Photography Tricks

Data-Backed Ways to Feature Red in Your Next Ad Campaign

Data-Backed Ways to Feature Red in Your Next Ad Campaign

Here’s how the first color of the rainbow impacts creative performance, according to artificial intelligence. 

Red is a powerful color—aggressive and brilliant, a symbol of both love and anger. But, how will it perform in your next ad campaign? And, are there specific red objects that will boost your brand’s click-through rate (CTR)? 

To help answer these questions, Shutterstock.AI analyzed thousands of shades of red and millions of red objects within its image and video collections. Here’s what it found . . .

I Says Red Colors Are Some of the Most Clickable

Color choices have a huge impact on marketing performance. Across every industry and throughout every marketing campaign, choosing the right colors can make or break creative success. Luckily, you can rarely go wrong with red.

When analyzing the over 600 billion points within its data set, Shutterstock.AI found that shades of red make up nearly one third of today’s most clickable colors. Throughout all media, including both video and image assets, 30% of the most clickable colors are in the red family. 

In general, the third most clickable color of all is #800040, which is a red-violet. Whether it’s in photography, abstract graphic design, or video ads, red-violet is one of this fall’s most engaging colors, across all industries and audiences. 

Red Neon Background

Autumn Leaves

Nail Art

Elegant Interior
Red-violet claims one of the top spots when it comes to clickable colors. Images via wacomka, Robert Kohlhuber / Addictive Creative, marianayurijivna, and

Beyond red-violet, a variety of other shades of red are fueling audience engagement, including rust, brick red, dark red-violets, and even soft pinks. 

Oil Paint Art

French Bulldog

Fall Accents

Red Sari
A variety of shades in the red family fuel clicks. Images via Robert Kohlhuber / Addictive Creative, Viktor Holm Images, Edita Paulauskiene, and Gary S. Chapman.

Red Fruit Is Trending This Fall

Perhaps consumers want one last taste of summer, because watermelon holds an incredibly strong CTR this fall. Its performance dipped from 2019 to 2020, but after that period with low engagement, photos of watermelons have seen their CTR increase in a big way. In fact, their clickability has surged 3,147% since this time last year. 

Other fruits have seen big gains during this time period, too. The clickability of cherries has increased 753% since fall of 2020. Photos containing strawberries have seen their CTR rise 275%. And apples, though not quite as engaging, have held a strong CTR across the last three fall seasons. 

Watermelon Slices

Fresh Strawberries

Watermelon Salad


Cherry Ice Cream
Data tells us that consumers’ favorite fruits to click on are (drumroll please!) . . . strawberries and watermelon.Images via The Picture Pantry, Steve Giralt Images, Magdanatka, baibaz, and Kati Finell.

dd a Splash of Red to Your Settings

It’s been well-established that outdoor settings are generally more clickable than indoor settings. This has been especially true as COVID-19 has been directly impacting how we spend our free time. Considering that consumers are much more likely to click on outdoor photos, how can you maximize your image selections to include a pop of highly-clickable red? 

Shots of cities have been increasing in engagement steadily since 2020. Because of that, it’s no surprise that brick reds make the aforementioned list of most clickable colors.

While brick red is engaging across all mediums, it’s particularly engaging when used in video and juxtaposed with denim blue, grays, and black. 

City Brick Wall

Victorian Building

Fire Station

Red Brick Building
Fire trucks are having a moment too. The recognizable red vehicles have seen their CTR rise 190% since 2019. Images via Mauro Grigollo / Westend61 on Offset, DrimaFilm, EPG_EuroPhotoGraphics, and Nagel Photography.

When it comes to rural outdoor settings, red can still pack a punch. Barns have held a consistently strong CTR since 2019, but in the last year alone, their clickability has trended up 233%.

Sunrises and sunsets are also performing well. In fact, when shown in videos, sunsets have seen their CTR go up 210% over the last three years.

Soothing Sunset

Red Barn

Red Sunset

Country Farm
A pop of red can boost performance anywhere. Images via Jaromir Chalabala, Don Donelson, Brynhild Jorid Rotvold, and Denise LeBlanc.

The Classics Are Always in Style

Some of this season’s red trends are fairly predictable. For example, fall foliage is engaging right now, with its CTR having increased 258% over the last two years.

Red roses are extremely clickable in videos, too. Their CTR has trended up 209% since 2019. 

Autumn Forest

Single Rose

Autumn Leaves

Rose Bush

Fall Foliage
Roses are red . . . and 200% more clickable in videos than they are in photos. Images via Nadia Grapes, Johanna Hood, Addictive Creative, Elena Dijour, and Vineyard Perspective.

Plant-Based Reds Are Powerful

In an age when plant-based diets are more popular than ever, it’s no wonder that plant-focused red foods are more clickable than meats. AI has detected that imagery containing meat has seen its CTR drop 60% in just the last year. Lobster, crab, and even bacon have all seen steep declines in consumer engagement.

In contrast, protein-packed beans have a 66% higher CTR right now compared to a year ago. 

Chili and Spaghetti

Baked Kidney Beans

Red Beans and Rice
Top-performing foods contain sugar, spice . . . and red beans and rice! Images via Michael Kraus, Larissa Veronesi / Westend61 on Offset, and Igor Dutina.

Instead of focusing on meat, AI recommends supplementing your food photography with red items that are much more clickable.

Wine has been trending up throughout 2021. It’s had a 300% CTR boost since this time a year ago. Barbecue sauce has seen a 665% CTR increase over the same time period. And tomatoes have a 139% higher CTR than they did in 2020. 

On a somewhat surprising note, even radishes are in. While not as commonly used as other fruits and vegetables, radishes have proven to be quite engaging, with CTR that’s risen 218% over the last couple of years. 


Couple in Garden

Caprice Salad

Sausage Salad

Red Wine
Alternative protein sources—and lots of veggies—are what consumers want. Images via Leslie Grow, Maskot Images, The Picture Pantry, Roman Märzinger / Westend61 on Offset, and G.MARTYSHEVA.

Need even more color inspiration? We’ve got you covered:

2021 Color TrendsDiscover the 2021 Color Trends: Tidewater GreenThe Origins, Symbolism, and Design Power of the Color CoralThe Meaning of Colors in Cultures Around the World5 Folk-Inspired Color Palettes

Cover image via Patrizio Giordano.

The post Data-Backed Ways to Feature Red in Your Next Ad Campaign appeared first on The Shutterstock Blog.

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