Neuromarketing: Yes, you’ve been “fooled”

muzz robertson neuromarketing

Ever wondered why you bought something that you probably didn’t need, but for some reason had the urge to buy? Of course, you have.

So, what is neuromarketing? (in laymen terms)

If you don’t want laymen terms, or just think that this piece might be useless, you can read the Harvard Business Review article on neuromarketing – I even quoted them further below – or read the very in-depth Conversion XL that mentions the top 10 neuromarketing studies.

Neuromarketing is using neuroscience, basically, all forms of marketing have some sort of neuroscience behind them, as the marketer wants the consumer or potential consumer to click, read, buy, or show an interest in the service or product. Without having to say, “Buy this shit NOW” – they use methods that have been well tested, to make you buy that shit NOW.

Neuromarketing data will tell the marketer what the consumer reacts to, whether it was the colour of the packaging, the sound the box makes when shaken, or the idea that they will have something their co-consumers do not. This is done in the form of A/B testing colours, copy variations, videos, and even layout of certain digital assets. Some companies, depending on budget, can have multiple campaigns running, that have different colours, copy, and target different demographics – some may use this to test these variations, or they do this because they know that those colours and copy work for the specific targetted audience.

You’ve never been fooled by neuromarketing? Yes. You. Have.

You and everyone around you have been “tricked” into buying or clicking on an advert that uses neuroscience. Of course, they have!

People don’t buy or use products by mistake, do you really think that buying that blow-up flamingo for your pool which you have never used since 2016, was on purpose? It might have been on purpose, sure, but would have you ordered in online had you not seen that there were on 2 left and these 2 had a 30% discount for the next 24 hours? Probably not.

There is also a darker side to neuromarketing, it’s not all about getting people to buy beer-pong cups or 7-day luxury resorts.

A great way to look at neuromarketing is to, very lightly, touch on Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica, one small example, would use certain tactics during political campaigns to make people vote for a certain candidate. They did this with Trump, Brexit, Trinidad and Tobago, and others. This was touched in the Great Hack on Netflix. The goal that CA had, was targeting voters with messages designed to work on voters’ underlying psychology. They would create videos that would mock Clinton and show videos of her saying certain things that the public would not like – this is one example. They also had a huge impact on Brexit and the effects that lead up to voting leave.

“Neuromarketing” loosely refers to the measurement of physiological and neural signals to gain insight into customers’ motivations, preferences, and decisions, which can help inform creative advertising, product development, pricing, and other marketing areas.

Harvard Business Review

Examples! The easiest way to show how this works

Without mentioning Cambridge Analytica, let’s try to get some examples out the way.

Firstly, whatever advert that goes live, needs to be ON. BRAND.

It’s important to mention that neuromarketing also uses eye-tracking, by a means of cursor or testing, and a lot of clever brands place certain elements of an ad in spaces of the screen that will generate more user focus than other areas of the page. Also, elements in the assets, so it’s been proven that if you have people in your ad, they should be making “direct eye contact” with the user who is looking at the screen or they should be “looking” at the content that the marketer wants the user to be looking at.

Example of direct eye-contact on the content

We also have loss-aversion, which is the predominately copy based, and this is basically FOMO – people don’t want to miss out on a deal. By putting a cut-off date, or a limited amount of buys at a certain price, can entice people to buy, or at least, view the product. Business Insider refers to this as “the illusion of scarcity”, which is also similar to the above.

Anchoring in advertising is also a clever way to get someone to choose your product or service – this is having one or two items that a competitor doesn’t have. Hotels do this a lot, they have free services such as free coffee, free taxis, or discounts at certain restaurants.

Colours also play an important role, you might notice that you are suddenly seeing a lot of green, pink or blue in the adverts that are showing up in banner ads or on your social media – this isn’t a mistake.

And of course, the headline. It needs to be eye-catching, clickbaity, and give the user some sort of need to click on the link.

All that said, we do see A LOT of ads that we never click on, get annoyed by, and have far too many buy buttons.

So, what’s the point of all this?

I love the science behind digital marketing. What makes somebody click on an ad, what makes someone skip an ad or not even see the ad at all.

It’s interesting, everyone is different, but everyone also has a soft spot or lean towards certain colours or wording. A lot of people don’t understand why they see or get certain content fed to them.

So hopefully this clears it up – a bit. If you have any questions or opinions, comment below, and I’ll try my best to answer them!