Coincidence or Conspiracy? More Likely, You’re Experiencing the Frequency illusion

by Marissa Marazzi on January 27, 2017


Have you ever learned the definition of a new fancy word you've never heard of and then start to hear, read and see it EVERYWHERE? Coincidence … or conspiracy? More likely, you’re experiencing the “frequency illusion”.  

What is the Frequency Illusion?

The frequency illusion (also known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon) is the phenomenon in which people who just learn or notice something start seeing it everywhere. You didn't know it existed. And then, seemingly, it's everywhere you turn. Stanford linguistics professor Arnold Zwicky coined the former term in 2006 to describe this phenomenon; The first time people look at any given ad, they don't see it.The second time, they don't notice it.The third time, (8).png

"It’s caused by two psychological processes. The first, selective attention, kicks in when you’re struck by a new word, thing, or idea; after that, you unconsciously keep an eye out for it, and as a result find it surprisingly often. The second process, confirmation bias, reassures you that each sighting is further proof of your impression that the thing has gained overnight omnipresence.”

Frequency and Consistency is a Simple but Powerful Means to Increase Trust and Engagement

Consistency defined, is 'taking action and delivering content and experiences on an on-going and periodic basis with a focused, deliberate intent’. Frequency is 'the number of times a person is exposed to an advertising message’. In the mind of the prospect or customer, consistency and frequency creates trust at a basic level and sets the foundation for an ongoing relationship. 


Use Psychology to Influence Action in Your Favor

The cool part about understanding how psychological methodologies work, such as the frequency illusion, is that it equips you with the solid understanding of how people “tick”, why they take certain action and how to influence their action into a positive outcome in your favor. 

Consistent Marketing with a Deliberate Strategy Amplifies the Frequency Illusion Phenomenon

The key here is to intentionally inject the Frequency Illusion concept into your digital marketing strategy to influence the online purchase journey of potential customers. This is done by ensuring your digital strategy is built to dominate micro-moments for customers who are looking for more information on: brands, automobiles, prices, details, and dealership reviews, 

Read More: 5 Auto Shopping Micro-Moments EVERY Brand Must Own Online

In essence, the frequency illusion phenomenon will increase the probability that your potential customer will see the validity of your message and turn to you when it’s time for them to purchase a vehicle or do business with an automotive dealership. The key is to put enough signage on the highway to keep drawing shoppers down YOUR path to purchase.


Topics: digital marketing