2 Mindhacks to Keep Marketers From Losing Out

Science, data, and stats are the lifeblood of digital marketing. But sometimes we need to step away from the numbers to create space for our creative brain to weigh in. Turns out our brains can be tricked, and there are ways marketers can capitalize. Today we’re looking at how the framing effect applies to advertising, and at how your customer’s aversion to loss can influence campaign effectiveness.

It’s time for a few marketing mindhacks.

Mindhack 1: The Framing Effect

Words are powerful. A simple but powerful psychological study called The Framing Effect describes how we’re influenced by the way an idea is phrased – by the words used. The way a question is “framed” often has an influence on how people answer that question, and that’s what the term “framing effect” means.

Participants in the study saw the same film of a traffic accident. Then they answered questions about what they’d seen, including the question,

“How fast were the cars going when they contacted each other?”

Other participants got different words instead of “contacted,” like:

  • Hit
  • Bumped
  • Collided
  • Smashed

Even though they all saw the same film, when asked to estimate the speed of the cars during the crash, the phrasing of the question influenced how fast they thought the cars were going.

speed-chart

Another crazy thing? One week later, participants were asked whether they had seen broken glass at the accident site. The correct answer was “no,” but 32 percent of participants who were given the “smashed” verb said there was broken glass.

Word choice can even influence our memories.

Mindhack 2: Loss Aversion

In today’s interconnected world, the fear of missing out – or FOMO – is more than just a meme. As marketers we’ve been trained to highlight benefits. But psychological researchers Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky were the first to document the phenomenon that losses hurt more than gains feel good, in their 1979 research article titled, “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk.”

The theory of Loss Aversion says losses hurt more than gains feel good. Someone who loses $100 will lose more satisfaction than someone will gain from a $100 windfall.

Applying this concept to marketing, the use of trial periods and rebates attempts to take advantage of our tendency to value a product more after it is incorporated into the status quo.

pain-and-gain

Image credit: NY Times.

Applying These Mindhacks to Ad Copy and Landing Pages

So what now? Spend 15 minutes and jot down how you can apply loss aversion and the framing effect to landing pages, ad copy and promotions. Why not test it?

Specific areas to look at include the ad title, description, your call to action, and your site URL.

  • What words in headlines and landing pages can you use to frame? Think “10% off on orders over $50” vs. “free shipping on orders over $50.”
  • What aversion to loss (i.e.; “Don’t miss out!”) can you highlight?

Let Us Know What You Find Out

The science behind effective PPC campaigns will always be important. But so is the softer side of word choice and framing. Now you can put the two together and use that awesome science to measure your effectiveness.

We’re always interested in what you’re testing – so keep us posted!

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