The significance of colors in Digital Marketing

Colours brighten our life.

They are everywhere we see.

Color affects the mood in adults and more so in children.

Each of us have our favourite colour(s), right?

I like Black, Blue & Red. In that order.

As you know colors are very important in business.

They are one of the main sources of brand retention.

In this post, I’ll cover:

The meaning of different colors

Colors used in the online world

And

The misusage of colors.

You will be surprised to find out how colors can influence you or me.

As users.

Let’s start coloring!

Here’s the thing about colors:

They have the power to influence people on a subconscious level.

You may not be aware of it, but colors do work in such ways.

Different brands have uniques colors associated with them.

So much so that if we have to recall them, we can do so easily.

Mostly due to colors.

Say, which brand comes to your mind when you think of

Red

Coke?

coke

Mcdonald’s?

Mcd

Ferrari?

Ferrari

What about Blue?

Pepsi?

pepsi

Dell?

dell

Why are colors so important?

As I said, it is one of the first thing that captures attention.

That leads to retention.

Of course, there are other factors that effective marketing can use.

Colors are one of them.

Colors in Digital Marketing

Marketing, may it be traditional or digital, is all about getting noticed.

Take the below brands.

twitter
microsoft
facebook
espn
adobe

These are all global brands.

You know them.

You can RECALL them, right?

Why?

Is it just the name?

No. Colors also add to it.

Sure, there is the factor of frequency also.

Like, Starbucks has over 14,500 outlets in the United States.

Subway has about 24,000 stores in the States.

So, you will run into such stores no matter what.

That would also be a factor for brand retention.

But colors also play an important role.

Think about brands that are not as prevalent as the above two.

Adobe, Microsoft, etc.

You still recall their logos right?

If you think about it, probably the main reason you can recall them is due to the colors of their logos.

Let us check out some of the international retailers.

Tesco
starbucks
lidl
carrefour
benetton
amazon

Notice how every one of them have associated with one dominant color.

And the same color is echoed throughout all the social media and marketing platforms.

Take my site, Digidomain.

digidomain

It took me some time to arrive at that color.

Digidomain is a learning blog.

It is not an eCommerce site or a directory or any other type.

Hence I wanted a color a little different from others that is

-pleasant,

-gives a proper simplistic view so that

-it makes reading easy.

Color psychology

Let me explain how people are perceived to react to different colors.

To name a few main ones,

what our colors mean

And the next set as follows:

colors info2

Choosing the right color for your website

When creating a website, UI/UX is imperative.

The colors that you use and fill, will represent the site, brand, and retention.

So give it a long thought and research.

Especially for eCommerce sites.

Colors help in “Power of Repetition”.

You must research your target market first.

Only then you will be able to determine the color that will make them react the way you want them to.

Your research should, of course, include

Age

Gender

Culture

Any presence of colors in their culture (You can avoid or focus based on that).

If your target audience is kids, then you should give more prominence to colors.

It should be a combination of vibrant and contrasting colors like yellow or red.

You can use Google Trends for this.

You can do A/B testing and find out which color combinations and placements work best for generating leads and conversions.

Children react to colors on a physical level.

Colors affect the heart rate, perspiration, and muscular reactions.

Big companies don’t pick their dominant / brand colors by accident.

It is strategically chosen to be used as part of branding and marketing initiatives.

Different colors have their own specific abilities to attract specific types of users.

You should finalize the colors so that

-You stand out from the competitors

-You want to make it memorable

So while creating your website,

-choose a main or dominant color

-choose a few other colors to create a website color scheme

-finally, a background-color

The dominant color is the one where most of your research will reflect.

How do you want your website visitors to feel when they see your brand?

Say, you have a new premium clothing brand.

And you want to decide on the colors for the site.

You see a few of your competitor’s sites.

Site1 has a dark brown/yellow gold combo.

Site2 has black and white.

Site3 has black and yellow.

Now you know that Black is present on most of the sites.

So it would be appropriate to add that.

Now you need to decide on what other colors you can add that sets you apart.

Say, rose gold.

rose gold

This color also represents luxury item and none of your competitor has it.

You can definitely give it a go then.

Note: Not all colors will be right for you.                                         

Black & red are usually not used for eCommerce sites.

The case of eBay

Believe it or not, this is how the eBay site looked like way back.

ebay

eBay decided to change its background color.

From yellow to white.

But the moment they did so, they faced a lot of backlashes.

From users all over.

eBay started receiving emails from customers complaining about the change, forcing the company to change the background color back to bright yellow.

See how important color is?

So how did eBay resolve this?

They reverted it back to yellow, then changed it to white – one shade at a time, per day.

Over time, the yellow gradually changed to white.

And nobody complained.

Interesting isn’t it?

This is an example of how truly difficult it is to bring out a color change.

Especially something that is popular and has been accepted by users.

Apple

Apple has changed its logo quite a few times.

This was one of their earlier ones.

apple

And this is their current one.

apple

You see they have stripped the logo of all colors.

And maintained a black-white combo – again premium.

Note:

User experience is not solely about the user’s interaction with the product.

Colors in Branding & Design

Yellow and red, apart from the above representations, also serve as a reminder.

For hunger.

Hence the major food brands and QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) have this color combination.

wow momo
papa johns
KFC
dominoes
Mcd

Are you feeling hungry after seeing this list?

If so, that’s majorly due to the colors!

The green color is used for sign-ups & subscriptions.

Green CTA

As mentioned before red and related shades bring about urgency.

Hence the CTA colors.

Red CTA

Black and White combo serve as premium related colors.

gucci - black and white
Mercedes- black and white
Versace - black and white
Armani - black and white

CNBC, being a news website has a spectrum of colors.

cnbc logo

(It is actually a peacock. Watch closely).

These represent the plethora of topics that the site covers.

Dark Patterns

I’m sure you will find this interesting.

What are Dark Patterns?

These are tricks and schemes used in websites and apps that make you do things that you might not want to, like buying or signing up.

Including colors.

You’ll be surprised by such usage of colors.

How do Dark Patterns work?

While using websites and apps, you don’t read every word on every page.

You read through and make assumptions.

If a site wants to trick you into doing something, like signing up,

They can do this by making a page look like it is saying one thing when it is, in fact, saying another.

Dark Pattern types

A few of them as  below:

Trick questions

While form-filling you respond to questions that tricks you into giving answers you didn’t intend.

When glanced upon quickly the question appears to ask one thing, but when reading carefully it asks another thing entirely.

Our best defense against dark patterns is to be aware of them.

Hidden costs

In the below example, the shoe costs Rs.1399.

hidden cost

But when you add it to the cart and checkout,

hidden cost 2

It is now Rs. 1651 with tax.

By the time the hidden costs are revealed, you would have already invested a great deal of effort into your shopping.

Hence you’ll be more willing to complete the purchase rather than start all over again on another site.

Confirmshaming

Confirmshaming is the act of guilting users into opting into something.

confirmshaming

Instead of just adding “Exit” or “Skip”, the above latter option makes you feel bad.

Again see how both the CTAs are colored differently.

Another example that you can verify right now by yourself:

Amazon account closure.

You don’t have to close your account, but try doing it.

It is extremely tedious, almost impossible.

This is also a kind of Dark Pattern.

Dark Patterns in colors

Take the below example.

This is a web push from Economic Times Retail site.

etretail web push

You see how the “Nevermind” is barely visible compared to “Yes please”?

Also, the color of the latter is red.

Meaning urgency and importance.

You may click the latter option without knowing what you are getting into.

Another one:

This banner is from Microsoft.

This is one step ahead of the above banner.

The banner is about an upgrade.

microsoft dark pattern

Read the CTA options carefully.

Both mean the same!

The “OK” option is designed as a button click.

The way to opt-out would be to click the “X” a the top right.

Colors in CTA

Preferred colors for CTA:

Red

It invokes a sense of passion, excitement, and urgency.

Green

This is calming. Can be associated with motivation for many customers

Orange

Similar to red, this is also exciting and provides warmth that leads to action.

Colors to avoid in CTA:

Black

It is dark, tending to be recessive.

White

Even though white, in general, is perceived to be good, it is quite bad for a CTA.

As it blends with the page background.

The CTA should always stand out on a page.

As it is the action that you want your customers to take.

Assume that there is a site that uses Green color on all its CTAs.

Like “Buy Now”, “Sign Up” etc.

Here is the catch:

If the user, say, wants to delete his account, then which of the below would you add to your site as a pop?

account deletion option
account deletion option 2

You have green CTA throughout your site on all positive actions.

But the action here is negative as the user wants to delete the account.

So, would you keep it consistent with the rest of the site and choose option 1?

Or go by this specific action and choose option 2?

Let me know in the comments.


Conclusion

In the online world, we don’t just read the text.

We read the colors, designs, and logos as well.

We may not just know it.

As explained above, you can use colors to your benefit to gain more customers.

Or you can use it as a bait.

Your choice. Your shades!

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