Optimizing Colors for Conversions

When it comes to purchasing products color matters. A recent report found that 84.7 percent of shoppers admitted that color accounts for more than half of the various factors important for choosing products.1 Even more, it takes about 90 seconds for a person to make a subconscious judgment about a product and up to 90 percent of that assessment is based on color alone. 2 Although there’s variation depending on the product, (66 percent of people wont buy certain appliances unless they come in their preferred color) for every purchase color is going to influence the customer.3

Color is deeply ingrained in human psychology—eliciting strong emotions and driving action. However our reaction to color is highly dependent on context. In different cultures and points throughout history the same color could bring about different responses. But today there are predictable effects that colors have in digital experiences.

Sight is a human being’s most important sense for survival. From our early days as hunters and gatherers we relied on our ability to differentiate between colors to interpret our environment and recognize danger. Today our vision is still the primary way in which we experience the world.4. It changes how and what we experience. In print media, color ads are read up to 42 percent more than similar ads in black and white.5 When we talk about bringing color into the digital space, it’s clear that it plays a critical role for optimizing experiences.

How to use color in digital experiences

Color is important for communicating and guiding an experience where words may not be as effective. People cannot process every object within view at one time. Therefore, color can be used as a tool to emphasize or de-emphasize an element within an experience.6

Consider these statistics. Color can improve readership by 40 percent,7 learning from 55 to 78 percent,8 and comprehension by 73 percent.9 If your website needs to convey a lot of information, then using color can make a remarkable difference in how effectively you communicate. Make every touchpoint count by leveraging color to make your experience more memorable.

Take your typical call-to-action button. Most UX designers will try to make it stand out to grab the user’s attention because it’s essential for progressing the customer journey. Not surprisingly there’s a lot of debate over the ‘perfect’ button color (most tests point to red), but it is always going to be subjective to the design of your website and the preferences of your customers. Although CRO is about much more than changing button colors, here’s an interesting case study on how one company was able to increase its click through rate by 21 percent by simply changing its call-to-action button color.

60 to 70 percent of the buying decision is made at the point of purchase. With so many products vying for the consumer’s money and attention, the strategic use of color can capture their attention to your advantage. Remember, consumers are in an emotional mode when they shop. And when they are in an emotional mode, they are more visually attuned.

Leatrice Eiseman, Director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training

Aside from grabbing attention and creating a hierarchy of content, it’s important to consider the underlying message a color might be communicating about your brand and product. Look at the table below that highlights typical associations people have with certain colors.


When building a digital experience think carefully about how color might change a user’s perception of you. If you want an environmentally friendly vibe use green. If you want to exude sophistication try silver and black. Don’t over think it, and when in doubt run a small a/b test to know for sure.


Color can revitalize a product and give added value to the customer. 92.6 percent of people say the visual dimension is the number one influencing factor in their purchase decision (over taste, smell, etc.).10

When Apple lost $1.8 billion over two years and needed to improve their brand they introduced a line of colorful iMacs that were crucial in building back up their PC business.11 Today Apple still relies heavily on color for their products (just think about the new pink iPhone).

Digital experiences can benefit similarly. Optimizing colors for conversions is an important part of your brand’s success in the digital space. Remember, color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent.12 Pay special attention to particular geographic areas where color may be interpreted differently. Although, there is no universal color that converts best. What’s important is choosing colors that are appropriate given your business and customers. Always experiment with a few to see which results in higher conversions. Start with old fashioned market research—it’s critical that you know your target market as best you can. When you combine your research with today’s optimization and experience testing technology you’ll be sure to turn color changes into conversions.


  1.  Secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo 2004
  2. CCICOLOR – Institute for Color Research
  3. http://loyaltysquare.com/impact_of_color.php
  4. http://www.colorcom.com/research/why-color-matters
  5. http://loyaltysquare.com/impact_of_color.php
  6.  http://www.colorcom.com/research/why-color-matters
  7.  “Business Papers in Color. Just a Shade Better”, Modern Office Technology, July 1989, Vol. 34, No. 7, pp. 98-102
  8.  Embry, David, “The Persuasive Properties of Color”, Marketing Communications, October 1984.
  9.  Johnson, Virginia, “The Power of Color”, Successful Meetings, June 1992, Vol 41, No. 7, pp. 87, 90.
  10.  Secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo. 2004.
  11. http://loyaltysquare.com/impact_of_color.php
  12. http://loyaltysquare.com/impact_of_color.php
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