Digital Psychology: What you Need To Know for Results in 2022

by | May 7, 2022 digital psychology

Everyone has an image of who they are, what they want and what others think about them. People do not stray far from where they believe they belong.

The trick for marketers is discovering what someone’s life position, circumstances and outlook is and how it influences their disposition.

Even in the most disadvantageous circumstances, people get emotional needs met from their current environment.

As marketers, we have not done a good enough job deciphering what these bassline needs are, and how our target audience benefits from them.

Thankfully, there is an emerging field of study that offers insights into how people behave in the digital world—digital psychology.

What is digital psychology, and how can it be used to figure out what really motivates customers? Let’s find out!

What is Digital Psychology?

Digital psychology is the field of study that applies digital marketing, behavioral economics, and psychology to the study of consumer behavior on digital platforms.

Digital psychology investigates behaviors involved with online interactions to find out what customers do online.

The goal is to give companies and brands greater insights into how they can position themselves effectively.

What is Psychology and Technology?

Psychology and technology is the study of the impacts technology has on human psychology.

This can range from studying depression rates in teenagers from social media usage to uncovering how people behave online.

How is Psychology Used In Marketing?

How do you use psychology in your marketing? What psychological strategies do you employ to encourage people to click on your links, or persuade them to fill out a lead form?

Marketing is the art of influence and persuasion.

Finding the most effective methods for driving business goals and increasing brand awareness are the primary objectives of psychology in marketing.

To some, this might prove challenging.

Knowing where to start seems overwhelming and frustrating, so much so that a fair number of businesses don’t even try.

The task of getting people’s attention alone can seem impossible.

Let alone trying to:

  • Find your ideal customer
  • Understanding your customers pain points and motivations
  • And drive customer loyalty and retention

This is where digital psychology can help. Adopting a psychological approach to analyzing these questions can increase your understanding of your customers and your market at large.

To better understand how we can accomplish these goals, let’s look at the role social psychology plays in digital marketing.

Digital Psychology and Trust

Perhaps, the primary benefit of using digital psychology in marketing is building trust with your audience.

One of the aspects of understanding how your customers behave online is having a good understanding of who they are.

Questions such as:

  • Why do they buy my product?
  • What benefit do they get from it?
  • What motivates my customers?
  • What emotional need is my product meeting in their lives?

Are nonnegotiable. You must know them. When you know your customer you can speak to them in their language, communicating your value proposition more effectively.

This alone moves mountains when it comes to building trust and credibly in your market.

If you think about it, who would you rather buy from?

  1. The guy asking everyone at BestBuy if they want a cable package?
  2. Or, a newsletter you subscribed too, and read religiously every week?

I know my answer.

What’s the difference between the guy you try to avoid at all costs and the one you can’t pull out your credit card fast enough for? Trust.

The growing field of digital psychology can help you find the right psychological levers to pull in your ideal customers mind that inspire confidence.

People are motivated by a desire to maintain consistency across their lives. We live up to what we think we are.

If savvy marketers can align their messaging with how consumers already view themselves, selling becomes easy.

Consistency theory is the psychological concept that states: we act in accordance with our conception of who we are.

Social Psychology in Digital Marketing

Social psychology is the study of how people behave in social situations. Concepts such as social proof have arisen from this field of inquiry.

However, social psychology omits the impact that culture might have on buying decisions.

We all understand that someone is far more likely to buy a product or service after getting a recommendation from a friend or family member.

This marketing approach drives business models such as affiliate marketing.

But social proof does not consider the values behind these recommendations or what factors impact decision making processes.

The human brain is complex. But we know that cultural influences play a huge role in shaping how we choose to evaluate situations and circumstances.

There is research on this exact question!

When Culture Matters and When No One Cares

These days, it seems that the only answer to some marketing problems is to collect more data. This ignores the context in which the data is to be sampled.

Believe it or not, there are some considerations that cannot be made with data.

For example, no amount of statistical analysis can tell you that Americans are more individualistic, and that Chinese people are more collectively oriented.

Donnel Briley and Jennifer Aaker conducted a study in 2005 that addressed the influences of culture on consumer decision making. Their findings were quite interesting to say the least.

Cultural impacts on decision making seem to be the strongest when quick, in the moment decisions are required.

User Psychology: How People Behave

Understanding how users interact with a website or other digital property is important when constructing and implementing the user experience UX.

Creating an engaging experience for the customer requires several different elements working in coordination with each other. Some of them include.

Cognitive Fluency

People remember articles and books that are easy to read. The same principle holds true for how user interfaces are designed.

The easier a website or application is to use, the more memorable it is likely to be.

This effect is related to the tendency to be overwhelmed by too many choices. When presented with too many options, users become incapable of taking any action at all.

This is not good for conversions!

This is related to our next concept the paradox of choice.

Paradox Of Choice

Removing the choices for possible actions on a website can eliminate the anxiety a user experiences when interacting with the product.

When people are given more choices, the likelihood of them acting is greatly diminished. When you design your website or landing pages, use the minimum number of options possible for the site to still be functional.

This will ensure that you are not overwhelming your user with too many confusing options.

Zeigarnik effect

Our short-term memory is limited. There is only so much that we can recall in each moment. The more we try to keep in memory, the more effort is required to keep the information stored.

This can lead to people becoming overwhelmed if they are presented with too much data to recall at once.

To deal with this, make sure completed tasks are acknowledged and uncompleted tasks are simple to complete.

This could be anything from adding a progress bar on a lead capture form with multiple steps to sending abandon cart reminders to eCommerce customers.

The peak–end rule

What do you remember about your last vacation? Was it a sunset over a scenic location, a perfect moment spent with family or when you lost your driver’s license?

Either way, what you recall after your vacation is largely determined by the power of the emotional connection you have with the event. 

This cognitive bias impacts how we recall past events. We remember experiences as a series of snapshots and not as a complete record of what occurred.

Because we selectively “choose” what we remember, our recollection is pulled towards the moments that stand out the most emotionally, and not the ones that provide the most context.

The filters that select which moments are converted to memory is the level of emotionality of the experience and how the event ended.

When you understand how our minds select for memories, you can design experiences and products that are more memorable than those of your competitors.

There are some things data analysts cannot explain immediately. How your customers convert your brand to memory is one of them.

You will have to run tests and survey your audience to find out what emotions are evoked by your company and marketing.

A good rule of thumb when designing digital assets is to make sure they are responsive and accessible. Remove as many barriers to completing your defined goals as possible. Test and refine as you go along.

How you can use Digital Psychology in your Design—The Final Phase

If you take anything from this article, remember that emotion is the cornerstone of good design and good marketing. Uncovering users purchase patterns is the best way to inform how you orient your content and design your products.

If you can tap into how people emotionally understand your brand, your marketing becomes unstoppable.

Be it creating a feeling of belonging, recalling nostalgia for days past, or engendering a feeling of wellbeing, emotions can only help you sell more to the people who need what you are offering.

Emotional triggers are essential for good marketing. Working them into your messaging and copy can do wonders for increasing conversions and driving customer retention.

Rewards, Customer Retention and Brand Loyalty

Cyber psychologists have understood for a while that rewarding desired behaviors from your customers is key for getting them to come back.

Creating loyalty programs that encourage repeat business can increase revenue per customer by 12-18%.

People seek gratification in many different forms. Loyalty programs tap into this desire and get people to return for future transactions.

If you can get a customer to identify with your brand, think apple or Nike, your job as a marketer is practically over.

Once someone has made your brand into a part of their consistent self, it becomes very difficult to get them to go against their conception of who they are.

This should be the ultimate goal of companies who what to establish long term success and achieve a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace.

The question all marketers should ask is—how can someone make my offering a part of who they are?

If you can reach this stage, you have surpassed “raving fan” and passed into the psychological needs of the customer.

The end goal of all good marketing strategy should be the attainment of personal identification with your products and services.

Once you have a complete picture of how you can meet the needs of your target audience, this outcome gets closer.


Marketing experts have long wanted to understand the connection between their efforts and human behavior.

With the advent of digital psychology this goal is getting closer by the day. We now, more so than ever before, have a better understanding about why people buy, and what keeps them coming back for more.

Messing with human psychology has raised some ethical issues.

However, it is my belief that when used responsibly, with the needs of your customer front and center, psychological marketing tactics can only help consumers find the best products for them.

In the digital age we must find new methods of communicating value to those we serve. With waning attention spans and an ever-increasing number of choices, getting consumers to complete the buyer process is more difficult than ever before.

We owe it to our potential clients to find cutting edge solutions to these pressing issues. Who knows? One day algorithmic devices might handle all this stuff for us.

But until then, it is best that we continue advancing our understanding of consumers and human psychology.

In this new interdisciplinary environment, it will be necessary to find data sources that we have ignored in the past.

There is a new age coming, one where marketing is the fusion of technology, creativity, and psychology. It’s exciting times. What will you do to further your own understanding?

Written By dhardt20

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