death in Brazil.

Spending habits

So what colours affect your spending? Certain colours represent different factors, and then cause people to decide whether or not to buy a product. Colour representations include:

  • Black: sophisticated
  • Orange: affordability
  • Green: environmentally friendly, healthy
  • Burgundy: rich
  • Blue: trust, calming

People who are impulse shoppers will be mostly influenced by royal blue, orange and black. Those on a budget will be swayed by dark blue and green. Whereas traditional buyers prefer pink, light blue and dark pink.

Where to use colours

Now that you know about the importance of colours and what they are representative of, it’s time to know where on your website you should be using colours to increase conversions.

Rules to consider when using colour to increase conversions: 

  • Have different coloured text for links which have and have not been clicked, and make sure these colours are different to the text colour.
  • Use brighter colours for call-to-action buttons. Make sure it stands out and contrasts with the background colour.
  • Avoid colours that are too bright or will hurt viewers eyes.
  • Make sure any text or headings can be read and contrasts with the background.
  • Align the text colour of your headline, call-to-action and value proposition with your marketing goal.

It’s clear to see how important colour is to a brand, and how using the right colour can increase conversions. Your business needs to choose a colour that will be an accurate representation of your brand, and something that it will be known for. After all, people clearly associate the golden arches and red with McDonald's.  

When deciding on colours, it’s important to run some A/B tests. Unbounce’s 2012 Conversion Rate Optimization Report found 46 percent of marketers considered A/B testing to be the best way to increase conversions. A/B testing allows you to see what impact a certain colour has on your conversion rates, and you can be using the correct colours. After all, there is no one colour that will always work and get conversions. For example, there isn’t a rule that says you should definitely use red for your call-to-action buttons. You simply have to test these and find which colour works best for your brand. Just make sure you test one element each time, to ensure you know what caused the increase or decrease in conversions. Testing your colour choices will ensure you can settle on the right colour for your brand and the one that causes the biggest increase in conversions.


Ben Maden

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