Cognitive Miser

Imagine this…

The holidays are around the corner. 

You’re feeling particularly responsible this year and are getting a head start on your shopping. Go you!

Step One: Start playing holiday tunes (duh).

Step Two: Grab your laptop and start shopping.

Your fingers dance across the keyboard as you make a quick decision to look through a few gift guides for inspiration.

You Google, “gift guides for 2022” and open the first 2 links in new tabs.

You go to the first tab and start scrolling. There are about 15 gift options, and they’re pretty decent. 

You open up the second tab and are quickly met with a half-loaded page. You can see the ads littering this website and causing such a delay. 

You close a random popup. Then another one. Then you click on an ad by mistake and have to navigate back to the site.

“Man, these websites are really trying to make as much money as possible,” you think.

Fifteen seconds later, it’s still loading.

What do you do?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re taking a look at Cognitive Miser – why our minds choose ease and efficiency over effort.

Let’s get into it…

“Top Marketing Newsletters You Need to Subscribe To”

The Psychology of Cognitive Miser 🧠

You might have found the PERFECT gift option on that second website.

But, because it loaded so slowly, you chose to go back to the first website that loaded in a few seconds.

You love your friends and family. 

Why did you give up on potentially finding them the perfect gifts?

When given the option, people will choose to avoid expending effort when an easier option is presented.

Psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman figured this out through their research on heuristics.

Our minds love shortcuts and are willing to take them at the cost of finding or thinking through a better option.

This research, as well as a few other psychology experiments, led psychologists Susan Fiske and Shelley Taylor to their theory on cognitive miser.

Cognitive miser is one of the reasons why a 1-second improvement in a metric Google uses to measure page speed (LCP) can lead to a 13% increase in conversions.

Yep, a 1-second faster site can have THAT big of an impact on your buyers.

Inside Your Buyer’s Mind🧐

Your buyers don’t want to think too hard. They’re looking for a quick fix.

They’re less interested in shopping around, building out a spreadsheet for comparison, talking to customer service, testing out 5 options, and then deciding which one they like the most.

Friction in the buying experience stresses people out.

When buyers are confronted with too many choices or distractions, they’re likely to bounce. 

But, if you can create a reputation for an intuitive customer experience—like Apple has—you’ll turn more visitors into customers and customers into fans.

How To Apply This 🤑

Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?

Reduce (most) friction

Every extra hoop prospects need to jump through or popup they need to close can increase the chances of a lost sale. How long your website takes to load leads to increased stress levels and buyers wondering who will solve their problem faster. 

Not surprisingly, Amazon has mastered the zero-friction marketing funnel. More surprisingly is that they had the foresight for it in 1997. Amazon patented the one-click checkout process long before they were the mega-mogul they are today.

Their hyper-focus on the customer experience showed them where friction occurred in the buying journey (having to enter your billing details repetitively).

They used their Amazon magic wand to take the friction away… and strategically make themselves the only company with such superpowers through their patent.

Give very clear instructions (even if you think it should be obvious)

What’s obvious to you as the marketer or founder of your company isn’t necessarily obvious to your buyers.

This is an old-school copywriting philosophy outlined in the famous Boron Letters. In Chapter 16, Gary Halbert uncovers the AIDA copywriting formula: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.

He goes out of his way to mention the importance of clear instructions TWICE.

Any confusion or friction in the buying process causes mental fatigue. Buyers may decide to do something easier (in this day and age that probably involves scrolling Twitter). 

Make it beyond clear what the next action is for buyers, so they feel like they’re taking the easy path.

Being specific can make your value proposition more compelling

Don’t make prospects read between the lines. Instead of saying “Save time on your marketing by using our software,” say, “We help users save 1 hour per day on average.” 

Here’s a real-world example from Marketing Examples:

Show them exactly how much time, energy, or money they could save with your solution. Use real-world numbers and percentages so your buyers can feel the benefit.

The Short of It 💥

Your buyers are looking for an easy solution. 

They’ll often take the ‘okay’ product over the perfect one if they run into friction. 

Don’t let cognitive miser be the reason for lagging sales. 

How can you make the next steps hyper-clear for your audience and where can you speed up the process?

Use NitroPack’s optimizing power to make your buying experience faster and improve conversion rates through buyer psychology.

Until next time, happy selling.




Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

There are a few ways I can help:

  1. Get explosive clarity about what works with buyers by learning how to conduct 1:1 Clarity Calls (2000+ happy students)
  2. *NEW* Learn how to mine online reviews from real buyers to generate ideas and copy that converts (250+ happy students)
  3. Book a 1:1 strategy call with Katelyn and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence

Thank you to our featured sponsors

Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

Related Posts

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation Bias

Let’s explore Confirmation Bias – why we seek out information that confirms what we want to believe.

Growth Flywheels

Growth Flywheels

Let’s explore Growth Flywheels—why the most successful businesses in the world use them to grow smarter (instead of harder).

Empathy Gap

Empathy Gap

Let’s explore Empathy Gap—why we often underestimate how much a buyer’s emotional state can influence their behavior and decisions.

The Labor Illusion

The Labor Illusion

Let’s explore The Labor Illusion—why we may value something more when we think it requires a lot of effort.

Regret Aversion

Regret Aversion

Let’s explore Regret Aversion – why we make choices to avoid regret.

Pratfall Effect

Pratfall Effect

Let’s explore the Pratfall Effect—why imperfections can actually make people like you (or your brand) more.



Let’s explore Gong—the company that harnessed customer interactions to become the undisputed leader in revenue intelligence.

Generation Effect

Generation Effect

Let’s explore the Generation Effect—why we remember something more if we put effort into generating it.



Let’s explore Mascots—why we love and buy from brands that use mascots.

Nostalgia Effect

Nostalgia Effect

Let’s explore the Nostalgia Effect—why we spend more when we remember our past.





Wanna get inside your buyer’s head? Join our newsletter and get one customer psychology tip delivered straight to your inbox each week. It’s like a 2-min workout for your brain.

You're in. Giddy up! 🤠

Become the go-to customer EXPERT

If you can figure out what makes people tick, click and buy, you can make bank

We’re often asked if we offer a certification program teaching our in-depth research methods. The answer is… not yet. But we’re working on it.

Want first dibs when we launch our new certification program? Jump on the waitlist.

You're in. Giddy up 🤠


Wanna get inside your buyer’s head? Join our newsletter and get one buyer psychology tip delivered to your inbox each week. It’s like a 2-min workout for your brain.

You're in!


If you can figure out what makes people tick, click and buy, you can make big $$$. We're working on a new research certification program. Want first dibs when we launch it? Hop on the waitlist.

You're in!


Wanna get the buyer insights you need from key stakeholders (and look like a boss)? Our new Stakeholder Mining Kick-off Session training is coming soon. Join the waitlist to get first dibs.

You're on the waitlist! We'll reach out soon!


Wanna get the buyer insights you need from key stakeholders (and look like a boss)? Our new Stakeholder Mining Kick-off Session training is coming soon. Join the waitlist to get first dibs.

You're in!