Can you make someone fall in love in 8.2 seconds?

The Daily Telegraph of London reports on the results of a psychology study: “The longer a man’s gaze rests on a woman when they meet for the first time, the more interested he is. If it lasts just four seconds, he may not be all that impressed. But if it breaks the 8.2 second barrier, he could already be in love.”

Apparently, the hidden cameras tracking eye movements found a “lock-on” duration of slightly over 8 seconds on a woman the man later described as attractive. (What about women? Read the PS below for the punch line on that one.)

In my experience (which is, of course, limited to online marketing), websites have to do the job in a lot fewer than 8.2 seconds.

Specifically, the landing page has to start to fulfill the promise of the Google ad within about 2 seconds, or the searcher is gone with a screech and skid marks, looking to fall in love with somebody else’s site.

Me Fall into Love with Translate Site on Web

I fell in love with a site recently. I do a lot of corresponding with readers from all over the world, and I like to pretend that I am competent in languages other than English. So when I sign off on an email to someone in Brazil, I’ll Google “Best wishes in Portuguese” and add that to the end of the email. But most translation sites are ugly, confusing, and I don’t trust them all that much. I always worry, what if the site is pulling my leg and instead of “Best wishes” I just said, “I would like to buy your grandmother’s wooden leg.”

Enter Gorgeous interface, simple instructions, instant gratification. The thing actually translates as I type – I don’t even have to hit “submit” when I’m done.

nice translator

Your Web Site is a Rental Car

Think of your landing page as a vehicle that a searcher uses to get to their goal. This metaphor makes it easy to create a hierarchy of function:

The vehicle’s door must open = The landing page must load properly

The vehicle seat must accommodate a driver comfortably = The page must look appropriate for the target market (professionals, parents, kids, heavy metal fans, yuppies on vacation, etc.)

The vehicle controls must be intutive to operate = navigation must be intuitive

The vehicle must be able to traverse the terrain to attain the desired location = the website must lead to the right offer

I could extend the metaphor much further (I’m in Namibia on holiday with my family at the moment, and we’re driving around Southern Africa in a big Toyota Quantum that my wife and kids WILL NOT let me drive (left side of the road, stick shift, etc.)), but I’ll leave that to you. What else is important in a vehicle if someone is going to commit to taking it to their desired destination? Post your metaphorical musings to comments.

PS Women maintained the same amount of eye contact with men, regardless of attractiveness.

PPS But another article in the same issue of the Telegraph reports, “Women more attracted to men in expensive cars.” So don’t feel so superior, ladies ;)

PPPS Here’s a photo of the Quantum, resting by the side of the road between Upington, South Africa and the Namibian border:

Quantum Van at a South African rest stop

I’m really hoping they let me drive next week…

PPPPS This is a sneaky announcement of the pre-release of the AdWords Checkmate Method. Click that link and get a giant head start in writing “Game Over” AdWords ads. Details here (stay tuned for the official announcement when I find a hotel with a decent Internet connetion).

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  1. #1 • Louise M. said on July 22 2010:

    I'm a French affiliate marketing and the French translation of your paragraph (on the nicetranslator sreenshot) is pretty hilarious! ;)
    I remember one day, one of my subscribers contacted me, his first language was arabic and I translated a text for him in arabic with a free internet tool just like nicetranslator. It was lovely all these arabic letters. But he replied and said thanks but it doesn't make any sense. lol :)

    Nice post though, I think it's getting every day more challenging to get people to stay on a website. We have less than 8 seconds for sure!
    Thank You!