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Digital Psychology is the Megalodon of Effective Digital Marketing & Communications

By Alex McLean • May 19, 2016

Marketers need to constantly think like a user to create a connection and the study of mind and behaviour can help you become a better marketer. 

Inbound marketing for example, requires you that you create semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers called buyer personas. Creating customer persona types requires that you think like the person who is your target audience. Thinking for someone who is not you is not an easy task. 

Enter Digital Psychology.


What is Digital Psychology?

So digital psychology is a pretty sweet mashup (like The Verve and Jay-Z). It combines behavioural economics, psychology and digital marketing to create a kind of Godzilla (or Megalodon) of digital communications geared toward the unconscious mind.

The idea is to use the knowledge and theories behind these concepts to become smart marketers. And that’s what you are, right? Smart? A marketer of some kind?



Digital psychology is the Megalodon of effective digital communications and marketing

In the glossy world of digital psychology, there are a number of methods used to further a marketer’s cause. I don’t want to be sounding like a Megalodon here (see above for more information about this creature you should totally know more about), as we’re not about this kind of predatory selling behaviour at Connect Labs. Rather, we can optimise the marketing approach of the awesome services our clients offer by understanding a bit more about online consumer behaviour.

There are quite a few tactics you can use to optimise a user buyer journey in the online realm. Let’s check a few of them out:

1. Reciprocity 

This is a favourite of ours because it’s all about the golden goose that keeps on giving (with considerable effort and forethought...does that still make it a golden goose?) - content marketing! Think about the old idioms, ‘give a little to get a little,’ ‘no pain, no gain’ and ‘you have to break some eggs to make an omelette’.

We’re talking about the same thing here; there's a bit of sacrifice involved.

orange-quotation-marks-hi.png It’s human nature to appreciate when someone does something for you.

It’s also human nature to want to return the gesture, or feel indebted. At Connect Labs, we’re all about inbound so we love to offer valuable content (like this that you’re reading) for free . This is because we want you to enjoy our expertise and come to trust us as a brand. Because we’re totally trustworthy and great people *shifty eyes*. But it also works for us because you feel the need to give something back! Hopefully chocolate, or at least a consideration of the services we offer.

Other companies might offer a t-shirt, a pen, an e-book, a consultation! It can really be anything. 

A great example of a company that does this to great effect is Spotify which offers free 30-day trials for its premium, ad-free music streaming service. They’ve also done this in a transparent way which promotes them as a trustworthy company - you can cancel at any time and the trial comes with no obligation.


2. Anchoring

Anchoring is the cause of many of financial woes. Sure, I don’t NEED that dinosaur jumper, but dammit, it’s such a good deal!

Picture this. You go into your local department store regularly. You regularly pass a Lego Millenium Falcon set. You don’t need this product. You do want it. It’s usually $1000 but one day you pass through and it’s only $700! Amazing! You buy it. You have saved $300. But you know what, you also spent $700 on a Lego set. You’re eating Mee Goreng for dinner again. Is this how you pictured your life? This is what anchoring has done to us.



I'm actually all for this purchase and think it's totally worth $700.

An anchor is the first piece of information we see, and it stays with us. Your expectations are set. In terms of pricing, anything lower is awesome and anything higher is not so awesome. Many online retailers such as clothing shop ASOS and warehouse of the universe Amazon are very good at this.




3. Scarcity

Ah scarcity. Big scary scarcity. I have no doubt that most people who buy ANYTHING online have been subjected to scarcity tactics. Making something scarce to improve its value seems logical. Supply and demand, right? It’s also a proven concept: items (in the study they used choc-chip cookies) perceived to be one of only a few left have a heightened value.

While online retailers do make use of this a lot, the scarcity tactic is most commonly seen in booking systems. Think flights and accommodation;, Tripadvisor, Expedia, Webjet and Travelocity. Everything on these websites promotes pressure and urgency. Seven other people are looking at this room right now! Only three rooms are left at this price! I gotta buy it or they’ll get in first!

These industries are also well-suited to this kind of pressure. Travelling is scary. You need a flight that day, a place to sleep that night - you don’t want to mess up! I have to book this room or I’ll miss out completely!




These are just some of the ways we can apply digital psychology to marketing. Quite often behaviour is aligned with what we already know about human psychology. But integrating digital psychology tactical methods into an online strategy can be challenging.

These tactics are often underneath the inbound marketing umbrella - good content, good web design, good buyer personas, good UX. However, it might be interesting to see how the online medium may affect they way we consume as we progress further into the digital age. 

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