Boosting Engagement by Harnessing User Behavior Patterns

25 October 2023
Reading: 6 min

In our online world, especially when it comes to ads, psychology and the intricate web of behavior patterns are a big deal. While we can’t predict how people will act like mind-readers, we can certainly use these mysterious triggers to boost our businesses. These behavior patterns are like the secret sauce influencing the choices we make while surfing the vast digital world. And right now, Gala, Adsterra’s CMO, is ready to take us on this journey.

The Impact of Culture

Consumer behavior is like a rich tapestry woven with various cultural threads, like values, social class, lifestyle, personality traits, heritage, and family influences. Now, let’s meet the Hofstede 6 Dimension Model, a handy tool that gives us insights into how culture shapes our behaviors and values. This model came to life from a global IBM survey in the late ’60s and early ’70s. It covers dimensions such as individualism vs. collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance dynamics, masculinity vs. femininity, long-term orientation preferences, and indulgence vs. self-restraint inclinations. But how does all of this connect to online advertising?

Power Dynamics

Understanding Power Dynamics means tailoring your ad strategies to fit a culture’s unique views on power and hierarchy. When you’re reaching out to cultures with high power distance (PDI) like UAE, Mexico, Japan, Russia, highlighting authority and hierarchy in your message is key. On the flip side, for cultures with low PDI (like the USA, Canada, Australia, Norway), it’s better to focus on equality and inclusivity.

Individualism and Collectivism

The individualism vs. collectivism dimensions shed light on how cultures balance personal success and community importance. In individualistic cultures, common in most European countries, it’s a good idea to highlight personal achievements. But in collectivist cultures (like China, India, Pakistan, Bolivia, Colombia), it’s all about showcasing community benefits and cooperation.

Masculinity vs. Femininity

When adjusting your approach for masculinity vs. femininity, think about a culture’s leanings toward assertiveness and achievement (masculine) or collaboration and inclusivity (feminine), which is often seen in Scandinavian cultures.

Uncertainty Avoidance

Understanding a culture’s preference for uncertainty avoidance (UAI) is a must for shaping your messaging. Cultures with high UAI prefer rule-based systems, so providing clear and structured info is a must. On the other hand, cultures with low UAI are more adaptable and open to change, so highlighting adaptability and innovation works best.

Long-Term Orientation

The cultural time horizons represented by long-term orientation (LTO) can guide your advertising messaging. LTO-oriented cultures focus on preparing for the future, so emphasizing long-term benefits and future planning resonates well with them. But short-term-oriented cultures look for immediate gratification, so offering immediate rewards and solutions works best for them.

Indulgence and Self-Restraint

Cultures also vary in their levels of indulgence or self-restraint, impacting their preferences. Highlighting the enjoyment and freedom of indulgent cultures and the control and discipline of restrained ones can significantly impact your online advertising strategies. By weaving the Hofstede 6 Dimension Model into your campaigns, you can connect with diverse audiences and build deep connections, ultimately leading to better outcomes in the global marketplace.

The ABC Model of Attitudes 

To gain a deeper understanding of human behavior, let’s explore the ABC Model of Attitudes. This model simplifies attitudes into three key components:

Affect (A): This aspect centers around the emotional dimension of an attitude. It reveals how individuals emotionally connect with a particular object or concept. Affect is closely linked to emotional responses, such as preferences or dislikes. For example, when deciding between high heels and moccasins for upcoming events, your strong liking for high heels reflects the emotional side of your attitude.

Behavior (B): Within this component, behavior pertains to actions or intentions related to a specific attitude object. It’s all about understanding how individuals are likely to act or behave based on their attitudes.

Cognition (C): This part represents an individual’s thoughts or beliefs concerning an attitude object. For instance, someone might believe that wearing high heels enhances their style and adds a touch of glamour.

By exploring the ABC Model of Attitudes, we can gain valuable insights into how attitudes are formed and influence human behavior naturally.

Boosting Engagement by Harnessing User Behavior Patterns

Understanding these components is vital for crafting marketing strategies that resonate with consumers on both rational and emotional levels. It’s like having the blueprint for creating effective campaigns. Moreover, the ABC Model and the Hierarchy of Effects model are closely intertwined, working hand in hand.

The Hierarchy of Effects model serves as a theoretical framework that sheds light on the various stages consumers traverse while making purchasing decisions. This model has been the guiding star for marketers for the past fifty years, providing a roadmap for understanding the consumer journey, from initial awareness to the ultimate product purchase. Let’s consider an example of launching a new feature for a dating app to highlight the usage of this model.

Boosting Engagement by Harnessing User Behavior Patterns

  • To kickstart the awareness phase, especially when introducing a new feature on a dating app, consider creating captivating ads. These can be featured on various platforms like social media, dating forums, and blogs. These ads should pique curiosity and spotlight the feature’s unique aspects.
  • Moving on to the knowledge phase, producing informative content is key. Offer explanations about how the feature works, and don’t forget to emphasize its benefits and user-friendliness. This helps users gain a clear understanding.
  • Transitioning to the liking stage, sharing success stories and testimonials from users who have discovered meaningful connections through the new feature can make a substantial impact. It builds a positive perception of the feature.
  • As we proceed to the preference stage, focus on highlighting the feature’s distinctive advantages. Consider offering exclusive early access to entice users further.
  • During the conviction stage, building trust becomes crucial. Seek influencer endorsements and gather expert opinions to solidify the credibility of the feature.
  • Lastly, when it’s time to prompt action from users, ensure you provide clear calls to action that encourage them to sign up and actively use the new feature. Showcase how it can emotionally enrich their lives, motivating them to take that step.

When you align your campaigns with the Hierarchy of Effects model, you’re effectively guiding users through each stage, from awareness to taking action. This approach is a powerful way to enhance user engagement and drive the adoption of your new feature.

It’s important to understand that attitudes can develop in different ways, depending on the situation. This involves a mix of emotions, thoughts, and actions. This flexibility provides marketers with various avenues to connect with consumers. Whether you’re appealing to their emotions, presenting logical reasoning, or evoking an immediate response, you have the tools to effectively shape attitudes to suit the context.

Pros and Cons of Behavioral Advertising

Now, let’s explore the world of behavioral advertising, a powerful technique that tailors advertisements to consumers based on their online browsing and shopping habits.

Behavioral marketing gives businesses the ability to monitor and analyze consumer behavior at every stage of their online journey, from visiting a website to making a purchase. Various tools, such as web analytics, heat maps, and user recordings, help in this process.

Data plays a pivotal role in behavioral advertising. It includes various types of information like clicks, the time spent on a website, recent visits, specific pages viewed, purchase history, IP addresses, demographics, and more. This data fuels the personalization engine, allowing advertisers to precisely target their audience.

The core of this approach is personalization, providing a sense of relevance that results in higher conversion rates. According to research conducted by McKinzie, consumers now expect brands to understand their individual needs.

Boosting Engagement by Harnessing User Behavior Patterns


Companies that utilize personalization techniques have witnessed a remarkable 40% increase in revenue. When you customize your ads based on data, the benefits become clear. 

  • Improved Advertising Metrics. Businesses can target specific consumer groups with similar characteristics by segmenting their customer base according to behaviors. This allows them to create tailored messages and offers that resonate with individuals and ultimately boost conversion rates.
  • Increased Brand Awareness. Personalized ads enhance brand recognition and awareness, resulting in better customer retention and higher average order values.
  • Enhanced Product Growth. By analyzing behavioral data, businesses can uncover opportunities for innovation, improvement and customization to better meet customer demands and preferences.
  • Efficient Resource Allocation. Behavioral segmentation allows businesses to optimize their marketing budgets by focusing on consumer categories with high conversion potential, rather than wasting resources on broad and generic campaigns.
  • Competitive Edge. One of the competitive advantages of understanding customers better and providing personalized experiences is that businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors, attract and retain customers and strengthen their position in the market.

Nonetheless, while behavioral advertising offers substantial advantages, it presents certain challenges. Some consumers have voiced concerns about privacy and the potential misuse of personal data. Additionally, the use of ad blockers is on the rise as users seek to regain control over their online experiences. Advertisers must tread carefully, striking the right balance between personalization and privacy to address these challenges.

Common Behavior Triggers

Irrespective of the target audience or geographical location, there are certain behavioral triggers that universally contribute to enhancing conversions. Let’s explore some of them.

Scarcity and Urgency

In 1975, researchers conducted an experiment that vividly demonstrated how scarcity can influence our perception of a product’s value. Surprisingly, they found that people placed a higher value on a nearly empty cookie jar compared to a full one, highlighting the potent impact of creating a sense of urgency in marketing.

This concept is harnessed by marketers who strategically incorporate trigger words like “Hurry!,” “Limited Time Offer,” “Act Now,” and “Last Chance” to instill a sense of urgency in potential customers. This fear of missing out and the desire for immediate gratification can significantly boost conversion rates. However, it’s crucial to use these tactics thoughtfully to maintain trust and preserve the integrity of your brand.

Boosting Engagement by Harnessing User Behavior Patterns

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Real Value

The behavioral trigger known as “real value” focuses on emphasizing the genuine worth, benefits or advantages that a product or service offers. Its primary objective is to demonstrate to consumers that their purchase will provide them with tangible and meaningful benefits.

Boosting Engagement by Harnessing User Behavior Patterns

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Exclusivity and Opportunity

Exclusivity often goes hand in hand with scarcity. When something is labeled as exclusive, it means that only a select few individuals have the privilege of accessing it. For example, offering a limited edition product or hosting an invite-only event creates a sense of exclusivity, making consumers feel fortunate to be part of an exclusive group. This feeling of exclusivity, coupled with an element of luck, can boost the perceived value of a product or experience.

The idea is that when something is deemed exclusive, it’s considered special and not readily available to everyone, which can enhance its perceived worth. Similarly, situations involving luck, like winning a lottery or encountering a rare opportunity, can lead consumers to attribute a higher value to such occurrences because of their rarity.

Boosting Engagement by Harnessing User Behavior Patterns

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Curiosity is a potent psychological trigger used in marketing and consumer psychology to capture the attention and interest of audiences. It takes advantage of people’s inherent desire to discover new information, experiences, and novelty. Various techniques leverage this natural curiosity, such as teasers, generating an air of mystery or intrigue, posing thought-provoking questions, employing interactive content, offering sneak peeks into upcoming offerings, organizing contests that arouse curiosity, and utilizing personalization. All of these methods tap into the captivating power of curiosity to engage and captivate consumers.

Boosting Engagement by Harnessing User Behavior Patterns

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Social Proof

We humans are naturally social creatures, and we often seek validation from others. When we see people sharing their love for a product through reviews, ratings, and testimonials, it makes us more likely to want that product too. Social proof makes clever use of this psychological phenomenon. It lets you include real endorsements from satisfied customers directly in your ads and marketing campaigns.

Boosting Engagement by Harnessing User Behavior Patterns

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To thrive in the advertising world, striking a balance between short-term campaigns and long-term goals is crucial. Instead of fixating on quick wins that might clash with your larger vision, it’s wise to shape your advertising strategies to align with your broader objectives. For instance, if your ultimate goal is to establish your brand as a trusted industry leader, your short-term behavioral advertising efforts should prioritize building brand authority and credibility, rather than solely chasing immediate sales. This could involve creating informative content, highlighting customer testimonials, and engaging thoughtfully with your audience.

Harnessing the potential of behavioral patterns in online advertising offers a range of opportunities and challenges. To excel in this ever-evolving landscape, you must grasp consumer behavior, harness behavioral triggers wisely, and align your strategies with long-term objectives. This approach allows you to navigate the dynamic world of online advertising and attain exceptional results.

Gala is Adsterra‘s CMO and a seasoned marketing professional with over 13 years of successful experience in global brand marketing. She headed marketing in the leading IT companies, specializing in mobile apps, crypto projects, and ad tech. Now let’s take a deep dive into the world of behavioral patterns and see how they influence marketing strategies.

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