One “Unbelievable” Call-to-Action Color Makes $80 Million

Update: The original post is below regarding the number one color that Bing a/b tested. After Bing, I also added an interesting finding from Google and what their preferred color may be.

The $80 million color is: #0044CC

That “code” is a precise shade of blue, and it works when a link is the call-to-action.

When Microsoft was designing what would eventually become Bing, it tested a vast number of colors and it turned out that the one that users engaged with the most was indeed blue. More specifically, it was a shade of blue quite similar to the one used by Google.

Paul Ray, a user experience manager for Bing said on Tuesday that choosing that specific blue (#0044CC for you color enthusiasts) over some other hues amounted to an additional $80 million in annual revenue, when one factors in the additional clicks on advertisements and increased user engagement.

Source: CNET

Now, many times you’ll use a link as a call to action. This one shade of blue is the color for links. Keep it underlined. Don’t be fancy. Don’t mix it up with other colors either.

What has Google discovered?

Google doesn’t typically announce their split-test winners, but one site, GoodUI, closely monitors their changes. Based on a discovered change, this could be Google’s top pick.

Google has been using #1A0DAB for the SERP links for awhile and recently they were testing a blue close to #2358C2, but it seems to have been quickly removed. It stands to reason, that #1A0DAB is their champion (or control).

GoodUI theorized that it’s because this blue is darker than the other and provides a stronger contrast.

What’s the perfect color for buttons?

Orange, or a shade of it. Typically this color contrasts the best with websites. The color of your button is ‘set apart’ from your website. There are tests that have proven this countless times. Here’s a few posts:

  1. Split Testing with a Genetic Algorithm
  2. How to Call to Action (their explanation of why orange works best)
  3. The attack of red [actually, orange] buttons: how reduced bounce rate by doing a simple change

If you go to Bing’s homepage, you’ll notice they use an orange search button. It is likely that they also found that orange is best for buttons.

This is the power of testing. Use the above shade of blue for links. And, for buttons, it needs to contrast with the rest of the site — this color is typically orange.

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23 responses to “One “Unbelievable” Call-to-Action Color Makes $80 Million”

  1. Profits .IM Avatar

    I’ve got to admit, I’ve come to the same basic conclusions on my own after years of testing (not that exact shade, but orange for buttons and blue for links). Interestingly enough, on display ads we’ve found that green eyes also result in a higher CTR…go figure.

  2. Daniel Avatar

    Thanks for this post! I am going to use that color all the time in my banners now 🙂

  3. Ed Avatar

    It’s not surprising that blue sells as this also been known in the offline markting world. Interesting to note that orange works well for buttons.

  4. No one Avatar
    No one

    The top 10 most downloaded applications for iPhone/pod/pad ALL HAVE BLUE ICONS!

  5. Pierre Avatar

    Nice info. I’ve found myself wondering this every time I’ve created a landing page over the past 11 years. I split test and I’ve come to the same conclusions, but I never knew the exact color code.


  6. Affbuzz Avatar

    Take that #0000FF!

  7. David Avatar

    And I’m reading this on a page where there’s no any blue link 😀

  8. Shock Marketer Avatar
    Shock Marketer

    @David: Haha yeah, I have get off of this free WP template one of these days. But, I prioritize landing pages.

  9. Ryan Eagle Avatar

    Check out EWA and Blamads. Blue color schemes..

  10. NegBox Avatar

    44-CC … that a bra size? I’m definitely testing that one.

  11. eCOMLEADS Avatar

    interesting information to know especially when one has to create lots of LP

  12. RALPH Avatar

    Cool, good to know i def need to change my link color

  13. Eddie Avatar

    Might give this color a try on my site.

  14. d3so Avatar

    The standard color for links have always been blue. No surprise but interesting to have stats added to backup the claims.

  15. Dustin Avatar

    Maybe we need to plan for the next set of colors cause I’m sure these two color will get abused now to the point where it won’t be anymore good.

    None-the-less, good post though.

  16. Shock Marketer Avatar
    Shock Marketer

    @Dustin: Actually, the more websites that use this color, the more users will get used to clicking this color too–which is good.

  17. iPyxel Creations Avatar

    Awesome. Will start testing the blue text and orange button. Complimentary colors! I knew I learned something from grade school. lol

    Thanks for the post!


  18. omar Avatar

    whats the font that bing uses?

    1. Shock Marketer Avatar
      Shock Marketer

      It looks the same as Google’s: Arial — which is simple and easy to read.

  19. Jeffry Jones Avatar

    Excellent post. Was looking for a good blue color.

  20. Thomas Avatar

    Hat’s off to Bing for sharing this priceless case study.

    This article has persuaded me to change my clickable text over to #0044CC.

    I’m currently using verdana but may switch over to arial.

  21. David Leger Avatar

    Article totally makes sense. A blue link is very common, especially for those of us who’ve been around since the dwn of internet time, lol…

  22. Robert Avatar

    This is weird, did they share any insights, psychology behind this, like a bigger picture why that specific color works better?

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