Psychological Profiling

What is the most critical factor in advertising? Is it the brand? The advertising budgets? The creative execution? Perhaps the media? How about the number of repetitions and strategy? None of them.

Based on over 1 700 scientific studies all over the world, with a total sample of over 2 400 000 people, the most crucial factor in advertising is, perhaps somewhat paradoxically, not the advertisement, the source or the strategy, but the receiver – the customer. Mostly the characteristics of the customer (not the ad) will determine how advertising is understood – will it induce any emotion, alter attitudes, and ultimately, have any impact on behavior like on actual purchasing.

According to the analyses of the above mentioned, over 1 700 scientific studies, the explanatory value of the receiver is 8.3, while it’s only 1.3 for the advertisement itself. Therefore, make sure you understand your customers’ psychological profiles first and provide them with an aligned advertising campaign that will make your campaign +539% more effective than just focus on the advertisement alone. This makes sense. An advertisement affects each person differently.

However, the result is intuitive and at the same time very interesting because customers aren’t usually profiled, they are divided into vague segments (e.g., “trendy women between 20-45 years living in a city), and rarely based on relevant psychological characteristics.

Why Use Psychological Profiling?

People are a complex set of many psychological characteristics. A wide range of these characteristics, for example, cognitive elaboration style, locus of control, motivational direction, persuasion preferences and personality influence on how we behave and how the advertising affects us. However, due to limited space, let’s consider only one of them in more detail – personality.

Personality refers to the consistent manners of a person’s behavior, consciousness and emotion. This is why the study of personality of a customer is an essential factor in marketing, selling and business in general. Aligning the information with the individual’s personality enables you to adjust your message, content and strategy accordingly. Let’s take an example: In an analysis of over 126 000 individuals, scientists found that personality traits contribute to physical activity and inactivity.

Some personality types are associated with sedentary behavior, inactive lifestyle, lack of motivation for exercising as well as a negative attitude towards inner control, whereas other traits are associated with a higher frequency of physical activity levels, and positive emotions through exercising. As a result, the latter group is immune to physical inactivity.

Furthermore, active and inactive groups are not homogenous; they are both divided into subgroups and have different motives for being active or inactive. Understanding the traits of these (sub)groups will give us a definite advantage over the competitors in this field. In a given context you should use only images of athletes with slim body shapes and communicate social pressure and possible threats for one subgroup, but instead, use images of regular people together with a supportive message and a potential reward for another subgroup. Let’s consider another example:

Most women use makeup, but every woman is different: some are, for instance, extraverts or introverts. Creating a makeup ad that corresponds with a customer’s personality, namely an ad portraying a woman partying at a club with her friends juxtaposed against a woman enjoying her time at home, will have a different effect on extroverts and introverts. Based on the recent real-life study of over 3 100 000 people, ads corresponding to a receiver’s personality increased both conversion rate and ROI from 30% to 90%. Would you like to almost double your ROI by merely profiling your customers according to psychological traits and approach them on their profiles?

The Answer

We learned that personality is associated with consistent behavioral patterns in various situations, including, for example, social media use, performance motivation, impulse buying, safety behavior and online shopping, to name a few. Also, scientific research proved a long time ago that some personalities, who tend to buy more frequently, are linked with price sensitivity and are more prone to be early adopters compared to other personalities. No wonder the psychological profile, including personality, is the most crucial aspect in advertising if you are interested in understanding the customers and how to influence them.


1. The most important thing in advertising is the customer, not the ad. That is, the same ad will have an impact on some individuals, but not on others. The most powerful element in your advertising campaigns is the psychological profile of your customer.

2. Different personality traits are associated with a different type of purchase behavior. Specific personality characteristics are over-presented in specific consumption of specific products and services.  

3. Understanding your customer’s personality is knowing their behavior and motives in greater depth. In the end, you can create a far more effective communication platform if the brand personality and your customer’s personality match.

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Copyright © Steinheide Oy 2019

Copyright © Steinheide Oy 2019