We all like to think that we have the power to make our own decisions. We’re all independent, mature thinkers, right? But marketing in itself is a manipulation of the human psyche. The opportunity for intricate measurement that comes with digital behaviour provides brands with the opportunity to test and fine-tune marketing science to maximise business success.  It sounds dry, but it can quite literally change your life! Booking.com is a stunning example of how to exploit psychological weaknesses in human nature. Today we look at a handful of the theories used to drive conversion.

URGENCY AND SCARCITY:

What is it? People are more inclined to take action when they believe they are at risk of losing out.

How is it used? Check out the below; “Great value today”, “Only 2 rooms left”, “Hurry” all pressure users to book on the spot. The more immediate sessions that end in conversion, the better.

SOCIAL PROOFING:

What is it? We trust our peers (even if we don’t know them). Airbnb, Uber, Tripadvisor exist almost solely on social proofing. It’s how Facebook make most of their money. Because we are more likely to act on something that we trust. And that trust is built from others.

How is it used? Check out the real-estate given to reviews and star ratings. Take note of the thumbs up. They’re all ways for Booking.com to say “these guys trust the hotel, so why wouldn’t you?”

HERDING:

What is it? Similar to social proofing, herding literally refers to our nature to mimic sheep and follow the mass. If everyone is doing it, I should too.

How is it used? Read between the lines of 10 people booked this and “guest favourite”!

ZERO RISK BIAS:

What is it? We tend to prefer options that completely eliminate risk or large elimination of small risks over small eliminations to large risks.

How is it used? Free cancellation! No credit card required! Pay at the property! They are all large eliminations of a fairly slim risk.