Once the psychology behind what motivates consumers has been examined, companies can move beyond the basic assumption of what users will respond to at first glance.
Neuromarketing Design Methods
Colour psychology, eye-tracking software and other scientific methods can spur major insights in web design, and transform the customer experience dramatically. For example, the increasing popularity of horizontal layouts didn’t surprise web psychologist and PhD Liraz Margalit, who preferred the layout herself compared to vertical designs.
What she didn’t anticipate, was that heat map research actually proved the contrary — she realised that website visitors actually scrolled down 34 percent more on a vertical layout — and her failed initial assumption is a vital reminder for companies to consult research tracking web consumption data to see what’s really resonating in consumers’ brains.
The latest most significant findings (as of summer 2016) related to neuromarketing and web usage relate to mobile, with companies such as Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience recently completing neuromarketing studies to track the effectiveness of mobile video and display advertisements. In February 2016, a report by Nielsen for the Advertising Research Foundation found far less viewers, 29 percent, watched a full 30-second video ad on a smartphone versus 83 percent on a desktop computer, data gathered through devices such as facial and eye-tracking software.
For companies looking for better conversions that don’t have access to pricey tools, scientists or design labs, using simple neuromarketing principles that have stood the test of time can be helpful starting points.
Lead with Emotion
The most consistent factor in successful advertising is the presence of emotion, according to the January 2016 Using Consumer Neuroscience Methods to Understand the Power of Emotions report published in Quirk’s Marketing Research Media. The report found the more emotion that factored into a campaign, the more significant the business impact was. If you’ve ever heard the “put a hot gal in your ad for more clicks” before, you know the logic: brains use emotional cues to drive actions, which are what lead to sales. While functionality comes first, think in terms of emotions to maximise design. Consider:
- How can you make images that evoke emotional responses more visible? A Caltech study found consumers are more likely to choose the product with the most visual impact when they’re in a hurry, even over the product that’s their personal preference.
- How can you pair colour theory with the emotions you’re hoping to draw out? A simple hue change can drastically impact the emotional response of consumers.
- How can you hold attention and create something memorable? Lead with the most important info, but make it different than the typical web experience – make the words shake, make them larger than all the other print, etc. A study called Eye Gaze Cannot Be Ignored found using gaze (positioning a human or animal so that it’s looking at your call to action on the screen, for example) or arrows to draw attention to what you want creates automatic responses.
Like any good design, test, measure, and analyse emotional responses by showing different versions of your business website to consumers. Then, have them fill out a questionnaire that’s emotionally focused on helping optimise design.
Keep Up on Heat Map and Eye Tracking Research
You may think you know all about heat map research (the continued dominance of F-shaped patterns, how important above-the-fold placement is, etc.), but new device releases will always call for new testing on varying screen sizes, as the horizontal-versus-vertical design example above proves. Services such as Crazy Egg can give you access to heat map usage for as low as a few coins per month, but good ol’ free Google Analytics can also provide powerful insights into what content is resonating with users. Examine the design of where the most clicks are coming from, and test through both experimenting with content placement in the areas that are gaining the most traction, as well as integrating the design aesthetics of successful touch points into areas that need help.
Don’t even begin heat map research until a website performs optimally on all devices, with instant page load time speeds and websites that stay on and don’t crash. A 2016 study by Ericsson found users who experienced mobile load delays experienced a 38 percent increase in heart rate, while a Foviance/CA study found when users visited badly performing websites, facial muscle analysis showed greater agitation and stress. Make sure the basics of a website work well, then get to work on injecting emotional value and using eye tracking research to get more clicks and conversions.