Color, Contrast, and Conversion – An Easy A/B Test

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“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ”

― Oscar Wilde

Here’s one beautiful thing about color: it’s both the simplest and most beneficial thing to test on your sites and landing pages. Color swaps are a great way to get familiar with the practice of A/B testing.

Conversion rate optimization is the science of reorganizing web properties to maximize conversions (sales, leads, or some precursor thereof). An A/B test is the simplest type of CRO experiment, in which two different versions of a website element are pitted against each other for performance. There are other, more complex types of CRO experiments, but we’ll cover those in a later post.

It’s important to use color and contrast strategically when designing websites. A site’s colors should reflect its parent brand, and color choice should be designed to support—not define— viewing paths.

Check out this color wheel, depicted at right. The wheel contains the three primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and various hues of each.

Using complimentary colors is a good way to highlight areas or elements you want to call a viewer’s attention to.

Draw a line in your mind from one color straight across to another and consider the pair. Notice anything?

Complimentary colors, or, those which are “opposites”, are used frequently in logos and other design. The high level of contrast is attention-getting and visually appealing. As marketers, we can use complimentary colors to add that high visual appeal to specific areas of webpages.

Constant Contact is using this concept on their homepage, with the orange call-to-action contrasting nicely with the overall blue theme of the page. The colors also mirror the corporate logo.

You can see the contrasting elements in action on this attorney’s website as well:

Would the use of complimentary colors make a difference in your website’s conversion rates? There’s only one way to find out!

Consider this simple CRO experiment, set up as an example on a top accounting firm’s website.

Believe it or not, even this incredibly simple change of color can mean a huge difference in the amount of conversions captured, particularly since this contact form is on the site’s homepage. Emphasis on “could” here. That’s the nature of testing—there’s no catch-all optimization, no law that states red buttons perform better unequivocally. All sites have a lot of potential for performance improvement. It’s up to your intuition as a marketer to decide where to begin testing.

Online CRO software makes performing tests like this a piece of cake. The setup is easy, involving the addition of a script to your website’s code, similar to setting up Google analytics. Even mastering use of the product is very easy.

The difficult part is knowing what to test and why. On sites with moderate to low traffic volumes, tests may have to run for quite a while in order for results to achieve a level of statistical significance. Thus, it’s important to design tests around what changes you believe will have the greatest impact on site performance.

Good news: you can get suggestions about what to test on your site, as well as findings from our own research here at the Bizzuka Blog every Monday and Friday. Jump on our mailing list or visit us again for more discussion on CRO and other online business-building topics.