Psychologists in London have revealed today that a new form of advertising they have tested could revolutionise the online world. The advertising method they have devised and studied in over 1,000 people has located the actual brain triggers to buying – the brain’s “buy now” button. It has been known for some time that when we are about to purchase something a region of the brain, known as the pre-frontal cortex, goes into overdrive firing many different brain cells. It then helps use make a decision to buy or not to buy based on feedback from our emotional centre of our brain, called the Limbic System. What the study in London has found is the precise ways in which the Limbic System sends the positive signals back to the pre-frontal cortex and which brain cells are responsible for deciding “yes” once they get that response.
In other words, the researchers have found the “buy now” brain cells. The study discovered that much current advertising online fails to trigger the relevant brain cells, making purchasing much less likely. Indeed, the current online conversion rate on most websites hovers around the 1-2% level – in other words around 98% of people never buy anything. The Advertising Psychology Research In London group has been able to reverse these figures with their new methodology, making buying activity almost guaranteed.
The new advertising method depends on a change in the colour of the “buy now” links together with the use of a specific font which is the copyright of the research group. The combination of the font and the colour apparently makes us compelled to buy. According to the Advertising Psychology Research In London group this will revolutionise online advertising. However, if you wish to gain the benefits of the system you have to pay a licence fee to the researchers for every link on your website. They are being rather reticent to talk about this, but I understand privately from one of the researchers that they intend charging 1p per purchase per link. If everyone online were to use the system and conversion rates changed overnight from 1% to 98% this would increase online sales to over $25 trillion compared with the figures from 2010. That would net the researchers, from just 1p per transaction, a cool £15bn in the first year.
However, not everyone thinks this idea is brilliant. The Federation Of Online Life believes it will transform society so dramatically it will be hugely negative. “When people look at websites they will be compelled to buy,” said Mrs Flora Ilop, the organisation’s founder. She firmly believes that anything which effectively forces us to buy will be so life-changing it will damage society. Not only that, she says that it will create economic havoc with families going into deep debt and companies unable to control expenses budgets as their staff go wild online.
But the Advertising Psychology Research In London group disagrees with the Federation Of Online Life saying that any business who does not invest in the new system would be foolish.
- Online advertising spend tops £4bn after 12.8% rise (blogs.journalism.co.uk)
- John Tropea: The neuroscience of decision-making and learning (johntropea.tumblr.com)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+