An effective Call-to-Action (CTA) button relies on four crucial criteria – Placement, Shape, Message and Color. Assuming we have great button placement, the perfect button shape and a hard-to-resist CTA message embedded in our button. How should we color the button? In this article, we consider an app’s CTA button – the in-app purchase button – and how we can customize its color to charm your target users, be it mainly men, mainly women, both genders, or kids.

How to Color Your In-App Purchase Button for Your Target Users 1According to a research by Joe Hallock, females like it blue, purple and green. They hate orange, brown and gray.

female-like Courtesy of Joe Hallock


Courtesy of Joe Hallock

While men dig blue, green and black, they loathe brown, orange and purple.


Courtesy of Joe Hallock


Courtesy of Joe Hallock

We can’t argue that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. But when it comes to colors, both sexes are not too contradictory after all. Out of the top three preferred colors for each sex, both genders actually have two colors in common. A round of applause to Mars and Venus.

What about kids? That’s a no-brainer. According empower-yourself-with-color-psychology, pre-adolescent kids like bright colors – bright red, bright blue, bright orange, bright yellow, bright purple and bright green.

Let’s study some examples of some cool and not so cool in-app purchase button colors relative to their target audience.

harbor-master Courtesy of AppAdvice

Harbor Master HD is a game that makes you guide boat traffic through line drawing. According to AppAdvice, Harbor Master HD is the finest line drawing game available on the iPad. Since this game tends to appeal to more boys than girls, I speculate they can do a better with their in-app purchase if they alter their existing gray button to something cheerful kids are attracted to. Or a delicious shade of blue or green if the game is intended for men as well. Moreover, from the above pie charts, gray is not something that attracts kids, not to mention adults.


By chance or by good choice, Evernote, the all-in-one-and-more personal organizer, got their in-app purchase buttons appropriately colored. They made it green, and it appeals to both genders. Of course it also helps that they have created a free version of a killer app that has so far garnered more than 10 million installs and was voted one of the Top 10 Must-Have Apps by New York Times.


Draw Something. Do you even remember this social drawing game, the once-cool-now-dead app by Omgpop? In their heydays when they were reaping $250,000 per day and users were rushing out to buy a stylus so that they could draw something, Draw Something also conceived their in-app purchase button color right. A cool green shade that attracted to entire world – men, women and kids.


 Courtesy of The Next Web

You may recall the story of a six-year-old who managed to charge $149.99 to her mother’s credit card to buy some gems for her virtual restaurant in Restaurant Story. Was the munchkin tempted by the lovely green in-app purchase buttons with sparkling green gems beside them?

The advice is to disable your device’s in-app purchase feature if you have kids playing with apps on it. They will, sooner or later, encounter these in-app purchase buttons if the apps have them. And they will, sooner or later, click on them. These buttons are designed to be clicked after all.

Finally, don’t put too much hope on color psychology and the dissertations of PhD candidates. Test out your in-app purchase button color with the other three variables – placement, shape and message – to make sure they are cohesive enough to convert with your target app users. Color, after all, is in the eye of the beholder.

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