Ad Colors: Are Yours Attracting or Repelling Sales?
It’s easy to spend hours contemplating every word we use in our subject lines, headlines, calls-to-action and descriptions. We put so much effort into being compelling enough to capture attention, inspire action and secure new customers. Yet, if we pay attention to some basic psychology, we find these words are not as important as the colors we use in our marketing materials.
Colors are critical to the first impression our brand makes with consumers, and we all know how critical first impressions are for determining our attractiveness and interest in something or someone. Some studies suggest that those critical first impressions are made in just seven seconds; this is far less time than it takes to read all of those carefully crafted words we stress over with every ad or post we write.
Research conducted by the CCI Color Institute for Color Research and the University of Winnipeg shows 62 percent to 90 percent of the judgments we make about things we encounter are based upon color. Psychologists continuously study the impact color has on our behavior, as well. Does it make us eat more? Does it make us more productive? And most importantly for businesses, does it make us buy more?
There are numerous studies and theories about color’s impact on our moods — from Feng Shui’s claims about the karma and moods color creates, to more formal studies from the groups like the Color Association of the U.S. Regardless of the sources you cite, the bottom line is that color matters — a lot. It directs that first impression to assign attributes of trustworthiness, friendliness, fun, joy, calm and other attractive traits like spunk, high energy, nostalgia, love and peace.
Take a look at red, a popular color for brands in all industries. Marketers like it because it catches attention. Restaurants like it sparingly, as it has been shown to suppress appetites when used too much — but to spark hunger when used as an accent. Studies from various groups show that red can increase your energy, anxiousness, heart and respiratory rates. Too much red in a setting can make us want to get up and go. Not what stores or restaurants want to achieve.
On the other hand, light shades of blue have been shown to calm people and inspire them to eat more in restaurant settings and to create feelings of trustworthiness, calm and intellect, while sparking productivity.
Jeanette McMurtry is a psychology-based marketing expert currently serving as CMO for Elateral, a cloud-based content adaptation hub. She authored “Marketing for Dummies” (Fifth Edition, Wiley) and “Big Business Marketing for Small Business Budgets” (McGraw Hill). McMurtry helps brands worldwide develop emotional selling propositions that trigger consumers' unconscious minds and achieve unthinkable ROI. She is a sought-after speaker on marketing psychology worldwide, presenting frequently for organizations like the DMA and Xerox. Her blog will share insights and tactics for engaging consumers' unconscious minds, which drive 90 percent of our thoughts and purchasing attitudes and behavior. She'll explore how color, images and social influences like scarcity, peer pressure and even religion affect consumers' interest in engaging with your brand, your message and buying from you. Reach her at Jeanette.McMurtry@elateral.com.