February 28, 2021

Dumbflashgames

The travel folks

What behavioral science research tells us

3 min read

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Natalie Zmuda: Hi, I’m Natalie Zmuda, global executive editor

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of Think with Google.

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Welcome to Ask a Researcher from home.

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Today, I’m joined by Alistair Rennie, a research lead in Google’s market insights

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Alistair Rennie: Hi, thanks for having me.

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Natalie: Ali, the last time we spoke, we discussed

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your latest research project, Decoding Decisions, which looks at changes in search behavior

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over the last 15 years.

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Can you tell me how behavioral science plays a role in the research?

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Alistair: Okay, well over the last five or six decades,

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behavioral scientists have come up with something like 300 distinct principles of behavioral

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science that really underpin how we, as a human, behaves.

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And we picked out six from our literature review that are particularly relevant to

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this space that we call the messy middle.

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We’ll start with category heuristics.

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Now in a world where we are really, really busy, and there is so much choice and information,

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having shortcuts is really important, and we rely on those quite heavily when making purchase

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The next two: let’s talk about, I guess, social norms and authority bias kind of go together.

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Because this is about how we interpret the views and opinions of others.

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And the truth is, if we see five people do something, we’re more likely to go and do

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that thing ourselves.

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And then we have authority bias, which it’s similar.

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But instead of coming from lots of people, it comes from one person or one source.

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And my favorite out of these has to be the power of now. If you tell me that something

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that I want to buy, I can have that tomorrow, that is tremendously appealing.

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Then we have scarcity bias.

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Very self explanatory, if there is less of something, then the more we want it.

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And the last one, the power free. Say you’re making a complex purchase.

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You don’t maybe quite understand all the variables, but someone says you can have a free pen.

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Instantly your brain does that math very, very quickly, and it is very appealing.

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Natalie: How do you think this research resonates

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Alistair: The important thing about this research is

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that it’s based on observed behavior; it’s grounded in behavioral science.

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So we’re looking at cognitive processes that happen in the human brain.

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Now those cognitive processes are going to be the same, no matter where in the world

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These are about human brain functions.

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So this research actually travels really well.

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Natalie: And why do you think this research matters

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Alistair: There’s been a big push for marketing to become

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But the key thing that goes with that is understanding the behavior that comes with that.

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So rather than just being sort of driven by the technology, we really understand the behavior

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that takes place on that platform.

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Natalie: Ali, thanks so much for joining us today.

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Alistair: My pleasure.

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Thank you very much.

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Natalie: For more of the latest marketing insights,

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visit ThinkWithGoogle.com.

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