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Test Idea #18: Identifiable victim effect



    For humans it?s easier to identify with a single person?s issue and they will feel more empathy towards them, than a whole group of people. Exactly because the image of a single person?s plight invokes more feelings than that of a group, on charity and NGO websites you will often see the image of just one child or person. You don?t have to be a non-profit to use this principle to appeal to your audience and there are various ways online businesses can utilize it.


    By adding an image of a single customer whose problem your business solved and featuring his or her story on your landing page, you can build trust in your business and your visitors will be more willing to engage with your website, as well as purchase your services and products.



    This psychological bias comes down to who we can make a better connection with: one person or a whole group? There?s a reason why on most websites which are raising money, you usually see the image and story of only one person, most often the one we are most likely to empathize with quickly, children and older people in need. We tend to have trouble comprehending how something affects a larger group, but if it?s brought down to our level, an individual one, and we?re presented with a situation where we can easily put ourselves in that person?s shoes- we will create an instant connection.

    Now, even if you?re not raising money for children in need, you can use this principle to appeal to your website visitors more. Present them with individual stories, explain how your services helped a couple of individual customers, rather than speaking about generic numbers and larger groups. This will help them trust you more and realize faster what you can do for them.

    What to test

    You can try to target this cognitive bias by showcasing the story of a specific customer on your landing page. Your current landing page, or Variant A, in its header image only mentions impersonal numbers and explains how you have helped a wide variety of customers. The test version, or Variant B, focuses on the story of one customers in the header section and helps show how your products and services help real people, on an individual level.

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