Alex Polizzi Was Wrong and Here’s Why…

The above clip is from Alex Polizzi’s programme The Fixer (S3 Ep5) in the programme Alex is helping an event company turn their fortunes around. Part of this revamp she looks at their website and as the clip shows, Alex Polizzi states that people (potential customers) make up their minds about a company in 2/10ths (0.2s) of a second.

Well, it would seem that Alex Polizzi was right, people make up their mind REALLY quickly about whether they like your company based on your website but she was off by a factor of at least 10X…

Studies showed you have less than 0.05 of a second before someone has judged your business…

That means a visitor has taken just 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) to form an overall opinion about your website, your brand and your whole business in less time than it takes to blink. Your marketing has 0.05s to engage a user before they decide if they like what they see and whether they’ll stay or go.

This 0.05s was the product of a couple of different studies, in the first study participants twice rated visual appeal of website homepages they were exposed to for 500 ms each (0.5 sec). Then researchers repeated the study with new visitors and reduced the exposure time to the 50 ms. Throughout, researchers found that visual appeal ratings were highly correlated from one phase to the next as were the correlations between the 50 ms and 500 ms conditions. Thus, visual appeal can be assessed within 50 ms, suggesting your business has just 50 ms to make a good first impression.

Or do you?

Recently Google confirmed the 50 ms number in their own research findings and then discovered that according to their research the brain perceives and develops opinions within 17 ms, although the effect was not the same for all design factors.

The key findings from the Google study was that websites with low visual complexity and high prototypicality (conformity to a standard and familiarity with the layout) were perceived as highly appealing.
Let’s be unequivocal about this: Users would rather see something they understand instantly than something they have to figure out.

Moving, always moving

You have to remember the visitor can choose to leave at any moment, so it is much the same as a billboard or other ambient advertising. The visitor is moving and they can choose to move into and towards your company or off and away. They will make this decision VERY quickly.

So how simple and EASY are you going to make it for your marketing message to make an impression and deliver your key benefit to your potential customer?
Turns out you need to engage them in less than a heart beat, in fact you have to engage them 25 times faster than a heartbeat, and if you are thinking “PAH! that can’t be right…” then you are gonna lose to the competitor who thinks “LET’S DO IT!”

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About Stuart Morrison

Stu Morrison's background in marketing, entertainment and web development has fused him into a guy thirsty for results in marketing. His regular talks on marketing and web conversion help others to gain more revenue from their websites. He also has a big moustache.