Does Colour Affect Conversion?

May 07, 2014

Web Design Hertfordshire
When you build your company website using a Content Management System, there are several big things that you will undoubtedly focus on in order to attract as many customers and conversions.  You will fret about how many columns the page will feature.  You will agonize over ad placement.  You may even worry about the size of your font.  These are all fine points to ponder.  However, one thing you may not give much thought to is picking the right colour for conversions.  But should you?

The Psychology of Colour The study on the psychological affects that colour may have on the mind is something that has been researched for decades.  These studies have derived a few results that have become rather well-known over the years.  For example, it’s been determined that a pink box will “make” doughnuts taste better or that a red car is more or less assumed to be faster.  So it was only a matter of time that the psychology of colour would rear its head in the world of online conversions. Most of the case studies that have explored the notion that colour can be tied to conversions have revolved around the use of red or green buttons.  In most studies that isolate these particular colours on buttons that are associated with conversions such as invitations to sign up or virtual shopping carts, it has been shown that the red button performs at a substantially better rate than green buttons.  In some circles, this has been traced back to different psychological effects as they relate to colours and economics.  For example, it has been shown that red hues – particularly, dark red shades – are typically associated with products that are considered to be high-end or refined.  Since high-end goods tend to be synonymous with high-quality, the colour signals to the buyer that whatever they are buying is going to be a well-made product.  Another example links red colours with the mindset of the traditional buyer.  What this means is, the hue has been shown to attract people that not only know what they want to buy, but they have the financial means to purchase it, as well.  These people are differentiated from impulse shoppers or frugal types that are on a strict budget, as those classes tend to be lured in by different shades.   Because of this latter aspect, it is thought that using reds to attract conversions will translate into a more consistent stream of paying customers to your website.

The Case Against Colour There have also been several case studies conducted which seem to suggest that the use of colour has little to no bearing on conversions at all.  These studies indicate that there are different factors at play that attract paying customers, and that the shade of the conversion item is purely coincidental.  These factors include:

  • Call-to-action framing – If a website’s action trigger is not framed by a colour that stands out from the background, its conversion metrics may suffer because the user may not readily see the trigger in the first place.
  • Colour uniqueness – If a website’s main colour scheme is the same as its action trigger, the user may not be able to easily differentiate the trigger as being something that is set apart for a specific purpose such as signing up or adding to a virtual cart.

The Ongoing Debate Colour has always been a hot topic of conversation in other aspects of web design from WordPress themes to hyper-links, and there are no signs of such discussion slowing down any time soon.  As such, it’s only logical to expect the dialogue regarding colours and conversion rates to also be around for a long time to come.