How to use psychological principles to increase conversion

Original author: Thomas Smale
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Conversion optimization is an increase in the likelihood that a user will perform some targeted action on your page.

Your user needs to make a decision, and you want to influence this process.
Understanding the psychology that governs human behavior can help us with this.


Fear of loss

Fear of loss is a powerful conservative force that drives people to strive more to save something than to take risks to achieve something more. The study showed that people get more pleasure from circumventing losses than from making a profit (of the same value).

Imagine, for example, that you play heads and tails for money, if you drop a coin and tails fall out, you lose 10 dollars. How much would you like to get if an eagle fell?
Most people answer $ 20. That is, they want to receive a potential reward twice the potential loss. In other words, we want to have a lot of money in our pockets, without losing anything.

Free Trial Versions

Fear of loss is one of the reasons for the success of the trial strategy, which works very effectively for SAAS. When we get something we need for free, we get used to it over time and don’t want to part with it anymore, so we’re ready to pay money, maintaining the state of things.


Simply put, we overestimate losses and try to avoid unnecessary expenses and high prices. benefits from this by using the “Block Price” items before prices “can” jump.


Self-efficacy is the power of faith in one's own competence - how well, in your opinion, you will cope with the task. Self-efficacy can directly affect your motivation and your desire to complete a task.

Let me give you an example, self-efficacy directly affects how you follow a diet or training regimen. If you do not believe in your capabilities, then the chances are good that you will abandon everything.

Thus, low self-efficacy can lead people to believe that the task is more complicated than it actually is and this can prevent even the beginning of the task.

Success reward

Self-efficacy grows along with successes, we can give the user the visibility of this success, periodically rewarding him for the fidelity of the performed action, thereby increasing the likelihood that he will go further and complete the task. A reward can be anything, even a green tick marking the correctness of the action taken.


The reward for success in completing a task in a process strengthens the belief that you can accomplish a task
In a test published by Luc Wroblewski, a built-in form check on a web page showed a 22 percent increase in success rates and a 31 percent increase in user satisfaction.

Make things easier

People with low self-efficacy may not be able to cope with the task, so dividing the process into several parts can make everything visually simpler. As you work on the process, reward them for each step to maintain self-efficacy as you progress.


Show the success of the rest

Self-efficacy can also increase due to the activity of other users. If we see how others successfully complete the task, we also begin to believe that we can cope with the task. You can use this by showing existing customers who have already made purchases:


Or the number of people who have already signed up:


Dual process theory

Also, we can greatly benefit from knowing how our brain processes information in the decision-making process.
One of the most popular doctrines of thought is the “dual-process theory,” which states that our brain forms thoughts through two separate processes. One of the processes is conscious, and the other is subconscious.
In his book Thinking: Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman describes two systems as follows:
System 1: Fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotyped, subconscious
System 2: Slow, effortless, infrequent, logical, prudent, conscious
Both systems are constantly involved and one of them makes decisions for us each time. Simply put, we either make hasty decisions or digest thoughts very scrupulously.


“Systems 1 and 2 are always active when we are awake. System 1 starts automatically, and System 2 in the standard mode is only partially involved. If System 1 has problems, System 2 connects, providing more detailed information to solve the problem at the moment. Thus, an experienced driver can safely control most aspects of driving without thinking using System 1. Quick decisions such as shifting gears or choosing a course can be made automatically, even when talking to a passenger or listening to music.
When he arrives at a difficult intersection, system 2 is turned on, since at this moment more concentration and rationality of reasoning are required.

Optimization for System 1

According to Gerald Zaltman, professor at Harvard University, up to 95% of purchases are made using System 1.
And we can effectively use System 1, the main thing is not to force the user to think.
Visual Targeting
Use visual cues to literally direct your attention to where you need to. Our attention is very easily influenced, so that even imperceptible signals can be effective.
Optimizely does this by “drawing” the eye to the impulse to action:


Evernote does the same, even with greater intensity, creating a cursor silhouette near the CTA.


Wheelofpersuasion published the results of using visual targeting on the page with the reporting form for the client of their hotel Van Der Valka. You can see below that the usual addition to the cursor resulted in a 57 percent increase in conversion!


Of course, we should not emphasize visual signs. But this is a valid method of attracting the attention of users.


Image Communication

Since System 1 is initially emotional, we can control emotions using images of real people (NOT stock photos!), And this is closely related to facial expression.


Note that in this example, the gaze is first drawn to the woman's face, and only then we pay attention to the registration form - this is another example of a visual indication. Kissmetrics has published research on eye-catching and what we can learn from it.
Since we subconsciously react first to the person’s face, using the right physiognomy, we can help the visitor of our site to form a positive feeling from our product.


Offer fast rewards

System 1 makes quick, automatic decisions, so immediate rewards can play into the hands due to the effect of cognitive bias. A study published on ContentVerve shows a 31 percent increase in visits to the payment page by adding promotion information to the key


Psychology of Your Clients

The search for psychological principles when creating ideas for testing does not exclude the need for testing itself. We are trying to help the user make a decision by acting on certain points in his mind - but not all customers are the same.
In addition, no one has canceled the impact of simple logic and a competent description of your product. In any case, better understanding the way our customers make decisions, we are more likely to convince them to make the decision we need.

Translated by the Multi-landing project staff . We will be happy to answer all your questions.

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