Pixel Fish Digital Marketing Blog

Website Colour Psychology: How colour affects your online performance.

Posted by Kevin Fouche on Oct 8, 2015
Kevin Fouche

We have all heard about the bull charging with rage at the red cape, and the gentle blue sky soothing our minds, but is this valid analysis of how colour affects us, or are these just cultural stereotypes? 

So how can Website Colour Psychology effect your business?

Website Colour Psychology

According to conversion consultant Jeremy Smith on his blog page, Kissmetrics, colour has a huge effect on what and how we buy online.

While he admits that the research has aspects that are hard to verify scientifically, it's hard to argue with conversion rates.

He describes the conversion process as a biological chain of events. We see the colour, this registers in the hypothalamus, which sends messages to the pituitary gland, then to the endocrine system, then to the thyroids.

The thyroids release hormones, causing mood reactions, emotions, and behaviour. (In other words, we buy something.) "Sales" has a classic definition of a transfer of emotion.

He suggests the use of strategy to fully utilise what we know about colour as a stimulant to buy.

In the attraction phase, go by what your customer likes. Women's favourite colours are blue, purple, and green; men, however, like blue, green, and black.

Website Colour Psychology

Major retailers use these stated preferences to attract visitors to their web pages, although other strategies come into play as well:

  • Women's least favourite colours are orange, brown, and grey.
  • Men's least favourites are brown, orange and purple.
  • Orange, although both genders claim not to like it, is often used as a conversion button because for whatever reason, it is noticeable. 
  • Another suggestion regarding conversion buttons: perhaps the button should be the only item of a particular colour on the page.
  • Black attracts both men and women to luxury items such as cars, handbags, clothing and jewellery.
  • Orange and yellow, both warm sunny colours, are used to depict children's "fun" retail items, even though yellow is claimed to cause children to cry when used as a room colour. Smith suggests that perhaps these colours cause excitement as well as anxiety.
  • Yellow screams "caution!" Also, "Look at me!"
  • Blue is acknowledged to calm the tension within us, and is often used for the websites of banks, investments, and other institutions which want to inspire trust and induce tranquillity. Blue, however, is not good for food.
  • Predictably, green suggests nature and environmental matters; green would be a good choice for an outdoors website, or one slanted toward natural products.
  • Colour preferences on websites are not consistent with popular brown and grey choices for room decor. Also, colour is associated closely with memory, so if someone had a warm and affectionate experience in an orange and yellow room, then that particular person may respond positively to orange and yellow products.
  • Use caution when tempted to overwhelm your prospective customer with colour. White is recommended as a method of giving your prospect space. The preferred "attracting" colour is most effective when used sparingly, with lots of comforting white areas to leave them emotional room to make their decisions.
  • Also, Smith recommends changing the website colours, especially the conversion buttons, in order to run periodic tests of conversion rates. He states that he has achieved good results with seasonal preferences for different colours on different websites, suggesting that it may be the change itself that can make a difference.

Neil Patel and Nitika Puri on the website Quicksprout, in their article, the Complete Guide to Understanding Consumer Psychology, cite the contrasting colour (the fact that it stands out), as being more important than colour preference, especially when it comes to information (lead) gathering or convertibility.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of colour. Kissmetrics has published statistics that underline this vital aspect of marketing your website. Although other factors such as convenience, structural design, copy, and load times influence sales:

  • Colour is the most important factor when deciding to buy.
  • Colour is the most important factor in Brand recognition
  • Colours that stimulate sales vary from culture to culture.

Contact us for more information about your website colour choices.

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