The Idea

Digital marketing designers, business owners and web developers tend to want things to look attractive from a user interface perspective. Most color schemes don’t look their best with big bright red or green buttons, but that’s exactly what’s needed to improve conversions. If you’ve got no time to test, many studies point to red as the best default.

A red and green cta button comparison

Image Credit

Users skim over content

One reason for high-contrast is that since users skim content on the page, they look at things they perceive to be important. If your call-to-actions stand out from the rest of the page, chances are they will be seen.

It depends on your color scheme

The whole idea of choosing a red, orange or green button is that these colors are noticeable and generally stand out compared to the rest of the content. Obviously, if the page has a red color scheme, using a red button would likely not work as well as a green one.

For many brands, color scheme and consistency are important, even when conversions are at stake. However, that’s no excuse for not using a button that has a decently high-contrast in relation to the rest of the page.

Different colors create different emotions

It’s a good idea to think through and test button colors based on the target market and product. For example, a pink button would do well with teenagers and fashion products. For banking products, however, blue would be a better choice since it’s calming and associated with trust. This is a good guide to quickly get up to speed with button colors.

Test it out for Pete’s Sake!

As with most things like this, the best bet is to choose a few colors and test your conversion rates. There are many things that could affect the conversions like:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Cultural background
  • Product category
  • Page being tested
  • Etc.

Online and offline applications

Busy street with lots of digital billboard ads
Ads can stand out anywhere with the right contrast

The principle of contrast is true for any marketing material with a visual call-to-action. Whether its on a busy downtown street corner competing against other ads or a business card standing out against all the others at a network event. It just means if you’re paying for an ad and taking the time to set it up, you should make sure that your color scheme is intentional and that it stands out in whatever medium you’re using at the time.

Online and offline examples

  • Video ads
  • Email marketing
  • Web pages
  • Newspapers
  • TV commercials
  • Flyers
  • Business cards
  • Etc.



  • Ease: Easy
  • Cost: Free
  • Scope: High
  • Speed: Instant
  • Reach: Global