The Cognitive Biases-Review

cognitive biases review

Cognitive Biases Are A Factor In Optimization

How much do information and choice overload have to do with the quality of decision-making? From my continued learning in the Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree at the CXL Institute, I have come to understand that we are constantly challenged by information and choice overload.

It has been learned that due to this information and choice overload, the brain creates and stores systematic mental patterns through which observable behaviors are performed and can be predicted.

The course is all about cognitive biases. This part of the training is certainly very scientific, especially for me. For one delving into digital marketing, it’s not just marketing as usual. There’s science in marketing too. Well again, not just marketing but neuromarketing.

So in this article I am writing about the more science terminologies that I have come to understand from the learning I have received from the instructors at CXL Institute.

What’s With These Cognitive Biases

You know from my very first article on the minidegree on digital psychology and persuasion, I have said that this college material is not for the faint hearted. But if you would like to upgrade your understanding of neuromarketing in the current digital world, you must skill up. Yes most of the study material is hard to comprehend but it’s gotta be learned.

This course on cognitive biases explores various biases that influence purchase behaviors all the time. I am highlighting some of the most common ones that affect user perceptions of your website or product.

I am writing on a list of prominent biases that are particularly relevant to digital marketing, and have grouped them according to their applications in copywriting, design, pricing structure, and user research best practices.

So let’s get started. When designing your website obviously you are going to factor in these biases in the user experience. It’s important to understand the role of these cognitive biases in your optimization work. Get this wrong and you are not speaking to your audience directly.

Here is a list of these cognitive biases with what I have learned about their usage when deploying them in my marketing copy on the website.

Courtesy Bias

I have learned that in courtesy bias people tend to be socially correct as opposed to being truthful. What this means is that, it’s important to understand the human inclination towards politeness instead of honesty. Take note when designing for user experience.

Loss aversion

This one is a critical bias. This is one of psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s earliest discovered biases. It has resounding implications for us marketers. The reason being that the way the information is presented to the web user will describe the fact that fear of a loss is often more motivating than desiring a gain. This is huge.

Availability Heuristic

To a very large extent this bias says, Logic and probability take the backseat to emotional arguments. So to bring out impact:, you must use vivid stories and graphic images that create an emotionally-charged memory when your brand/product comes to mind.

Confirmation Bias

As people, we look for and trust information that agrees with our already existing beliefs. So as someone presenting web-copy to my user such information must be what my audience is likely to agree with.

Priming – It’s about leading on

This is an unconscious type of human memory that activates mental associations just before carrying out a task. So use language and visual cues that prime your customer for your offer. For instance, show credibility, liking, and your strongest points before attempting to influence potential customers.

Ambiguity Aversion Bias–This is the preference for known risks (certainty) over unknown risks (uncertainty). As you design your web page reduce ambiguity wherever possible.

Include links to more information, FAQs, a glossary. If you have a multi-page checkout, include copy that ensures customers that they can review their information before finalizing their order.

Image Bias – This one is about the presence of imagery increases the believability of claims, even if irrelevant. So use imagery or even metaphors whenever possible.

Distinction Bias

Distinction bias is about viewing two objects simultaneously to emphasize their differences. In your design use side by side comparisons such as a chart, product photos, etc to emphasize differences between your product and that of your competitor’s.

Bandwagon Effect

People have an innate tendency to follow the crowd. Show that other people are doing what you want your users to do. For example, displaying “X amount of people have given our product 5 stars/trust our product.”

Cheerleader Effect

Individuals are perceived as more attractive when they’re in a group. Therefore show group (four or more) photos of your executive team, staff, or testimonials.

Anchoring Bias

In this bias, I have learned that whatever is the first piece of information I show, such as a price, is likely going to set the tone for any information to follow Consequently I must avoid placing low-value numbers on my webpage, even if the number is irrelevant to pricing. Additionally, I must lace high numbers on my page, anchor, at a higher price.

Ben Franklin Effect

In this scenario, a person who does you a favor is actually more likely to do you another favor in the future than if you did them a favor in the first place. So on my website, I will ask potential customers to do a small favor for me. This could perhaps be to like my data on Facebook.

Endowment Effect

In this bias, you place a higher value on things that are ours. For instance, you could offer free trials, use sensory descriptions and vivid product images.

There’s so much to learn in digital psychology and persuasion. I find that since starting this minidegree, my mind has been awakened to so much knowledge this course is truly worthwhile. I can encourage many small business owners who are seriously considering growth hacks to consider getting skilled in applied neuromarketing.

I can highly recommend The CXL Institute for such skills training. Whether it’s just training for one person or for a whole team in the business this is where to start from. Do you need real web site optimization? Checkout the CXL Institute.