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Switching the shade of blue used on advertising links in Gmail and Google search earned the company an extra $200m a year in revenue... "And actually, to make sure we covered all our bases, we ran forty other experiments showing all the shades of blue you could possibly imagine."
A few good takeaways
- on a micro level: ever so slightly more purple link color drew more clicks (though the actual color that draws clicks may depend on overall color scheme and design).
- on a macro and more worthwhile level: testing reveals untapped revenue sources that might not seem apparent.
Any surprising results from your tests?
Forget just color blind, the bigger demographic would be people with cataracts and other such eye afflictions like I suddenly ran into 2 years ago. The contrast is a huge issue and dark fonts on dark backgrounds or conversely light faded fonts on white, is a real problem. Heck, I had to use a phone camera flashlight to read most menus in restaurants if they weren't simple B&W menus for the very same reason.
Even more important is the font size and whether it will scale on the page properly when zoomed because the 20-somethings and their 8pt reading eyes are just wrecking the place for people over 40 with money to spend which is why we all shop at Amazon.
May have been a bad move but it's done so the question remains (and why this thread is important) is how to adjust to the change. Color has become a very necessary tool for succeeding with Adsense.
Now turn the graphic into a grayscale image
Google Search stays the course with the same text link ad format
20-somethings and their 8pt reading eyes are just wrecking the place
Though they also run a lot of tests, not least with background colors on the ad sections.
Those text ads look pretty much like they always have, just like the search results on the left.
Wonder how long it will be until someone on this thread says Pink is great. Actually.......that would be me :) used for about 5 years now.
I figure go with Google colors to be safe: blue and green.
Right now I'm going with blue title, slightly darker blue URL, and black text.
I want the ads to be differentiated and clear
I have an interesting, but true story to add. I've been using A/B experiments to attempt to raise my CTR on one of my ads based on color, borders, etc. One thing i've noticed is that an ad that isn't usually clicked (inline content ad) actually causes the top ad (most clicked) to DROP in CTR when the style is changed to 'blend in' with the rest of my website.
Most of my sites are white background, black text, and pretty simple. Not a lot of stuff going on on each side of the site, all attention is directed to the middle/center of the page.
None of my sites use the same link/color scheme for content as they do for the ads -- this is a violation, of course -- but one way around it, I feel, is using medium/light gray links for your content. This way your real links sort of blend in with the page and aren't as noticeable, while the blue ad links stand out.
Since I'm sensitive to ad blindness myself, I try to structure the ads so that they don't appear all at once on screen (i.e. a sidebar ad next to a center ad), but instead the ads are found as the user scrolls down. However, not all my sites are like this, and the ones with sidebar and center ads I try to differentiate a little, such as making the sidebar ads text/image, and the center ad a text-only ad with different font style and color.
I think there's a definite reason for this and I've been seeing results along these lines as well. The same effect can be seen when using an image ad in one spot and a text ad in another.
This depends on the overall visual look and feel of the site but on a quiet page, an image ad will jump out at the viewer and scream "I'm an ad!" It's actually distracting the viewer from the fact that another ad somewhere else on the page is also an ad. This distraction factor causes the viewer to look elsewhere on the page for actual content and sort of causes a mental division of the page into ad space and content space. This causes them to see the less demonstrative ad as part of the content space. When you tone down the distraction ad, e.g. by making it a blended text ad, you loose this sort of disarming effect on the viewer. This is certainly a form of visual trickery and I'm not big on trickery in general but color moves the eye and it's one of the techniques we still have in our arsenal to work with. Anyway, that's the theory, using one color dominating ad space to make another space on the page appear friendlier in a sense. It's a form of contrast.