How to #thedress your Growth Strategy

Feb 28, 2015

By now you’ve probably been asked about this dress a few hundred times. What started as a simple question on Tumblr has turned into a worldwide debate.

One random image of a dress has managed to get everyone confused. Thousands of people, looking at the exact same image, see it differently. Either as a blue and black dress or a white and gold one. It represents extreme difference in vision and comprehension of one simple image.

While arguing with several people over the past few days that the dress is blue and black (!) I was reminded of my keynote in Berlin this month where I discussed the impact our brain has on our perceptions, our purchasing decisions and behavior.

There is much more than meets the eye with this dress enigma. Essentially we’re looking at the same image and yet see it differently. The same happens on our landing pages; our visitors are all seeing the same landing page yet they perceive it differently.

The connection between the dress and your optimization strategy

As the world progresses to an automated one, creating endless tools that segment traffic by visitor behavior, companies are slowly becoming more data driven. Though 63% of marketers are still optimizing their sites based on intuition (Marketingsherpa) data is out there to be used and utilized.

With tracking set up correctly, you can segment your website visitors by countless segments, from geographical location and browser to age, device and of course time on page. All these allow us to personalize our landing pages and optimize them.

Essentially, marketers analyze Google Analytics (or any other tracking platform), identify their customer’s behavior and decide which variation and messaging to show them. We treat our landing page visitors as units of data; those coming from Germany in the evening shall see a certain message and those during the morning shall see another. Chrome users in the US will see a red call to action button while Safari visitors will see a blue one for example.

Yet, the dress conundrum has made us all put on our thinking caps. If we’re all in the same room, using the same screen and computer to view the dress image, all friends or colleagues from the same country, staring at the image at the same time of day, why are we seeing it differently? In terms of the data driven world, we should all be seeing the same thing. Or at least those of us in the UK staring at a Chrome browser at 10pm should all be seeing the dress in the same color, right? Well, no.

As Wired, explains:

“Without you having to worry about it, your brain figures out what color light is bouncing off the thing your eyes are looking at, and essentially subtracts that color from the “real” color of the object.”

Subtext- out brains analyze visuals differently.

Arguably, we could say this is a one time thing and it only happens while debating about color. Well, how many of you see an old woman in the image to the right? and how many of you see a young woman? (if you stare at it enough time, you might be able to see both).

Wikipedia explains:

“An optical illusion (also called a visual illusion) is characterized by visually perceived images that differ from objective reality.”

So, at the end of the day, we see things differently. Though our entire traffic might be arriving from the same ad, same country and at the same time, there are other elements that impact our judgment. Our brains work differently. Different biases and emotions impact the way we perceive data and act upon it. Raw user behavior data isn’t enough to get the full picture of who our customers are.

Tapping into data is just the first step in understanding your audience and creating a unique online experience for them. People aren’t just numbers and countries; we think, act and feel differently from one another.

In order to optimize your landing pages, create a real growth strategy and grow your business, you have to tap into your customers emotions and thought process. We don’t just arrive on landing pages as blank pieces of paper waiting to be written on, we come with baggage. By neglecting to analyze your customer’s emotional and psychological triggers while creating your optimization strategy you’re essentially doing only half of your work.

There are 3 questions you should be asking yourselves before creating your next landing page or devising your next growth strategy:

  1. Who is my customer? (who are they really – what do they eat for breakfast?)
  2. Why do they want my product or service? (no, it’s not because you have the best features or pricing)
  3. What is my customer’s story? (Theirs, not yours)

Dig deeper into these questions and answers in this post.

Check out the posts below to learn more about creating a growth and optimization strategy that focuses on more than just your user’s behavior.

Next time you’re creating a new landing page ask yourselves, will my customers see my landing page as black and blue or white and gold?



How to #thedress your Growth Strategy 4.33/5 (86.67%) 6 votes
Talia helps businesses build and execute their conversion optimization strategies, using emotional targeting, consumer psychology and behavioral data to generate more revenues, leads, engagement and sales . Tweet to her at @taliagw