Consumer Bias: The Mere Exposure Effect

In a 1968 study, Oregon State University Professor Charles Goetzinger ran an experiment in his classroom. Without informing the rest of his class, he had one student come to each meeting in a black bag with only his feet visible. Goetzinger then observed the reaction of other students. Initially, his students treated the “black bag” with hostility. Over time, however, as they kept seeing the black bag in class every day, their hostility turned into curiosity. Eventually, classmates developed friendships with the student in the black bag.

Goetzinger’s experiment only proved the efficacy of a theory that has been posited long before: familiarity breeds content. You can use that.


How to Use the Mere Exposure Effect to Boost Your Sales

  1. Leverage retargeting to boost sales.

When trying to advertise your products or services, retargeting people who have visited your website before will yield significantly better results than targeting raw prospects. In fact, a particular study found that the click-through rate of a retargeted ad is 10 times higher than that of a display ad and that website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert.

  1. Repurpose and distribute existing content.

You can also boost sales by significantly expanding the reach of your content by repurposing and distributing it. A simple blog post can be turned into an infographic, video, podcast, slide presentation, and so much more. When distributed across other channels, some people are likely to see it more than once – and that’s good for your sales!

  1. Reshare existing content on social media.

You can also leverage the mere exposure effect by resharing your existing content on social media. Buzzsumo researched this effect by analysing 100 million articles and found that constantly resharing articles on social media can increase reach and engagement by 686%.

Credit: WordStream