from the blog.

How your brain reacts to digital content

Marketers need to be aware of a variety of areas to connect to their consumers, and one of them is neuroscience. By looking at how our brains work, marketers can understand what is hidden behind our behaviors, and our most basic instincts and emotions. This is also true about content strategy.

A study promoted by NeuroFocus in partnership with Facebook used neuroscience to understand how our brains react when reading different online content. They tested three scenarios in premium websites: browsing the personalized “News Feed” page on Facebook, the default home page of Yahoo!, and the default home page of The New York Times.

The study measured the neurological reactions of users browsing these websites versus “average” web sites with three metrics: attention, emotional engagement, and memory activation.

The conclusion was that the premium content on those pages generates much higher consumer attention and higher memory retention than the average website, but lower emotional engagement — a metric that has a negative correlation with attention.

The explanation for the results is that emotional connections are more automatic than attentional cues, so a higher level of attention can impact emotional engagement. At the same time, the Yahoo! homepage elicited less memory activation than the other two pages, as the non-personalized content is somewhat less relevant and less dense.

What content strategists can take from the study is that users have different expectations and respond differently to what you write on your website. Creating engaging and personalized content can influence how your user’s brain will react to your strategy, how much attention they will pay, how much they will connect with it, and how much they will remember it afterwards.

Results from the study The Premium Experience: Neurological Engagement on Premium Websites

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