Actionable Optimisation

Actionable Optimisation #65: Using confirmation bias to boost your conversions

 January 18, 2022

By  Customers Who Click

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You wake up after a great night out with chest pain.

“Oh, God. Is it COVID?!”

You quickly Google “chest pain COVID” and this is the first thing you see:

confirmation bias in marketing

Admittedly, you don’t have any of the other symptoms mentioned above, but it doesn’t mean anything - you know symptoms can vary and are very individual so the lack of other signs of illness doesn’t raise your suspicion.

If anything, it makes you obsess about what other symptoms you’re likely to develop. So you go down the rabbit hole of Dr. Google and seek more information about chest pain and COVID.

Completely disregarding the fact that you probably went a little overboard with the cigarettes the night before, and that’s probably the real reason your chest hurts this morning…

Did you know that two in five people end up diagnosing themselves with a serious disease after Googling their symptoms? Many of them never actually seek to have their diagnosis confirmed by a health professional either, basing it entirely on their belief and information they found to confirm it.

And there we have it - the reason behind what the Internet now refers to as "cyberchondria" - confirmation bias.

In simple terms, confirmation bias is our tendency to seek, interpret and rely on information that validates and reinforces our own pre-existing beliefs and bias. It explains why some people reject science and facts when they don’t match their way of thinking, prime examples today being why some people continue to blindly support certain politicians against all odds and evidence for their misconduct or refuse to believe that COVID is a real pandemic.

In fact, name any conspiracy theory (the crazier the better) and you can see confirmation bias in action.

Even social media platforms and their algorithms leverage confirmation bias by personalising our feeds with information we’re most likely to interact with so that we spend more time on the platform - and see more ads.

These are, of course, extreme examples of confirmation bias that are grossly abused and exploit the fact that humans love to be right. It makes us feel good to have our beliefs validated, even if we come across information that contradicts them.

Many people would rather miss out on potential wins than admit they were wrong. This is why people shut off facts and refuse to see the other point of view, and trying to convince them otherwise is often futile.

That includes your customers and you can use confirmation bias to not only convert more of your website traffic, but also make earning that second purchaser a lot easier.

How? By reinforcing customers’ decision to make a change in their life by buying your product across all your communications. 

When you know your customers deepest desires and aspirations, you can create compelling copy and visuals that mirror and confirm their beliefs. Look at the Western Rise website - from the second you land on their website you know it’s for adventure-seekers who want durable and sustainable clothing that can support their activities because everything on their website emphasizes adventure and men looking to get more out of life (and their clothing).

As always, it comes down to knowing your customers and what beliefs they hold about themselves, your brand or your product.

Once you know the answers, you can use that data to fuel your website copy or email & SMS flows and provide relevant & timely content that validates what they already believe in about your product or the reason they need it in their life - pre and post-purchase.

What beliefs do your customers hold, and how can you tap into them to sell more?

Customers Who Click


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