There are 16,777,216 unique colors available to use in the hexadecimal color coding scheme. Which color is the one that’s guaranteed to launch your conversion rate into space? In this post, we’ll go over what really matters and what works when it comes to CTA buttons and colors.

Colors have psychological associations

Colors can affect the way we feel in a profound way. Everyone has a favorite color and many people have a least-favorite color as well. People trust certain colors more than others and some colors, while they aren’t a person’s favorite, appeal to people over others. People from tropical countries feel more favorable towards warm colors, while people from cooler climates prefer the colors on the cool side of the spectrum.

Color psychology isn’t an exact science, though. Color preferences can change in people and worldwide over time. One example of shifting color perceptions is that pink was seen as a stronger color which naturally goes with boys, whereas blue was considered a dainty or delicate color and was meant for girls. Now, boys wear blue and pink is considered a color for girls.

But is there any official data?

There have been several studies on the psychology of colors and how certain colors can impact our purchasing decisions. Research indicates that between 62% and 90% of a consumer’s initial subconscious judgment of a product is based on color. Many of the case studies done on the Internet on this topic result in conflicting data. Some indicate that green is better and others indicate red is the winner when it comes to clicks.

While not considered official test data, we do have everyday behaviors and actions to look to for information. Green means go when it comes to traffic lights and games. Green is also the color of grass and trees, and most people are comforted by nature. Red is eye-catching and is the color of stoplights and stop signs, fire trucks, and ambulances. Red gets attention and excites.

The red versus green debate

For a long time, the debate over button color has focused on two contenders; red and green. Why only red and green? Because they’re common colors that we all see every day. A purple, bright pink or black button may be hidden by site content or jarring to consumers. Red and green blend in with most sites.

Hubspot did an A/B test on red and green buttons to determine which worked better. First, a homepage was created with a green button, then a clone was made but with a red button. Everything on the red button page was exactly the same as the green button page. In total, they displayed either the red or green page to over 2,000 visitors and recorded whether or not they clicked on the button. The results were astonishing! The red had a 21% higher click rate than the green!

One important thing to note, though, is that the main color on the page they used for the test is green. This means that the green button didn’t stand out as much as the red button, and was clicked less.

Be skeptical of studies that claim a definitive answer

One more example of a case study is RIPT Apparel. RIPT wanted to increase revenue and changed the color of its “Buy Now” button from black to green. This resulted in an immediate increase in conversion volume. To further test the color-change theory, they created a gold button with text that said: “24 Hours Only!” Though there was no sale and the price was the same, conversion went up by another 6.3%

 This might seem like a definite win for the green and gold buttons, but it doesn’t take into account that the original didn’t actually include a button. Their call to action got lost because nobody could tell that they were supposed to click, it just looked like an ad. We can see from this study that it’s important to first have a button, and then color changes can increase conversion. In studies like this, sometimes there was no button, and then a button was added which skews the results a bit in favor of the button regardless of color. Studies that claim there is a definite answer are likely not considering the whole picture.

How about orange buttons?

Orange buttons have been shown to stand out more than red or green. Amazon is one site that relies heavily on varying shades of orange buttons. The search, checkout, and add to cart buttons are all some shade of yellow or orange. This demonstrates that red and green are not the only two choices for buttons.

Call to action buttons are different from other types of buttons where urgency isn’t always required. There’s no urgency to click on a search button, but you do need it to stand out from the page.

Button color isn’t the only factor

Whether a button is one color or another isn’t quite as important as how it changes the visual flow of the page and stands out from the noise. When Microsoft redesigned their links for Bing, they increased their revenue by $80 million dollars. How did they do this? They must have done a complete overhaul or redesign to get such a large change, right? Wrong. They simply found the perfect shade of blue, which happens to be similar to the one Google uses. Blue has always been the color of links on the web since it’s inception, and Microsoft felt no need to reinvent the wheel when it came to choosing a link color.

There is no clear winner for best color

Color matters, but it isn’t a magic wand you can wave at your conversion rate to make it jump. As you’ve seen, one color doesn’t necessarily work better than another, and there’s more to the formula than just color choice. Visuals and flow are important as well, and a button should look like it goes with the website, but stand out at the same time.

So do some button colors convert better than others? Yes, and no. Make sure your button colors stand out, but that they also go well with your site.