Science Behind Colors in Marketing

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Science Behind Colors In Marketing

Why is Facebook blue? According to The New Yorker, the reason is simple. It’s because Mark Zuckerberg is red-green color blind; blue is the color Mark can see the best.

Not highly scientific, right? That may not be the case for Facebook, but there are some amazing examples of how colors actually affect our purchasing decisions. After all, sight is the strongest developed sense in most human beings. It’s only natural that 90% of an assessment for trying out a product is made by color alone.

So how do colors really affect us, and what is the science of colors in marketing, really? It turns out, something as simple as tweaking the color of a button changes user behavior or endears people to your product.

Which Colors Trigger Which Emotion?

Being completely conscious about what color triggers us to think in which way isn’t always obvious. The Logo Company has come up with an amazing breakdown that shows which colors in marketing are best for which companies and why.

The Logo Color Guide
Click the image for a larger view.

How to Improve Your Marketing with Better Use of Colors:

The people at the data analytics company KISSmetrics conducted an experiment focusing on how color can change the buying power when compared to men and women. The infographic here shows you their research into the buying power of color in marketing.

How Color Affects Purchases
Click the image to view the full infographic

What this shows us is if you are building a direct mail campaign that mainly targets women, it is suggested that women love blue, purple, and green, and dislike orange, brown, and gray. In the opposite spectrum and your campaign is targeting men, the rules of the game are slightly different. Men love blue, green, and black, but can do without brown, orange, and purple.

In another experiment, Performable (now HubSpot) wanted to find out whether simply changing the color of a button would make a difference in conversion rates. They started out by trying to anticipate the outcome of a simple choice between two colors (green and red) and trying to speculate what would happen.

“Green connotes ideas like ‘natural’ and ‘environment,’ and given its wide use in traffic lights, suggests the idea of ‘go’ or forward movement. The color red, on the other hand, is often thought to communicate excitement, passion, blood, and warning. It is also used as the color for stopping at traffic lights. Red is also known to be eye-catching.” states Josh Porter from HubSpot.

So, clearly an A/B test between green and red would result in green, the more friendly color. At least that was their hypothesis. Here is what their experiment looked like:

Button Color Experiment
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So how did that experiment turn out? The answer was surprising: The red button outperformed the green button by 21%. What’s most important to consider is that nothing else was changed at all: 21% more people clicked on the red button than on the green button. Everything else on the pages was the same, so it was only the button color that made this difference. If we were to read all the research before this experiment and ask every researcher which version they would guess would perform better, I’m sure green would be the answer in nearly all cases. Not so much.

Despite all the studies on color analysis and target marketing, generalizations are extremely hard to make. Whatever change you make, treat it first as a hypothesis, and see if the actual experiment supports your ideas.

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