6 Cognitive Biases to Increase Conversions

as human beings we think that our choices, even when it comes to purchasing, are perfectly rational and voluntary.

In fact, the last few decades of studies of Neuromarketing and cognitive science show us otherwiseAn example is the Cognitive Biascapable of influence our decision by making us perceive the value of a product or service differently. Let's see 6.

Preference for known stimuli

An experiment conducted in 1968 by a professor at Oregon State University demonstrated what actually seems obvious and common sense, namely that people tend to develop a preference for what they feel is most familiar.

One way to leverage in web marketing with this cognitive bias is the retargeting or remarketing: some statistics on retargeting confirm that the CTR of an ad placed with retargeting is 10 times higher than a standard ad and that the site visitor who is served an ad with a retargeting campaign is the 70% most likely to convert.

Loss Aversion

In a 1979 study, two psychologists found that... people tend to prefer not to lose something they currently own rather than acquire something of equal value.

Simply put, most people find it much more painful to lose $10 than to lose the opportunity to earn the same amount.

This phenomenon is known as loss aversion is a 2005 study showed that this behavior also occurs in primates.

You can exploit loss aversion offering a free trial or sample of your product to decrease people's perceived risk of losing money by choosing the wrong product: one example is an Amazon Prime trial period.

Another way is offer a bonus with limited validity that, in addition to acting on the Robert Cialdini's Law of Persuasion... called scarcity, acts indirectly in fostering loss aversion especially if it is incentivized by a time limitation such as a counter.

Just a counter with indications of the hours of minutes and seconds passing and approaching the expiration of the promotion and therefore its loss can increase the sense of urgency and loss aversion.

You can use a counter not only inside your landing pagebut also within your initiatives of email marketingan example? I use Sendtric:

cognitive bias loss aversion

The compromise effect

In a 1992 experiment, researchers gave participants the opportunity to choose between two Minolta brand cameras, one more and one less expensive.

At this juncture, the choice went half to one camera model and half to the other.

But when the researchers added 3 Minolta camera models of progressively increasing price, most people, the 57% to be precise, opted for the middle option, the "compromise" one.

The simple addition of a compromise option can therefore influence user choice, acting (positively) to curb the "paradox of choice".

A possible application in web marketing is in price tables.

As you may have noticed, very often, when different price plans are presented for a software, one is emphasized from a graphical and textual point of view as the most popular option: this not only leverages the principle of Social Reproof but also this particular cognitive bias.

cognitive bias compromised effect

An example of the cognitive bias given by the trade-off effect on the 3 software pricing planes SEOZoom.

Framing effect

The framing effect tells us that, depending on the setting in which a choice is presented, buyers' decisions are influenced differently.

A possible application could be framing a particularly high price as lower in the context of, for example, what an alternative solution to the same problem would cost.

The Ikea effect

In a 2011 study, researchers observed that when people are more involved in the creation of a product, they tend to value it more.

You can use the IKEA effect in your marketing efforts involving potential customers in the process of creating your product and servicefor example, by involving them to give advice on development with a crowdfunding campaign: not by chance, the success of the crowdfunding campaign for the Oculus Rift product has been attributed by researchers not so much the funds raised, but the community that has been created and the resulting sense of belonging to the campaign.

Another idea is to give the consumer the possibility to customize their product as Coca Cola has done recently, resulting in campaign sales exploits Share a Coke, with over 6 million virtual Cokes created by users in addition to earning 25 million likes on Facebook.

The theory of risk compensation

Also called Peltzman effect in honor of the professor who devised it in a 1975 study, states that people tend to be more cautious if they perceive more risk in an action and not cautious if they perceive less risk in the action they are about to take.

A simple application of this principle is theoffer a Refund Policy, make it easy for people to contact you and generally keep a positive design and user experience: a study by econsultancy found that 32% of people pay attention to how professional and well-designed a site is before trusting it.

Not only that, the same study found that almost 24% of people find it difficult to rely on a site with excessively long loading times which, incidentally, also compromise the conversion rates and organic ranking of the site.


Which of these cognitive biases do you apply to your business or your customers' business? Do you know of any other practical applications of them to web marketing? Let's talk about them in the comments.

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