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Bizarreness effect

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The Bizarreness effect in human psychology discusses how people tend to easily remember and recall the incidents associated with bizarreness than common and regular situations. For example, you would never forget a shop where the owner offered you an unpredicted discount for one of the highly-rated products after having a brief discussion with you. You would wonder what could have triggered his course of action, was it because that person thought that you are cute? However, you will always remember that place and that incident will be recalled from time to time because you never expected such a thing to happen at all. The Bizarreness effect works well in data presentation as well. We tend to remember odd sentences and odd representations of data better than the common ones.

Table of contents:
  1. Wrap Up
  2. Bizarreness effect example

As a result, this tendency of human psychology is being used by marketers nowadays to influence consumers' decisions to their favor. The rivalry between Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius when both were launched in 2007 and Toyota Prius being a huge success over Civic is a great example to identify the power of the Bizarreness effect. Both the cars were similar in every usual factor. The reason many people chose Prius over Civic Hybrid was because of the unpredicted aesthetic and distinctive shape that looked like no other car on the road. Yes, the Prius was bizarre!

How to use the Bizarreness effect in digital marketing towards Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Use headings and subheading subverting the ordinary

Converting the visitors into leads has a direct bearing on how uniquely you can change the way they think to your favor. It's most definitely true that almost all your visitors not only check you before making a decision, but also your competitors. If you go to the top five ranking of a web search to buy a product, you would've noticed how surprisingly similar the language, the content and the offers are. How to make your brand memorable amidst the competition? The key is to give your visitors a unique taste through the content in a compelling way to influence them to your favor. You have only a little control over a product description or a factual content to change them according to your preferences, but you can definitely make the headings and subheadings bizarre! Besides, headings and subheadings get the reader's immediate attention. Adhering to this quality can make your presence felt and remembered by the target audience to support you with Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

Use bizarre pictures

Pictures can convey more ideas about your brand than the words ever can. According to human psychology, pictures are more memorable than words. Very common or so alike pictures won't get you anywhere specifically. Check out the pictures of your successful competitors. Understand the message conveyed by the pictures and try to come up with a better and most importantly a unique way to share your story with your audience. For example many online brands use the pictures of happy customers. What happens if you embed a picture of a thrilled customer rather than a typical happy customer? The challenge here is how to convey the sense of thrill? A mere smiling face is not enough. Convey the uniqueness through bizarreness overcoming the challenges! The longer the visitors stay in your website, the easier the Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) will be.

It's not about being weird, but unique

The bizarreness effect can definitely work to your disadvantage if not optimized well. It's true that we tend to remember and recall bizarre things quite easily, but what happens if you create a negative impression trying to implement the bizarre effect? Then you will be remembered as a useless brand and that is the worst damage a brand can ever have. It is important to know that being bizarre doesn't mean to be zany or crazy. Whatever the message you convey through bizarre content should be meaningful and positive. Think about the example of Toyota Prius. They wanted to convey the message that theirs was the most aerodynamic car in their market segment back then. They took the challenge to be unique and reaped the benefits for it. If you can get the advantage of this human psychological tendency to influence the consumers' behaviors, then it will help you a great deal in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)!

Wrap Up

The bizarreness effect is a human psychological tendency that discusses how we tend to remember unusual things quite easily over common things. This tendency is used by digital marketers around the world. By presenting your content in an unusual, unique manner you can mark your brand in the minds of your target customers. In order to get a positive outcome from the bizarreness effect towards the Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), you should be vigilant enough to create a positive vibe through the content without being zany.

Bizarreness effect example

The Bizarreness effect in human psychology discusses how people tend to easily remember and recall things associated with bizarreness than common and regular situations. In this example Goodr, a glasses retailer use the tagline "back by unpopular demand" instead of the very commun "back by popular demand". The use of the opposite word change completely the meaning of the sentence and make it very weird in this situation where we expect to bring a product back because of its popularity, not the other way around.

Bizarreness Effect is used by Goodr as can be seen on the screenshot

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Example of hypothesis applied

If we add a bizarre wording in our headline, then page viewed for new users on desktop devices will increase, because of bizarreness Effect.


The references contain experiments and studies that prove this bias is there.

1. Aging, imagery, and the bizarreness effect
2. Picture bizarreness effect and word association
3. Picture bizarreness effect and word association
4. Is the image bizarreness effect a generation effect?

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