Color psychology and its role in digital marketing

Have you ever wondered why your favorite brands use certain colors in their branding and marketing?

Coca Cola uses eye-catching red to lure in its customers while Whole Foods infuses green into its marketing to communicate its food’s natural freshness. These brands did not randomly choose those colors – they had specific reasons and motivations.

Whether you realize it or not, color impacts how your brain views the world.

Color psychology is the science of how color influences our attitudes, behavior, and decision-making.

It’s imperative that marketers understand color psychology and the theory behind it as different colors impact how brands are unconsciously perceived by consumers. In fact, consumers consider visual appearance and color above other factors, with 85 percent of consumers citing color as the primary reason for buying a product.

The colors you choose for your digital marketing and website design can also affect user experience and influence action. When designing advertisements, banners, call-to-action buttons, and other design elements, you need to consider the psychological color associations into account.

Utilizing Color Psychology in Digital Marketing

In today’s digital world, it’s important for a brand to develop a strong visual image to be used consistently across all digital and non-digital marketing channels. Your website is often the first point of contact between your brand and prospective customers.  Making a great first impression is essential. Studies indicate that our brain processes images 60,000 times faster than simple text, and 90 percent of information sent to our brains are visual.

Color is an excellent way to grab attention and convey meaning. You can have the best website content and calls-to-action but if the prospective customer does not have a positive emotional connection to the colors, they will not remain on your site or view your digital marketing.

Synchronizing color with branding visually helps tell a story and sets the tone for how it is perceived by the customer. When building your brand around color, you should choose a color representing the desired association and consistently apply the color to your logo, advertising, and website design.

How do you choose a color?

Think about what your marketing goals are and what response you want from your customers. Do you want people to get excited when they see your brand? Think about your target market. What are they attracted to? What are their values and aspirations?

When designing your website or digital marketing, consider which color might drive traffic, clicks, and encourage users in your company’s niche to act or purchase. While no single color is the best in increasing the conversion rate on a website, research shows a color which stands out ultimately performs better. HubSpot tested a green call-to-action button vs. a red call-to-action button. The red button performed 21 percent better than the green.

Different Ways to Use Color

  • Complementation refers to seeing colors in relation to other colors. When you use colors on opposite sides of the color spectrum, the design is visually appealing because the eye is provided a balance rather than straining to see a particular color.
  • Contrast reduces eyestrain and captures a user’s attention by clearly dividing the elements on a page. If your website has a dark background, use a lighter color for the main content. Using a variety of contrasting colors can help focus the viewer’s attention on specific page elements.
  • Vibrancy dictates the emotion of your design. Using brighter colors in your design can make the user feel more energetic, which can be effective when advertising a product. Darker color shades relax the mind, enabling their mind to focus on something else.

Color

Color Psychology Integration in Action

Let’s review some examples of how color works for different brands:

Red

Red is a classic color used strategically in marketing and utilized throughout digital strategy. It’s used to stop consumers in their tracks and call immediate attention. That is why it is often used for call-to-action buttons and in sales ads. It’s also known to attract impulsive shoppers. As one of the most aggressive colors on the spectrum, it evokes strong emotions like excitement, power, and love.

It’s fitting that an online streaming company like, Netflix, incorporates red in its branding as the service creates and provides a variety of content that evokes strong emotions from viewers.

Netflix

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Blue

Blue has been utilized in marketing to evoke feelings of trust, strength, and reliability.  Color variance is highly important when using blue and should top of the mind for every digital marketer, as lighter blue is preferable to darker blue to consumers. Darker blue may be too strong and convey a different message than intended. The color is one of the most versatile and demonstrates trustworthiness, dependability, and security.

The sense of security and trust are the elements making blue the favored color for financial institutions such as Source Capital Funding, a loan company that incorporates blue into its online branding strategy to signify to consumers that they should trust them in navigating and taking out hard money loans.

Source Capital

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Green

Green is said to signify nature, health, and relaxed feelings. The color has also evoked feelings of serenity and tranquility within consumers. It’s one of the easiest colors for eyes to process and is often also associated with ideas of freshness, hope, and growth, while dark green represents wealth and stability. Brands who segment their products as “green,” natural, fresh, or organic often use green.

CNBS, an educational cannabis resource, utilizes the association to infuse the color green in its blog and resources to educate readers about cannabis and its natural health benefits.

CNBS

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Yellow

Yellow evokes happiness, positivity, and optimism. It also signifies cheerfulness, youth, and clarity.  Brands prefer a touch of yellow on the background of their website design to provide a positive feeling to visitors, and to generate more engagement.  

Nikon incorporates yellow in their online marketing and branding appropriately using the color to communicate that their products help consumers capture moments of cheerfulness and youth with clarity.

Nikon

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Purple

Purple is associated with nostalgia and sentimentality. Darker tones of purple denote luxury and loyalty. The color is favored by imaginative and creative brands that hope to communicate their innovative and expressive products and services.

Hallmark incorporates purple in its logo and online branding to signify their fun and creative cards and products.

Hallmark

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Black

Black is a prominent color that is internationally recognized for its symbolization of sophistication, power, and control. The color is used to market reputable and trustworthy services and products. Luxury brands and technology companies utilize this color often to communicate high quality and sophisticated properties.

Housecall Pro incorporates black into their digital strategy alongside a bright blue on call-to-action buttons to signify their app is a reputable tool that helps technical professionals to complete quality work.

Housecall Pro

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White

White symbolizes purity, safety, and neutrality. The color is typically used in marketing for contrast and clarity. White space is a powerful design feature, it draws the eye with its cleanliness. Integrating the color white into marketing is a popular strategy used by all types of brands because of its versatility.

Intuit Turbo incorporates white in their online marketing and branding to signify safety and clarity in helping consumers manage their financial health and credit.

Turbo

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Summary

Marketers need to use every possible strategy and tools to generate sales, build brand loyalty and increase conversions. Color choice is not something to be taken lightly when designing your website and digital marketing. Use color psychology to help build a strong, reliable brand.

The right color combination can make all the difference and help your brand stand out in a crowded marketplace by helping you connect with your target market. Choose colors representing what you want your brand to be about or what you want your customers to feel when browsing your online store.

Emily Banks

This guest blog post was written by Emily Banks, who is a bay area native who got tired of San Francisco’s cold beaches, so she moved to San Diego. She is currently the editor for the marketing section of Inseev Interactive’s blog. When she is not typing away on her keyboard, she can be found eating street tacos in the sunshine.

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