Posted by Tim Smith, Senior UX Designer, Conversion Optimization
Save for a few demographics that need neon type on a black background, most users will be more engaged (thus, more likely to convert) with a lighter background surrounding the content area. An easy and interesting multivariate test (MVT) is to pick a light complimentary color from your style guide, compile a handful of shades and hues and let 'er loose. Knowing what doesn’t work is almost as valuable as knowing what does work, so don’t be afraid to try darker and lighter colors to prove a point.
FACT: We saw a 34% lift in conversions by testing a lighter background color on one of our winning landing page designs for a national insurance provider.
*Some things to consider beyond your branding guidelines: overall readability, brightness and contrast for colorblind users, and accepting that white isn’t always the winning choice.