Humans are visual beings — we use our eyes to process information quickly and the colors and content of these images give us quick indications of how we should feel about something.
Some of this is innate and some learned. Red signals danger, yellow is caution and green means go.
And this matters in travel. According to a recent report by marketing technologists RocketFuel, your creative could be holding you back from boosting conversions via your digital channels.
This includes property listings, banner ads and generally anywhere that images are deployed to enhance the experience and encourage conversions — whether it be a click on a banner ad or a completed booking.
Blue performs best
William Shatner might be on to something — a blue background performs best with users, with white following close behind and purple holding up a distant third.
Black, orange, brown and grey perform the most dismally — for obvious reasons, it would seem to us. No one wants to feel like they are stuck in a Halloween parade while shopping online!
Here's how the performance breaks down according to background color:
We expect a wholesale shift of all travel sites to blue backgrounds, stat!
Length of trip within the ad
We wouldn't have considered how including the length of trip within the advertisment would impact performance.
The fact that the length of trip is a critical piece of information for users engaging with an ad is true: ads with a length of stay performed 167% better while those without underperformed by 18%.
By making the trip quantifiable, the ad was able to perform better. This means that a person with, say, 5 days of vacation, could quickly see that this trip pertains to them and that, in fact, it could fit into the allotted vacation time.
Gender matters in advertising
Feminists, cover your ears: this particular analysis found that men convert more than women.
Adverts with men averaged 102% higher conversions than those without a person in them, while adverts featuring women performed 25% more than those without a human. Interestingly, ads featuring both a man and a woman underperformed with a 15% lower conversion rate.
These results came from analyzing 23.3 billion impressions served over an 8-month period from 1,076 advertisers across 40,ooo banner ads.
In travel specifically, fewer than 50% of ads featured people in them. Yet that cohort performed much better — up to 152% increase in conversions, to be exact.
So rather than just testing imagery of a destination or product, it might also be smart of travel brands to test performance of ads that include a variety of types of people so the consumer can envision themselves there.
Air travel was the exception here — those ads rarely showed people and those without a human performed 166% better.
That's an easy one: no one wants to be reminded of the fellow sardines with whom they'll be sharing the tin can in the sky!
Some other key observations:
- Product images have 6% higher conversion rates than those without
- Animated ads have a 7% higher conversion rate, with 6-9 second animations converting the highest, at 138%
- A logo placed in the lower left corner have 81% higher conversion rates than those with a logo placed anywhere else
- Ads that include offers have on average a 98% higher conversion rate than those that don’t
- Banner ads with people performed better overall, delivering 4% higher conversion rates than ads with no people.
Regarding the report, Dominic Trigg, Rocket Fuel SVP and Managing Director Europe said the results should open up the possibilities rather than just leaving it up to the tried-and-true:
Some might look at the data and conclude that it over-prescribes creative opportunities. But we think the opposite is true.
The data illuminates what has worked well in the past, but it doesn’t limit the discovery of what might work in the future. One of the best benefits of programmatic is that it enables affordable and fast real-world testing of literally any idea or hypothesis you can imagine. It opens possibilities—it doesn’t close them.
Download the full report here.
NB: Prism image courtesy Shutterstock.