TPR #4: How model eye gaze affects click-through rates

The Persuasion Report


TPR #4: How model eye gaze affects click-through rates
By Mark Tosczak • Issue #4 • View online
Welcome to Issue No. 4 of The Persuasion Report. As always, my goal is to make you a smarter, more persuasive communicator.
This week:
  1. How model eye gaze affects click-through rates
  2. Expect more focus on touch post-pandemic
  3. Is brand more powerful than an evocative headline?
  4. California is banning ‘dark patterns’
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1. How model eye gaze affects click-through rates
In ads, should models look directly at the viewer, the way a speaker would, or should they look away? According to research from a University of Houston marketing professor, it depends on the ad’s purpose.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Her research, to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that an averted gaze is much more powerful when an ad aims to convey how people might feel using a product, while a direct gaze is more powerful in ads that seek to inform, or convey a product’s more functional features.
In an experiment using Facebook ads for sunhats (a product sold more on how its users might feel than functional features), those ads with models looking away had click-through rates that were 4% higher and purchase rates that were 30% higher.
2. Expect more focus on touch post-pandemic
A study of Gen Z online daters, done by Tinder, suggests that hunger for physical touch will continue to drive behavior as people reconnect after a year of pandemic-induced distancing.
The company found that members “are using their bios to seek out affection like hand-holding, cuddling, or someone to touch their hair: use of the word ‘cuddle’ grew 23%, and ‘hand holding’ is up 22%.
These trends provide insights into what’s likely to drive Gen Z social activities this summer and perhaps beyond. It also reinforces — as noted two weeks ago — the focus on sex and relationships in a post-social distanced world.
3. Is brand more powerful than an evocative headline?
Perhaps. Marketer Chris Gillespie compared blog headlines that were highly rated by CoSchedule’s Free Headline Analyzer vs. those that actually attracted large amounts of traffic.
He found that a strong brand — a blog post’s author or source — counted for more than clever headlines. His takeaway? In the virtual blizzard of online content, it’s time to think more about the strength of the blog’s brand rather than merely cranking out as much content as possible.
4. California is banning 'dark patterns'
Better check your design practices. If you’ve got a website that tricks people to opt-in, makes it difficult to unsubscribe from email newsletters, or uses other “dark patterns,” it’s time to stop.
Business Insider reports:
As of March 15, the California Consumer Privacy Act bans companies from using “dark patterns,” or website designs that can confuse or trick users into opting into selling their information. The law bans tricks like burdening users with confusing language or forcing them to click through multiple screens during the process of opting out of selling their information.
Similar legislation is being considered in Washington state.
You’re probably not using dark patterns deliberately, but it might be a good idea to audit your UI just in case.
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Mark Tosczak

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