Stay In The Black By Testing CTA Button Colors

Fawn Young

While we may have a gut feeling that a certain marketing tactic performs well, testing tells the truth. It either confirms our thinking or encourages us to go back to the drawing board. Let data tell you what really works.

I’m a big advocate of testing, so I spend a lot of time helping my clients run tests to find out exactly what works for them. Most are familiar with subject line testing and offer testing, but when it comes to content testing there seems to be a lot of questions. Where to begin? What to test? What metrics are important?

There are so many different elements to test that it’s no wonder it can be difficult to get started. You can test the layout of the message, more images vs. less images, more text vs. less text, call to action appearance, placement, verbiage, etc. For this post, we’ll just focus on one element – button color.

Let me preface this by saying there is no perfect color for everyone. However, with testing you can find what color works for you and your customers.

I have two clients that have recently tested button colors. The only difference between the two emails was the color of the call to action button. Everything else about the emails was exactly the same, including the subject line.

The first client tested a red/orange color against gold.

The click rates were nearly identical: 9.2% for the red/orange and 9.3% for the gold. Looking further down the funnel, revenue is where we saw a difference. The gold button brought in 363% more revenue.

Red / Gold

The same client tested the same button colors again (with a different call to action this time- which is another blog post for another day).

The results for the second test? Click rates were identical at 8.4%. Again, looking further down the funnel the gold button won out, bringing in 37% more revenue than the red/orange button this time.

Red / Gold

Another client typically used aqua buttons, so they decided to test aqua vs. gold. For the first test the gold button saw a 4% better click rate but the blue button brought in 19% more revenue.

Aqua / Gold

The second test they did saw the aqua button perform better than the gold both in terms of click rate (2% more) and revenue (20% more).

This client then took it a step further and tested a pink button vs. a gold. When testing button colors, you absolutely want to keep your branding in mind. While I wouldn’t recommend a pink button for many brands, it works for this client.

The gold button got a slightly higher click rate, with a 2% lift over the pink button, but the pink button won out in the end, bringing in 7% more revenue.

Pink / Gold

As you can see, there is no magic color that brings conversions. But in each case, some colors are clearly better than others. Testing is key. While pink, aqua or red might not work with your branding efforts, find a color that will and test your control against that. Be sure to test multiple times to ensure the results are legitimate and not just a fluke.

Once you’ve established the best color for your buttons, try testing other elements, such as the text color within the button. Does white text work better than black text on a gold button? What about on a blue button?

There are so many possibilities for content testing, and buttons are a very easy place to start. Here are some other ideas for content testing:

  • button placement
  • more text vs. less
  • more images vs. less images
  • nav bar vs. no nav bar
  • content in the header
  • whether to feature product price
  • call to action (does “buy now” work better than “shop now”, “continue”, “learn more”, etc.)

What wins have you seen when content testing? Please share by commenting below.


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