What does the Zeigarnik effect have to do with copywriting?

DSM Digital School of Marketing- Zeigarnik effect

Bluma Zeigarnik discovered that people are more likely to remember incomplete or interrupted tasks instead of complete ones. For example, it is more probable that you will remember the season finale cliff-hanger episode of your favourite TV show than a filler episode. The Zeigarnik Effect is that cliff-hanger, leaving the viewer with an urge to seek further information about that which has piqued their interest. The Zeigarnik effect causes a mass discomfort in readers, as it leaves an unanswered question and a desire for resolution.

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is the process of writing the text contained in the promotional material that a business shows to the public. Copy needs to be convincing to be successful and the Zeigarnik effect allows copywriters to easily attract readers and potential buyers. It is a psychological device that has proven to evoke the desired response in readers, which is taking the desired action and making a purchase.

Copywriters realise the effectiveness of writing tantalizing headlines that leave the audience wanting more. They understand that people are bombarded with advertisements on social media every time they open their browser and have remarkably short attention spans. This is where the Zeigarnik effect can be applied to draw the interest of your audience.

Below are a number of examples of how the Zeigarnik effect has been applied in writing:

  • Famous novels like Harry Potter and Da Vinci Code are perfect examples of how writers left readers with a cliff-hanger in every chapter and delivered in the next. It is important to not ‘Click-bait’ readers with your copy, instead make the journey worth their while.
  • Many popular TV Shows like Lost and Days of Our Lives use the Zeigarnik effect to create incomplete stories and timelines that retain a loyal following for years, maybe even their whole life.
  • In marketing, we see that the most viewed advertisements are those that utilise the Zeigarnik effect in titles. A simple example of this could be a blog post with the title “This innovative product saved me R1000 a month.”

Writers should beware to not overuse the Zeigarnik Effect in their copy, as the writing loses all meaning completely. This leaves fans with a feeling of incompleteness with the reality that the story does not really go anywhere.

Try the Zeigarnik effect in your next advertisement’s title and see results instantly! – A larger following and better copywriting techniques. The Zeigarnik Effect, if used correctly, is an extremely powerful tool for copywriters seeking brand exposure to a wider audience. Tease around your product/service and hook customers with a catchy title, then blow their minds with an exceptionally written copy. This is a foolproof way to improve your copywriting and appeal to the online community with a tried and trusted method of advertising.

Get in touch with the Digital School of Marketing

Interested in becoming a master copywriting marketer? Why not start with a National Certificate of Advertising & Digital Marketing with DSM! See what else we have to offer on our digital marketing courses page, and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions.

DSM Digital School of Marketing - Advertising and Digital Marketing