Leveraging Psychology in Digital Marketing

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Written By : Liam Webster

Posted 24/09/2021

Psychology plays a big role in the way people buy and respond to marketing communications. From influencing behaviour to building trust between you and your customers, psychology affects every action a user takes. Here are 7 ways you can use psychology in digital marketing.

To identify the pain points

Fear appeal theory is a technique used to persuade customers using fear. For the longest time, fear appeal theory has been used by financial and insurance services to get people to buy their products and services.

But businesses don’t have to resort to fear tactics for selling anymore. Instead, you can use it to identify your target audience’s pain points.

For instance, almost 90% of smokers are addicted to nicotine. Rather than saying “smoking kills” to sell nicotine patches to smokers, brands can talk about how smokers can use their services to quit smoking without quitting nicotine.

By doing so, they can not only personalize their message but also target people who can connect with their solution.

To design your message

Consumers are often bombarded with similar kinds of ads, over and over again, that eventually become ingrained in our minds. So, it is important to keep your messages fresh, catchy, and skimmable. That’s where the verbatim effect comes in.

The verbatim effect is a phenomenon where people remember the gist of a passage better than the whole piece. It suggests that people don’t read the entire content but only the headlines and try to make sense of it based on what they already know.

The idea behind the theory may come from the fact that people process new information through their existing schemas and filters. When you read something written or said by someone else, you convert their words into your own language. Psychologists call this “schematic processing” – where the brain interprets anything unfamiliar based on what is already known.

Using verbatim effect will allow you to create concise, actionable, and straightforward marketing campaigns as opposed to those that beat around the bush.

To improve your visuals

Videos, infographics, original imagery – they are everywhere. The challenge for businesses is to stand out in a sea of visual content. Positive associations to colours exist naturally. In digital marketing, you can use the powerful bond between colours and the human psyche to grab attention and drive people to the desired action.

Since colour is part of our experience from pure perception to aesthetics, emotions, and cognition, they can evoke both an emotional response from your users and build trust among your target audiences.

Whether you are using colours in a logo design or choosing which shades to highlight in your product packages, colour is one avenue you can use to communicate with consumers and pique their interests.

To design your sales and discounts

Scarcity is a psychological state in which people have the tendency to value a product or service more when its availability is limited. The presence of scarcity in digital marketing plays an important role in persuading customers to convert.

It is often used to encourage customers to buy a product or service before it is out of stock. When your customers think that there is a limited amount of something, they are more likely to buy for the fear of missing out.

The scarcity theory is so effective that the very principle of people getting excited about what’s in short supply works on any occasion: a product launch, a limited edition of a t-shirt, or even an ongoing promotion on social media.

To showcase social proof

The social proof theory states that people look to others to help them decide how to act. This happens in almost any area of life. But in digital marketing, businesses can leverage this psychological phenomenon by showing social proof of other like-minded people who have made a decision similar to the one you want them to take.

When people see other people trusting a certain brand or product, they perceive it as proof that the brand or product is trustworthy. So, the more pieces of social proof you have, the easier it is to convince and convert potential buyers to take an action on your website or online stores.

To reduce online bounce rates

All website designers agree that high bounce rates are more than likely to occur due to poor navigation. Fortunately, this problem can easily be solved using the Gestalt Principle, which can be used as the basis for your website design.

The Gestalt Principle suggests that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which means that people perceive complete patterns made up of smaller individual parts.

You can use this principle to properly organize the content on your website and improve your website’s usability to make people spend more time on your site.

By employing the Gestalt Principle, you can improve the user experience you offer to your customers to avoid missing out on the opportunity to convert more sales.

To improve conversions

Anchoring Bias refers to people making judgments or decisions based on the initial information they receive, whether it is correct or not. Businesses can leverage this psychological state to price a product or service in a way that ensures conversions.

Price comparison is a typical example of using the anchoring bias. The “first number” has a greater effect on the customer even if it is only an anchor worth less than a dollar. For instance, if you are selling a service that costs $200, then placing this price next to its original price of say $500, may help you sell it faster.


Successful digital marketing doesn’t happen by fluke. It is driven by a systematic approach that works every time. Understanding how to implement psychology in digital marketing can give you the competitive edge you need to succeed. As a full-service digital marketing agency, we have perfected this art. And we can help you optimize your digital channels, as well. Drop us a line to learn more.

About Us

Identify Digital is a team of Digital Marketing professionals based in Wakefield, England. We’re here to prove that you can achieve real results online with effective, and simple search engine optimisation and pay per click management.

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