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Blue link vs. Red link vs. Banner: which one got 50% more clicks?

Posted in A/B Split Testing, Case Studies on May 11th, 2011

Beamax, a Belgium based company, manufactures and distributes projection screens for home cinemas and meeting rooms world-wide. They wanted visitors on homepage to go to a site dedicated to ex-demo and one-off items that are sold directly to consumers. (All other screens are sold indirectly through resellers). They admit that it’s a bit odd to drive away visitors to another site from your main page, but they wanted to clear up some space in the warehouse that was taken up by uncommon items.

A/B testing link colors

So, they decided to do a simple A/B test using Visual Website Optimizer. Just above the product images on homepage, they put a standard link promoting the other website. It said:

Great deals on brand new and ex-demo screens here

To increase clickthroughs on link, they tested a red link (with same text) because they felt it would out-perform the standard blue that they use. Plus, it’s something direct marketers use in “real” mail pieces too. As another variation, they transformed link into something banner-like that they thought would even have more impact. Their hypothesis was that the banner version the sure-fire winner. See screenshots below:

Original page

Page with red link

Page with red banner

What type of link got most clicks?

So, any guesses on which version got maximum clicks: blue, red or banner version? Well, the red link and banner both outperformed the blue link and that wasn’t a surprise. But the eye-opening result was that the red link winning from the banner. The improvement of red link compared to the original blue link was pretty big too: 53.13%. (Note we have some other case studies online which demonstrate how red link outperforms the default link. Here are two examples: PDFProducer case study and GSM.nl case study)

Lessons learned: patience pays

Otto Tromm, CEO of Beamax, stresses the importance of waiting for statistically significant results. He says:

In the early stage of the test, the banner was the big winner. But, over time (when the results got more reliable), the red link outperformed the banner. That taught me not to jump to conclusions.

And it was tempting to declare an early winner, because initial results proved my gut feeling. The test proved me wrong, so it teaches you to stay humble too.

So would I implement a red link vs a banner blindly next time? No, I would test it!

Visual Website Optimizer: how important was it?

Choice of the right tool is certainly very important when are you are doing A/B tests. Beamax chose Visual Website Optimizer for the job (just like thousands of other businesses). Here’s what Otto from Beamax has to say about the tool:

I am not a designer or coder and we use Mod-x and CMS defined templates for nearly all pages. So I neither want to call on experts for every test I do, nor do I want to mess up their work. Visual Website Optimizer made it easy for a non-tech guy to do the tests and keep our designer and programmer focused on their own projects.

With Google’s solution, it was a lot more work to implement tests, which is why I stopped using it. Just couldn’t get it all done myself, which is important when you have an idea and quickly want it implemented.

Hope you liked this case study! If you have any comments or suggestions, we are all ears.

Paras Chopra

CEO and Founder of Wingify by the day, startups, marketing and analytics enthusiast by the afternoon, and a nihilist philosopher/writer by the evening!

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7 Comments
Vijay
May 11, 2011

Does this mean blue hyperlinks should be shown to red via css to get more clicks ?

[...] In vielen Situationen werden auf Websites wichtige Links gesetzt, die letztlich beispielsweise einen Verkauf einleiten sollen. Diese Links sollen den Besucher dann natürlich auch ins Auge stechen. Drei verschiedene Möglichkeiten dies umzusetzen, rote Links, blaue Links und ein Banner wurden jetzt mit einem A/B Testverfahren miteinander verglichen. Das Ergebnis: Nein, nicht der Banner liegt vorne, sondern der etwas dezentere rote Link. Hier gehts zum Test… [...]

Paras Chopra
May 12, 2011

@Ajay: no this means one should A/B test link color!

Awesome post. I have been considering red vs blue links for a while. The blue obviously is the more traditional and definitely blends in with the website, but if the goal is to get users to see a link and click it, red is definitely the better choice since it stands out.

I just switched from blue to red background/white font for my main links, so I’m hoping I’ll see a bigger click through rate now.

[...] Red link boosts clickthroughs by over 53% [...]

[...] of a consumer’s eye pattern down the page (don’t hide it in a sidebar or in the nav). Check out how this simple shift of changing a link from blue to red helped Beamax boost click throug… or how changing two words helped boost sales by [...]

joe
February 28, 2012

which brings me to the most obvious question, why are you using blue links on this site – when the clear winner was the red link.

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