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Neuroscience of search: how the brain shapes customer behaviour

Neuroscience of search: how the brain shapes customer behaviour

Presentation by Giulia Panozzo at BrightonSEO in April 2023.

'Before Google, there were humans: this session aims at uncovering the psychology behind customer behaviour and how to optimise for real people, while highlighting some of the similarities between how we think and act, and how search engines seem to rank websites.

In this talk, you will learn about the cognitive biases and heuristics that guide decision-making at every stage of the user’s journey, and how to apply this to connect with your audience and turn visitors into customers.'

Giulia Panozzo

April 20, 2023
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  1. Neuroscience of
    Search
    slideshare.net/GiuliaPanozzo1
    @SequinsNsearch
    Giulia Panozzo
    Neuroscientive

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  2. My Journey
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    BSc in Psychobiology
    MSc in Cognitive
    Neuroscience & Clinical
    Neuropsychology
    Research on attentional,
    social and motor processes
    …and ended up in SEO

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  3. Today we’ll talk about…
    🧠 Capturing the attention
    🧠 Cognitive Biases
    🧠 Heuristics in Decision Making
    🧠 Social Proof
    🧠 The role of emotions
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  4. WHAT IS
    NEUROSCIENCE?
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  5. The study of the brain and
    the nervous system
    Cognitive
    neuroscience
    Behavioral
    neuroscience
    Neurophysiology
    And many more...
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  6. WHY
    ‘NEUROSCIENCE
    OF SEARCH’?
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  7. 1. To put the user back in focus
    Optimizing ‘for Google’ VS Optimizing for the user
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  8. 1. To put the user back in focus
    Optimizing ‘for Google’ VS Optimizing for the user
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  9. 2. To win the user’s attention over rankings
    Ranking better than our competitors ≠ more traffic or
    conversions
    Image here
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  10. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Especially when
    all results look
    similar

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  11. 3. To increase engagement and build brand equity
    Your
    brand
    Our job doesn’t end when the user lands on the site:
    we need to keep them there to continue the journey.
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  12. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  13. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  14. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Image by Bhav Patel,
    @dodonerd

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  15. #1 - CAPTURING
    THE ATTENTION
    VISIT
    @SequinsNsearch #BrightonSEO

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  16. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  17. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  18. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  19. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  20. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  21. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  22. Selective attention
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  23. Selective attention
    The process of bringing
    perceived stimuli further into
    processing
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  24. ØInternal factors
    (e.g. motivation)
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  25. ØCognitive biases
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  26. ØExternal
    factors
    (e.g.
    ‘cocktail
    party effect’)
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  27. Event Related Potentials
    (ERPs)
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  28. Event Related Potentials
    (ERPs)
    Common brain activation patterns
    observed in relation to certain
    stimuli
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  29. N170
    Selective to
    face
    configurations
    (M. Eimer, 1998)
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  30. N170
    …But responds even to face-like objects!
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  31. N170
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  32. N170
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  33. N170
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  34. N170
    ‘Emojis evoked more negative N170
    and N2 brain potentials compared to
    human faces both during a mere
    presentation and as feedback stimuli.’
    (M. Weiß, P. Mussel & J. Hewig, 2020)
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  35. N170
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  36. N170
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  37. q aMMN (150-250ms):
    auditory
    q vMMN (120-350ms):
    visual
    Mismatch Negativity
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  38. Mismatch Negativity
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOL
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

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  39. Mismatch Negativity
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOL
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

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  40. q aMMN (150-250ms):
    auditory
    q vMMN (120-350ms):
    visual
    q N400: semantic
    Mismatch Negativity
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  41. Kutas, M., & Hillyard, S. A. (1980)
    Mismatch Negativity
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  42. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  43. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  44. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    ?!?🧐

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  45. #2 – COGNITIVE
    BIASES
    RESEARCH
    @SequinsNsearch #BrightonSEO

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  46. Cognitive Biases
    Systematic errors
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Judgement and Decision making
    Processing and interpreting information

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  47. Serial Position Effect
    Bread
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Book
    Cinema
    Computer
    Pencil
    Periodical
    Sum
    Heath
    Imagination
    Drum
    Autonomous
    Considerable
    Mouse
    Eggs
    Anniversary

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  48. ØPrimacy
    ØRecency
    Serial Position Effect
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  49. It’s easier to recall items that
    are placed at the beginning or
    at the end of a list
    Serial Position Effect
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  50. Anchoring Effect
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  51. Compromise Effect
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  52. Numerical Biases
    qDistance effect
    à9 vs 16 easier than 13 vs 16
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  53. à15 vs 23 easier than 237 vs 245
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    qSize effect
    Numerical Biases

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  54. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Numerical Biases
    In both cases, judging
    differences becomes
    harder as magnitude
    increases

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  55. ‘Save 34% on your sofa’
    Regular
    Price:
    £1700
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Faster

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  56. ‘Save £581 on your sofa’
    Regular
    Price:
    £1700
    Slower
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  57. Negativity Bias
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  58. Source: seoClarity
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  59. Negativity Bias
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  60. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    😤Slow or overwhelming flow
    😠Unclear or contradicting information
    🤬404 pages

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  61. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  62. Confirmation Bias
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  63. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Example:
    Travelling post-pandemic

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  64. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  65. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  66. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    If your brand doesn’t rank for queries of this
    kind, potential customers will have to
    rely on other websites’ info.
    The existing beliefs they come to the search
    with will determine what content they’ll trust
    the most
    (confirmation bias).

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  67. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  68. #3 – HEURISTICS IN
    DECISION MAKING
    RESEARCH
    DECISION
    @SequinsNsearch #BrightonSEO

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  69. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  70. Our cognitive resources are
    limited and cannot process all
    of the information available to
    analyse
    all of the possible outcomes
    of a choice
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  71. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    ‘A heuristic is a mental
    shortcut that allows
    people to solve
    problems and make
    judgments quickly
    and efficiently’

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  72. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Availability Heuristic

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  73. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Scarcity Heuristic

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  74. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Scarcity Heuristic

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  75. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Risk Aversion Heuristic

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  76. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Risk Aversion Heuristic

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  77. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Risk Aversion Heuristic

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  78. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    £2,00
    £1,90
    Familiarity Heuristic

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  79. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    £2,00
    £1,90
    "
    #
    $
    %
    &
    Familiarity Heuristic

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  80. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    £2,00
    £1,90
    "
    #
    $
    %
    &
    '
    (
    )
    *
    Familiarity Heuristic

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  81. Elaboration Likelihood Model
    High VS Low personal investment
    determines if persuasion is going to
    be off the quality or quantity of
    arguments
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  82. #4 – SOCIAL
    PROOF
    ORDER
    @SequinsNsearch #BrightonSEO

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  83. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  84. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  85. Social Proof
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    The brain is
    ‘socially wired’

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  86. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Neuron mirrors and simulation theory

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  87. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Interaction facilitation induced by social cues
    Natural switch from
    an imitative to a
    complementary
    social action in CS
    activity
    (Sartori et al., 2012)

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  88. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Interaction facilitation induced by social cues
    Natural switch from
    an imitative to a
    complementary
    social action in CS
    activity
    (Sartori et al., 2012)

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  89. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  90. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    The Bandwagon effect
    Agrillo et al., 2012
    à Conformity behaviour
    …Even in fish!

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  91. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  92. Role of reviews
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  93. 🗣 And of
    UGC
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  94. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  95. #5 – THE ROLE
    OF EMOTIONS
    ORDER
    VISIT
    RESEARCH
    DECISION
    @SequinsNsearch #BrightonSEO

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  96. People make decisions
    emotionally
    and then they justify them
    rationally
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  97. Six Basic Emotions
    (Ekman, 1999)
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  98. That gut feeling…
    Emotional processes
    guide decision making
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    The Somatic Marker Hypothesis
    (Damasio, 1991)

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  99. Tripadvisor 404 page
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  100. ü Brand Authenticity
    ü Safety
    ü Trust
    Positive emotional experiences correlate
    with perceived
    @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  101. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  102. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  103. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO

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  104. SO, WHAT DO I
    NEED TO
    REMEMBER?
    @SequinsNsearch #BrightonSEO

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  105. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Dare to stand out

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  106. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Ditch the silos:
    make every
    part of the
    journey count

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  107. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    People want to
    trust and feel
    safe:
    make that easy
    for them

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  108. @SequinsNsearch
    /giulia-panozzo/
    Thank you!
    neuroscientive.com

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  109. APPENDIX:
    TEST IDEAS AND
    TAKEAWAYS
    @SequinsNsearch #BrightonSEO

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  110. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Test emojis in your titles and descriptions to
    improve CTRs
    Invest in SERP features that your competitors are
    not using yet
    Include something that stands out in your title or
    copy: bold text, capitalization, unexpected wording
    Top of the funnel

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  111. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Place important information and value props
    at the top and at the bottom of your copy
    Choose fractions or percentages (e.g ‘50% off’,
    ‘1/2 price’) over numbers when showing savings
    Test negative headlines (e.g. ‘10 holiday
    destinations not to miss’ VS ‘10 best holiday
    destinations’ )
    Middle of the funnel

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  112. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Use messaging that conveys scarcity (but don’t
    fool your users)
    Highlight messaging on flexible
    payment/booking options and returns
    Include social proof (UGC, reviews) and leverage
    schema mark-up to highlight it
    Bottom of the funnel

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  113. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Make every part of the journey count: focus on
    providing a flawless experience to avoid
    negativity bias
    Work on conveying trustworthiness and expertise
    by proactively addressing your user’s
    concerns
    At every stage

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  114. @SequinsNsearch Giulia Panozzo – Neuroscience of Search #BrightonSEO
    Work on increasing the availability of your
    brand as a trusted source in your space (leverage
    external partners and digital PR)
    Optimize for the user, not the search engine:
    throughout the user journey, connect on an
    emotional level
    At every stage

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