The Brain’s Spam Filter

There is a filter that is better and more efficient than any ad blocker every produced – the human brain.

Research has shown that us humans are pretty good at filtering out information that is irrelevant to us. The simple answer to this is to make your content relevant. This isn’t as easy as it sounds however, because the way we use these filters and to what degree the filters work in people varies from person to person. What is relevant to one person is not necessarily relevant to everyone.

If you stop to think about it you can realise just how impressive these filters are, despite digital technology being in its infancy on the scale of human evolution. Our brains still do a very good job of filtering out the noise to get to the information we find interesting and engaging.

Brain Spam FilterHave you ever watched a advertising video online or on the TV and thought to yourself, that advert doesn’t work, or what a stupid idea that was? If you have then it probably did work. Your reaction to the advert was probably thoroughly researched and tested. Getting a reaction means making a emotional connection with what you have experienced. As long as that reaction isn’t “I’m never going to buy anything from that business ever again” then it passed the filter and got your attention.

It is due to these filters that one of the most important roles of a marketer is to research your audience. If you don’t know who your audience is that you are trying to reach, then it is very difficult to successfully market your products and services and connect with your audience.

These filters in all of our brains are better at filtering out content than anything a computer can achieve. They are also highly adept at filtering out anything that appears usual and ordinary to us. It isn’t a one step process, there a few steps that are crucial to successful marketing. The first is to grab the attention of your audience, to make people even notice your content is an important step to cut through the masses of information vying for the attention of your audience. Secondly, you need to engage people with your content. Gaining attention with a snappy headline but backing it up with boring content will quickly lead to disengagement. Finally, it is important to encourage people to remember your message and take further action, your message has to add value or invoke an emotional reaction.

There is a dark side to this – in some people these spam filters don’t work. The sad truth is there are unscrupulous marketers that exploit people whose filters just don’t work in the way they should do. Examples would be someone suffering with dementia, or a mental illness. This is where laws should be protecting the vulnerable in a perfect world, but unfortunately this is not always the case. This isn’t something that is specific to digital marketing, but marketing in general.

It is a complex topic because the filters are different in every person. There is a distinction between deliberately trying to target people with filters that leave them vulnerable, and giving businesses the chance to promote their offering. The issue was highlighted in a BBC article last week discussing night time alerts that target impulse buyers, (click for link). This is why legislation such as the Consumer Contracts Regulation here in the UK is important to protect both the consumer and the seller by clearly laying out what information should be provided, the terms of the sale and the right to cancel. The Which website has more details about the legislation, (click for link).

Digital marketing shouldn’t be a matter of trying to manipulate the filters, but a call for marketers to raise their game and produce content that is more engaging and relevant to your audience. Find out what your audience is. Deliver content that attracts attention by being different and creative. Deliver value that encourages people to engage with your business.

Meemo Digital Ltd is a website and digital consultancy company, with a focus on getting to know our customers, and helping you unlock your potential.

Request a free analysis

Meemo Digital offer professional website and digital consultancy services, working together with you to develop a tailor made digital strategy for your business.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Fields marked with an * are required

About this blog

Meemo Digital Ltd is a website and digital consultancy company, with a focus on getting to know our customers, and helping you unlock your potential.

More from our blog

See all posts
No Comments

Leave a Comment