The Secret to Using Cognitive Biases for Landing Page Conversions

Pete Schauer

Marketing Director

While most marketers are very confident in their strategies and skills, the majority doesn’t take important factors like cognitive biases into mind when developing and designing landing pages. However, accounting for psychological factors like these will help to maximize conversions.

Cognitive biases are defined as a certain way of thinking that creates a logical error in the way people process the information surrounding them. In short, these are psychological factors that cause us to behave illogically or jump to a faulty conclusions.

When it comes to landing page conversions, these cognitive biases are very useful in persuasion. Understanding them helps marketers understand what gets customers to click through a website and what scares them away. Here are some of the most common cognitive biases marketers can use to increase their landing page conversions.

Confirmation Bias

Most people go into a search with a certain assumption or theory. For example, if you’re selling diet pills and the user is already convinced that diet pills do nothing but give you cancer, that’s a very strong assumption that will be hard to change.

Those who subscribe to confirmation bias will look at one fact on your website and use it to confirm their assumption and dismiss the rest of the facts. They will often have the following characteristics:

  • They actively look for information that proves their assumption.
  • They give extra, unearned weight to any facts or information that support  their assumption. 
  • They refuse to accept the evidence if it contradicts their assumption.
  • They often remember facts and statistics incorrectly to help prove their  theory correct.

This bias is intimidating, but a smart marketer can manipulate it to their advantage. In order to convince a user that diet pills will, in fact, help you lose weight and keep you healthy, seek out positive reviews from previously skeptical customers to post on your landing page. Even those with a strong bias are likely to give the company a second chance if they hear a positive experience from someone they can relate to.

You can also get ahead of this bias by putting the customer first. Offer an easy, no-strings-attached money back guarantee. Consumers are much more likely to invest in your company if they know that their money won’t go to waste.

Ambiguity Effect

Ambiguity connotes a choice in which the results are unclear, and the ambiguity effect occurs when consumers favor a decision with a sure outcome over one with variable factors or unknown results. Essentially, people who subscribe to the ambiguity effect are doing everything they can to avoid an unnecessary risk. They play it safe and are reluctant to try new things. They also have a difficult time recognizing the long-term benefits of a more risky investment over the immediate, but short gratification of a safer choice.

If your company poses a “safe” choice for the consumer, you’re already in the green with the ambiguity effect. It’s a powerful motivator for customer loyalty. If not, you can still overcome its effects.

One of the most important ways to overcome this bias is to fill the gaps in a consumer’s knowledge base. A thorough and well worded FAQ page, video, or infographic on your landing page can provide the information consumers need without overwhelming them.

Anchoring

This bias is associated with relying too heavily on a single piece of information when making decisions. For most consumers, this means anchoring their decision on the price. This type of customer is much more likely to actively comparison shop and use deals and coupons when purchasing a product.

Though anchoring on price is the most common form of this bias, it’s not the only one. For many consumers, the quality of the product is much more important than the price. These people are likely to rely on the first piece of information they see in the product description.

A great way to overcome this bias is to focus on your pricing configuration. Consumers who anchor on price respond extremely well to a flexible pricing structure. For example, a restaurant landing page is much more likely to gain conversions if it has a variety of prices on the menu.

The prices should also be displayed openly and honestly. If consumers must hunt for a price or are suddenly bombarded with fees and taxes at checkout, they are likely to look elsewhere for their product or service and withhold recommendations to their friends.

In order to overcome other anchor biases, it may be wise to include solid, positive information next to the pricing. For example, including a client testimonial on the pricing page can insert positive information about the quality of the product, beating down the anchor bias.

Von Restorff Effect

According to the Von Restorff effect, (named in honor of Hewig von Restorff, a renowned psychiatrist) anything on a web page that stands out is more likely to be remembered. It’s the same reason you highlight a passage in a textbook that you want to remember.

This bias is excellent for improving conversions. Through this effect, you can get your customers to see and remember what you want. In landing pages, it’s specifically important for your call to action button. A brightly colored CTA that’s very distinctive from the background enhances customer click through and conversion rates.

Furthermore, it’s also great for branding. Your company should stand out so that it’s easily remembered and recalled. It helps to heighten brand loyalty and increase customer interaction.

Framing Effect

This bias essentially means that the way a choice is framed or surrounded affects the decisions consumers make. Information that’s presented in a positive light receives greater customer approval than information presented negatively.

When used as a tool to drive your conversions, your website can benefit exponentially from this bias. You can frame your offers and information in a way that attracts instead of repels customers. For example, if you begin marketing a product by telling the consumers all of the benefits it offers and then tell them the price, they are much more likely to purchase it than if you had shown them the price first and then offered more information.

The same can be done for your landing page. Show all the positive characteristics of the company or product first, and then reveal any negative side effects, if there are any.

Don’t look at these biases as negatives that hurt your conversions. Look at them as tools to boost your page views and customer interaction! With a thorough understanding of these cognitive biases, you can develop effective landing page content and design that will drive conversions higher than ever before.
 

About the Author: Pete Schauer

Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, Pete Schauer is the Marketing Director at SEMGeeks. He holds a M.A. in Digital Communications from William Paterson University and has 8+ years in the digital space with companies such as Bleacher Report and Social Media Today in addition to SEMGeeks. His background includes creative and professional writing as well as strategic digital marketing communications and management.

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