Last week I finished the People & Psychology module in CXL’s Digital Psychology & Persuasion mini degree and it’s fascinating to see how people instinctively view websites, their perceived value of products and how easy/hard your website is to read all make a massive impact on your website conversions.
How People View Websites
It’s interesting how we view a website, we don’t read it systematically like we would a book left to right down each page. In fact, we scan key sections looking for valuable information and minimum viable cues to make sure we’re on the right track. We’re time-poor and this way of viewing websites helps us manage our most valuable resource time.
Eye-tracking research shows that people read webpages in an F-shaped pattern on the long bar at the top followed by a shorter bar and then straight down.
So by knowing how people read websites, you can place your key information in these areas e.g. your value proposition at top and your menu on the top horizontal bar or left vertical.
Placing emphasis on your introductory paragraph (like Smashing magazine) by increasing the font a few sizes bigger than your body copy means it has a higher likelihood of being read.
Left vs. right
Most people are left-handed (with exceptions) so it’s no surprise we’re left dominant when viewing websites. With 69% of time spent viewing the left and only 30% viewing the right. Knowing this I’d move some valuable information to the left of the page and up as much as possible.
High-quality big images are the best way to get and keep attention on websites, but that comes with caveats they should not be cheesy stock photos.
“A call centre ad with a model in it on the phone may be a good picture technically, but it will more likely be ignored,” Nielsen said.
So if you can get high-quality photos of real customers for testimonials to use on your home/landing page they will be considered genuine and more believable.
Big headlines draw the eye on a webpage and the first few words on the left-hand side of the headline is in the scan zone too, so make them count. You want to grab their attention so they keep reading or click to read more.
Value Perceptions and Image size
A product page on an e-commerce website is made up of a few key elements (price, product image, product description). So if we use bigger images customers should pay more attention to them, right?
Not always. The size of an image also affects its perceived value (how expensive or cheap we think it is). So a 3 part study was done to find if bigger was better for different types of products. I’ve summarised part 1 of this study below.
A men’s dress shirt represents an “experience good” while a hard drive represents a “search good”. In the study they asked two pricing questions:
- At what price is this product a bargain?
- At what price is this product too expensive to consider?
For the experience good(dress shirt) we’d pay more for it if a smaller product image was used.
For the search good(hard drive) we’d pay more for it if a larger product image was used.
So a bigger image is not always better, it depends on the product category, so if you’re in the business of selling search goods like hard drives – bigger is better! Just not for experience goods like an expensive dress shirt. Knowing how the size of a product image affects its perceived value can have a big impact on your bottom line. So know your product and read the full research while you’re at it!
What is cognitive fluency anyway? It’s how easy or hard something is for us to process. And our brains love to think about things that are easy to think about. If that makes sense?!
So if you’re doing marketing, make your offer supper easy to understand because that way people are more likely to buy it e.g. Unlimited data plan for Internet.
It takes time to sit down and figure out how much data you use and therefore the best plan. It’s easy to just pick unlimited (even if it’s not the cheapest) because it’s easy to understand. Australian Internet provider iiNet understands this.
Our brains love easy to understand offers and they love easy to understand names too e.g. people show increased preference for shares in companies with easy-to-pronounce names which also do better than those with hard-to-pronounce names. Coincidence? Not according to Psychologists.
Hard to read means hard to buy
Make your offer and pricing as easy to understand as possible. So that means using clear language and making sure your website easy to read too. Easy to read fonts double the number of people willing to purchase the product.
Previous positive experiences
You’ve tried it, it worked, and you don’t want to spend a bunch of time researching alternatives and risking a bad purchase. As a marketer, this means it’s super important to get that first purchase from a customer.
The Mere Exposure Effect
“The more familiar we are with something, the more we like it. This is the mere exposure effect.” – Robert Zajonc
The more times you’re exposed to something the more you prefer it, simple as that. Thats why marketing campaigns are so effective the continued repeated exposure is more effective than a one-off flash in the pan advertisement.
So now you know how to increase conversions by understanding how people instinctively view websites(simple sites that are easy to understand and will perform better), the perceived value of products and how image sizes make a difference to how expensive/cheap we perceive items (double-check the original research for your product category first so you don’t negatively affect sales). And how easy/hard the website is to read all make a massive impact on your website conversions.
So if you’re serious about increasing conversions on your website make everything is as simple as possible. Because the more “typical” your website layout, the easier it is for our brain to process. And our brains “love the easy way out” so you’ll increase conversions if you make sure your (website and offering) is super easy (to use and understand).