[WEBINAR] Neuromarketing: the Subconscious Forces that Make Your Audience Convert

Mac Hasley
February 15, 2018 ·

Getting A/B test results is only half the battle. It’s time to start reading your customers minds.

The Key Insights:

1. Horses can’t do the math.

We’ll let Tim give you the full anecdote. But the gist is this: everyone thought a horse could tap the answers to math problems with his hooves.

He couldn’t. He could just tell when people reacted to his “tapping” astonished—and he’d stop. Nailing the right answer, every time.

The moral of the story is, when you’re doing User Testing, people react to how we ask a question, and how we react to an answer. So you can’t always trust people’s responses to be authentic.

2. We make 95% of our decisions subconsciously.

Psychologists have noticed there are two types of decision making processes. System 1—is the “subconscious, autopilot” a part of your brain. And it’s responsible for 95% of the choices you make. Only 5% are made in system 2—you’re more rational system.

This is why, when reading brain scans, we can predict what decision someone will make, even before they know themselves.

3. There are some problems with how we interview users.

Turns out, people will (subconsciously) look for answers, and look for rationale—even when they don’t really have one.

No one likes to make a choice and then say “I’m not sure” when you ask why. So they won’t. Sometimes, brain scans actually show a positive response to an image—and people will say “it doesn’t resonate with them.”

So don’t take somebody’s “why” as gospel.

4. How you write your prices impacts how expensive people think your product is.

The brain likes fluency. It likes things to make sense.

So a number in a big font? That’s a big price. The (discounted) number in the small font next to it? Wow—that’s much smaller.

Also: currency signs make our brain shout “Money! Spending it! Pain!” The context here matters, but dropping the $ or € on your product pages might help usher conversions along.

5. There are two types of “scarcity” you should pay attention to.

We know this one—the classic persuasion principle. People want stuff there’s not a lot of.
But contemplate this: there’s a difference between “Almost sold out!” and “Limited edition!”

One means: “there was a lot of something, and people love it. It’s just about gone.” One means: “there’s a little bit of something, get it while it lasts.”

People who like “uniqueness”—respond better to the latter. People who strive for social alignment, resonate with the former.

6. There are things EEGs can do, that your A/B tests just can’t.

One is—provide some strategy guiding explanation. You can tell with eye tracking if someone looks at an image for a while, but you’ll have a harder time reading how they feel about it.

And you can tell if someone scrolls through your page if they’re stopping: but—why? Because it’s confusing? Because it’s delightful?

Brain scans help you pick out the “hows.” And they help you pick out the right questions—no matter how you decide to test.

The Full Transcript:

Thank you Dennis, and thank you guys for having me on this webinar. I’m very excited to tell you guys some stuff about what we’re doing over here in Holland with neuromarketing. It’s an exciting new area that we are exploring right now. So yes, the beginning of my presentation I always like to show this slide with me with the EEG headset on. It’s not mounted properly of course because I needed to keep my hair straight. I always love this image of course, and it shows a bit of the clientele that we’re working for right now.

So yeah, so this first image that I wanted to show you is again an image of me. This will be the last one I assure you. But take a look at this picture and without turning your own head could you see what’s wrong in this picture?

Maybe some people already see it that some things are off. And without giving anything away maybe look at the mouth, is it correct?

What about the eyes, can you see it?

Now let me turn a picture for you. So now you see the eyes and the mouth were turned upside down.

And I’m sure it’s really strange to see this picture this way, upside down—but now with the eyes in the mouth like you normally see. It’s really hard for your brain to see that this isn’t the correct picture as it should be.

Because if you see everything like it’s shown here, with everything correct except for the eyes and mouth—your brain knows “Hey, this isn’t right.” But at this point your brain immediately overrides your rational part, sees a good face, and says “Let’s go on.’’

And this is the basis for what psychology and neuromarketing does. It’s the subconscious that we’re trying to persuade, that we’re trying to measure. It’s a system that goes automatically. Because there’s a lot of stuff that happens in that automatic way and that’s the part that we want to influence, we want to use.

Maybe you guys have already seen this next slide so I’ll keep it short. But it has been said – and this is standard practice for a psychologist – that 95% of our decisions are made in system 1—in that subconscious autopilot a part of your brain. Only 5% are made in system 2—you’re more rational system. This system in control and it’s slow—so it governs bigger decisions, like your mortgage.

So without further ado, let’s dive in. And the first thing I wanted to show you is this slide.

Because a lot of you guys also do some user testing, and in user testing, you ask your participants what they think about something or another. Maybe your website or maybe a header image.

So the question of course, for us is: is what they answer, is that true?

Maybe it isn’t always. This psychologist set up an experiment and he asked the participants to say which one of those two ladies they would like to date. So the left one, or the right one. And as you can see they are clearly different. The left one has long hair and the right one as shorter hair and maybe some earrings as well. So a participant in this case says yes I would like to date the lady on the left with a long hair. And like a good illusionist the research leader puts the cards down, and give them back.

But what he does unnoticed is he gives the wrong picture back, so instead of the picture that he chose, he gave the picture back and he didn’t choose. And of course the big question is: how many people noticed this.

Most of my questions are trick questions except for this one—because 87% of the participants do say, “Hey, that’s not the one I’ve chosen.”

But the interesting part is about the 13% of people that didn’t notice it.

They didn’t notice that the images were swapped and now they are asked: why did they chose this picture? And instead of saying, “Yeah, I like the girl because of the long hair,” they said “No, I like girls with short hair and I like when they wear earrings,” and all that stuff.

So they started lying about why they’ve chosen this picture because they didn’t know it anymore.

This is really handy to keep in mind if you’re doing user testing. That when somebody doesn’t know what they think or how they feel—they will give a reason, because the last thing they want to do is say “I don’t know why I’ve chosen this.” And this happens unconsciously, this is not a conscious decision that they’re willing to lie. It’s just subconsciously they start to make up something. So keep this in mind when you’re doing user testing.

When you’re doing user testing, if you’re sitting next to the participant, the question is: how does that influence your participant?

To give you some more insights on that let’s look at Clever Hans. Clever Hans was a horse, and I think it’s a Dutch horse because his name is Hans and a lot of Dutch people were named Hans back then. But Hans could do something very peculiar. He could calculate, he could do math. If you asked the horse “what is two plus two?” he would tap his hoof four times. It’s amazing, right? The horse could really calculate, do math. So a lot of people gathered together and they saw that, indeed, you could ask him all kinds of math questions and he would tap the right answer. And now the question of course is: do you believe that this horse really could do math or us or something else at play?

A psychologist looked at it and said: “I’m not sure if that horse can really do math.”

So what the psychologist did blindfold the horse. And what then happened is that when they asked the horse the question of how much is one plus three, the horse didn’t do anything anymore. So now everybody was amazing so how does a horse do it? And it turns out that the horse just looks at a crowd.

And if the answer is like four, the crowd reacts reacts. So he taps his hoof: “One?” No. They’re all in suspense. “Two?” They are still in suspense. “Three?” Still in suspense, and then “Four?” Everybody’s like, “Ah!” He tapped four times. And now the horse he sees that everybody is amazed so he knows he should stop. So the subconscious influence of the whole audience made the horse do stuff that he normally would not do.

So this is also something to keep in mind when doing user testing and you’re sitting next to your participants. What is your subconscious influence in that participants? Maybe you have some kind of influence in what you expect him to say, and that couldn’t be always so handy.

And there’s a lot of subconscious things going on is best shown by this next example. As it turned out when researchers left a scent of chocolate in a bookstore they saw an uplift in selling of cooking books, and also an uplift in the selling of romantic books The uptick in romantic books sale wasn’t that as high as the cookbooks. Cookbooks are more associated with chocolate while the romantic part of chocolate isn’t that much associated with it. But it’s still really interesting to see that there are forces around us that guide our behavior. And let us dive in into some examples of other forces that you can use to steer somebody behavior and it’s a lot of conversion insight that I want to share with you.

And the first one is an example of Cool Blue. This is a Dutch online store and they have this webpage. And a lot of times I asked the audience what is missing over here? And there are some crucial bits of information missing.

Maybe because you guys are in conversion you probably heard of that leaving out the euro sign or the currency symbol increases conversion. That is indeed the case. Most of the times it happens because when people see prices this area, the brain lights up.

And the funny thing is: this is exactly the same area that lights up when you hit your thumb with a hammer—it’s the area in your brain that also lights up when you have pain or you’re actually in pain.

So this makes sense a bit. When you’re spending money, we say “it hurts a bit.” And this is the same thing we see in the brain with an FMRI scan. It actually hurts and spending money isn’t hurts but apparently also seeing the price of an object hurts and what always comes with a price is the currency symbol. So one way to feel less pain actually is to leave the currency symbol out.

I’ll now dive into something really more in depth in a neuroscience. We just saw this image of television with the price so let’s dive into the price and zoom in on it. So here we have your price of €1,199 and a new price of €1,079. And for the next thing that I’m going to change, I have to explain you guys something about how sometimes physical concepts translates themselves to mental concepts.

And this sounds a bit fake but imagine a friend that lives far away, so we have a physical distance between us that is kind of big and you feel also that your emotional distance to him is also a bit bigger because of the distance. There’s a Dutch expression that says “Better a close neighbor than a far friend”—and this is the same thing, a physical concept living far away translates into a mental concept. There’s the connection that also feels a bit further away.

Now let’s apply this to this price. Maybe you’ve already guessed it. I’m increasing the distance between the old and new price and what happens—and this is actually a scientist that studied this—that when we increase the size between the old price and the new price, also our thought of how big of a discounts is increases. So this is really interesting. This is again the physical concept that translates into a mental concept.

And for the next few slides that I’m going to show you are all this scientific research stacked on top of each other. And we’ll end up with maybe the perfect price—one that’s priced in a way that psychologically works the best.

So there’s also a concept called processing fluency, and basically that means that things that we process easier, are also processed more fluently. And if it’s processed more fluently, we like it better. It’s just simple as that.

And what makes a price in this case be processed more easily?

Let’s look at the change first. So instead of making the old price small, I’ve made it big. And it kind of makes sense because the old price is also bigger; it’s €1,199 so it’s €120 more so it’s a bigger price, so it also should be bigger in a font wise.

So this is again a research that says that if the old price is bigger than the new price, this mentally makes more sense. This is more fluently processed, and so this also feels like a bigger discount.

And then the next change, in this change I have made the old price not opaque and the new price more opaque. Same thing; if it’s opaque it feels lighter and a lighter price feels smaller.

And in this change I have increased the font weight so the old price is big, it’s thick, it’s bold and the new price isn’t any more. Or you can go even further, I can lose the dark here as well and losing the dark basically just means that the price has gotten smaller in a how big it is way.

And this is the last one that I want to show you guys for pricing. This is a red stipe, and apparently, this only works for guys. So for guys this feels like a bigger discount and for girls this is neutral, and it probably has something to do with how guys perceive the color red and how that has played a role in evolutionary theories and what not.

So with all this in mind, we as an agency, we did an AB Test or an ABCD Test in this case.

So on the left top corner we saw the original price on this website. In that image it’s on a red right button, we see: the euro sign, eighteen comma zero, zero (€18,00). So we have two things that we want to apply here, and the first thing is leaving out the Euro sign, as I already told you, and the second thing is leaving out the zeroes—because also leaving out the zeros makes a price smaller. So it should be felt as a smaller price right? So we tested this, and of course, I guess you would agree with me that the one on the right bottom should be clear winner because it doesn’t have a euro sign and it also doesn’t have the two zeroes, but strangely enough the one on the left bottom won. And we were quite amazed by this because we thought, “Hey, the euro sign, it hurts so leaving it out should mean less pain, should mean more conversion.”

But what we forgot was that maybe the fact that it isn’t clear that it is a price without the euro sign—and that’s a bigger issue than leaving the euro sign away because it hurts. So this is also something to keep in mind when you’re trying to apply the psychology insights. That basically it’s on the top of the pyramid in changing a website and doing some conversion tests.

Sure for the basics should be right and in this case it’s the basic of knowing that it is a price.

And to give a bit more insight of that, look at the following picture. And maybe you guys can already tell me from what big retailer this one is. I can’t hear you guys and you’re not allowed to raise your hand except for a high five.

Yes, so this is indeed Amazon and it’s really interesting you guys you don’t see Amazon as a logo on here, the only thing you’ve is at, the bottom right, “Add to cart.” And because this is branded so well, Amazon is able to leave out the dollar sign in this case—because you recognize that this is the price, $15.71 is the price.

So in this case it makes more sense to leave it out. So when you try to apply this same thing, first look if you branded your price correctly. If people know that that’s a place where the price should be.

So this is a next slide that we got from neuromarketing.com. It’s basically a website that has the latest info on neuromarketing insights. And this one tells about how you should position your products. So also keep this in mind when you position your product—maybe on your e-commerce website or on other websites where you have products as well. On left hand side you see the iMac it’s facing towards the text, while on the right hand side the laptop of Dell is facing outwards of the text or of the banners.

And you could view this as converging lines basically—that goes towards the text in the Mac ad, while in the Dell ad it’s facing away from the text. So we see it at the right ad doesn’t work as well as the left ad, and if I also of course check the right ad with the laptop on the other way around.

So keep in mind that also your products should be facing towards your text. That is basically the same as you’d use humans in your text. And on the subject of the conversion lines, you could use it in your advantage as well.

So first, I’m going to ask you guys to look here and you probably already look at the green star here because the two lines are converting to words that star.

And now I’m going to ask Dennis because he’s such a good audience to look at the next picture and to tell me the first thing that he sees, and I want you guys to also try to do the same. Look at the picture that I’m going to show you right now and just think of the first thing you see. Are you ready? Here it goes.

Yeah, that’s correct. And while I can’t hear the rest of you guys of course. When I give this presentation to a lot of people in the audience everybody shouts out I see the windmill first, and that’s not that strange because if you look at the water the conversion lines—which happens automatically with straight roads or a lens or waters in this case—automatically directs your attention to the windmill. And the windmill in turn is looking towards the text, “Welcome to Holland.”

And while one might argue that this is a nice ad to welcome people to Holland, apparently, also trying to sell the products that you see in front of the image.

But if you if you keep in mind that you only have a few seconds of attention when people walk by, you probably want people to first see the products and not the windmill. Maybe you’re trying to sell windmills in that case, this is correct, but in other cases keep in mind of the effect of converging lines and it always happen with roads and waters like this.

So yeah, the Cialdini.

I hope you guys aren’t scared and not to worry I won’t dive into the Cialdini 6. I won’t even dive into the principle scarcity as a single principle. I will dive into a distinction that also recently came out as an interesting insight in the neuromarketing science world.

And the distinction in scarcity in this case is that are basically two kinds scarcity that you can use.

The first one is probably the one that most people use: it’s “Almost Sold Out.” But the second one is also interesting it’s a “Limited Edition.”

And I think of the difference between these two. On the left one, the almost sold out, you’re basically saying there has been produced a lot but also a lot of people bought it. But on the right side you’re basically saying we don’t produce a lot so you’re a one of the lucky few that can have it.

So the left one is more of a social proof kind of scarcity while the right one is more of like a unique scarcity. And as it turns out, different kind of people react to those different kind of framing of this scarcity.

And as it turns out that when you use the “Almost Sold Out” people that are low in their need for uniqueness will react more positively on that kind of persuasion, while people that are high in their need for uniqueness react better to a limited edition kind of framing, and also in your loss of your game frame.

I don’t know if you guys all know it but you can for instance say “sign up for a newsletter and always receive”— which is a “gain frame.” Or you can say sign up for a newsletter and don’t miss out the latest information which is more of a loss frame.

And apparently people that are high in a need for uniqueness react more positively to a loss frame, while people that are low in a need for uniqueness will react better to a gain frame. So keep this in mind when using scarcity the on your website.

For instance, when you have a product that appeals more to people that want to be unique—say for instance a dress that is really colorful—you should probably use the “Limited Edition” version and not the “Almost Sold Out” one.

So another thing on social proof that I’d like to tell you guys is the opposite of social proof. And why I want to show you guys this is that the opposite of social proof can be used in a wrong way and I’m seeing I’m missing a slide over here so I’ll just wing it for now.

We tested some proposition for a Dutch insurance company and we tested three that we created on our own and those are the ones on the left. It’s fear, social proof, and reframe.

And we also use two propositions that were in the market already—one from ABN, AMRO, and the other one from Interpolis. And the interesting thing is the one from Interpolis used a negative kind of social proof. What it said was—it was an insurance for cybersecurity—and what it says was “Cyber incidents happen all the time, but still most entrepreneurs don’t think about it.”

And what this says is that it’s the wrong kind of social proof because you’re saying like a lot of people don’t worry about this so you don’t have to as well. And we all know the positive side of social proof saying like, “Hey, a lot of people do this…” but not a lot of people think about the other way around that the negative one saying that “A lot of people don’t worry about this” really hurts conversion as well.

And you can see just how we tested. We tested it on LinkedIn advertising and also interesting to keep in mind that user testing doesn’t always have to be on your website. If you want to test a proposition for example or user speed, you could try to test it on Facebook or on LinkedIn if you want to…And we saw indeed that compared to the ones that we created on the left hand side, the three, the Interpolis one worked really, really badly, so didn’t work as well as the other ones. So keep in mind the negative part of social proof.

I also want to tell you a bit about what I think is going to be happening in 2018, so a bit more closely. And it’s micro movements. I don’t see this around that often so this is really something that you could up your conversions really easily with. Let’s look at, maybe, the arrow that most of you guys probably use. Direct the attention a bit more down. But it also happens with buttons, and you can try to do this as well. On this example you see the button shaking a bit. And then this example I really love, look at the green button and it just shakes. I feel a bit happy when it shakes like that. So with this micro-movements we see in our samples that it attracts a lot of attention because something is moving and that isn’t normally the case in a static website. So this is really useful to attract attention.

And now for the part that most of you guys are probably are also really curious about and Dennis introduced me for at the beginning. It’s the subconscious that we try to measure with neuromarketing measurements like EEG and eye tracking. And so for us, neuromarketing can be explained in two ways. So the first way is what I showed you guys already, that’s the insights that we already have from science that has already been done or research that we have done as like best practices. But sometimes you really like to know how your consumers react and feel when they watch your website or going through your funnel. Because there could be a lot of subconscious roadblocks that are happening over there that people aren’t able to tell you, but still really make a difference in whether or not they’re going to convert.

And I’m going to give you an example of a case where people probably wouldn’t have said that this was stopping them from converting, but eventually ended up having a massive gain in conversions. But to dive into that I first have to tell you something amazing that has been found in research with EEG in this case. This study from 2014 showed that we could really predict if somebody was going to buy a product or not, by looking at EEG, and in this case the pre-frontal asymmetry – you can forget that of course. We could predict five milliseconds before somebody was going to buy a product that he was going to buy it with a certainty of 90%, and this is really amazing and we do a lot of it with this metric and I’m going to show you how it looks in a bit.

But keep in mind that this is really sort of the thing that you’re looking for if you want to know what really at tracks attention and lights people on your website. Basically what we measure is an approach or an avoidance motivation with this so when we see in approach motivation we see the people really want it, but when we see an avoidance motivation we see that people really dislike it. So both are really helpful in your online tested because for some things you want to know, hey, this attracts a lot of attention, people feel positive about this, let’s use this more often.” the other one shows you that people really dislike this. And I’m going to show you an example of that dislike in a bit.

So doing media research it’s really important to have the right equipment, and maybe you guys say, “Yeah, sure,” but you of course don’t know what the right equipment is and what isn’t.

And for that we also look at science and research papers, because a few years back they did a comparative analysis of a lot of headsets out there, and this one that your guys are viewing right now it turned out to be the best one in commercial use, while of course the really the best ones are the ones they use in hospitals; but those have a lot of wires on them and you can’t really move freely and they’re also used because they have a lot of more knobs to measure if you have Parkinson or not.

So this one basically is the best for marketing purposes for which we have of course want to use it. This other ones that are around are more like the prosumer ones that can measure if you’re meditating or not. This is fun to know but not really helpful if you’re doing neuromarketing research for your website for example. But it also hurts a bit after 10 minutes and this one just feels like sort of a sweatband that you have on while working out.

And while we’re looking at these EEG metrics, there are four things basically that we can see which are feathered a bit in science and that’s also really important for us that this is the agreed upon validated metrics that universities around the world use.

So this is not something that we made up or something that we maybe validated ourselves. No, this is the one that is used around the world.

And the first one is the desire metric, it’s a prefrontal estimates example I use at the beginning. Another part of a metric is the engagement metric and you can see we have high engagement and low engagement. When you have low engagement it’s the same as when you were reading a page on the book and at the end of the page you’re thinking to yourself, “What did I read again?”

That’s when you reading low engaged and the opposite of that is high engagement how you’re really invested in it.

This is the metric that we don’t use lot online; we use that a lot though for commercial testing, with only commercial testing, this really correlates with how good you will remember an ad or a commercial.

And the bottom two are more negative ones. So the first one is workload, you can imagine what this is; when you’re having a really difficult time processing something, you’re workload is really high. For example, when you’re doing difficult math question.

And the other one is confusion, and confusion basically means that something happens that you didn’t expect. So this is not the same as frustration which is good to remember. There are some people that say we can measure frustration with EEG while the scientific census is that it isn’t really clear what you’re measuring when you’re trying to measure frustration.

So we don’t do that, we look at confusion and combined with the opposite of desires when you have an avoidance motivation combined with confusion we say like, “Hey, this is something that’s really off and shouldn’t happen.”

On a website, this is the one that you also be looking for for the roadblocks because if there is confusion, if people don’t know what is going on they will probably leave quicker. So if you combine that with eye tracking you can see where people are looking at the millisecond and what people are feeling at the same time—and this gives insight for optimizations on website. And I’m going to show you how this looks for a website, but I first want to show you guys how strong it actually is, and by showing that I need to show you an ad because that makes it as clear as possible.

And in this ad we ran a test with 12 women that had children around the 2 years of age. And you might be asking “We’re doing AB testing with thousands of participants, why is that number so low?” But the reason why it’s so low is because there’s not a lot of variation if you look at brain reactions. So research agrees that when you have 10 participants you can be sure that 95% of the things that you’re finding are significant for the bigger audience. If we really want to be sure we use 30 participants because then we get at the significance level of 99%.

So look let me first show you the first scene in this commercial, and you’re all seeing this baby that’s been pulled under water and a lot of times. When I try to explain to people without showing you this they say, “So a baby is pulled under water, that can be right,” but if you look at it in this way, well, maybe you think, yeah, it looks cute. So I’ll play the clip, it’s just a few seconds. You’ll probably see it. He looks happy. Let’s look at another clip as well. This clip, this baby looks really happy and it’s like a poster boy baby for a foreign commercial. And the last thing that I want to show you is this thing; it’s a baby in front of a bicycle. Typical dads apparently, we all ride bicycles. We have more bicycles in the Netherlands then we have inhabitants in Netherlands so we like to drive on the bike. So these were all commercials that on first hand one would say, “Sure thing, they all look good, right, a bit.”

So let me show you how they all look in the brain. And this is the aggregated data of 12 participants, 12 women that have children of around 2 years of age. And you’re looking here at the EEG graph of the desire metric. So that’s the one that I pulled out because you see a lot of spikes over here that give rise to what was happening. And you have to look at the zero line. So the zero line is over here. I’m pointing at it with my mouse right now. So at the beginning of the commercial it’s really low.

Let’s take a quick look you’ll see a bar going from left to right.

So basically what it means that if it’s below zero this means there’s an avoidance motivation. While rationally you might say this is cute—this is a baby that’s under the water shows that subconsciously something is wrong, it’s not going well, we should avoid mission right now. So this is not good, this is not a good start of you’re commercial. The next one is supposed to be a baby and he’s sitting in the sink, that’s stupid. And you saw when he was in the sink it immediately jumped really high so this is really positive, people feel like this is great.

And in the next scene that I want to show you it starts over here so we have a peek over here but then a huge drop over here and that’s exactly when the baby sitting in front of the bike with his mom. So this looks really fun but what people really felt is scared or anxiety because a baby sitting in front of the bike and he’s probably a bit in danger because he’s not wearing a helmet as well, but when they collide he’s a first one that hits something and that’s not good. And we see immediately that all the moms that saw this, they dropped in a positive emotion, they were immediately, “This is not good, we should abort mission again.” So also not a great scene.

Here in the last scene, and this is I think the best thing to show you guys of how well the symmetry works actually, the desire metric, is in this last scene. First look at it because you can see that there’s a huge peak at the end. You can imagine what happened here, right? So you saw the babies coming up and the moms immediately think, “Ah, this is a cute baby. I want to have him.” I want to sniff him probably as well. And they were really happy seeing this. And the reason why I showed you guys this is because of that the metric that we use right prefrontal asymmetry you can see it really works, you can see the distinction of what happens in the brain and we’re seeing in the ad. And this is the best example of course have the huge drop in the prefrontal estimates when the positive desire it immediately drops below zero so people are avoidant here.

So we use this metric also online. And now it gets interesting because what happens if you see the same dip in positive emotions when people are visiting your website. And this is exactly where we saw our in a form.

So over here I have an example of a form that has a lot of fields so all these fields are obligatory. And we saw with a lot of participants that forgot to fill out these fields that when they viewed the error message we saw a dip in the positive emotion. So we saw that people are avoiding in this way.

And if we dive into this it may be makes a bit of sense as well because you’re seeing that you’re missing something here, but if you look further than that we can also see that it’s in red. And I think that most of you guys when you looking at a form also use this color, you use a red color because this is basically the standard of using an error message.

So what we thought of that was that red maybe has the wrong association, maybe red is seen as permanently wrong and not adjustable. Well in this case it’s just a notification saying that “Hey, you can fill it in and you haven’t made a mistake.” So in the following AB test we change the color to orange and the line that was filled we change it from red to black and it’s really interesting because a lot of times people say, “Oh, you do Ab testing so you’re changing colors and stuff?” You guys all know that it isn’t anything always about colors, it’s much more about positioning elements and psychology that you can use.

And maybe where you’re testing colors it’s because of a button that you’re trying to change and more contrast in color which makes sense of course, but in this case we only change the color of the text that had an association with it.

And now the question is of course: what did this do in sense of an indication of the conversions? And this really interesting because we saw a huge lift, we saw a lift of 15% with a certainty of 99% just by changing the color.

So this is a huge thing for us as well because as I showed you guys before we can see in EEG that of course there’s a dip and there are highest when you also expect it maybe, but we also saw now validated online in a following AB Test on our research.

And that gives way for the research that we do a lot of the times. So how we use EEG and eye tracking to optimize websites, because this is just an example of course. And we do it in this example with a mobile phone.

So you can see over here the press the participant’s own phone. We use an eye tracking glass from Toby to look at where people are looking and over here you can see the EEG state, the brain data. So the top one is the engagement, the green one is distraction. So when there’s a peak in distraction, something happens that we don’t understand; this one, the blue line is workload for how difficult we think this is. Basically the benchmark is if it’s above 80 we think it’s difficult, if it’s below 80 it’s okay. And the bottom line is a prefrontal asymmetry, the desire metric.

So when there are dips over here and out here something is happening and we’re not going to dive into this right now but you can see over here what is happening. So you can see the participant reading the text and it’s really clear what they’re reading at the time and they’re visiting the website.

And something that we got out of this — it really made us think because we get a lot of insights on how you should or what you should test on your website. We see that basically there are two ways of using EEG and neuromarketing. So the first one is more in an exploratory way so you can use it to see like “What should I test. What are some subconscious roadblocks that are happening right now that I am not aware of.” Like the red text in your form but also of course a lot of other elements. But what’s interesting to look at is also more a long term approach of what you’re finding.

In this case we saw for the Dutch Road Guard, that the first it’s in Dutch so I’ll read it for you guys: the first one is the rock art membership and the second one ties when you’re in doubt with your car.

When all the participants viewed this they were really excited so by all the other use piece we saw excitement, we saw the people liked it. But with these two we didn’t see it. And this gives an interesting insight for the Road Guard for them to look at if this membership is still as relevant as it was when they began with it because back in the days this was really relevant, there’s no doubt about it. But nowadays maybe you could say that participants don’t want to be part per se of the Road Guard anymore. And I’m not saying that you change your whole business model only because of this but this give rise to a question you should be asking yourself if you have the huge impact.

And that is also what I want to show you guys our model for the Continuous Customer Insights. Because not a lot of times it’s only about the short term impact that you guys have, it’s also about the long term impact. And you can apply the same model actually for your AB testing as well, because the insights you get are really the insights that are validated. You have a lot of significance while a lot of other tests that people might win or think of are like to to be made up, to be things people just go with.

So what we always start with is the customer. So the customer we take it central in doing our research and ask ourselves how can we improve our website? And we do that a lot of times with neuromarketing insights.

So for instance when we are exploring ways we look at the website and we say “Are there some roadblocks going on in the website right now?” And we measure it with each EGG to measure the subconscious and we see what people are feeling at the time. And by this, as in the example of the Road Guard guard, we can learn that maybe the membership isn’t as important as we thought it was.

This gives rise to improve the website on the short term but also give more insights in your customer. And your customer– you have them haven’t of course but you also want to have them in the future. So you want to have it more future proof. So really think about this as building database insights about your customer. That not only for your website but will also work for your advertisements and ad copy that you’re sending out via email.

So I’m seeing I’m a bit short in time so I’ll go through this a bit more quickly.

But this is also interesting if you want to maybe test your hero images. We tested that for Road Guard as well because they couldn’t really measure through down the line what the impact of these images were. So we have a header over here and I’ve now overlaid it with eye tracking data.

But we also combine it with EEG which we’re going to look at in a second where you are sitting over here that people a lot of people looked at the text over here which is good. And not a lot of people look at the people on the right-hand side and I think that is good because we know that people can be conversion killers because they attracted a lot of attention and they’ve diverted away from what we really want them to look at. So in this case this could be a good header, and this is also what we saw in the EEG metrics.

So from a desired point of view from the approach motivation, we saw that that last header you just saw was the clear winner, while cheap tickets was really negative so people didn’t feel this as well as the other headers.

You might ask yourself, “Okay, so how does that header look?” It looks like this. And this is interesting because for cheap tickets they sell this space to like American Airlines and stuff.

So they sell the spot and probably for a lot of money but people view this negatively at this time.

So this interesting to think of, but it also interesting to think of if you really need an image, and this is something that I really like, we have to question our assumptions. Because when you make a website we automatically think, “Yes, the should be an image over there. We need to make people feel some stuff.”

For example Airbnb. At Airbnb they want to inspire people to think about where they can go and they need to have some inspiring images on their website, but if you go through the website right now you’ll see this, there’s no hero image at all. And I’m sorry guys, this is in Dutch.

I really like this because they question the assumption that you should use an image on your home screen while you might argue that we’re more interested in letting people read.

So in this case for Airbnb they say like, “Reserve, unique spaces and feel the city like you are living there yourself. Experience the city like you living there yourself.”

And I also like this part because they’re really concrete on what you are getting while they are actually a really known brand.

Also when you’re making hero images or just slogans make sure that you’re really clear about what you’re selling and don’t try to be vague—because vagueness doesn’t sell. And look at this our approach to how we measure stuff and how we use neuromarketing to gain more insights.

I hope that you guys also feel that with the AB Testing that you’re doing right now, you could also set up a database of insights about to customers.

And one classroom that I really like is an effect of experiments where you can store all your tests or the insights about your customer and you should really have that. And you should attract more direct cases in there.

So not only A/B Testing but also maybe the testing that we did—like the proposition test that we ran on LinkedIn which you can also use of course on Facebook. But you can also use the EEG data like we did to measure some insights or to get some insights on your consumer.

So how can you use neuromarketing in EEG?

So on a first hand, you can use it in an exploratory way; if you’re thinking “Okay, I’m curious what the unconscious mind is thinking of our website, or funnel” for example.

So in the case of the Dutch Road Guard, we asked participants to buy one of the memberships that they offer, and we can see from the beginning to the end what they’re seeing at the moment and how their feel.

And this is really different from other kinds of user testing or just eye tracking because with just eye tracking you can see what people are looking at and what they’re missing—but you don’t see how they feel when there are seeing something (like for example the USP).

And we also saw some other tests that we did those people were really positive about the USPs in the EEG in the brain data that we saw but they weren’t positive in what they said. It’s like, “Yeah, the USP doesn’t translate as well to me as something else.” So we saw really a difference in what people said and what people did.

And this is also good to keep in mind. It’s the same with Clever Hands and the example of the image where they could choose a woman and then the other one.

People don’t always know what they feel so it’s scary to base your decisions on what people said.

But something that we also see with agencies is that they have a lot of A/B Tests that are stacked up already and they don’t need new tests. But what we know is that 2 or 3 out of 10 tests are positively significant and the rest just aren’t.

And we see that when we combine neuromarketing insights and research with those A/B Tests we can increase your tests that are positively significant because we can judge which tests you should run, and which aren’t as important as you thought they were.

Because we can see in the brain data which test or which part actually really work on your website or are roadblocks. But you can also use it of course when something is below benchmark. So in the case of in the personal details, where people forgot some details, we saw also end up that there was a lot of drop out—more than we expected from our benchmark. And we see that people are dropping out of your funnel, but you get the feeling that this is more than you would expect normally.

Or maybe it’s untestable like the header image. It’s practically impossible sometimes to look at the header image at the beginning of your funnel—and see what it does in your funnel down the line. And you can really test this with EEG.

So I hope you guys enjoyed my small presentation about neuromarketing insights. And if you enjoyed it, please add me on LinkedIn because I share a lot of knowledge over there and I really like to connect with you on that platform.

But also, if you’re really curious on how the neuromarketing and EEG could work for you, you can schedule a demo with me where I can show you a bit more on how this really works.

And don’t be afraid if you’re not from the Netherlands because we have an alliance of neuromarketing agencies all around the world so if it’s really specific for American people for example, we can also test your website on that for that audience because sometimes it matters of course what kind of audience you have. So thank you guys for your attention, and I’ll give the word back to Dennis.

Talia Wolf
Talia Wolf
Originally published February 15, 2018 - Updated January 10, 2022
Mobile reading? Scan this QR code and take this blog with you, wherever you go.
Mac Hasley
Mac Hasley Mac is a content strategist at Convert, a copywriter across the webz, and an advocate for marketing that is humble and kind

Start Your 15-Day Free Trial Right Now.
No Credit Card Required

You can always change your preferences later.
You're Almost Done.
I manage a marketing team
I manage a tech team
I research and/or hypothesize experiments
I code & QA experiments
Convert is committed to protecting your privacy.

Important. Please Read.

  • Check your inbox for the password to Convert’s trial account.
  • Log in using the link provided in that email.

This sign up flow is built for maximum security. You’re worth it!