What Attracts Consumers’ Attention?

consumer attention

Even though studies on consumer attention have largely concentrated on the visual, every sense has the potential to catch consumers’ attention. This is not to argue that other types of stimuli aren’t just as effective as visual ones.

For instance, Morrin and Ratneshwar discovered that pleasant ambient scents can draw attention to new brand names and enhance recall.

There are numerous ways to ensure that certain products and marketing tools can stand out from the competition so that customers are more inclined to pay attention to them.

Some often used strategies involve purchasing huge blocks of advertising or shelf space in retail environments. Customers will be forced to pay attention to the goods because it will be almost impossible for them to ignore them in this way.

Another strategy involves printing advertisements upside-down and posting them in strange places where customers are unlikely to see them. Finding these areas is getting harder and harder, but in recent years, placing adverts on the bottom of subway and bus tickets, as well as on the side of grocery carts, has gotten people to look twice.

Additionally, it is common practice to use fast-paced commercials that capture viewers’ attention involuntarily and that use distinctive stimulus components that reduce the time spent looking for information in crowded situations.

A few factors that could affect consumers’ attention are:


There is no doubt that colors can catch customers’ attention and that most individuals can recognize especially colorful things. This is so that our pre-attentive systems which can select things for later attentional processing can easily distinguish color.

However, it might be challenging to use color to draw customers’ attention because it heavily depends on the environment in which a colorful item is put.

It is doubtful that a bright green display will be seen, for instance, in a retail setting when there are numerous other displays and merchandise that are similarly bright green. As a result, using color as a persuasive or attention-grabbing feature can be challenging for marketers.

However, certain research results could be useful to marketers in terms of how to use color to get customers’ attention. For instance, it has been suggested that “basic hues” (such as green or grey, red, black, blue, orange, yellow, pink, and brown) are easier to distinguish in busy retail contexts. For environments with fewer stimuli, this hasn’t yet been proven.

Another benefit of using color to speed up consumer attention and decrease search times is that it is thought to result in positive feelings toward the things being sold (in comparison to black and white).

This is particularly true if consumers lack processing drive because they will then be more likely to base their decisions on heuristics, or mental shortcuts, based on physical characteristics.


Innovative techniques are one way to get beyond the noise and selective filtering. Since certain parts of the brain respond to these stimuli without our awareness, the use of fresh elements may have profound effects.

Novel products frequently do exceptionally well in their initial year of sales, as demonstrated by the success of items like Miller’s transparent beer.

One of the reasons “new” items succeed is that consumers are drawn to them because of how distinctively different they are from competing goods.

However, it is important to note that new items tend to lose their novelty with time, and as a result, consumers become less interested in them because the stimulus no longer seems original. This means that marketers can only use distinctive product attributes to draw customers’ attention for a limited time.

Products can be made unique, but so can the marketing strategies that are used. It is feasible for an advertisement to stand out from the competition, making it visible to consumers.

Other instances are unusual and distinctive promotional offerings that grab the interest and imagination of an audience.

For instance, a US jeweler once made a guarantee to all of their customers that they would refund all of their Christmas season purchases if it snowed more than three inches on New Year’s Eve. As a result, their sales climbed by almost 30%.

Personal Preferences

It might be challenging to catch consumers’ attention at times because they can unconsciously look for proof to support their existing ideas about goods and services.

The kinds of signals a consumer will pay attention to will change if they have certain aims, to begin with.

In a study where participants were shown photos of various products, the researchers noticed that individuals who initially formed an opinion on the product based on the visual stimulus afterward recalled details about the product that was comparable to the impression.

This study demonstrates that information that is congruent with one’s views or values can impact attention more so than information that is at odds with them.

A different person finds different items attractive as per their preference. So, it makes sense that those with particular interests would seek relevant data about their interests. It is impossible to be fascinated by everything. Some people may be obsessed with purses, while others may find gardening to be a very pleasurable hobby.

Thus, information on marketing products that have a connection to handbags or gardening is likely to go unnoticed by people who have no interest in these topics. Marketers do all in their power to convey to consumers that their product is superior to other brands because they are very precise about what they will focus their attention on.

No matter how fast-paced the campaign for gardening tools is, or how colorful or bright the handbag advertisement is, if customers are not interested in that particular product category, they will still not pay attention to it.

However, since not all consumers conduct goal-directed searches, it is worthwhile to include “attention-grabbing” elements since they will be sensitive to the effects of other factors.

Brand Identity

In order to get people to notice items, it can be helpful to have a distinct visual brand identity because our selective perception filters out information that is incompatible with our preferences.

It will be simpler to spot and identify the various product categories made by the same brand if they share visual characteristics. For instance, two examples of what can be considered well-known visual brand identities are Apple and Nike.

Since these companies are well-known, we are more likely to pay attention to them, and consumers have limited capacity for information processing. Even though customers may not pay much attention to these stimuli, it has been demonstrated that even brief exposure can boost brand recognition.


Perception affects what we pay attention to because it guides our senses and helps us interpret the meaning of the stimuli we experience. Consumers’ ability to distinguish marketing information comes from their subconscious and is influenced by their prior knowledge and experiences.

How people categorize stimuli in order to understand them is a crucial component of perception.

There are rules for how to achieve this, according to research, and whether or not elements are regarded as related depends on their proximity, people’s ability to use prior experience to perceive incomplete stimuli as full, and how similar they are.

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