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From mid-2017, Facebook will start charging users for each ‘Like’ according to an internal email
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Within the world of social media, this revelation is a massive blow. David Wehner (CFO of Facebook)’s email, disclosed by the Guardian newspaper, revealed that Facebook were planning to implement a charge of 1 cent per ‘Like’.

With 4.5 billion ‘Likes’ per day, the payments would generate $4.1 billion in extra revenue. However, Wehner also estimated that the introduction of this cost would reduce the number of ‘likes’ by 75%.

But, wait the best is yet to come…

… the introduction and title of this article are 100% false! But you got caught up in the game and clicked on (and even started to read) it.

It would be completely insane for a company like Facebook, where the business plan is based on engaging users and viral sharing, to make people pay to ‘Like’ a page or a status. Especially, as Facebook now offers the opportunity for users to express their feelings on a status.

Welcome to the world of system 1. This part of our brain is:

  • Intuitive
  • Fast
  • Emotional
  • Always ‘switched on’
  • Energy efficient
  • Has a large capacity

It controls 95% of our decisions (such as deciding to click on this article). Therefore, it is in charge almost all of the time…

What is system 2 used for then? This part of our brain is:

  • Logical
  • Very slow
  • Lazy
  • Requires full attention
  • Easily depleted

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize for Economics (2002), said: “Despite the fact that the system 2 (neocortex) believes that it takes action, the automatic system 1 (reptilian brain) is the true hero… Most people’s choices match to the system 1 predilections.”

Did system 1 rule over system 2 when the Americans went to vote after hearing the message “build a wall”? Many would argue that Trump’s message was simple and emotional, hence targeted at system 1 method of processing.

Whilst Hillary’s message was a little less digestible..

Our system 1 could also explain why many British citizens voted for Brexit… The information may have been false, but it was simple and emotionally evoking – appealing to our system 1.

How persuasive something is, is often rooted in simple and most of the time irrational things! If you’d have thought about it before (meaning actually using your system 2) you probably never would have clicked onto this article.

But let me reassure you, even I (a rational and practical German guy) am clicking on these types of articles without thinking. Just like you, my system 1 really does have control.

But just imagine if you could guide your system 1… no wait,

imagine if you could influence the behaviour of your customers by understanding their system 1…

Just think of the impact this would have, say, on the ROI for a PPC campaign you were running, or on the number of sign ups you have for your product.

Luckily, now you can – and you don’t even need a psychology degree to do it. Currently, there are hundreds of scientifically and empirically validated techniques, which can influence the decisions and behaviour of a visitor or a lead. These are referred to as ‘cognitive biases’, originally identified by Kahneman and Tversky.

What is a cognitive bias?  A cognitive bias is a tendency to think in a certain way that deviates from logical or rational thinking – sounds very similar to system 1, doesn’t it?  We don’t even notice that our behaviour is being affected by the cognitive biases.

Here are three of the best examples of how you can use cognitive biases in order to influence your customers’ system 1:

  1. Make your product scarce: The scarcity effect causes individuals to place a higher value on an object that is scarce and a lower value on one that is available in abundance. How many times have you seen things like “Hurry up! Only 2 left!”? The fact that you know that you will probably miss out on this opportunity because there are only two left will increase your probability to act.This is a neuromarketing tactic frequently used by websites such as Amazon and
  1. Convey loss, rather than profit: Loss aversion explains our tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains. For example, if your product is able to save £194, use sentences like “Don’t lose £194 a year by spending too much on your phone bill” or “You could be wasting £194 a year on the wrong phone tariff”. In the Software as a Service (SaaS) world, this tactic is also very useful. For example, once the user’s 14 or 30 day free trial of one of your plans has ended, downgrade them to a “free plan” – in this free plan, the user will lose access to most of the features offered by the software. Enhance this loss aversion by emailing the user warning them about their upcoming loss.   
  1.  Create a sense of certainty: The need for certainty describes the fact that our brains crave the feeling of certainty. If you want to increase your sales, then utilise this need for certainty within your product’s pitch – “Try for 30 days, if you are not satisfied then send it back to us and you will receive a full refund”. This text induces certainty that we are either going to receive a product we love or receive all of our money back – win win.

Now that you know how to access the system 1 of your customers, I have two solutions for you:

  • If you want to know five other powerful tactics to guide your visitors behaviour, with tangible applications for your website, click here (don’t worry, it’s free).
  • Or click the CTA below to start your free trial of Convertize!


Jochen Grünbeck

by Jochen Grünbeck

Jochen is Associate Director at Convertize. After an MBA at INSEAD, he began his career at Airbus. Then, he moved on into Management Consulting, focusing on purchasing and negotiation strategy as well as cost optimisation projects for bluechip and midsize companies in France and Germany. His experiences led him to specialise in persuasion psychology, behavioural economics and conversion rate optimisation.

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