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How to Write For Google

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How to Write For Google


Are you writing your SEO content based on the latest best practice tips?

I originally wrote this SEO copywriting checklist in 2012—my, how things have changed. Today, Google stresses quality content even more than before, conversational copy is critical, and there are revised SEO writing “rules.” 

I’ve updated the list to reflect these changes and to provide additional information.

As a side note, I would argue that there’s no such thing as “writing for Google.” Yes, there are certain things you should do to make the Google gods happy. However, your most important goal should be writing clear, compelling, standout copy that tells a story. 

I’m keeping the old headline in the hopes that I can convert some of the “write for Google” people to do things the right way.

Whether you’re an in-house SEO content writer, a DIY business owner, or a freelance SEO copywriter, this 27-point checklist will help you write engaging, Google-happy content—every time.

Items to review before you start your SEO writing project

 

– Do you have enough information about your target reader?

Your copy will pack a powerful one-two punch if your content is laser-focused on your target reader. Ask your client or supervisor for a customer/reader persona document outlining your target readers’ specific characteristics. If the client doesn’t have a customer persona document, be prepared to spend an hour or more asking detailed questions. 

Here’s more information on customer personas.

 

– Writing a sales page? Did you interview the client?

It’s essential to interview new clients and to learn more about their company, USP, and competition. Don’t forget to ask about industry buzzwords that should appear in the content.

Not sure what questions to ask to get the copywriting ball rolling? Here’s a list of 56 questions you can start with today. 

 

– Writing a blog post? Get topic ideas from smart sources

When you’re blogging, it’s tempting to write about whatever strikes your fancy. The challenge is, what interests you may not interest your readers. If you want to make sure you’re writing must-read content, sites like Quora, LinkedIn, Google Trends, and BuzzSumo can help spark some ideas.

 

– Did you use Google for competitive intelligence ideas?

Check out the sites positioning in the top-10 and look for common characteristics. How long are competing articles? Do the articles link out to authoritative sources? Are there videos or infographics? Do the articles include quotes from industry experts? Your job is to write an essay that’s better than what’s already appearing in the top-10 — so let the competition be your guide.

 

– Did you conduct keyphrase research?

Yes, keyphrase research (and content optimization) is still a crucial SEO step. If you don’t give Google some keyphrase “cues,” your page probably won’t position the way you want.

Use a keyphrase research tool and find possible keyphrases for your page or post. As a hint: if you are tightly focusing on a topic, long-tail keyphrases are your best bet. Here’s more information about why long-tail keyphrases are so important.

If you are researching B2B keyphrases, know that the “traditional” keyphrase research steps may not apply. Here’s more information about what to do if B2B keyphrase research doesn’t work.

 

– What is your per-page keyphrase focus?

Writers are no longer forced to include the exact-match keyphrase over and over again. (Hurray!) Today, we can focus on a keyphrase theme that matches the search intent and weave in multiple related keyphrases.

 

– Did you expand your keyphrase research to include synonyms and close variants?

Don’t be afraid to include keyphrase synonyms and close variants on your page. Doing so opens up your positioning opportunities, makes your copy better, and is much easier to write!

Are you wondering if you should include your keyphrases as you write the copy — or edit them in later? It’s up to you! Here are the pros and cons of both processes.

 

 — Do your keyphrases match the search intent?

Remember that Google is “the decider” when it comes to search intent. If you’re writing a sales page — and your desired keyphrase pulls up informational blog posts in Google – your sales page probably won’t position. 

 

— Writing a blog post? Does your Title/headline work for SEO, social, and your readers?

Yes, you want your headline to be compelling, but you also want it to be keyphrase rich. Always include your main page keyphrase (or a close variant) in your Title and work in other keyphrases if they “fit.”

Here’s some excellent information on how to write headlines that get noticed (and that are good for Google.) You can also use headline-analyzing tools to double-check your work.

 

– Did you include keyphrase-rich subheadlines?

Subheadlines are an excellent way to visually break up your text, making it easy for readers to quick-scan your benefits and information. Additionally, just like with the H1 headline, adding a keyphrase to your subheadlines can (slightly) help reinforce keyphrase relevancy.

As a hint, sometimes, you can write a question-oriented subheadline and slip the keyphrase in more easily. Here’s more information about why answering questions is a powerful SEO content play.

 

Is your Title “clickable” and compelling?

Remember, the search engine results page is your first opportunity for conversion. Focusing too much on what you think Google “wants” may take away your Title’s conversion power. 

Consider how you can create an enticing Title that “gets the click” over the other search result listings. You have about 59 characters (with spaces) to work with, so writing tight is essential. 

 

– Does the meta description fit the intent of the page?

Yes, writers should create a meta description for every page. Why? Because they tell the reader what the landing page is about and help increase SERP conversions. Try experimenting with different calls-to-actions at the end, such as “learn more” or “apply now.” You never know what will entice your readers to click!

 

– Is your content written in a conversational style?

With voice search gaining prominence, copy that’s written in a conversational style is even more critical.

Read your copy out loud and hear how it sounds. Does it flow? Or does it sound too formal? If you’re writing for a regulated industry, such as finance, legal, or healthcare, you may not be able to push the conversational envelope too much. Otherwise, write like you talk.

Here’s how to explain why conversational content is so important.

 

–Is your copy laser-focused on your audience?

A big mistake some writers make is creating copy that appeals to “everyone” rather than their specific target reader. Writing sales and blog pages that are laser-focused on your audience will boost your conversions and keep readers checking out your copy longer. Here’s how one company does it.

Plus, you don’t receive special “Google points” for writing long content. Even short copy can position if it fully answers the searcher’s query. Your readers don’t want to wade through 1,500 words to find something that can be explained in 300 words.

Items to review after you’ve written the page

 

– Did you use too many keyphrases?

Remember, there is no such thing as keyword density. If your content sounds keyphrase-heavy and stilted, reduce the keyphrase usage and focus more on your readers’ experience. Your page doesn’t receive bonus points for exact-matching your keyphrase multiple times. If your page sounds keyphrase stuffed when you read it out loud, dial back your keyphrase usage.

 

– Did you edit your content?

Resist the urge to upload your content as soon as you write it. Put it away and come back to it after a few hours (or even the next day.) Discover why editing your Web writing is so very important. Also, don’t think that adding typos will help your page position. They won’t.

 

– Is the content interesting to read?

Yes, it’s OK if your copy has a little personality. Here’s more information about working with your page’s tone and feel and how to avoid the “yawn response.” Plus, know that even FAQ pages can help with conversions — and yes, even position.

 

– Are your sentences and paragraphs easy to read?

Vary your sentence structure so you have a combination of longer and shorter sentences. If you find your sentences creeping over 30 or so words, edit them down and make them punchier. Your writing will have more impact if you do.

Plus, long paragraphs without much white space are hard to read off a computer monitor – and even harder to read on a smartphone. Split up your long paragraphs into shorter ones. Please.

 

– Are you forcing your reader onto a “dead end” page?

“Dead-end” pages (pages that don’t link out to related pages) can stop your readers dead in their tracks and hurt your conversion goals. 

Want to avoid this? Read more about “dead-end” Web pages.

 

– Does the content provide the reader with valuable information?

Google warns against sites with “thin,” low-quality content that’s poorly written. In fact, according to Google, spelling errors are a bigger boo-boo than broken HTML. Make sure your final draft is typo-free, written well, and thoroughly answers the searcher’s query.

Want to know what Google considers quality content — directly from Google? Here are Google’s Quality Raters guidelines for more information.

 

– Did you use bullet points where appropriate?

If you find yourself writing a list-like sentence, use bullet points instead. Your readers will thank you, and the items will be much easier to read.

Plus, you can write your bullet points in a way that makes your benefit statements pop, front and center. Here’s how Nike does it.

 

– Is the primary CTA (call-to-action) clear–and is it easy to take action?

What action do you want your readers to take? Do you want them to contact you? Buy something? Sign up for your newsletter? Make sure you’re telling your reader what you want them to do, and make taking action easy. If you force people to answer multiple questions just to fill out a “contact us” form, you run the risk of people bailing out.

Here’s a list of seven CTA techniques that work.

 

– Do you have a secondary CTA (such as a newsletter signup or downloading a white paper?)

Do you want readers to sign up for your newsletter or learn about related products? Don’t bury your “sign up for our newsletter” button in the footer text. Instead, test different CTA locations (for instance, try including a newsletter signup link at the bottom of every blog post) and see where you get the most conversions.

 

– Does the page include too many choices?

It’s important to keep your reader focused on your primary and secondary CTAs. If your page lists too many choices (for example, a large, scrolling page of products), consider eliminating all “unnecessary” options that don’t support your primary call-to-action. Too many choices may force your readers into not taking any action at all.

 

– Did you include benefit statements?

People make purchase decisions based on what’s in it for them (yes, even your B2B buyers.) Highly specific benefit statements will help your page convert like crazy. Don’t forget to include a benefit statement in your Title (whenever possible) like “free shipping” or “sale.” Seeing this on the search results page will catch your readers’ eyes, tempting them to click the link and check out your site.

 

– Do you have vertical-specific testimonials?

It’s incredible how many great sales pages are testimonial-free. Testimonials are a must for any site, as they offer third-party proof that your product or service is superior. Plus, your testimonials can help you write better, more benefit-driven sales pages and fantastic comparison-review pages.

Here’s a way to make your testimonials more powerful. 

And finally — the most important question:

 

– Does your content stand out and genuinely deserve a top position?

SEO writing is more than shoving keyphrases into the content. If you want to be rewarded by Google (and your readers), your content must stand out — not be a carbon copy of the current top-10 results. Take a hard look at your content and compare it against what’s currently positioning. Have you fully answered the searcher’s query? Did you weave in other value-added resources, such as expert quotes, links to external and internal resources (such as FAQ pages), videos, and graphics? 

If so, congratulations! You’ve done your job. 



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Comparison, Core Benefits, & Features

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Prestashop vs Shopify 2021: Comparison, Core Benefits, & Features


If you’re preparing to launch an online store and have questions about what kind of eCommerce platform to pick, read on. Here in this article I compare two totally different stages -a hosted and non-hosted one – PrestaShop versus Shopify.

Did You Know!!

According to the development stat, in 2020, the world anticipates approximately 2B online customers. Furthermore, before the end of 2040, 90-95% of the shopping is expected to be done digitally through eCommerce sites and mobile applications.

Both eCommerce platforms have their qualities and shortcomings and can turn into the perfect business solution. I will assist you with picking the most ideal choice for you to begin your eCommerce business experience or possibly switch the current platform of your eCommerce.  

Let’s make a side-by-side comparison to help you settle on these two other options.

What is Prestashop and Shopify?

PrestaShop is an open-source eCommerce platform that empowers you to develop anything from a little online shop to a full-on shopping cart solution. With a huge add-on market and an extraordinary set of in-buit features, PrestaShop offers a scalable solution to eCommerce merchants.

Whereas Shopify is an extensive SaaS and a market’s leading online store builder. It gives clients perhaps the most extensive eCommerce toolkits of all its rivals. Moreover, you can upload a limitless number of items or products to it.

PrestaShop vs Shopify: Key Data

PrestaShop is a freemium self-hosted open-source platform, established in 2007. As of now, it is being used by over 300,000 shops around the world. This solution doesn’t need a particular web-provider and gives its users the opportunity to pick providers themselves.

It’s renowned for being completely customizable, i.e., you can alter the store as per your individual inclinations. It’s an ideal alternative for those business people who are wanting to set up a small or medium online business.

On the other hand, Shopify is a Canadian hosted platform established in 2004. It powers over one million stores and is viewed as one of the fastest-growing platforms across the globe.

This platform is celebrated for its straightforwardness and fine-featured themes. Because of its flexibility, Shopify is an ideal shopping cart for any online store.

Here’s how PrestaShop and Shopify are shown on Google Trends:

Shopify vs PrestaShop: Feature by Feature

1. User Friendly

Shopify

Shopify offers the easiest and most clear interface that you will discover. You don’t have to know anything about coding or programming, simply click and you will have your shop prepared in no time with an excellent and professional theme.

This lets you save a lot of time and money. Making this one reason may individuals choose to begin with Shopify.

PrestaShop

PrestaShop is somewhat more complex than Shopify, it will expect customers to know a little bit of coding. This might actually make this platform trickier to a few.

However, the information that you need to work with PrestaShop isn’t too advanced in class and the knowledge you need is generally in the forums.

Winner: Shopify

2. Pricing

Shopify

With Shopify, you will have 3 choices. They are Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify which range from $29 to $299. Also, Shopify offers two other packages which are Shopify Lite and Plus. You can hire shopify developers for further development of your website.

To manage your business, you really need to pick an appropriate package depending upon how huge your store is. Similar to other platforms, Shopify also provides a free 2-week trial to try things when you register a new account.

You could save money by enrolling for the yearly plan if you have a long-term sight of your business future. Moreover, one can save 10% by signing up for an annual subscription, and 20% by choosing a two-year contract.

PrestaShop

Whereas, Prestashop is an entirely distinctive thing compared to Shopify since Prestashop is an open-source cart. It is totally free to download and install, yet at the same time need to pay for a hosting provider or SSL Certificate.

Therefore, dealers should consider the entirety of the necessary costs prior to opening a store. Prestashop users will get an extraordinary deal with Prestashop official hosting partners – 1 and 1 as well as A2 hosting.

You will pay from $4 to $14 every month when you work with a Prestashop hosting partner.

Since PrestaShop is an open-source solution, every modification you make requires code participation. This means that you are more than likely to hire an agency or developer. You can consult a prestashop development company in India to get a helping hand in your store-set up.

Winner: PrestaShop

3. SEO

PrestaShop

PrestaShop lets you work better with the SEO placement of your website. If your site is well configured, PrestaShop stores usually give better results on Google’s search rankings.

Shopify

Shopify has been improving the SEO of its stores in recent years and is doing well with it. There are many apps that will also help you in SEO of your page. Shopify has servers in the USA, so if you are based in Europe, your website will be slightly slower which will affect SEO rankings.

Winner: PrestaShop

4. Performance

It is important to monitor eCommerce websites to see how the device works under a particular load. Loading time is about how fast product pages are loaded and identify potential performance bottlenecks.

With fast loading time, you can definitely give your customers a pleasant and enjoyable experience on your eCommerce website.

We can easily see that Shopify is a clear winner of this battle. Within just 1.3 seconds for loading time, Shopify is definitely a potential candidate.

On the other hand, Prestashop can lag behind with 4.6 seconds, which is 3.5 times longer than Shopify.

Winner: Shopify

5. Ease of Use

PrestaShop

Setting up a PrestaShop online store can take time and patience. The reason for this is that the back-end (part of the system you see, not your customers) is more technical to get hold of than the hosted platform.

Having said this, once you get started, PrestaShop provides a demo video with advice that walks you through the first phase of the store set-up.

Shopify

Shopify makes set-up very easy. The interface is intuitive and takes little time to use. The drag and drop functionality to customize your store as you want does not require any technical capability.

Being a hosted platform means that onus is on Shopify to offer all the tools you need to develop a store from scratch and then run it.

You must note that once you sign up, Shopify presents you with a default store that you can make changes to immediately.

Winner: Shopify

PrestaShop vs. Shopify: Which One to Choose?

If you want to start a business without technical skills, Shopify would be an ideal option. With unlimited products and advanced eCommerce functionalities, Shopify is definitely a suitable option for you to see your business. This platform is easy to use and can actively control the price.

On the other hand, if you have a small to medium store size and just want a platform that can provide you with customization and the ability to sell without a hitch, then do it on Prestashop.

In addition, the platform is outstanding in terms of thousands of add-on modules and ready-made themes. You can get started for free, setup is easy, and you don’t have to worry about any maintenance.

Wrapping Up

There is no objective winner, it is apparent that each platform has its strengths and weaknesses. Both are amazing platforms to use and create your online store.

Have you not decided yet? Then you must consult a top eCommerce website development company in India, they will surely help you in selecting the right platform that works best for your business.

Good Luck!!



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How To Setup Discovery Ads (And Create One, Too!)

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How To Setup Discovery Ads (And Create One, Too!)


 

In our previous Google Discovery ads post, we talked about what it is and the benefits to users and businesses. Today, we’ll walk you through on how to setup your Discovery ads.

To refresh your knowledge, Discover Ads are highly visual, personalized, mobile-optimized ads. Google’s machine learning answers a user’s question before it appears in its search bar, instead of depending on what the user searches for.

You can find Discover Ads in Google Discover, Gmail Social and Promotions tab, and Youtube mobile home feed.

Unlike Display Ads, Discovery Ads lets you reach up to 3 billion people across Google’s Discover, Youtube, and Gmail tabs. As an advertiser or business owner, your goal is to get discovered.

Besides, your campaigns must help drive action from highly engaged audiences. Thus, you must help users become familiar with and trust your brand.

 

Discovery Ads in YouTube, Discover App, and Gmail Promotions Tab

Photo: Discover Ads in Youtube’s mobile home feed, Google Discover feed, and Gmail Promotion tab. From Google Support.

You can create Discover ads campaigns as single static image OR multiple-carousel images.

Businesses can make the most of carousel image ads because it has better engagement. Carousel ads let you showcase your products or relevant content from your website.

Now we know what Discovery Ads are and their many benefits, here are some notes to take as you create your campaigns:

  • Discovery campaigns are high-visual engaging, so gather all the following creative assets including:
  1. Your headlines and logos
  2. High-quality, high-resolution images that create intrigue or interest with minimal texts. You may also include a brand or lifestyle theme to build brand trust.
  3. Your description must have an effective copy for your audience to take action. In Discover ads, you are not allowed to add any CTA (call to action) elements except texts provided by Google.
  • You can repurpose your high-performing ads and images to save time and make the most of Google’s feeds.
  • Google’s Discovery campaigns are automated, which means you can’t control:
  1. Manual bid strategies
  2. Ad rotation
  3. Delivery method
  4. Frequency capping
  5. Device targeting
  6. Contextual targeting
  7. Placement targeting

This campaign type has automated settings for targeting and bidding. With this in mind, you can focus on optimizing your campaigns’ performance instead.

  • Set your daily budget high enough to cover at least 10 times your target CPA bid.
  • In your Google Ad account, enable sitewide tagging and conversion tracking.
  • Discover Ads are mobile-optimized so make sure to use high-quality images and content.

How to Setup Discovery Ads Campaign:

Step 1: Go to ads.google.com and sign in to your account.
Step 2: Click ‘Campaigns’ tab on the left of Google Ads’ menu.
Step 3: Click the ‘+’ button and select new campaign.
Step 4: Choose your marketing objective. Your options are “Sales”, “Leads”, “Web Traffic”, “Product or Brand Consideration”, or “Local Store Visits and Promotions”. You can also create your own campaign without guidance if you prefer.
Step 5: When you’re asked to select your campaign type, pick “Discovery”.
Step 6: Choose your geographic and language targeting for your campaign.
Step 7: Choose your targeting audiences with the following audience information: custom intent, your data, and in-marketing audiences.
Step 8: Set up your bidding strategy and your average daily budget. Google takes the heavy lifting out of running your campaigns with automated bidding. Automated Bidding takes the guesswork out of setting bids to meet your campaign goals.
Step 9: Save and continue.

Now that you’ve set up your Discover Ad campaign, you can create your ads next.

How to Create Discovery Campaigns:

This is where you put in all your creative assets in place. You can either set up a single image ad, or multiple carousel display ads. If you want to make the most of your campaigns, you might want to run a test on both ad groups.

Discovery Ads Carousel

Photo: An example of a multiple image carousel Discovery ad in Google

Step 1: Login to your Google Ads account and proceed along your Discovery campaign.
Step 2: On the left page menu, click on “Ads and Extension”.
Step 3: Click on the blue “+” icon then pick “Discovery ad” for your single-image ad, or “Discovery carousel ad” for your multiple-image ad.
Step 4: Make sure you populate every Google property and check ad preview before you click Save.

When you click “Ads and Extensions” from the left panel and enter all the variable information, keep the following in mind:

  1. You must insert at least 5 headlines, 40 characters each
  2. You can have at least 5 descriptions, 90 characters each
  3. You can only place one of each Business Name, a CTA text, and final URL
  4. You must have at least one square image, a square logo, and one landscape image with a maximum image size of 5MB.

To learn more about Discover ad asset specifications, visit Google Ads help.

The Most Crucial Step in Setting Up Discover Ads

Wait.

As soon as you have setup your discovery ads campaign and assets together, give it room for “Learning”. If your campaign status shows “Learning”, avoid making any adjustments. Discovery campaigns perform better over time.

Just be sure that your campaign runs with enough budget for two weeks. Google states it’s advisable to choose an average daily budget at least 10 times the value of your target CPA (cost per action) bid. Wait at least 40 conversions before making any adjustments to your campaign.

Key Takeaway

As Google continues to develop and improve to serve helpful, personalized content to its users, it’s also important for brands to keep abreast of their marketing campaigns as well. Google Discovery takes the heavy lifting out of running and monitoring your campaigns. Plus, it’s easier to set up discovery campaign. It’s best you take the opportunity to create better and effective search ads for your audience.



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Rethinking Upsells & The Psychology of Opt-Ins vs. Opt-Outs

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Rethinking Upsells & The Psychology of Opt-Ins vs. Opt-Outs


Opt-in or opt-out?

Do sales increase if you present customers with a list of upsells to choose from?

If you make customers opt-out or deselect items, will you decrease buyer satisfaction?

Marketers will often tell you to always use opt-ins because opt-outs just upset customers.

But that isn’t always the case.

Psychology research suggests there’s a lot more nuance to these decisions. And the difference could be huge for customer loyalty, the customer lifecycle, and your bottom line.

Presenting Upsells To Buyers

While there are plenty of variations, ecommerce generally uses one of two methods:

Opt-In (Choosing Strategy):

Customers can choose what they’d like to buy from a list of upsells.

Screenshots from Amazon.ca, Domino’s, and UberEats, November 2021

Opt-Out (Rejection Strategy):

Customers must remove or reject unwanted items from their cart before purchasing.

Opt-Out (Rejection Strategy) Shopping Cart Upsell ExamplesScreenshots from Amazon.ca, iRobot, and Domino’s, November 2021

On the surface, these two tactics don’t seem all that different or complex, but research suggests the thought processes behind them are.

For example:

Question 1.

You’re building a petting zoo for your favorite hypothetical 5-year-old daughter to play in. Which animal baby will you put in it first?
a) Lambs
b) Kids (The baby goat kind.)
c) Chicks

Question 2.

You’re building a petting zoo for your favorite hypothetical 5-year-old daughter. Which one are you picking?
a) Poisonous Cobra snake
b) Black widow spiders
c) Piranhas

Question 3.

Your hypothetical daughter wants to turn the petting zoo into a Halloween zoo. Which animal are you replacing the cute animal with?
a) Poisonous Cobra snake
b) Black widow spiders
c) Piranhas

If the research holds (and I structured the questions right), you’ll likely find the first and third questions easier, faster, and a little more satisfying to answer than the second question.

Why?

The second question asks you to choose(+) a negative(-) option. There’s a mismatch.

In more dry language, researchers found that users (on a general population basis) make decisions faster and have less indecision when choosing (a positive action) desirable options (positive items) in a positive situation.

In a negative situation, we prefer to reject (a negative action) undesirable things (negative items).

Why?

Less indecision and interruption in the decision-making flow increases decision confidence.

Positive options or items require a choosing strategy while negative options require a rejection strategy.Chart/Angie Nikoleychuk

Why Action-Option Mismatch Matters

In the second question, there was a mismatch between the action and the item or result that threw you off guard. You were choosing(+) a negative(-) option in a relatively positive situation(+).

Just like your website.

And the effects can be long-lasting.

Research finds we’re usually more deliberate and careful when rejecting items. We pay more attention to our biases and attempt to be consistent.

It’s also important to note that when we reject a choice, we focus on the negative aspects of a product, service, brand, or individual rather than positive details that we would otherwise focus on when using a choosing strategy.

We also tend to engage in a bit of lying to ourselves. After we make a decision, we can reaffirm our choice and build our confidence in our decision by focusing on the negative traits.

“I’m delighted I didn’t choose the car that I originally wanted. The one I chose may not have all the features I wanted, but it’s much more affordable. It was a better choice.”

(In fun terms, this cognitive habit is sometimes referred to as our brains “synthesizing happiness.”)

Getting More Upsells

When we’re more satisfied with a purchase, we tend to be more loyal to that brand.

We’re more likely to buy again from the company, and we’re less likely to complain. (I know you know this but keep it in mind.)

Some research has argued that a pleasurable decision-making process, combined with achieving a goal (purchase), is independent of the consequences of a decision (the experience process).

So, even if a product ends up not being that great, it was still a positive experience. The user is more likely to return for other purchases.

If this is confusing, think of the buying process this way:

  1. Information gathering and discovery process: Top portion of the sales funnel.
  2. Shopping process: Includes browsing and information collecting.
  3. Decision process: Assessing, rejecting, or choosing an item or service.
  4. Buying process: From the shopping cart to the order confirmation.
  5. Experience process: Receiving and using the product or service itself.

The more congruency between these steps, the better the last step is, and the more likely your customer will return.

This concept has a considerable impact on ecommerce. Consider comparative websites, for example.

The Psychology Behind Gift-Giving Decisions

Research finds our decision-making preference may change when we’re selecting an item for someone else.

For example, we get more creative, rely on fewer biases, focus more on quality, and are more desirability-oriented when buying for others.

At the very least, we want to minimize the possibility of negative outcomes.

So, it makes sense that, when we’re buying for ourselves, we prefer rejection strategies (opt-out). We’re arming ourselves with information we need to feel better about our choices. We’re avoiding an undesirable outcome.

But when we buy for others, we prefer choosing strategies (opt-in).

Why? We focus on the positive attributes, the value we’re giving the other person, and reaping the most benefit from the situation.

In other words, we want to do good and look good.

What Does This Mean For Websites?

As mentioned earlier, this aspect of decision-making can be a big help when offering competitor comparisons.

Your site is hopefully a pleasant experience. Will you offer positive options to choose from or reject negatives? Opt-in to upsells or opt-out?

If you’re a retailer mainly offering holiday gifts, it may be more effective to present items or upsells consumers can add to their cart. However, if your customers mainly buy for themselves, you may want to test and opt-out or “remove” approach.

While these are general theories and they may not work for every audience, there is certainly enough research to justify a test.

They may even answer why you’re struggling to increase your Average Basket Size (ABS) or finding it difficult to convert when offering upsells.

More resources:


Featured Image: VectorMine/Shutterstock.com

Related And Referenced Research:

Higgins, E. T. (2000). Making a good decision: Value from fit. American Psychologist, 55(11), 1217–1230.

Heller, D., Levin, I. P., & Goransson, M. (2002). Selection of strategies for narrowing choice options: Antecedents and consequences. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 89(2), 1194–1213.

Lu, J., Chen, Y., & Fang, Q. (2022). Promoting decision satisfaction: The effect of the decision target and strategy on process satisfaction. Journal of Business Research, 139, 1231–1239.

Higgins, E. T. (2002). How Self-Regulation Creates Distinct Values: The Case of Promotion and Prevention Decision Making. Journal of Consumer Psychology 12(3), 177–191.





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