One Psychological Trick That Boosted Our Revenues by 38%

One of our content websites was a gallery website featuring images as “top 10 this” and “top 20 that”. It was an interesting website because bounce rates were super low ( below 20%) due to pagination in galleries and average page-views per user were over 8.

But we were always looking for ways to increase the page-views even higher. This was a website where quantity mattered more as the site had little text and the ad-rates were generally lower, so our focus was on increasing the page-views.

Website layout showing a gallery image 1 of 23

We ran A/B tests and decided to change the pagination heading from “1 of 23” to “1 of 24” adding an increment of 1 to the actual size of galleries. The idea was to trick the user into thinking there is one more photo in the gallery. But on clicking next, the user would end up on the next gallery eventually creating an infinite gallery loop for the user.

The following day, we saw 38% increase in our revenue and our PV/user went from 8 to 12. It’s not an example that I’m very proud of, but it showcases the power of A/B testing and psychological changes you can make to exponentially boost your revenues.

How Can You Be Good At Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is a blend of two things; social science and technology. I think I do a better job at understanding the technology, but may be not so much at understanding the social science.

Think of SEO; you need to have certain technical knowledge. You need to know about XML sitemaps. You have to focus on reducing time taken to load the site and the techniques used to do so such as caching, CDN, Ajax, SSL, minifying JS and CSS, etc. You may need to learn about link juice, focus keywords and how that works. By the way I’m not the best resource for SEO. So, I recommend you to read the techniques from an actual SEO blog.

For social media, you may need to learn about the techniques used to have a higher reach and distribution in the newsfeed and other areas such as using the right hashtags/location tags. You’ll need to learn about different ways to post such as photos, videos, stories etc. You may have to compare their distribution insights and learn what to post where and when and how many times a day etc. You may have to reverse engineer the exact method by looking at your virals to have your content appear more often in watch tab, newsfeed etc. In other words, this may require time, experience, data and technical knowledge.

The other side of internet marketing is social science, and I can’t stress enough its importance. Point is, no matter how much you get the technology part right, if you’re unable to understand the human behavior and psychology, you’re unlikely to do well. This is especially true for social media. Viral marketers often train themselves in to producing and recognizing content that is going to break all barriers, and is going to spread like wild fire. You’ll find infinite examples of how people have made viral content, repeatedly, without having enough seed views, influence or followers. They also didn’t follow any traditional SEO/SMM strategies. They are able to do that because they get the social science right. Our ISI case study was certainly about getting the social science right. I learnt this from my friend Zeeshan Shafquat who does an incredible job at understanding human behavior and psychology.

So if you’re going to venture in to internet marketing or already do it, I highly recommend that one of the co-founders need to understand human behavior and social science better, while the other focuses more on technology.