Think you watch enough Netflix as it is? Netflix could increase your binge-watching behaviour by applying only a few simple neuromarketing tricks.
Feel left out?
Ever wondered where your friend at work got all her facts about mother nature? Have you always been impressed by her knowledge, but have been reluctant to ask how she got so smart? You occasionally hear her talk about documentaries, but you never remember the names. What if you could go through her favourite documentary list on Netflix and watch them too, so you don’t feel like a noob?
Alternatively, have you ever been at home browsing through your personal Netflix recommendations list, feeling that bit of doubt. Finding nothing but new chick flicks, all similar to Gossip Girl or Vampire Diaries? Hearing a tiny voice in your head whispering; “this new show is going to be a gigantic waste of your time”. What if you could see immediately that your best friend has already seen, and loved it? So why is there no feature allowing you to find out what your friends are watching on Netflix?
In 2006 Netflix announced the Netflix Prize, a machine learning and data mining competition for movie rating prediction. They offered $1 million to whoever could improve the accuracy of their existing system, called Cinematch, by 10%. They conducted this competition to find new ways to improve the recommendation lists. These lists they provide to their members are a vital part of their business. They were willing to spend a lot of money to improve their movie rating prediction. But, why not do it an easy way and listen to dr Robert Cialdini's well-known principles of influence to do so?
People are prone to imitate others. The actions of other people provide us intel into any given situation. Be it fashion, food, or movies, we learn from the majority of people in certain circumstances. We call this phenomenon Social Proof. Social Proof is a crucial principle of persuasion used to simplify our decision making. In his bestseller book Influence, Robert Cialdini describes social proof as “the tendency to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it.” The author claims Social Proof is more powerful when we’re uncertain what to do. Or in this case, what to watch.
The people we like
It is undeniable that people (subconsciously) seek approval of their friends and people we like in general. We value the opinion of people that are most like us. The recommendation of people that are just like us persuade you into watching the same movies on Netflix. Besides the approval from our friends, we'd also like the support of experts. Or, our favourite celebrities.
The people we want to be like
We find the opinion of experts important. Due to a cognitive bias called the halo effect, we think the experts exert authority. The same reasons apply to the influence of celebrities. We look up to them and want to be like them. And thus, we want to watch what they watch. Therefore, we are more easily persuaded by celebrities and experts.
There are six different types of Social Proof Netflix should look into to make your binge-watching experience more enjoyable. Searching for social proof can be defined as seeking approval from your social environment for your behaviour. If others approve your choice of movies and series, it must be okay to watch five episodes in a row.
Fear of missing out
Would it not be great to stop feeling left out and reluctant to ask your friends what is “hip and happening” in movieland at the moment? To be able to peek into their digital movie library instead? When you see all your friends and colleagues are watching Riverdale, but you are not sure if it is something for you as well, there is a big chance you will start watching it anyhow. You don’t want to be that guy who has no idea who Fred is. Let alone what happened to him.
Besides Social Proof, another is another essential social psychological phenomenon influencing our behaviours and feelings. It is called the fear of missing out, FOMO for short. It is social anxiety characterised by "a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing". Netflix could eliminate a big part of this negative emotion by showing you exactly what you need to be watching to not miss out on anything.
What Netflix should change
For some reason, Netflix has not incorporated two of the most crucial neuromarketing principles that could make our Netflix experience more enjoyable and useful. Our suggestion would be to incorporate at least one of the principles we have discussed in this article to improve everyone’s Netflix experience. Find shows your friends are watching so you don’t feel left out. Your best friend has a new favourite show? Big chance you are going to like it as well. These tips could potentially save everyone much time! And so, more time for watching!
Every time we make a purchase, we experience a sense of pain. Two scientists by the names of Prelec & Loewenstein (1998) referred to this price pain as the “pain of paying”. Businesses should do what they can to keep this pain of paying at bay as much as possible. By selling products in such a way the consumer can see the price increase with every purchase is the worst possible thing you can do because it causes the most pain of paying. Don’t think of it as physical pain, but as the activation of brain areas associated with physical pain resulting in a negative experience.
Every time we make a purchase, we experience a sense of pain. Click To Tweet
Have you ever found yourself deliberately ignoring the ever-running meter in a taxi? In regular taxis, the negative experience of payment is very high. You can see the price on the meter go up with every turn you take. So you know how much every minute is costing you, and every added euro brings an increasingly painful sensation. Please look away.
Uber revolutionised the payment system for taxis by eliminating the awful visual meter. No physical payments needed because you pay with your credit card and you know the price beforehand. Everything happens automatically. Which results in a decreased pain of paying. Choosing to utilise credit card processing is one of the tactics that help reduce the pain of paying. Paying with a card makes you feel like you’re not spending money when you purchase something. The message to those concerned is obvious: try to avoid multiple individual “pain-moments” in the buying process.
So why would anybody choose to use one price for one single item on sale? Supermarkets have no choice of course. We don’t blame them. However, restaurants do have that choice. They can set prices for menus and combine dishes and courses into one single price and thus reduce price pain. So why do so many sushi restaurants sell their sushi pieced together in small portions? A visit to a fantastic local sushi shop was the inspiration for this article. It will focus on how you can take the price pain out of sushi.
Taking the pain out of sushi
The problem with sushi, assuming you like sushi in the first place, is that it hurts your brain to buy it.
Our brains don’t like pain. It tries to avoid it at all costs. Our minds are lazy. They love fluency and ease. Simple, and fast. It loathes losses.
According to our brain, it is better not to lose €10, than it is to find €10. We call this phenomenon “loss aversion”. Another aspect at play is processing fluency. Processing fluency means the faster and more easily our brain can process information, the more positively we evaluate this information.
With the help of these and other psychological principles, the following set of tips will reduce the pain of pricing.
Reducing price pain
Brains are even willing to pay more, to avoid price pain. The pain of paying is very easily triggered. Just seeing the euro sign can remind the brain of the pain, and cause people to spend less. So first of all, think about ways to get rid of your pricing symbols! A price of 99 is perceived as cheaper than €79.
Brains are willing to pay more, to avoid price pain. Click To Tweet
Then, think about getting rid of your pricing and numbers altogether. Some restaurant use colours in their menus corresponding to prices. This way your brain won’t be triggered to experience the pain of pricing. Other restaurants use coloured plates to apply the same principle and stop customers from continually being confronted with the prices. All you need to do here is collect the small plates you picked and pay everything afterwards. Tapas bars in Spain use different coloured toothpicks to do the same. You can get creative with these colouring methods!
Another way to try to eliminate price pain is by implementing an all-you-can-eat system. No more individual price points issues, and this also shows customers that the pain of paying is over. However, if you are still thinking about using prices, setting the right amount can be done by taking considering the following methods.
By reducing the left digit by one (called Charm pricing) prices that end in 9 or 9,9 increase sales. It is more effective to change the price from €5 to €4.99 than to adjust the amount from €5.20 to €5.19. How come? Our brain encodes numbers so fast that the decision process starts as soon as our eyes encounter the first digit of the price. Since “4” is less than “5”, this method makes the entire cost seem less expensive, while the difference is only 1 cent.
Positioning the price
Placing the price on the left side of the page will make it seem smaller in magnitude. Does this sound too simple? Think about it. We are used to seeing low numbers on the left side. Imagine a ruler on your screen, low numbers are on the left, right? By placing the numbers on the left, you will automatically trigger a mental conceptualisation of smaller prices in the brain.
Set an anchor
List your most expensive item at the top of the menu. That way all the prices below the first one will seem cheaper. Because people hold the tendency to rely too heavily – or “anchor” – on one trait or piece of information when making decisions. The following lower priced items will appear to be of better value. You could even try to put bluefish tuna on top (still holds the record for the most expensive seafood of all time) to set an extreme anchor and see what happens 🙂
Set an anchor by showing your most expensive items first Click To Tweet
Back to school
Another unusual tactic has to do with everyone’s favourite: arithmetics. Remember when you had to practice the multiplication tables over and over when you were a kid? Most of us have potent recollections of memorising these sequences and know them by heart. After reading 6 × 3, you can probably hear the answer automatically, and effortlessly in your head. It’s that well encoded into your long-term memory.
Because of these strong connections, exposure to two numbers (6 and 3) increases processing fluency for the product (18). When a menu or a poster in a sushi restaurant offers 6 × 3 sushi, our brain will process the price of €18 more easily. Moreover, remember the easier our brain processes information, the more positively we evaluate the cost!
There are many scientifically proven methods for you to apply to help relieve your customer’s brains of the pain of paying. Many more other than the ones discussed here (like emotional marketing). The methods listed in this article will prove highly successful for the sushi market due to its typical way of selling items piece by piece. Help your customer’s brains avoid pain by redirecting the focus from paying, to solely the experience of enjoying sushi.
If you are looking for more tips, or want to know more about neuromarketing techniques like scarcity and urgency, or applied neuroscience in general, have a chat with our bot or get in touch!
The sources and Consequences of the Fluent Processing of numbers – Dan King & Chris Janiszewski (2011).
The Red and the Black: Mental Accounting of Savings and Debt – Drazen Prelec & George Loewenstein (1998).
Penny Wise and Pound Foolish: The Left-Digit Effect in Price Cognition – Thomas & Morwiz (2005).
$ or Dollars: Effects of Menu-price Formats on Restaurant Checks – Yang, Kimes, & Sessarego (2009).
It is nothing new for companies to offer ways to get in touch with someone from their team for any questions or comments. You can speak with a team member from Vodafone about your mobile contract, search Spotify for your favourite music or ask Apple what’s wrong with your Macbook. You probably experienced this: it’s quick, simple and easy. However, did you notice that sometimes answers can be a little strange? Not fitting the question? Or maybe you don’t get an answer at all? There’s a big chance the person behind the other screen is not a human, but a chatbot: an automated conversational partner.
If you haven’t seen it, read our previous article on chatbots in eCommerce here. It’s becoming easy to build your own chatbot with services like Quriobot. But do you know how chatbots can help your eCommerce grow? Keep reading, because at the end of this article you will know how and when a chatbot helps you grow online.
Shaping your chatbot
One of the most important things you should think about when implementing your chatbot is its tone of voice. This doesn’t mean you need to choose between a male or female voice, but how your chatbot reacts to customers. Is this tone serious, funny or a combination of both? Does your chatbot show empathy, or does it not show any emotion at all? There is not one correct answer to this question, because it completely depends on the situation and context where the chatbot is used. Let’s tackle this.
There are three factors determining this:
the personality of your chatbot
the personality of your customer
the questions of your customer
The personality of your chatbot
If your chatbot helps people that have questions about their bank account, it will have a more serious personality than when your bot helps people find a concert. MailChimp developed a platform called Voice and Tone, where you can find what tone of voice is suitable for your use case. For example, for a public site visited by impulse shoppers (e.g. a webshop with gifts) you can use some sense of humour and show your personality. For legal content, on the other hand, you should stay serious and don’t joke around. Another way that could help you select the right tone of voice is to think about your product as if it was sold in a real-life store: how would you like your customers to be approached by your salespeople?
When Quriobot created a chatbot for the Dutch travel insurance company Interpolis, their chatbot showed some personality. If you say your holiday destination is Italy, it responds with “Nice! I’ve heard some nice things about Italy”. However, it still reacts professional enough to give the customer trust and clear guidance in choosing their travel insurance.
The personality of your customer
As more and more shopping takes place online, webshops are growing rapidly. Especially for this kind of eCommerce, chatbots can be useful in assisting and delighting the customer. This will lead to more sales. Chatbots can already recognize human personalities. This study found that personality recognition of the customer can have a significant, positive impact on webshops and improves customer satisfaction by 26%. Use this!
Questions of your customer
Another factor that determines the tone of voice, is the specific question that the customer asks. Sometimes customers will (on purpose) ask a random question or make a typo, that could confuse the chatbot. The Dutch company Informaat conducted a research to see when to use what tone of voice in a situation like this. They experimented with two kinds of voices:
funny and juvenile
serious and neutral
They concluded that the funny voice is more effective and leads to more forgiveness in moments where the user is clearly pushing its boundaries. A sentence like “I would like to meet you on the moon” doesn’t make any sense to a bot. However, by reacting in a funny way like “I’m also only a chatbot, this concept is new to me” you can camouflage the restrictions of the chatbot in a way that the customer will show forgiveness. In more serious situations, the use of a funny voice is less suited and can even lead to irritation of the customer. If your chatbot can’t find the right answer, a more neutral response is better. Your customer will show more forgiveness if the bot gives a clear answer about what it knows and doesn’t know.
Adding some Emoji to your chatbot 🙂
Originating from Japan in the late 90’s, Emoji have become incredibly popular and are considered to play a major role in worldwide online communication. This is actually not a strange idea: speech and facial images play an important role in our emotional expression during real conversations. Smartphone developers, computer companies and social media channels allow us to use Emoji to express a certain feeling or emotion. Amongst its popularity, the diversity of Emoji is also growing. It’s possible to send someone a dark-skinned surprised face, an avocado, a bald guy or a peace sign.
Emoji and mental health
Emoji even make communication easier in high-stake environments like mental health. For people struggling with mood disorders, it can be hard to express themselves with just words. Emoji can help them express how they really feel. Furthermore, chatbots can give patients instant information. Seeing a real doctor often means making an appointment and getting in line, while a chatbot is available 24/7. They can give a more interactive experience to receive information, complete diagnostic tools and are used for counselling. Research also shows that the use of Emoji improves the overall user experience of patients.
This information shows that chatbots make the lives of patients or people that struggle with their health a little bit easier. But what about the use of Emoji in a commercial chatbot? One guy we all know gives a great example. Jamie Oliver’s chatbot asks you to send an Emoji to get recipe inspiration. Are you uninspired but need to cook your mother-in-law an impressive meal? Just send Jamie an aubergine, pineapple or hot pepper and he will tell you what to do.
So why is this a good example? The reason is simple: the exclusive use of Emoji narrows down the conversation and makes sure the bot can answer every ‘question’ the person asks. If you ask him a question in words, it will tell you to only speak Emoji. This makes sure the person can’t ask any random or miswritten questions. In return, this is a fun and straight to the point interaction between a human and a chatbot.
Flesh and blood or wires and metal?
The thing that’s probably most controversial about a chatbot, is the fact that you’re talking to a machine instead of a real human. This machine helps you, gives you answers and all this happens in a nice and friendly way. This might sound strange because machines don’t have emotions or intelligence – as far as we know.
Back in 1950 the father of modern computer science, Alan Turing, already questioned whether machines could ever own these instincts. This led to the creation of the famous Turing Test. This method checks whether a computer is able to think like a human. During the test, a computer and a human will individually speak and try to convince a reviewer they are human. If the reviewer can’t decide who is human, the computer wins. So far, some chatbots have passed the Turing Test. Cleverbot is probably the most famous one, passing it in 2011. This test might not be as useful in identifying Artificial Intelligence, but it sure is for testing chatbots.
Turing proof or not, something that is more important is whether people care if they are talking to a machine. Does your customer find this annoying and does it affect your sales? Are people comfortable talking to a machine? Research shows that people do send twice as many messages to chatbots compared to people, so apparently, we are not shy towards them. Furthermore, they saw a significant growth of ‘dirty language’ towards a chatbot. This shows they didn’t lose sight of communicating with a computer. The experimenters concluded that many people are willing to have extensive interactions with chatbots, but that computers cannot yet simulate a real human conversation.
Another study shows that students’ interest in a learning domain drops if they chatted with a chatbot compared to a human partner, potentially due to a lack of passion. However, it seems that opinions are divided. If people are learning a language, they are more happy learning from a chatbot because they are accessible anywhere and will not judge if you make a mistake. Duolingo is the perfect example that makes it possible to do this. Using the help of a shop assistant also has positive reviews. Users find it easy to use, feel like the computer did all the work for them and found that the system reduced the interaction time.
Whether people prefer to talk to a machine or human depends on the situation, the product and the person on the other side of the screen. For eCommerce in particular, it seems most likely that a chatbot is suitable as a virtual assistant for your customer. It can communicate with your target audience, provide customer service, recommend products, drive sales and make sure you can get that extra holiday break you need.
Let’s meet Beirem
If you visit our website neurofied.com you are able to meet our own founder-inspired chatbot, Beirem. We created him together with Quriobot to determine the interest of our visitor (online marketing, a workshop, or something else?) and to easily get in touch with us. Beirem – as a chatbot – used to be very proactive and social and popped up every page in 7 seconds. We toned him down a little bit: he only says hi now after you’re engaged for a while. In other words, we lowered his intrusiveness. Why did we do this?
Imagine walking into a calm shoe shop in London. The shoe shop allows you to take your time and wander around. After a while, the friendly shop-assistant asks if you need any help, but it’s fine if you say no. Now replace this image with a busy market in Marrakech. Traders are trying to sell you their products by holding spices, gold and fabrics under your nose. They don’t take “no” for an answer and give you the best price—or so they say.
Which situation do you prefer? Which situation do you think your customer prefers? Exactly! We don’t like to have someone pushing us towards buying something. Our sense of freedom is tainted if people force us to do something. This works the same for your chatbot: don’t make it too intrusive. If people are looking for help, make sure the chatbot is easy to access. Beirem is just one click away.
What was your name again?
Every time I visit my 92-year old grandma, she asks what my name is at least 5 times. Unfortunately, her brain is not working that well anymore, affecting her memory. A chatbot shouldn’t have this problem, its ‘brain’ consists of numbers and algorithms. This is why you should make sure your chatbot will not forget your customers details like name, gender or location. Asking for someone’s name makes the conversation much more personal. There’s nothing more frustrating than calling customer service and repeating your details and problem every time you’re being passed on to someone else. If your chatbot is able to remember personal information, it will look way smarter and professional towards your customers.
Now that you know more about creating an effective chatbot, we will give you five final tips that should get you started:
Make sure your chatbot shows a certain level of empathy. No one likes talking to a robot-like person, even if the other person is actually a robot.
Use simple and natural-sounding language. Showing off with expensive words and complex sentences will not take you anywhere. Your customers want a quick and easy response to their question.
Add some small talk to the conversation to make it less formal and more natural. For example, let your chatbot ask the customer how his or her day went so far.
Add personality to your chatbot by giving it a name, picture/avatar and some biographical information.
Let your chatbot respond at human reading speed. If your bot talks too quick and too much, the conversation will feel less natural.
Still want an expert opinion on building your ideal chatbot? Get in touch with Neurofied and we’ll make it happen asap!
So you want to improve your social advertising ROI? The Next Ad is a platform for data-based optimisations. What if we told you that you can also pre-optimise your Facebook ads based on how the human brain processes information? It’s called applied neuromarketing. In this article, you’ll learn some of the principles and techniques that you can apply.
Applied neuromarketing 101
Originally neuromarketing refers to a form of market research where consumers’ brain activity is measured to predict the success rate of an initiative, say a TV commercial. Over time, the collection of insights into consumer behaviour grew substantially. In the past ten years, we learned more about the brain than all earlier years combined. This gave way to a new discipline: applied neuromarketing.
In applied neuromarketing, you leverage the insights of how our brain processes information. This is used to improve your marketing efforts. Where normal marketing is generally focused on what works and what does not, neuromarketing is focused on the why and how. This deeper understanding enables you to become better at predicting the effectiveness of marketing efforts and creating innovative marketing efforts.
Neuromarketing can be applied to any form of communication, from optimising your website to training your sales team. In this article, however, you will learn how you can use automatic brain processes to improve your social advertising ROI. Today’s goal is to provide you with new ideas and techniques to improve your own ad creation process. Let’s dive in.
The ad creation process
When creating an ad, we all have our own process. You might use a process created by your company or something you found online. In creating and optimising ads for clients, we have created a 5-step framework that we call ‘neurofied ad creation’. When followed, it forces you to think about how you can apply the neuromarketing principles to the ad you are creating. Feel free to adopt anything you find useful.
Neurofied ad creation
1. Business goal
Why do you want to advertise? If you are trying to sell a product, you want to target a different behaviour than when you want people to subscribe to your mailing list. A concrete goal makes this process a lot easier. Write it down and keep it in mind during the creation process.
2. Required action
What action should the user perform in order for you to achieve your business goal? When your Facebook ad is a contest, you will want people to engage with a like, comment, or share. When selling a product, you want them to click on the shopping button. By explicitly stating the required action, you will keep focus and align your efforts.
3. Key emotion
What emotion do you want to elicit in the user so the required action becomes more likely? The emotions we experience have a profound impact on our decision-making. Still, very few marketers consciously take this into account. So what emotions do you want to keep in mind? There are many, but we will discuss two emotions and their effects to give you a head start.
The first emotion to consider is sadness. When we are sad, we want to change our circumstances, often by acquiring something. In other words, we are more likely to act and consume. Charities often use this emotion to get you in a receptive mode so you become more likely to donate. This is an effective method when you are solving a social issue.
Fear is generally seen as the most effective emotion in marketing. Many of our actions stem from our fear to avoid physical, mental or emotional pain. To effectively use pain to motivate an action, you need to show three things to the consumer. You have to show them: 1) they are likely to be affected; 2) when they are affected it will be painful, and 3) they can avoid it (with your product or service). Speak to the pain you are solving or preventing.
When you know what key emotion to elicit, the next question is how. There are many methods to elicit emotions, but we will briefly discuss three as inspiration.
Associate with an emotional moment or object. Redbull used this masterfully by sponsoring adventurous sports to build a fan base of 48 million people.
Show the right facial expressions. Nike often leverages this technique by sharing the expressions of athletes that accomplished something big.
Tell a story. TOMS has a great story; for each product you buy, you help one person in need. And they share this great story with their “One day without shoes” campaign.
What principles of the brain can you leverage to make your ad more effective? By now you have an idea of what your ad might look like. This means it is time to leverage some automatic brain processes to make your ad more effective. Our brain has created shortcuts to process information quickly and without spending much attention to it. One example is that expensive products are considered to be better than cheap products. In order to create an effective ad, it is important to work with these forces, not against them. There are countless of these shortcuts, both big and small. In this section, you will learn about two principles that can help you improve your ad ROI.
One of the most fundamental principles is processing fluency. The easier it is to process a piece of information, the more we are drawn to it. And when it grabs our conscious attention, we are more likely to act. In short, simplicity is key. So how can you use this to improve your ad? You could add a subtle blur to the image so your product stands out. Or you can play with contrast to emphasize a specific element. As for the headline and text, keep it short and simple, ideally under 30 and 150 characters respectively.
When you want people to engage with you, investment is useful to consider. It is based on people’s tendency to finish something they started. Let’s say you want people to read your article called 5 ways to become more productive. How do you get them engaged? One way is to give a brief summary of one method in the text. By making someone read about one method, their curiosity would drive them to take a quick glance at the other four. Find the appropriate teaser for your purpose.
5. Create ad
How can you integrate these pieces to craft an effective ad? In order to get a better understanding, let’s analyze this example by Slack. Their business goal is to make you try their communication app. The required action then is for you to click the Learn More button. How will they attempt this?
The unicorn and rainbow theme seems to give away that they want to evoke a positive key emotion, like joy or ecstasy. Interestingly, the text indicates that the positive emotion is triggered by the need to get away from meetings. In other words, the true motivating factor is negative, namely the fear of wasting time. And the words “What it feels like…” reinforce the focus on emotion. Slack also does an excellent job in appealing to its target audience, developers. Among developers, it often jokes that the perfect developer is as hard to find as a unicorn.
As for the processing fluency, they nailed it. The high-contrast image grabs attention and when you follow their gaze, you arrive at a clear single sentence. The font is easy to read and the message easily understood. Their headline and text are simple and impressively short with only 23 and 58 characters. Next time you are creating an ad, keep this powerful ad by Slack in mind as a benchmark.
Finally, it is time to create your actual ad. This is where you pick up your normal routine. The big difference lies in the fact that you have clearly defined when your ad will be effective. You know what emotion is likely to elicit the required action. You have determined ways in which you can induce this emotion. And you made sure you are benefitting from, instead of fighting against, the human psychology.
Neurofied Facebook ads
Hopefully, you have broadened your perspective on consumers. When you understand how the brain works, you can create more effective ads and improve your ROI. This is what applied neuromarketing is for. However, don’t forget that this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are roughly hundreds of principles, many emotions and even more ways to elicit them. We only discussed two principles and left the others untouched. You can read more on emotions here.
Find out how much you need to know to achieve your goals. Get in touch with us if you have any questions, ideas or want an experts opinion on your ad.
Neurofied is an Amsterdam-based applied neuromarketing agency. It helps its clients grow online by optimising their website and marketing. Apart from strategic consulting and online development, Neurofied frequently gives workshops to startups and corporates.