Nudge Newsletter

Use present tense to boost persuasion | Nudge Newsletter 🧠

Published 2 months ago • 1 min read

Present tense boosts persuasion.

In January 2023, three researchers analysed 500,000 product reviews.

Specifically, they analysed if the review was written in present tense:

  • The book is heart-warming

Or past tense:

  • The book was heart-warming

Turns out, present tense boosts persuasion.

Using present tense in messages makes them 26.4% more helpful.

And it increases likelihood of product interest by 12.3%.


Because this subtle reframing boosts the trustworthiness of the review.

We subconsciously belief the reviewer more if they have the confidence to use present tense.

So, remove past tense praise from your product/service/offering.



P.S. Have you ever wanted to appear on the Nudge Podcast?

This is your chance. I'm creating a group of listeners who can come on the show at short notice. If you join "Nudgers" you'll be invited on to take part in experiments, tests, and give your opinion on some of my work.

There's no commitment. The interviews with me will likely be less than 10 minutes long and at most once a month. I'll send out an email with a few interview slots and you can sign up at a first come first serve basis. No strings attached.

If you come on, you'll get a big thank you in the show notes where I'd be happy to link to your socials etc. Plus you'll get my eternal gratitude.

Interested? Drop your details here.

Nudge Newsletter

Phill Agnew

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

Read more from Nudge Newsletter

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...

4 days ago • 1 min read

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...

11 days ago • 1 min read

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...

18 days ago • 1 min read
Share this post