3 mistakes in advertising psychology

Neurons HQ

February 5, 2021

The industry of advertising has been using insights from psychology to optimize their results since the 1920s. Nowadays, Neuromarketing and the use of eye-tracking are going beyond to explain what processes are behind consumers’ decision making. From this, we have obtained learnings that are making advertising more powerful and persuasive than ever before.

Yet, some brands still fail to build compelling campaigns that communicate their message effectively. Here you can learn about 3 common mistakes that happen when advertisers don’t consider the psychology of their consumers.

Not defining Branding vs. Call to Action goals

Failing to identify the goal of an advertising campaign can jeopardize not only your brand, but will also leave you without a clear measure of success. Most of today’s advertising focuses on promotions and short-term offers, including the famous call-to-actions (CTAs). These campaigns are great to achieve specific business objectives in a short period of time. They attract attention and engage consumers into performing a specific action. For example, buying a new product, or subscribing to a newsletter.

Brand building advertising, in turn, is designed to establish your brand in consumers’ minds. It reinforces your brand, generates brand loyalty, and positions your brand as a market leader. The key here is to promote awareness by repetition. It is important to have a long-term strategy and, if your target audience is in different channels, your brand needs to be in as many of them as possible.

Companies spend most of their efforts looking for the quick results of short-term campaigns. However, paying attention to the brand building will ultimately lead to much more rewarding results, keeping your customers loyal, and having your brand as the most representative of your product or service.

Talking “about us” instead of “about you”

As you spend a lot of effort in creating your products, you have the temptation to talk about all the wonderful things your products can do. Advertising psychology tells us that consumers care little about the product features, and prefer to know what’s in it for them. So make sure to stress your product benefits. Talk about the value they will gain from your product, instead of simply listing its characteristics.

Pronouns are important. Writing in second person, using “you” helps the audience resonate with the message and connect it to their own lives. The readers will personalize the advertisement and build their own story around it. For example, instead of saying “We provide shipping service in 24 hours”, it's more powerful to say “You can get your package by tomorrow”.

Last, use the language of your customers. For example, if you're trying to sell discount airline tickets, you wouldn't use the wording “We make affordable airfares available to everyone”. Instead, you want to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Probably, a simple “Cheap flight deals for you” would be enough.

Fail to drive attention to the brand

We have talked previously about how most advertising materials place the brand logo (and sometimes the CTA) in the lower right-hand corner. The so-called “Corner of Death” is typically the second to last place that people look on a page or screen. So placing your brand (or CTA) there, can mean an attentional disaster for your ad. This is especially relevant if you are trying to build brand awareness to your logo, but it also applies to CTAs. Make sure to include your logo and/or CTA in a visible position. It has to be easy to find for consumers, otherwise, you will be wasting your investment in campaigns that don’t lead to action or to branding.

That said, there is an exception to this rule. In some cases, users or readers may be used to look for the CTA in the bottom right corner of the screen. For example, many webs or apps have their customer support chats on this corner. So there are cases where people will actively look for your CTA in this area. What is important here is to test what works for your brand and make sure that your viewers are looking where you want them to. If you don’t have the time -or budget- to run a full eye-tracking study to understand where your audience is looking, a great tool to start is Predict. Here you can upload an image or video, and an algorithm will predict where people will pay attention and generate a heatmap. This allows you to understand which areas of your advertisement are more salient and engaging.

Book a demo with us to learn more about Predict.

3 mistakes in advertising psychology

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