Color Psychology for Your Small Business Ads

August 25, 2017
Advertising is in the details, and something as seemingly small as color can have a profound effect on how your business’ ads are received by the public. The following color profiles will help guide your brand into crafting an ad that resonates with your audience(s).

When advertising your small business, the effect of color on reactions, emotions, and perceptions can aid with increasing engagement, influencing a desired action, and creating a specific sentiment towards your brand or products/services. Unlike words, colors solely appeal to our subconscious minds. Red naturally elicits excitement, causing the viewer’s heartbeat to quicken. Alternatively, the color green brings reassurance, which is most likely tied to early humans’ search for water.

Advertising is in the details, and something as seemingly small as color can have a profound effect on how your business’ ads are received by the public. For example, a yellow call-to-action button on a landing page has a 14.5% higher conversion rate. A colored border on a Facebook Ad image can double click-through rates. Similarly, juxtaposing the color of two links within an ad image can increase conversion rates by 60%. However, color remains highly subjective. There is not one single color that is best for conversion, but there are colors that are known to evoke certain emotional and psychological responses within the majority of people. It is important to note that these color associations also depend on geographic location. The following color profiles will help guide your brand into crafting an ad that resonates with your audience(s).

No. 1: Blue. Out of all the colors, blue is the most beloved across age groups and genders. Overall, the color gives a sense of trust and security. Lighter shades of blue are calming while darker shades show professionalism and integrity. For your brand, it's recommended to use blue if your logo or ad includes accents of reds, oranges, and yellows. Some larger computing companies such as  IBM, HP, Dell, and Facebook use blue because the color portrays intelligence, efficiency, and logic. If your brand specializes in this area, blue might be appropriate for your business’ visuals. However, if your business lives within the food industry, your brand will want to avoid the color. With the exception of blueberries, most audiences associate blue (in the context of food) with sickness or mold.

No. 2: Green. This color is the easiest for the human eye to process and is often used for financial or environmental brands or causes. Green also encourages positive action (i.e., think about a stoplight changing to green) and affirmation. However, this color is most effective in its darker and more vibrant hues, as they create contrast without necessarily becoming pushy (like orange or red). When appealing to an audience, green and teal have been shown to work best with shoppers on a budget, so try either color with a coupon ad, discount code, or social offer.

No. 3: Purple. In general, this color exudes tranquility, wealth, and femininity. Interestingly enough, the color purple is the second favorite among women at 23%, and this figure increases as women age. Because it is men’s second least favorite color (after brown), a brand ought to only use purple if they’re targeting women exclusively. For an ad that offers to increase ROI or profits, purple (as well as the color green) can be effective by communicating wealth visually. Overall, the use of this color will mostly appeal to older demographics, women over the age of 60 to be exact.

No. 4: Red. Although it is the most eye-catching, the color red is also the most risky color to use for your business’ brand. Red motivates consumers to act hastily but also carries associations of negativity and mistakes (think about how teachers tend to grade papers and tests with red ink). Red can also stimulate passion, urgency, and excitement. Rather than using it as a primary color in your ad or logo, red is best utilized when it accents or borders specific areas, such as a call to action. Your brand can also take advantage of this color best when it is contrasted with the colors grey, dark blue, or green. This sort of palette will portray your business as professional while also popping with color.

No. 5: Black. While your business won’t want to overuse this color, black is great for asserting professionalism and sophistication. The color conjures the following descriptors for consumers: permanent, sincere, intellectual, powerful, and sleek. To use black successfully, pair it with white and avoid colors that will wash out your ad’s message such as grey or tan. If you are trying to build a sincere or serious brand profile, the color black will communicate this message. However, your business will want to avoid black as a primary color if it is trying to create a fun and youthful persona.

No. 6: Orange. Warm, bright, and sunny, this color is the most widely used for landing pages and calls to action. While orange can be very inviting towards your audience, overusing this color portrays naivete and a lack of professionalism. To make your brand’s Facebook Ads more eye-catching, try to incorporate the color orange, as this color works well with the platform’s existing blue and white color scheme. Overall, this pigment is best used with two other bright colors, such as blue and green.

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