How The Color Red Influences Behavior

Changing the color of the price from black to red on an advertisement makes men think they are getting a bargain, according to research from the University of Oxford Said Business School. Some recalled the price as $15 less than the actual cost.

The study, "Are Men Seduced by Red? The Effect of Red Versus Black Prices on Price Perceptions," shows men tend to look at colors in advertisements to determine their worth, whereas women tend to read the print. The findings imply that men had rather not spend the time to look more closely at the content. Researchers also said that men more often associate the color red with pleasure.

Women were not affected by the color of the printed price. Perhaps that's why a study from the Insights in Marketing i-on-Women cited that females control more than $7 trillion in domestic spending and purchase decisions for 85% of the major product categories.



The researchers from the Said Business School argue men rely on color as an indication of value, and tend not to take the time to process advertisements, instead quickly looking for clues they can use as shortcuts to make decisions. When men took the time to process the ad's content in more depth, the color's influence on price perception fell.

Determining what colors work online for a specific audience should become just as important as the copy and layout. A and Forrester Research study released Tuesday points to testing colors, and the size of add-to-cart buttons and fonts. In fact, 47% of retail marketers participating in the survey said testing of site layout and key site attributes has become one of the top five merchandising  priorities for online businesses this year as part of A/B and multivariate testing of online content.

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