Branding101
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CTA Buttons: What Color Converts the Most Users?

7 Rules for Optimal Conversions

Quick Intro to CTAs

Okay okay, but first — what even is a CTA button?

Essential to any website, or really anything a brand puts out into the world, is the call-to-action (CTA). The call-to-action is the action you want users to take.The whole point of your site should be to convert users into prospects or customers. On websites there is the CTA button, which is usually a button that says something to the effect of: “Join Now”, “Get Started”, “Learn More”, and so on. When it comes to the CTA strategy, most of the focus is on the content and flow. But when it comes to the CTA button, the color strategy is just as important as the messaging.

The first thing first, you need to figure out what action you want your users to take. How you plan to convert the person from a visitor to a prospect and/or customer. Whether that’s to learn more, order, shop, request a quote, subscribe, donate, register, provide contact info, or anything! This action can be different depending the outlet and circumstance. For example: if you were trying to get people to buy tickets to an event, you wouldn’t want the CTA to be “subscribe now”, but you would want it to be along the lines of “buy tickets”.

Once you know the action, you just want a short compelling sentence that will make the users want to click the CTA. Go to any website, and you should see a good example of this in the hero section of the homepage. I’ve provided a few below:

CTA Example: Netflix
CTA Example: Spotify
CTA Example: Instagram

What Color Converts the Most Users?

The whole point of CTAs is to create conversions. CXL Institute, has a great article that outlines several case studies and theories about optimal colors for conversion. The typical debate boils down to red/orange vs. green/blue

Source

You’ll notice, in the examples I provided above, that the CTA buttons included red, green, and blue. So what gives? What’s the best color for conversion optimization?

Here’s the thing — the color does matter. Very very much. But as to what that color is, is a case-by-case answer. Colors mean different things, and can inspire different reactions, to different cultures, people and contexts. Some case studies find orange out performs against blue, others find blue out performs against orange- it can all feel very illogical and overwhelming. We’d of course prefer a cut and dry answer. But that’s simply not the case. Instead, there are certain factors you need to consider for your CTA color and rules to follow.

Rule #1- Stand Out

The CTA button needs to be obvious, it needs to be vibrant and it needs to contrast against the rest of the site. If you’re site is a lot of blues, go for orange. If your site is a lot of white, go for red. If it’s black, go for greens. Pick a color that stands out. Don’t pick a color that blends into the site or is muted. Like a moth drawn to the light, you want something bright and shiny that will draw the eye.

Rule #2- Keep it Consistent

The color you pick for your CTA button needs to be the same color throughout your entire website. Equally important, the color you pick for your CTA button needs to be the same color as anything that’s clickable. Hyperlinks, clickable icons, and buttons should be the same color.

Color Consistency Example: Source

You are training the user that when they see this color, it means to click it. Kind of like a bull charging anything that’s red, you want your users charging whatever color you’ve chosen.

Don’t have things that are clickable different colors.

#3 — Reserve the Color Solely for CTAs

Whatever color you choose for your CTA, make sure the color is solely used with the CTA. If you chose red, don’t have a red icon or text that isn’t clickable. If you chose green — don’t have green boxes or graphics that aren’t clickable. The color should only be used when it is also clickable.

Rule #4- Keep it Clean

In fact, better than just reserving the color solely for CTAs, is to have your CTA be the only color. Or at least the only color that pops out. Keep the page clean, use a lot of white or calming tones. You don’t want a lot of vibrant colors on the page that the CTA gets lost in. You want the CTA to pop out. Without even having to read, you want the user to immediately look at the page and know where to click.

Rule #5 — Have a Secondary Plan

In some cases, there may be more than one action you want a user to take. Maybe ideally they’d start a trial, but if they’re not ready — they’ll click to learn more. In the event of needing two CTAs you’ll want to prioritize — what’s the best case CTA button they click and what’s the second option? Make the prioritized button your chosen CTA color, and make the secondary option either a complimentary color or simple outline. Whichever route you go, keep it consistent! See examples below:

Source
Source

Rule #6- Keep it Sticky

It’s best practice to keep a CTA in the menu section of the site, along with the hero section. You want your CTA to stay in front of the user no matter where they click or scroll, so make sure a CTA button sticks with them and stays on their screen no matter where they go.

Rule #7 — Test, Test, Test

Don’t just guess what the best color is — test it! In a previous post, I write about user interviews. Don’t just throw a color out there and hope it’s the best. Conduct user interviews to see what color has the best conversion rates. Once you’ve gone live, perform A/B testing to see what color converts higher than the other. Once you have enough data to select the winner, keep the winner and test it against another color.

Keep in mind your trying to train your users to take action when they see a certain color, so try not to swap colors out often, or without good reason.

What Color Surprises You?

There are so many colors out there, do your due diligence to find the best performing color for your brand and website so as to not miss out on easy opportunities.

I’d love to hear: What color have you used that has had surprising results? How do you feel about the black and white trends?

Leave a comment sharing your insights!

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Stephanie Asmus

Stephanie Asmus

Austin-based designer, writer, entreprenuer and frequent flyer. www.stephasmus.com | IG/@stephasmus