Entrepreneur who chased success against all odds. Proud Father. Author of “How To Grow Your Startup And Small Business” Quarterly Global
A large number of advertising businesses that I’ve worked with over the past 12 years have one thing in common. They struggle to understand their client’s target market — the conscious and unconscious mental and behavioral patterns that cause the market to hit that “subscribe now” button. My advertising business wrestled at the five-figure mark back in the day until I discovered neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and subsequent techniques.
Although NLP is not a one-size-fits-all plaster, it certainly opened my eyes to the possibility that my team and I had been overlooking this critical technique when running our ad campaigns.
The Human Visual Attention Span
To establish a more worthwhile recommendation system for their users, data scientists at Netflix conducted a study to establish how long a user would browse before giving up and exiting the Netflix browser or application. Results indicated that, on average, users spent no more than 60-90 or searched 10-20 titles. To complicate matters further, each user responded differently to different visual content. Nothing visually stimulating, and they were out.
This research corresponds with Prezi’s 2018 State of the Attention Report, which found the average human being’s attention span was actually not declining, as the common narrative suggests, but evolving and becoming more selective. The report further states that humans have become more consciously selective about what they watch and desire visually stimulating content with a strong storyline before they become engrossed in it.
Things get even trickier for marketers. A study conducted by Facebook found their users spent, on average, only 1.7 seconds on mobile and 2.5 seconds on desktop accessing new visual media in their news feeds. This means you have to be insanely good to capture a user’s attention.
What NLP Means For Your Advertising Business
NLP refers to the pseudoscientific approach developed in the U.S. in the 1970s by John Grinder and Richard Bandler to assist with communication, personal development and psychotherapy.
According to Bandler and Grinder, there is a connection among neurological processes, languages and experiences that ultimately creates the way our minds work and influences the actions we take. It’s the study of external and internal behaviors, or thought patterns. They go further and suggest we can change negative NLP to achieve our goals more easily by overwriting these with positive NLP.
NLP occurs within each human being over countless years through conscious and unconscious stimuli. From NLP, several techniques are derived that businesses can use to attract more visitors to their content, such as the pattern-interrupt method — otherwise known as the scroll-stopping technique.
Top Four NLP Techniques To Boost Advertising Efforts
1. Use the pattern-interrupt or scroll-stopping technique. Pattern-interrupt refers to interruptions that are introduced to break a state of being or habit. Eventually, the interruption creates a new pattern, which then becomes part of our “updated” NLP.
With endless scrolling being such s hazard for website owners and marketers, you can employ pattern-interrupt strategies (otherwise known as scroll-stopping techniques) to ensure your ad content gets views. In my experience, these are some of the best scroll-stopping techniques:
• Start with a blurred image to pique the interest of the user, and then slowly allow the image to come into focus. That will give your ad at least two to five seconds of attention.
• Animations and motion effects can be great additions because most people are attracted to moving objects. Don’t overdo it, of course. One creative animation is more than enough per ad. It could be the heading of your ad that rotates or a logo that pops up. Let your creative imagination run wild.
• Bold headings, semi-bold subheadings, and short, to-the-point content descriptions often work best. You only have so many words to grab a user’s attention. Don’t overwhelm them with endless copy. Balance copy with visually enticing graphics or images.
• Discounts and exclusivity work.
2. Do A/B testing, a technique that’s still top-notch. Although an old-school method, A/B testing is still the way to go to establish which of your visual content is the most appealing to your target market. Big brands still use it, and so should you.
3. Find and work with top-level creative writers and graphic artists. Each person reacts differently to visual content since each person has developed a different type of NLP. That’s why it’s important to constantly try out different creative angles for your ad content and employ top-level creatives and graphic artists. Don’t feel weird about trying out new creatives either.
4. Create visually appealing content and thumbnails. Human beings love visually stimulating content. Whenever you create content for your business or a client’s business, ensure each is visually appealing, eye-catching and tailored to the specific target market’s preferences, characteristics and influences. Create several thumbnails, and if they’re not getting you results, swap them for new ones.