So many blogs out there, why bother reading this one? | KHWS

So many blogs out there, why bother reading this one?


For me, waking up on a miserable day and summoning the strength to crawl out of bed is just about the hardest thing. The shower is my only motivation at this point with the promise of continued comfort and warmth. How wrong could I be? I get in the shower and turn the dial, not only is the shower warm, its boiling! 100 degrees too hot one way and 100 degrees too cold the other. The dial is far too sensitive. Once out, I’ve forgotten about the experience in a matter of seconds and get on with my day. No problemo.

My point, is that if I was more attuned to this painful experience I would have spotted that it doesn’t have to be this way. There is an opportunity there. Unfortunately because it happens every single day of my waking life, I’ve become so used to it I don’t even consider it to be a problem that needs a solution any more.

Now you’re probably thinking, if only I could spot these pain points, I’d be a rich shower dial entrepreneur.

Thanks to the behaviour called ‘Habituation’ it’s unfortunately not that easy. As humans we are psychologically programmed to ignore a repeated stimulus and there is a very good reason for it. It allows us to focus on the important things.

Living in London is a great example of this. The hustle and bustle of city life gets pretty noisy at times. Anyone not from the city, coming to visit, seems to have never heard a plane pass over before. “Jee, does that happen often?” to which you reply, “absolutely no idea!” and that’s good. You’d probably go mad if you really noticed and thought about it every time a plane passed. By ignoring the repeated stimulus it allows us to go about our days and focus on the more important issues at hand.

Right, back to business.

In 1994 the world of online advertising was about to be rocked. An online tech magazine called ‘HotWired’ or now known as ‘Wired Magazine’ introduced the first digital banner adverts to their website. The banners were very basic and allowed site owners to monitor the number of visitors that clicked through from the advert (That’s the banner below).

Blog - First banner advert

Rates skyrocketed with 78% of Wired Magazine visitors clicking on the first banner. They hit the jackpot.

Since then, industry click-through rates have dramatically declined to a miniscule 0.17%. Experts have been linking this reduction to an effect they call ‘Banner Blindness’. Site visitors have been repeatedly exposed to online banners, so much so that they are now effectively blind to them. Habituation at its finest.

Audience habituation affects almost all forms of advertising from leaflets to television. The challenge for businesses and marketers is to withstand this habituation by spotting repetition and avoiding it.

The greatest weapon in your arsenal is creativity. By reaching the audience in a new and emotionally charged way, companies can trigger sales and ride the wave before habituation kicks in. Again.