In a trend called “conversion risk,” advertisers want to convince you that they’re going to make you the next Lady Gaga, only to arrive with an ad that has awful things coming at you. They might tell you you need a specific medical condition or you need to play soccer or you have to speak to someone because you want to change your life.
Is it anything to get excited about?
Well, it is. But it turns out it’s really just “conversion risk.”
In a new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the Washington University School of Medicine of St. Louis found that consumers face negative conversion risk when they buy or use “suggestive information.”
When consumers think up advertising claims that do not adequately represent benefits or face the possibility of negative consequences, they become more likely to make a purchase or purchase-related decision.
Here’s how researchers described the phenomenon:
“One way to extract the optimal conversion risk profile from marketing messages is to create potentially harmful or protectionist situations, where no message currently addresses benefits or positive outcomes, especially for consumers who may be inclined to reject or skip purchases.”
People see adverts that promote healthful “symptom detection” or “real-time live-messaging” but are always thinking about negative consequences that may accompany those kinds of messages.
“In many cases, consumers seek defensive assurances from advertisers about the safety and efficacy of ad-based messages that might be perceived as threatening,” the study reads.
The researcher who published the study, Justin Craig, a marketing strategist at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, told Reuters that the findings had the potential to have a material impact on the way marketers use advertising.
As he told the news agency, “I guess the idea of the advertiser contacting people has become so pervasive — sort of like the weather — that it warrants that kind of a moment when consumers look at things more critically.”
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.