At YieldBuild, we have long known that the color of links influences the click through rates of links. Google did a recent experiment with GMail that was covered by GigaOm on the click through rates of links by altering the link color.
But there’s also the fact that Google is stuffed full of people who just love to experiment on its users. For instance, Google Mail uses a very slightly different blue for links than the main search page. Its engineers wondered: would that change the ratio of click throughs? Is there an “ideal” blue that encourages clicks? To find out, incoming users were randomly assigned between 40 different shades of links – from blue-with-green-ish to blue-with-blue-ish. It turned out blue-ness encouraged clicks more than green-ness. Who would have guessed? And who would have cared? Google, of course, which wants to get people clicking around the net.
While contrast is important, it’s largely dependent on the surrounding ecosystem of link colors. For example, in many tests we ran, placing AdSense ads on sites with mostly dark red links, changing the link color to blue of the text ads didn’t increase the clickthrough rate. However, we were able to increase the CTR in some cases by lightening the surrounding font colors around the ads without changing the link colors at all.
I think the comment that Google made about blue vs green links is true. That in general, sites with blue links have a higher link CTR than sites with green, or any other color but blue for that matter. If you’re thinking of starting a site to place text ads on, I’d suggest using light blue for your main link color.
This entry was posted on Friday, July 10th, 2009 at 9:09 am and is filed under YieldBuild. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.