AnalyticsConversion & ROIThe psychology of numbers and how they drive conversions

The psychology of numbers and how they drive conversions

The use of psychology in marketing and sales is not new, but it may be more useful than ever in an attention economy where time is precious and focus is rare. How can you tap into a demanding consumer to check whether there is an actual interest in your product?

As attention spans become shorter, how can marketers reach consumers to drive conversions?
How about using psychology to understand your target audience?

The use of psychology in marketing and sales is not new, but it may be more useful than ever in an attention economy where time is precious and focus is rare. How can you tap into a demanding consumer to check whether there is an actual interest in your product?

Every tip that gets marketers closer to conversion is welcome, and all kinds of research has been carried out into how to maximize conversions using different methods.

I discussed with Megan James, a clinical psychotherapist and a content strategist for MGID, the use of psychology in marketing and advertising and how the use of odd numbers can encourage conversions.

Q: What makes psychology appealing to marketers?

Effective marketing appeals to emotion rather than reason, and understanding how psychology provokes certain feelings is key.

Q: What can marketers and advertisers learn about their audience through the use of psychology?

Psychology teaches marketers and advertisers how consumers reason and select between different alternatives (brands, retailers, locations, etc.), how environmental situations (culture, family, social media) affect buying decisions, how the thoughts and behaviors leading up to the point of purchase form, and how impulse control reasoning plays a big part.

Consumer behavior research is more advanced now than ever before. Neuromarketing, a field of marketing research that studies consumers’ cognitive and affective response to marketing stimuli, is helping businesses understand their audiences.

It uses emotion response analysis (ERA), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), steady state topography (SST), biometrics, facial coding, and galvanic skin response to discover the reasons behind specific behaviors made by users.

Q: How is the effectiveness of advertising determined by the psychology of the user?

Mood-state knowledge is important to grasp. Happy people click, shop, purchase, and engage much more than their depressed or sad counterparts. Advertisers should remember to elicit feel-good messages and happiness whenever possible.

Q: From your own experience, how can a content strategy be improved with the use of psychology?

Behavioral psychology can teach advertisers how the principles of behaviorism can shape the actions of consumers. Content strategy should mimic scientific behavioral strategy: define what you want your audience to do, know who your audience is, observe actions, report results, incorporate what works repeatedly until it doesn’t.

Q: There seems to be an interesting relationship between the psychology of numbers and conversions. Can you tell us more about your own observations in this area?

People respond to organization, and digits act as helpful symbols that easily categorize content. Numbered lists are also more readable for short attention spans.

Q: How can marketers then play the numbers game to help conversions?

Listicles and numerals used in headlines are easy, effective ways to play the numbers game. Use figures (4) whenever possible versus writing out the numeral (four).

Q: What makes odd numbers special?


Odd numbers are more trustworthy because they suggest the content is created out of available information versus added fill-in material thrown in for balance.


Like an election or game score, our brains constantly sort, and uneven numbers prevent our head from splitting the “score” or being mentally blocked by a “tie.” A clear win always makes us happier.


Even numbers create symmetry, but odd numbers create interest and are easier to remember because of this.


Some superstitious people believe that even numbers are unlucky. Part of it is because they are divisible, which lessens or reduces their power. Odd numbers hold more power because they cannot be reduced like this. Three is favored particularly by Chinese culture.

Q: What’s the best way to use content to reach a modern and demanding audience?

Native advertising that is relevant and easy to navigate will grow exponentially in the next two to three years. Native strategies that will win are bound to use emerging technologies offering immersive experiences with an emphasis on good storytelling.

They will also include evolved channels and more partnerships between media and brands

Q: What should we expect from content marketing over the coming years?

Since only 2% of the brain’s energy is spent on conscious, observable activity, successful content will play on people’s unconscious processing. More companies will implement neuromarketing to understand consumer impressions and tap into what makes consumers take action consistently.


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