What is Cognitive Ease?
Cognitive Ease, otherwise known as Cognitive Fluency, is quite simply the ease with which our brain processes information; this quality impacts how positively (or negatively) we feel about something.
The higher the cognitive ease associated with a task, the more motivated we will feel to invest our time and effort in it. When cognitive ease diminishes, the mental effort required to complete a task becomes too high and we switch to a state of cognitive strain which can lead us to become more vigilant and suspicious resulting in a decrease in confidence, trust and pleasure. In other words, people are happier and more receptive towards familiar and easily understandable situations in which they feel safer, more confident and at ease.
The Cognitive Ease principle has any applications in marketing. For example psychological studies have found that shares with easier to pronounce names perform better than those whose are difficult. In digital marketing, any possible elements that can simplify a website should be used: infographics, intuitive web design, easy-to-read fonts and so on.
Cognitive Ease in Marketing
There are a loads of simple ways to apply this tactic and it is used to great effect by global brands including Amazon, Asos, Ikea, Nike and Urban Outfitters – to name but a few! Here’s a few examples you might not have thought of…
- Select a price which has the smallest amount of letters Fewer syllables in the price make it more instantly recognisable and will make your customers feel subconsciously more comfortable and in control of their buying situation.
- When possible, get rid of the decimal point in the price tag Whenever possible, remove the decimal point from your pricing as it is not necessary and adds a little extra cognitive strain for your customer.
- Limit the numbers of words in your call-to-action Using only 2 words on your CTA, not only draws attention to it but encourages visitors to follow through on the action as it seems simple and easy.
- Give discounts which are simple to calculate Using precise, non-rounded numbers is a good way of making your prices seem smaller but one occasion when you don’t want to do this is when you’re offering discounts.
- Place graphs, visuals and pictures on the left-hand side of the screen Visual elements positioned on the left are processed by the right hemisphere of the brain, which is better suited for image processing. People will “digest” the page more quickly and easily, and it will have a more pleasing effect on them.
- Display pop-up information when hovering over a product When customers hover over a product, display a pop-up product card that offers them condensed information.
- Whenever possible, convey messages using rhymes as they will be more easily remembered This stylistic device is a good way to stay longer in the minds of your customers. You can also use rhymes in your titles or subtitles to to draw attention to your CTA
- Prioritise active over passive voice A simple sentence in the active voice allows your readers to digest your message more easily, inciting a more positive reaction.
- Specify which form fields are optional rather than which are mandatory Ensuring that optional fields are clearly marked out will make the form seem both clear and obvious but also give the impression that it will be quicker to complete.
- When a customer selects a filter, automatically apply it to all products Often a customer types the colour of the desired product in the search bar. But often when typing, say, “red sofa”, the search results will be all sofas, red or not.
Cognitive Ease is one of the easiest neuromarketing principles to understand and apply, and yet it is often overlooked. With a few small changes to your digital marketing, you can significantly improve conversion rates.