The Advertising Element You’re Not Paying Enough Attention To

If you’re involved in any part of your company’s social advertising, hold the wire; we want to tell you about a study we’ve found and why it’s super important to the imagery you’re using in your campaigns.

First, we want to ask – what do you think first captures your audiences’ attention? Is it compelling ad copy? Graphic? A combo of both?

If you guessed graphics, you’re almost correct. The color of your ads is the most important element in grabbing a reader’s attention and should allow them to immediately understand the meaning of your campaign. Pretty crazy, right?

If you’re like many digital advertisers, you’ve spent countless hours split-testing copy, graphics, headlines, and descriptions trying to find the perfect solution for your brand. Unfortunately, this is all for naught if you’ve got the wrong color.

Research shows that when people scroll through Facebook (or any social medium), they’re able to see advertisements for just 100 milliseconds (which is less time than a blink of the eye) and understand what the ad is about. However, that’s only true if the ad has color in it. This is because there are specific areas of our brain that process color quickly and draws attention to them (ever wonder why people are able to choose a “favorite color”?).

In a 2008 study from Wellesley College, where researchers examined how the brain processes different colors, it was found that certain colors light up specific parts of your brain, grabbing your attention and making you instantly aware – some colors being more sensitive than others (like red, for example).

Some interesting color finds:

  • Red: attention-grabbing (signifying danger, boldness, and attraction).
  • Green: best used if you want people to be hungry (signifying freshness)
  • Blue: color of trust (*the color to avoid on Facebook)
  • Purple: luxury (associated with emperors and royalty)
  • Black: exclusivity (signifies high-value luxury goods)

If Facebook is your primary source of advertising, we advise against using the color blue. Unfortunately, even though it’s a trustworthy color, Facebook’s marketing will not allow your blue to easily stand out. Being that the platform is blue and white, any ad with a similar hue will blend into the background.

A word to the wise: if you want to stand out, the brighter and higher the contrast you use, the better. If blue is a part of your brand, we suggest using it more subtly.

Social advertising is complicated and adding colors into the mix certainly doesn’t simplify it. What men find compelling, women won’t. What works in one part of the world might not work in the other. However, if you can get the colors right and make them work in harmony with what you’re trying to sell, your ads will immediately stand out in a feed amongst the others – even if an end-user is “mindlessly scrolling”.

Happy creating!