Market Perception Ratings for Presidential Candidate Websites – Part I

The design of digital marketing materials, like websites and banner ads, have an immediate impact on setting the expectation of your audience. It influences emotions and sentiment within seconds. Not just the color choice, but also the ratio of colors used as a composition have a direct impact. You can quickly assess core audience demographics and marketing sentiment using that data.

With candidates beginning to announce their interest in the Presidential election, we wanted to analyze websites for the top ten candidates. This will allow us to uncover potential trends or priorities in each candidate's marketing efforts leading into primaries and upcoming elections. We will also show a breakdown of color psychology based acceptance ratings for age and gender.

As of the time we published this, the top five candidates according to Rolling Stone's 2020 Democratic Primary Leaderboard article are: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg. We will focus on these websites during this post.

The second post will breakdown the websites of Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, and Julián Castro with the same methodology. You may read that here.

1. Joe Biden

63% of Joe Biden's website is white which intensifies focus on colors like red (15%). This just happens to be the color of his call to action buttons. It's important to note this as there is a common misconception that red buttons work best. The success of a red button is heavily influenced by the total color usage of the composition; like this website.

The prevalent use of white (63%) suggests innocence, purity, and openness, but may also be seen as plain and critical.

Joe Biden's website ranks highest in trust and courage.

View full analysis here (captured April 25, 2019)

2. Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders' website uses a liberal amount of black (39%) and blue (38%) which conveys strength, sophistication, loyalty, and conservatism. 

98% of the website are considered cool colors. Can you guess what the only color is that isn't cool? Red. That jumps out from the page because everything else around it are different shades of black and blue. Red is also Bernie's call to action color for "Donate".

The perception of his website ranks highest with quality and reliability.

View full analysis here (captured February 20, 2019)

3. Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren's home page takes a different approach from the previous two websites. It's dominantly black (82%), with her secondary color being a shade blue green (13%).

93% of Warren's website are cool colors which create a sense of tranquility and calmness. This allows warm colors, like red, to seem closer to the visitor. Red is the color of her single call to action button labeled "Donate". Are you sensing a trend yet?

Her website ranks highest in quality and reliability. We also begin to see another branch of perception ratings (the second row) which are more secondary feelings like fear and loneliness based on the color selection.

Warren's website was striking in that it used a color scheme others did not, which may help her stand out in the market.

View full analysis here (captured February 21, 2019)

4. Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris' website acts more like a landing page the first time you visit it. More candidates have begun to shift in this direction since we originally captured these snapshots.

Harris' website is unique in the sense that it leans in heavily toward a non-standard color palette. In this case, violet. It's also the first website of the top four that features the color brown in any way at all. Not just of race, but in hair color, clothing, or physical setting. Why is that?

This website's snapshot rates highest in courage and quality. 

View full analysis here (captured February 21, 2019)

5. Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg's website is stylistically very different than the other top candidates. Like Bernie Sanders' websites, it ranks highly in blue (47%), but instead of balancing that with other dark neutral colors Pete uses a vibrant yellow-orange (16%).

While blue is synonymous with trust, loyalty, and integrity yellow-orange signifies optimism, enthusiasm, and independence. Quite different from other blue-heavy designs in this field.

One thing to note is that his website is the only candidate website that doesn't use a call to action color of red. His call to action is the optimistic yellow-orange and it calls out the email newsletter sign-up instead of a donate button.

His website rates highest in reliability and trust.

View full analysis here (captured May 16, 2019)

Uncovered Trends

  1. Red as a call to action color (80%)
  2. Donate as the primary call to action label (80%)
  3. Reliability or trustworthy as the top perception (80%)
  4. Neutral colors as the dominant color group (60%)
  5. Cool colors as the most used color temperature (80%)

What trends stand out to you?

How we captured this data

We've taken a snapshot of each website using UX Triggers and utilized our color preference data from roughly 500 participants to define market perception and demographic sentiment. You can do the same by signing up for a free Pro-level trial account here (no credit card required, 7 day trial). If you already have a Pro account, you can view each of the results in full by clicking on the link with each candidate's breakdown.

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