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So, what is psychometrics? The dictionary definition describes it as the “science of measuring mental capacities and processes.” I’d encourage the folks reading this to think about it as “what drives people to act or behave in a certain way.”
For example, why would my team choose me to write this blog? Well, from their interactions with me, they know that I’m quite passionate about the topic of personalization. They also know that I’m highly meticulous and conscientious. As a result, they figured that I might jump at an opportunity to talk about a topic I have professional experience with. My team had a sense of what drives me.
This has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a male, between the ages of 25-45 (demographics). It also doesn’t take into account any past experiences I’ve had, for example, the number of blog posts I’ve previously written (behavioral-based modeling). Their judgment was based on the makeup of my personality; in other words, psychometrics.
Psychometrics is really the science of measuring personalities and the differences between individuals. Most direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands know they need to understand their customers to deliver a more personalized and overall better experience. But corralling customer data to paint a vivid and accurate picture of target audiences is challenging without the right tools at your disposal.
D2C marketers often find themselves making assumptions based on general demographics, psychographic information, or paying for expensive research or consulting to conduct customer research. Instead, use psychometrics to enrich the customer data you already have (e.g., demographics and psychographics) by creating a more 3-dimensional view and understanding of target audiences. This allows you to target audiences, attract new customers, and by understanding how people think, personalize your marketing — yielding more sales, better customer experience, and higher customer lifetime value (CLV). Then use it to go beyond standard segmentation tactics and use personality traits to develop highly-personalized marketing campaigns.
So, let's go over five different ways that psychometrics helps personalization efforts in marketing campaigns.
Want to learn more about the world of Psychometrics? Listen to this audio guide by Jimmy Shang, AdRoll's Director of Marketing Analytics, and Courtney Griffith, Pinpoint Predictive's VP of Business Development, Sales, & Partnerships, to find out:
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Conventional A/B testing probably doesn't yield as much insight as you'd hope. It might tell you that one variation is better than another, but it almost certainly won't tell you why. Is variation A better because variation B is poorly designed, buggy, or confusing? The whole point of more sophisticated, psychological A/B testing is to figure out what message works for which audience segment.
This requires you to take a stronger stance around your testing principles. For instance, build a set of messaging that specifically speaks to personality A and another message for personality B. THEN — observe how assumptions about the personalities and their ensuing site behavior changes as opposed to merely choosing a winner based on customer behaviors.
This A/B testing enriched with psychometrics helps get the most bang out of your marketing buck. You can target different personality cohorts and personalize messaging for each personality type, in the most efficient way possible.
Action Item: Go beyond the traditional A/B testing and start understanding your users' personalities instead of just their observed A/B preferences.
It's common for marketers to go after specific personas or profiles, but leveraging lookalike audiences to find new customers is way more impactful. Generally, most people come across lookalike audiences when using tools like Google and Facebook; these platforms base their recommendations entirely on purchase behavior. Yet, if you have user psychometrics, lookalike audiences become dependent on customer personalities rather than behaviors.
By literally just targeting a different set of people, you'll have the opportunity to acquire new customers. There will always be some overlap between different targets, but since there hasn't been a psychological approach to targeting to date, targeting people who think like your customers will pull in new individuals that would fall out of conventional targeting buckets.
To give you an example, Pinpoint Predictive, a psychometric AI-powered targeting and analytics platform, ran a personalized social campaign with a luxury D2C mattress brand. The brand targeted a Facebook lookalike audience (behavioral-based) and another audience comprised of those fitting the same psychological profile of current customers. Both provided roughly the same amount of purchases, but the real value came with new customer acquisition, which grants access to additional audiences beyond those who "behave like" your current customers.
Action Item: Target audiences that are not just behavior-based. By reaching out to customers outside of the lookalike parameters, you have a better chance to reach more, net-new audiences.
With psychometrics, you can personalize an experience based on the personality profile of a customer. Brands, such as Netflix and Amazon, have used similar tactics by leveraging data points to develop a better in-app/onsite customer experience, but again, mostly rely on behavioral information to build these profiles.
So, for example, each Netflix user will have a slightly different dashboard view; in other words, the content that's recommended will be unique to a person's profile. This level of personalization helps keeps users on the platform longer and encourages repeat visits.
However, that unique view is contingent upon you consuming Netflix content or at least rating a certain number of movies. Imagine that, instead of requiring that level of user engagement upfront, you could utilize your customers' personalities to intelligently recommend more relevant products or content?
Action Item: Leverage customer personalities to deliver personalization. This will ensure that their interactions with your company align with their expectations — a powerful way to ensure that they keep coming back.
As noted above, psychometrics enables brands to make better recommendations to their customers. So while I've already talked about recommending content, better ads, or better individuals to target, it can also help personalize a brands' user interface (UI) in real-time when audiences visit a webpage. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, already do this by customizing users' feeds based on behavioral- and interest-based data.
Now, creating an intuitive, personalized website experience for every customer may not be scalable, but testing different user flows is. Funnel testing covers the entire conversion path on a website — from the home page to the checkout. Similar to A/B testing, funnel testing involves changing aspects of pages on your website to create two separate website experiences. This form of testing can help better the overall customer experience.
Attitudes are functional for guiding behavior, for coping with uncertainty, and for understanding and predicting behavior and decisions.
— Psychological Review Journal
Action Item: Of course, design is subjective, but take the guesswork out of it with proper psychometrics, which helps you understand your visitors' personal preferences.
Think back to the first section on A/B testing. When you're asking, "why do customers click?" are you only asking something ultra-specific like, "what colors/images influence their behavior?" Or are you trying to get at something more connected to your customer like, "what kind of person finds this content interesting enough to click or purchase?"
Each of us exhibits patterns in our lives — whether it's subconscious or an explicit personal preference or opinion. For example, which shoe do you tie first? What brand of toothpaste do you buy at the store? These patterns and preferences are what we lean on to function every day. They help us make quick decisions — and without them, we would suffer from constant analysis paralysis.
In a world full of preferences and technology, we have the gift of AI to help us meet the needs of customers and delight them by predicting their wants and delivering them their preferred experience — all without them having to ask or engage in repeated motions with us so we can build up a "buyer profile" on them.
Recently Pinpoint Predictive teamed up with TeePublic to run a personalized effort to try to get lapsed TeePublic customers and individuals that have never purchased before to purchase a product. Pinpoint Predictive ran an analysis on these lapsed purchasers and people who have never purchased, spat out a personality profile, and then helped TeePublic align their creative with the type of personalities in that group.
Action Item: Capture their attention instantly. According to Hubspot — 55% of website visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a site — and 38% stop engaging if they are not satisfied with its appearance (this is according to The State of Content report by Adobe).
Psychometrics, at its heart, is all about getting a real understanding of customers — their wants, needs, and motivations. With psychometrics and other advanced segmentation, a brand can actually get to the root of who target audiences actually are. As you continue your journey with personalization, there are few things to keep in mind:
Originally published on February 26th, 2020, last updated on June 16th, 2022.