Authority bias, first identified in Stanley Milgram's experiment in 1961, states that people tend to ascribe more value to the opinion of someone who is authoritarian or considered a specialist.
In addition, the authority bias has also shown that people tend to be more influenced by the information of an authoritarian figure, regardless of the actual content of the information.
Although politicians also use this psychological bias, it is mostly used by marketers as a weapon to convince potential customers.
The most famous example of authority bias can be found in cognitive advertising: how many times have you seen a doctor or dentist trying to convince you that this is the right product for your health?
You guessed it, authority bias strikes again.
This technique is widely used in cognitive advertising and marketing campaigns - just think of the numerous "experts" and "influencers" involved in advertising.
If you manage content marketing for a B2B business, remember that authority can take many forms: you can target authoritative publications or use case studies from reputable companies to improve your brand awareness. Anchoring bias
The anchoring bias influences the decision-making process and is known for its impact on price negotiations. Humans prefer the first piece of information they receive when making decisions - also known as an anchor - over any subsequent information.
An anchor is essentially a starting point from which all further discussions and negotiations start. It can be a range, a price, or any kind of information. However, prices are the most common example of this psychological bias.
When setting prices or editing new offers and designs, smart marketers can use the anchoring bias to determine whether or not their ideas match customer expectations. This technique can produce great results because the vast majority of consumers are exposed to lots of advertisements and "anchors". It might be time to create your own content marketing anchor! Hyperbolic discounting bias
Hyperbolic discounting bias is a cognitive bias that leads people to prefer instant payouts over later payouts.
When faced with two positive outcomes, the person develops short-term preferences and is very likely to choose the one that will occur sooner.
As a result, people tend to make inconsistent decisions that their future selves may regret because at the time of the decision-making process they lean towards the current moment.
This bias defines consumer needs and wants. Because we prefer the present, savvy marketers can promote immediate joys and direct needs so we buy now.
For example, paying with credit cards is a common consequence of the hyperbolic discounting bias: many people would rather go into debt to buy a television now (and pay interest) rather than wait until they have enough cash.
In order to effectively use this psychological bias, marketers emphasize two main features:
- The tangible benefits: What's in it for me now?
- The ease of use: How easy and how fast is it
The observer-expectancy effect is a psychological bias that is defined by a researcher's tendency to subconsciously influence an experiment based on his or her own cognitive bias.
The expectation effect is related to the confirmation error - for example, the tendency to seek out and prefer information that already matches our beliefs leads marketers and researchers to set the psychological bias in their own experiments.
Marketing (and, in this context, digital marketing) requires research and experimentation to drive higher sales, increase conversions, and boost search engine rankings.
As marketers, we develop assumptions and hypotheses based on our knowledge and past experiences.
However, many marketers do not know that their own assumptions can skew or bias their experiments. We often try to prove a certain point and influence our tests in the process.
This is how marketers often conduct inherently psychologically biased experiments: they are trying to prove to themselves that they are correct rather than doing an actual experiment.
Correct use of A/B testing enables marketers to conduct statistically relevant experiments with arbitrary samples and fair allocation. Simply put, A/B testing can be a powerful means of using observer expectancy to your advantage. You can statistically check your assumptions and dramatically increase your ranking, conversions, and sales - or prove wrong and move on to your next assumption. Conclusion
We are humans prone to cognitive distortions and illusions. Psychological bias is deeply ingrained in the world of marketing. It characterizes the way in which the context and design of information influence consumer judgment and decision-making. Knowing this psychological process is vital for marketers to want to optimize their content, campaigns, and sales funnels.