The Latest Neuromarketing Insights

Sell more by simply making people look in this direction

Relevant topics Archive, Conversion

  • Neuromarketing Principle:
    Downward head and eye movements evoke more concrete processing, because downward movements have come to serve as a proximity cue. Whereas upward movements evoke more abstract processing, because upward movements have to come to serve as a distance cue.
  • Application:
    Consumers choose more for desirable products when looking up, while choosing more feasible products when looking down.
  • With neuromarketing, whether something is winning or losing conversions for you boils down to the absolute details. As specified in the overview article we recently published, some small changes can lead to big differences. Whether it’s a small change in pricing, the way you position your ads or the way you frame social proof, it all boils down to the details. And this new finding is no different than the others.

    When your head and/or eye movements are upward, you tend to process something more abstract than when your head and/or eye movements are downward. Downward head and eye movements let you process something more concrete.

    Huh? Your eye movements have an impact on the way you process something?

    Yes, this recent research shows that consumers select a different product when they look down versus up. Because (1) people are accustomed to looking down to process nearby stimuli and to looking up to process distant stimuli, and because (2) perceived distance is linked to concrete versus abstract processing, the association between moving one’s eyes or head down or up and concrete versus abstract processing has become overly generalized.

    Thus, when consumers engage in an upward (vs. downward) movement, they attach more importance to desirable (vs. feasible) product attributes and tend to behave less (vs. more) preference-consistent. In other words, downward eye or head movements concretize processing, whereas upward eye or head movements abstract it, due to the deeply ingrained association between looking down (vs. up) and proximity (vs. distance). This study also shows that consumers may end up with choosing different products depending on the part of the visual field they attend to.

    What are the consequences for your marketing actions?

    Even the tiniest change in eye movements have an impact: when making online purchases, consumers sit in front of their computer screen, and the abstractness of processing may actually be influenced by the height at which their computer monitor is placed. This also implies that people may make different shopping decisions when they use tablets or mobile smart phones rather than regular personal computers. And this also suggest differences in processing of advertisements that hang from the store ceiling versus floorboards attached to the store floor, the eye-level advertisements on shelves, but also printed advertisements in magazines. 

    So how can you implement this finding in your marketing strategies?

    Well, you first have to think about how your brand wants to position itself. Are you selling a feasible or desirable product? And keep in mind that we can’t all be Gucci, Prada, Hilfiger, Nespresso or the opposite Zeeman, H&M, Walmart etc. So, the question is how you want to position yourself with this product compared to your competitors.

    Here we see how Zeeman (a Dutch discount store) has a completely different store than Tommy Hilfiger. De Zeeman has very low shelves which makes you lean over to see all the feasible products they sell, while Tommy Hilfiger places the mannequin so you have to look up to see all their desirable clothes.

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    There must be limitations to these findings

    A few factors weren’t taken into account, such as mood and power, because this research fully focused on the validity of distance estimations. Obviously the eye and head movements of consumers influence the way something is being processed, but it’s not going to change the consumers’ attitude. However, it will help you grow your brand by consistently showing consumers what kind of product they’re buying i.e. feasible or desirable. And like you know, consistency is the key in building a great brand.

  • Sell more by simply making people look in this direction
  • Reference:

    Van Kerckhove, A., Geuens, M., & Vermeir, I. (2015). The floor is nearer than the sky: how looking up or down affects construal level. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(6), 1358-1371

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    Further Reading

    • These are the 7 most interesting neuromarketing insights of 2015

      These are the 7 most interesting neuromarketing insights of 2015

      I vividly remember reading a cool article last year.  Scientist found that words that sound alike could trigger the same brain areas. Specifically they found that ‘bye now’ and ‘buy now’ were closely linked together. It was good to know that the hidden gems from the scientific journals still found their way to us marketers. But after that it got quiet. Where was I going to get those latest juicy insights? 

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