How Colors Affect Social Ad Performance

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Marketers obsess over channel allocation and messaging. But sometimes, an ad’s effectiveness can come down to a factor seemingly as simple as color.

That’s according to a new report by intelligent creative platform VidMob, which analyzed the performance of more than 5 million video ads on Instagram and Facebook. The company assessed the ads for three-second view-through rate (or the percentage of ads seen that consumers watched for at least three seconds), click-through rate, and purchase rate.

The results showed that color preferences vary by vertical and that they yield a significant impact on performance. For example, cooler colors produced 60% better performance for beauty ads, while warmer ads performed 40% better in personal care campaigns.

For beauty and personal care advertisers, the data suggest that cool and warm colors may overperform, respectively. More broadly, the study underscores the importance of measuring and optimizing ads for color and of doing so by vertical rather than assuming that results cut across industries.

Color contrast also affected performance. For example, personal care ads with higher contrast in Facebook and Instagram Stories drove a 63% lift in campaign view rates relative to lower-contrast ads. This, again, suggests that research on how a brand or retailer’s ads perform in a given vertical and format might allow advertisers to optimize results by color and contrast.

The big picture is that whereas advertisers once calibrated creative based on intuition, data, and more importantly, creative automation platforms now enable advertisers to optimize creative at scale automatically and with more granular insights. The same movement is happening in ecommerce with regard to product presentation on the digital shelf.

To be sure, the artist retains a major role to play in advertising. But using data to drive creative decisions and automation to iterate at scale are increasingly table stakes in digital advertising.

Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Joe is an ad/martech veteran who has covered the space since 2015. You can contact him at [email protected]