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Nudge Newsletter

I spend 18 hours each week turning marketing psychology into readable newsletters.

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Don't show people next to your product | Nudge Newsletter 🧠

Remove the humans. In 2023, Lu Jung & Peck analysed 14,725 Instagram photos from travel influencers. Specifically they measured: Which images got more likes Which images drove more sales Turns out, there was one clear correlation ... humans. The images of travel destinations received fewer likes if they showed somebody in the photo. This effect reduced sales, too. Why is this? Well customers want to feel ownership over products. The endowment effect reveals that the more control we have over...

Stop using technical jargon. It's commonplace to see companies to use technical language to describe products. We read about: Next-level AI Trusted provenance Wholesome nutrition Marketers use this technical language because it makes them seem smart. Yet it harms sales. In 2023, researchers showed consumers multiple product descriptions in an online experiment and measured their likelihood to buy. Turns out, technical language damages sales. Why is this? Well technical language is hard to...

Speed limits are broken. In 2021 Enrico Rubaltelli found an ingenious way to make speed limits better. By lowering the speed by 1km per hour he reduced median speeds by 3km per hour. Why does this work? Well it's due to the left digit effect. Most of us read from left to right meaning we're anchored by the first digit we see. A lower anchor (4 rather than 5) makes us perceive the number as less than it's value. Lowering the speeds we drive at. Also explaining why everything sold in the Apple...

The joke that killed Merlot. In 2004 the movie Sideways featured the character Miles, a wine connoisseur on a tour of wineries in California. Miles, a heartbroken, miserable divorcé, who, in an effort to cheer himself up, goes on a wine tour with his friend Jack. The film did wonders for the sales of Santa Barbara wines. Except for one variety: merlot. Here’s why: Miles opted for pinot noir instead, for which sales have since skyrocketed. When Sideways premiered in 2004, merlot made up close...

Losses motivate more than gains. Imagine I gave you $4,000 to motivate your sales rep. You'd probably set them a target like this: Hit 120% of quota and I'll give you $4,000 But... There's a better way to motivate. Loss aversion reveals that losses are more salient than equivalent gains. And when it comes to bonuses, the thought of losing a bonus is more motivating than gaining one. Here's the study behind this insight 👇 The right way to motivate the sales rep is to say: We've added an extra...

Sorry—no concert, just golden advice. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame wanted to increase voter engagement at the organisation Rock the Vote. To do so they tested two emails: Took the Writer's Perspective = reflected the writer's goal of recruiting new volunteers. Took the Reader's Perspective = focused instead on something that the recipient might value. The results speak for themselves. Email list subscribers who received the Reader's Perspective version were four times as likely...

Money can't buy love. Expensive weddings = higher divorce rate. Why? Well perhaps it's due to the hedonic treadmill. The hedonic treadmill refers to the constant pursuit of happiness and the belief that material possessions will bring that happiness. However, as we acquire more material possessions or experiences, the happiness they bring becomes fleeting and short-lived. The same principle can be applied to expensive weddings. Many couples believe that an extravagant wedding will bring them...

Use descriptions that can be visualised. In 2022 researchers ran a study on product descriptions. Half saw descriptions given in weight. Half saw descriptions given in quantity. Here's what happened. Oreo are one of the few brands that actually use this. Rather than proudly displaying the package weight, they showcase the quantity of cookies. And doing so, should boost their sales. So, use descriptions that can be visualised: ❌ 100 GB = ✅ 50 feature length films ❌ 568 mls = ✅ 1 pint ❌ 135 MPH...

"Could you be a helper?" In 2014 researchers at Bing school ran an experiment with the kids. Half were asked "can you help tidy?". The other half were asked "can you be a helper?". When children were asked to "be a helper" rather than just to "help," assistance increased by nearly a third. This was tested in situations where kids were particularly uninterested, like tidying up while engaged in another activity. Why does this happen? Well this request forces us to think about our identity,...

Praising a competitor won't harm your brand. After viewing a tweet where Kit Kat praised Twix: "Competitor or not, congrats on your 54 years in business! Even we can admit—Twix are delicious.” Participants were more inclined to purchase Kit Kat, while their preference for Twix remained steady. Commending competitors can elevate your brand's likability. Which is why I'll shout out my three favourite newsletters: Stand the F*ck Out Ariyh Why We Buy Subscribe to them all—they're wonderful....