In marketing, even the tiniest nuances matter. A single word could cost millions and ruin the brand, and the right shade of color could make you rich. Speaking of shades, there is the study of colors as the determinants of people’s behavior, and as you’ve probably guessed, it’s called color psychology. It aims to know what emotions different hues evoke, what actions they encourage to take, and how they make you feel.

No wonder people are interested in it — why not turn blue, yellow, or red in the most powerful marketing tool for attracting more and more customers? Well, it is not super simple, but it’s not rocket science, too. Today, we’re going to talk about basic principles of color psychology, the most “effective” colors, and the connection between different shades and conversion rates.

Preferred Colors By Gender

The truth is ladies and gentlemen see colors differently. Probably, you’ve heard this a hundred times, but it makes a big difference when you think about it from a marketing standpoint. Using one color on the website selling ladies’ perfume and using the same color to sell men colognes is likely to be a wrong decision. So, how exactly does it work?

That’s how to overall picture looks like:



What conclusions can we draw from all this?

  1. A lot of men and women (57% and 35% respectively) like the blue color.
  2. Guys don’t like brown, and most ladies dislike the orange color.
  3. People perceive colors they don’t like as cheap, low-quality ones.
  4. Ladies like tints, guys like shades.
  5. People of both genders like cool colors.

All this info can and should be used to increase the site conversion rate considering the target audience.

Effects of different colors

Though knowing preferred colors by gender is important, it is not enough to take full advantage of color psychology. A marketer should also know how to use a color in the right way. Let’s take a look at the most common & expressive colors in more detail.

Use blue to build user’s trust

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite color. It is considered as the symbol of order, trust, calmness, security, and confidence. No wonder it is used by lots of big companies from good old Facebook and Twitter to e-wallets (yes, we’re talking about PayPal) and banks.

Please note that blue is also a very “sterile”, cold color, and it doesn’t work with anything that is somehow related to food. There were tons of experiments in which people refused to eat anything of blue color, no matter how good the taste was.

Use yellow to warn

“Caution! Wet floor!” The yellow sign is the first thing that comes into mind when one hears this phrase and no wonder. This is the color for warnings. One can rightfully argue that a lot of companies use this color in their campaigns because it grabs a lot of attention and is associated with happiness, too. Well, they are right.

However, some researchers suppose that yellow just evokes strong emotions, which, under certain circumstances, can be called “happiness” and “brightness.” In other cases, it makes a person feel a bit anxious, which is even good when it comes to warnings.

Green is for outdoor

Meet green — another color that most people like. It is commonly associated with a lot of positive things like nature, creativity, luck, and safety, which makes it absolutely perfect for advertising outdoor products. By the way, though it is not as eye-catching as red or orange, it is also frequently used as the call-to-action color.

Orange creates a sense of impulse

Studies have shown that people (especially women) don’t really like this color. Still, it is frequently used. Marketers know that it can work perfectly if you know how to use it. Just think about Amazon — orange on this website encourages a visitor to read the message and to make a purchase. This can be explained by the fact that this color is associated with sports, activity, and fun, so don’t be afraid to use it to engage a visitor.

Black is for luxury

Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, all these brands use this color because black is the color of elegance, wealth, style, and power. Some can argue that it is also the color of evil and mystery, but the effect largely depends on how you use it.

Color and conversion rate optimization

Here are some more useful tips and techniques that can help you increase your website conversion rate.

Isolation effect

The isolation effect or the Von Restorff effect, is a simple but interesting technique to use. It predicts that “when homogeneous stimuli are presented, the stimulus that differs from them is likely to be remembered.”

That’s what we can see in the pic below. The results of A/B testing have shown that changing button color to red increased the site conversion rate by 21%.


Does it mean that changing buttons to red is the one-size-fits-all solution? No, not at all. It largely depends on the context: in this case, the color scheme is green, so red is the contrast color. If you want a user to click on the button, make sure that it doesn’t blend in with the surrounding.

Don’t turn the site into a rainbow

Using too many different shades is a bad idea. Just take a look at the pic below — that is how a website with a low conversion rate can look like. A user just doesn’t understand where to click, there is no clear impulse, call to action — the most important things are lost in tons of elements and colors.

There is a standard in the industry: on a good website, 60% is the dominant color, 30% is a secondary color and 10% is for the accent hue.

Don’t rely on colors only

Don’t rely on colors only when working on increasing your conversion rate. Note that a lot of people have color blindness, and they can easily miss your red or orange notification, call to action, etc. Use eye-catching symbols to help these people do the right thing on the site, distinguish the most important info, etc.

Final thoughts

We talked only about the basic, most important aspects to consider, but there are a lot more interesting things that can potentially increase the website conversion rate. We’d like to emphasize that there are no strict rules here. There are no right or wrong shades, the results depend on how you use them, so analyzing your website color scheme and doing the various tests, in particular, A/B testing, is always a good idea.