What Is Digital Psychology and How To Leverage It In Digital Marketing (Ultimate Guide)

September 15, 2021
15 min read
Guide
Website
Branding

Most people don't think of psychology when they think of digital marketing.

Digital psychology is an emerging field of study that focuses on the psychological aspects of human beings' interactions with technology.

Digital psychologists can use this information to help them market their products more effectively and understand their customers better.

It has been applied to marketing and advertising for some time, but as the field advances more, digital marketers are starting to take advantage of new psychological strategies.

It can be used in many ways, but it's most commonly used by brands to understand customer behaviors and motivations so they know what content to create and how best to market it.

The attention span for people has gotten shorter over time which forces digital marketing agencies to come up with new ways to grab prospects' attention.

According to recent research, the human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds today. It is said that goldfish have a 9-second attention span.

In this blog post, we will discuss what digital psychology is and how it can be leveraged in your online marketing strategies!

What is digital psychology?

What is digital psychology
Image Source: LinkedIn


Digital psychology is a field of study that looks at how digital technology and media affect psychological aspects of human life, including behavior, actions, attitudes, motivation, learning, and others.

It is the study of how people interact with each other and their devices through social media, texting, and mobile applications.

Digital Psychology can be used in many different ways, one way is by understanding customer behaviors and motivations so they know what content you should create and how best to market it; this will allow your company's message to reach the right audience at the right time!

The goal of digital psychology is to provide an explanation for why your consumers act the way that they do. It helps to figure out how you may use product/marketing messages to persuade the subconscious mind.

Why is Digital Psychology Important?

digital psychology
Image Source: Slideshare

People interact with technology differently than they do other people because we don't always have enough time or energy so we rely heavily on shortcuts like heuristics (decision-making rules that save us from having to think about every single decision) as well as social norms.

Encouraging customers to make their ‘own’ decisions in their ‘own’ time (i.e. assisting your customer in making your preferred choice), is far more effective than ramming sales down their necks.

It is far more effective to encourage customers to make their own decision through your marketing message/copywriting than going for the hard sale techniques.

Companies that understand Digital Psychological tendencies tend to do better online than those that don't because Digital Marketing requires a shift in thinking from traditional advertising techniques.

Marketers use consumer psychology to predict and change consumers' behavior through their digital marketing strategies.

Some of the things digital psychology can do for your business are;

  • Increase Conversion:  Digital Marketers can use Digital Psychology to understand their customer's behaviors and motivations so they know what content they should create and how best to market it. Digital marketers are able to fine-tune landing pages, ads, emails, etc in order to attract the right people at the right time!
  • Understand the Buyers' Journey: Understanding the buyer’s journey in detail is crucial for creating successful digital campaigns that will help you achieve greater ROI!  Digital marketers can use Digital Psychology to figure out what messaging/strategy is the most effective at each stage of the buying process!
  • Increase Engagement: Digital Psychology allows businesses and companies to truly interact with their audiences because of the power social media holds over users; this is an issue few traditional advertisers have had until now! Digital marketing agencies take advantage of this information by using it in order to help them market more effectively, which could increase your company's reach exponentially!
  • Gain Trust & Authority: Digital Psychological strategies like FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out that marketers often use appeal directly to the customer's need to be important and unique which can help gain their trust. Digital marketers also have a lot of information about a user at their fingertips, this means Digital Marketers are able to use it in order to show potential customers why your company is trustworthy or what makes you better than other companies!
  • Increase Brand Loyalty: Digital Marketing helps strengthen brand loyalty because Digital Marketers can see the type of visitors they've been getting and from where as well as how often they visit; all that data gives them insight into whether or not those people would make good long-term customers for them!!
  • Increase Average Spend Per Transaction:  Digital Marketing helps Digital Marketers know exactly who their customers are, this means Digital Marketers can give potential and existing customers the right offers at the right time! For example, you can place an offer directly on your Facebook page for free shipping if you buy something over a certain amount.
  • Increase Retention: Digital psychological strategies like FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out  can be used to keep their customers coming back for more by playing into the customer's need to be important and unique. Digital marketers might do this by offering bonus products or free shipping if someone makes a purchase over X amount; that way it will make your loyal customers feel like they are getting something extra special.


4.Types Of Digital Psychology

Social Proof: 

social proof
Image Source: Hubspot


Social proof is a Digital Psychological strategy that marketers use in order to persuade potential customers because it's based on the idea that people will do what they see other people doing.

Social proof is important to businesses because it can be used as a cheap and effective way of building trust with potential customers.

Social Proof strategies are often used on landing pages, for example, Businesses may use social media images or badges from big name companies in order to show that they have been endorsed by brands the customer already trusts.

It is highly relevant to include social proof in your web design, as it is one the essential elements of a high converting landing page.

Businesses can also use social proof when building authority by showing off awards or client lists to show potential customers that they have worked with big name companies before.

Social Proof is important to businesses and digital marketers because it helps them build trust with potential customers; building trust is vital if Digital Marketers want people to take action after seeing their message online!

If Digital marketer knows how to leverage Digital Psychology, they can build trust with their audience which will lead to higher ROI!

There are several different kinds of Digital Psychological strategies related to social proof including; Celebrity Endorsements, Testimonials & Reviews, Leaderboards & Awards, and Statistics/Data.

Each one appeals to a specific type of consumer depending on how much they care about what other people think vs doing something themselves.

For example, Digital Marketers that use testimonials and reviews will likely target people who place a lot of value in peer opinions, whereas Digital marketers using statistics and data might be appealing to more analytical types.

type of social proof
Image Source: Echobot

There are several different ways in which Digital Psychological strategies like Social Proof can help create trust between customers and brands:

  • By showing potential customers other "real" people before them have already trusted your brand; this helps build credibility with the customer! This is an especially effective technique when used alongside scarcity (see below).
  • Showing how many real people enjoy using our own something also provides valuable information about whether or not it's worth buying for someone else!! - Using the right type of Digital Psychological strategy (like testimonials and reviews) can help Digital Marketers persuade customers because they're able to "borrow" the influence of someone else that a potential customer already trusts! Social proof is probably Digital Marketing's most powerful Digital Psychological tactic, this means it should be used carefully in order not to overwhelm or irritate your audience.
  • Digital marketers often use Digital Psychological strategies like social proof on landing pages to convince customers to sign up for their product or service. This is because Digital Marketing knows that if a customer trusts your company enough to give you the email address they are likely more open to making the purchase; using Social Proof can help increase conversions!
  • Digital marketers may also use social proof in emails, for example you can include customer testimonials or success stories to show that other people have used the product before and it's worked for them.
  • Digital Marketers can also create their own social proof by creating customer loyalty programs or giving existing customers free bonuses for making more purchases. 
  • Digital marketers may also use social proof when writing blog posts or case studies, you can do this by showing off the number of views, shares and comments their posts or case studies get.

Using too much of one type of Digital Psychological strategy (like testimonials and reviews) will irritate potential customers,

This means Digital Marketers should mix it up with other types of Digital Psychology  in order to attract as many different kinds of people as possible.

Reciprocity:

reciprocity
Image Source: Persuasion Nation


Reciprocity is a Digital Psychological strategy that marketers use in order to get new customers by giving them something for free.

The reciprocity principle is one of the most fundamental laws in social psychology. 

It says that in many social situations we pay back what we received from others. In other words, if John does you a favor, you’re likely to return it to him.

Reciprocity is Digital Marketing's way of saying that if you give me something then I will feel like I owe you and therefore more likely to give you something in return.

Reciprocity is applicable in various scenarios; businesses use it in advertising and marketing campaigns.

A recent study reveals that a free sample encourages people to buy the corresponding product because they feel that they have to return the favor of being given something for free.

You can create new blog posts,  case studies or white papers on a regular basis and then insert calls to action asking potential customers to sign up for newsletters & updates.

People appreciate these kinds of sources when they are informative and relevant.

This helps keep products and services top of mind so they are more likely to be purchased when needed later on down the road.

You can also leverage Reciprocity by giving away prizes like gift cards or even offering paid subscriptions.

Using Digital Psychological strategies like reciprocity can be a great way for you to get new customers, especially those that are on the fence.

Offering free content or some sort of reward means you will not only win over potential customers but also create brand advocates who might even share your company's name around social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This creates word-of-mouth marketing which is very effective at getting people interested in what you have to offer.

You should not only focus on reciprocity but also include social proof, scarcity & authority as well.

This means you can give away content or free samples of your products/services while using testimonials and reviews (social proof), then let customers know there are limited quantities available (scarcity) and tell them how many people trust you already (authority).

Using these types of Digital Psychology together will help improve the chances of getting new business.

Using the right type of Digital Psychological strategy like Reciprocity can help you get new customers because you are giving out free content or samples of your products/services.

Incase you are wondering what product or service you should give for your business, here's five tips you should have in mind;

  • Give, Give, Give, then Ask: Rather than always asking  customers to pay for something, try giving away a free sample or content in order to get them engaged with your brand. When you keep giving our valuable products, information and services for free, your soon-to-be customers will feel obligated to pay you back because  you've given them so much for free already.
  • Don't be afraid to ask: After you have built a relationship with your customers and they feel like they owe you, then it's the perfect time to ask for a sale.
  • Make your free samples and content as valuable as possible: People don't appreciate something that is given away easily or has no perceived value; therefore make sure whatever it is you give out - whether this be an ebook, infographic or some other type of digital product - will actually increase their knowledge base and help them out in someway.
  • Give more than one option: Your customers might not want anything at first but if there are multiple options available such as free gift and rewards, then chances are good they'll pick one over another because we all have preferences when we can choose from several different products/services.

The bottom line is simple: give your users something before you ask for anything from them.

Loss Aversion:

loss aversion
Image Source: Einstein Marketer



Always remember that people would rather avoid a loss than try and gain something new.

You might not be able to use the Digital Psychological strategy of Loss Aversion in every aspect but it is still important.

For example, if we had to decide between gaining 10 dollars or avoid losing 10 dollars, we would avoid losing the money we already have.

We may think that the happiness for a 10-dollar win should have the same intensity of our sorrow for a 10-dollar loss.

But no! The regret that comes with losing is far more profound and powerful than the joy of acquiring.

So, we avoid losses at all costs, and make decisions based on this cognitive bias.

Digital Marketing has an easier time using Loss Aversion when they offer products or services which are "buy one get one free" because what you're really doing is offering two products for less money.

Most customers will take advantage of such deals even if they don't need both items.

Another way you can use Loss Aversion is by creating scarcity with their offers, making them limited-time-only & also very exclusive.

You can use Loss Aversion to your advantage by offering free samples of services/products you offer.

Free trials on apps and software are also examples of loss aversion.

Some examples of Loss aversion techniques are;

  • Urgency:  You can use urgency by offering limited-time offers and discounts which encourage customers to make a purchase decision quickly.
  • Free-trials and Samples:  Digital Marketing can also use loss aversion by offering free trials or samples of their products/services.
  • Pre Order Deals and Discounts:   You can also use loss aversion by offering pre order deals and discounts that specifically target customers who are about to make a purchase decision and also by providing early exclusive access to new items. Early access creates an ownership people want to preserve.

Loss aversion might not be able to use this particular technique every time but it's still important for e-commerce websites which often do well when Digital Marketers use Loss Aversion.

Digital marketers can apply the loss aversion strategy in a variety of ways.

Scarcity: 

digital marketing psychology
Image Source: Seekpng


Scarcity capitalises on a customer’s fear of missing out on something.

It's based on the psychological concept that humans desire what is difficult to get.

Ecommerce stores in order to make people feel like there isn't enough time left to take advantage of an offer; using marketing phrases likes "limited edition," "while supplies last" etc are all ways they try and convince potential customers that something might go away soon so they need to buy now while they still can.

Scarcity techniques are often used on landing pages in order to encourage people who may be on the fence about buying something to take action now rather than waiting!

Scarcity techniques like "limited time offer" or "the only x left" work by playing with customer's fears of missing out (or FOMO for short).

They're able to do this because studies have shown that most humans tend to prioritize avoiding loss over acquiring gains.

This means that many potential customers will likely act immediately when they see there's only a certain amount available for purchase, even if it isn't necessarily what they want themselves!!          

There are Digital Psychological strategies related to scarcity including:

  • Countdown timers: you use a countdown timer on their landing pages in order to tell potential customers that there is only X amount of time left until something goes away or the price increases.
  • Limited Resources/Supplies - This is used for mostly physical products where you limit the number of people who can purchase or have access to a product at a discount price.
  • Seasonal Offers:  Seasonal offers have proven over time to drive sales overtime and help buyers see scarcity. After all, the holiday seasons don't last forever. That is why a lot of companies create seasonal offers like black Friday deals, Christmas Deals, Winter/Summer deals, e.t.c
  • Exclusive/Limited Edition:  You can also use exclusive/limited edition offers to convince potential customers that they won't find the product anywhere else.


You should not only rely on scarcity tactics because you are lagging in sales

Instead, they boost the desirability of a product that is already in demand.

Consider this: Is putting a timer on your landing page going to magically create more demand if people aren't already queuing up for your product/service? 

Probably not. 

Strive to develop a loyal customer base that is eager for your newest release before you introduce scarcity.

You don't have to pressure them too much as it could do more harm than good.

Most of the scarcity-focused strategies we’ve discussed in this blog post create some anxiety-producing urgency--and when there's a lot of pressure on your customers to take action, they may feel like you are not letting them make their own decision.

Everything in moderation.

Limited edition items are special and limited (as the name implies) because they’re different from all of your other offerings.

That implies you can't make every item limited, seasonal, low in supply, and only accessible for a short time.

Customers will see right through this.

Customers will be irritated if you can't keep track of your inventory.

There are times when scarcity should be avoided...or barely used, if you will.

Relatability

Relatability
Image Source: State of Digital


Relatability is also a significant factor in sales success.

If you can relate with someone (have something in common), you are automatically at an advantage compared with someone who doesn't.

This is because 'relatability' builds trust.

It's not enough to be relatable; you must also accept the fact that you are selling to real humans and not just manufactured personas.

You communicate with individuals as people and make an effort to connect with them on their areas of interest and background, whether or not it has anything to do with your offerings.

Being relatable means really listening to prospects and customers and being truly interested in what they have to share about themselves.  

You can also create a sense of relatability by showing your audience what other people similar to them have achieved with products and services.

This might be done using case studies, success stories, or testimonials on landing pages, websites, and blogs.

They could also do this through videos that tell potential customers about how others were able to achieve a particular result with your product or service.

That is why Influencer marketing still remains one of the fastest-growing ways to make a positive, lasting impression on consumers.

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool within your digital marketing campaign that should not be overlooked.

This is important because it helps customers feel more connected with the business and makes them want to do business with that company instead of a competitor!

There are several you can be relatable with your customers, including:          

  • Know your Customers:  In order to be relatable, you need to know your customers. It's important to know what they want, their interests and dislikes, what they value and how you can make their life easier.
  • Capitalize on storytelling: Storytelling is a way of telling your story, adding that human touch to the brand. It all comes down to finding the right balance between telling a compelling narrative and being honest. A lot of businesses come up with fake stories about who they are, how they were formed, and what their goal is. While they believe they're doing the right thing, their actions may reveal that they aren't genuine. It's more difficult to stick to a brand narrative just for the sake of having one if you generate one solely for the sake of having one.  People are naturally curious, and they want to know everything about the person selling to them. Help your customers understand who you are as a company and why they should do business with you. They want to know who will be answering the phone or replying to their emails, what your business is about, and what your company's mission statement is.
  • Be Authentic:  It's important to be authentic and avoid being a fake. Customers want to know who they're buying from, the reasons behind why you do what you do, and what you stand for. Authenticity is about being real, raw, and true to who you are as a company.

To sum up everything, there are many ways of being relatable but it's how your customers perceive it that is the most important.

Conclusion

In this blog post we covered some of the basics and how they apply to digital marketing today.

We also the discussed the five types of Digital Psychology, which are;

  • Social Proof: This is used to build authority and trust by showing off results, proofs and reviews of people you’ve served.
  • Reciprocity: When you give out something valuable for free, people tend to be indebted to you and therefore feel obligated to return the favour.
  • Loss Aversion: The pain of loss is always greater than joy of gain. People tend to make a decision that will take them away from danger, rather than to safety.
  • Scarcity: When something is rare, the value of it automatically increases. And if that thing is in-demand as well being rare, the value increases even more.
  • Relatability: When something is rare, the value of it automatically increases. And if that thing is in-demand as well being rare, the value increases even more.


It doesn't matter if you're a marketer, entrepreneur, or business owner.

You can use digital psychology to your advantage in marketing and sales efforts.

In the age of the internet, it's important that we understand how people think before they purchase from us so that our message resonates with them emotionally on an individual level.

The more personalized your approach is for each customer segment, the better chance you have at increasing conversions and boosting ROI exponentially!

If these principles have piqued your interest, let us know! 

We would love to help you incorporate these Digital Psychological Strategies in your web design, SEO and digital marketing campaign to boost your revenue.

Get a Free Website Audit on your website today get to know key areas that needs improvements and how to boost your conversions 

Learn some more...