Focusing effect

Theory explained by Sander Volbeda and written by Daniel Kahneman & David Schkade

People will tend to focus on one thing about your product or service, rather than lots of things.

How to use focusing effect as a force of persuasion for Conversion Rate Optimization?

Put focus on only a few most important elements of your website

The ideal strategy is to focus on elements up to three. You can highlight the most important unique value proposition of your product, service or the brand. Furthermore, highlight the special offers and discounts. Highlighting only a limited number of elements will make sure that your target audience is not overwhelmed by too many highlights. Besides, if you highlight too many elements, none of the focus will be drawn towards your website. And on the other hand, it can make your website look spammy. So, just focus on those three most important elements!

Highlight what makes you unique over your best aspects

Your best aspects may not be what make you unique in competition. For example, many businesses in the similar industry as yours can share similar best aspects. This will not be a great reason to attract more customers only to your website for Conversion Rate Optimization because your target audience has many options; so why should they choose only you? Here comes the strategy. To get the maximum advantage of focusing effect, highlight what makes you unique from your competition or what unique value can be created by you. If you merely focus only on the best aspects but not what makes you unique, then your customers will fail to see your rightful position in the competition. And it will affect you badly towards Conversion Rate Optimization as your target consumers see you as only one among others. Remember that our minds cannot focus on every detail but what is highlighted the best.

Focus on telling people how you can change their lives

This is another ideal method to get the maximum advantage of the focusing effect towards conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). For example, tell people how their lives are going to go uphill from the moment they buy your product or service. Use imageries such as an image of a happy client to emphasize distinctly on the satisfaction you generate through your products and services. Or, you can embed a success story of one or few of your genuine customers. To attract user focus through texts,

  • They should not be too lengthy, but brief
  • Use bigger fonts and hot colors in a plain background
  • Use sufficient whitespace around the text
  • Make the content attractive and compelling

If you use imageries,

  • Be sure they are unique and fit the purpose
  • High quality images are vital
  • They shouldn’t be too big in file size as it will create hassle to load the page

Be honest about what you get the focus on

According to the focusing effect in human psychology, we not only grab the main ideas highlighted but also they will be stamped on our minds. This especially happens when you sell something saying that you got it all. But what happens if the wrong idea is conveyed and focused by your target audience? That is the ultimate hit for the Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and you'll lose your potential customers a great deal. It's true that we play tricks with the cognitive bias of focusing effect to boost up sales online, but it never should be used to convey the wrong idea to mislead and get the advantage of your customers. After all, you should serve what you promise.


Using focusing effect as a persuasion technique is a common occurrence in the online businesses in this commercial arena. People are always looking for products and services online or in physical stores to make their lives better in some way. Knowing that people tend to focus on the highlighted elements and most likely to accept them is not the only sufficient factor to get the advantage of this cognitive bias.

The ideal web marketing strategy is only to highlight well-chosen factors and such factors must have the ability to perform the similar way they are described. The key is not to highlight too many elements but to go with a few (maximum three) that can do the best in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). That ideal mix can include your unique value proposition, what makes you outsmart the competition and how you can change the lives of your target consumers through your product or services. Optimizing your web marketing strategy in such a manner will help you to boost revenues with more and more potential customers.

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