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The Smarter Screen

What Your Business Can Learn from the Way Consumers Think Online

By Shlomo Benartzi
13-minute read
Audio available
The Smarter Screen: What Your Business Can Learn from the Way Consumers Think Online by Shlomo Benartzi

The Smarter Screen (2015) is a guide both for the start-up and established business to boosting your company’s digital presence in a media-saturated world. These blinks apply insights from behavioral economics to explain exactly how people think and respond to digital information on a screen.

  • Anyone that produces or manages digital content
  • Website designers and marketing managers
  • People curious about what drives consumer choice

Behavioral economist Shlomo Benartzi is a professor and co-chair of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group at the University of California, Los Angeles’s Anderson School of Management. He also holds a doctorate from Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management.

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The Smarter Screen

What Your Business Can Learn from the Way Consumers Think Online

By Shlomo Benartzi
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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The Smarter Screen: What Your Business Can Learn from the Way Consumers Think Online by Shlomo Benartzi
Synopsis

The Smarter Screen (2015) is a guide both for the start-up and established business to boosting your company’s digital presence in a media-saturated world. These blinks apply insights from behavioral economics to explain exactly how people think and respond to digital information on a screen.

Key idea 1 of 8

As the internet offers far more information than people can take in, companies need to fight for attention.

Say you’re looking to book a hotel room in London. You search Google for accommodations, and are immediately given 500 million options. Obviously there’s no way you could consider each one –  but such is the peril of information overload in the twenty-first century.

The prominence of computers and the internet have prompted an exponential rise in the quantity of available information. In fact, scientists at IBM have estimated that the data created over just the last two years makes up 90 percent of all the information currently in existence!

In the 1950s, for instance, people could choose among two or three TV channels. But today you can access just about every program ever made, and whenever you want, through cloud services.

Yet the amount of information that people actually pay attention to is limited by the cognitive capacity of the brain. For instance, research has suggested that a person’s short-term memory is only capable of storing about four pieces of information at a time.

So whenever the information presented exceeds your brain’s capacity, you start missing out. For example, studies have found that having a phone conversation while driving causes you to stop noticing some 50 percent of your surroundings – red lights and pedestrians included.

Considering this, it’s easy to see how the abundance of online information inevitably leads to the waning attention of users. In short, people surfing the internet face difficult choices every second about what to notice and think about.

But there’s actually a great opportunity for companies to take advantage of the gap between the information that’s presented and the information that people notice. For instance, sites such as Booking.com or Hotels.com that offer a simple information platform online are able to charge hotel owners a commission as high as 30 percent. We’ll learn why they can do this in the next blink.

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