If you want to get the real story on the behaviour of your customers, readers, etc., don’t rely on self-reported data. While such data can be fine for simple facts, like, “Did you eat breakfast today?” it will rarely answer questions like, “Why do you prefer Grey Goose vodka?”
While neuromarketing studies are one way to get at real feelings, one simple solution is to measure actual behaviour. Don’t ask people if they are more likely to click on a link accompanied by a picture – test it!
Article in Neuromarketing about how catchy headlines influence clickthroughs.
I’d tend to opt for the testing route but this probably comes from my programming background. As the author says making changes on the web to test different ideas is reasonably trivial and has an immediate effect on whatever you are testing: clickthroughs, sales etc.
Asking people whether they think something is better is not only subjective but also requires extra steps to test the idea anyway. So why not just test in the first place. Testing can be as simple as changing text colour, an images position or the size of a button.
A great example of testing to perfection is The Belcher Button, I won’t spoil the surprise.
Related reading in our conversions workshop slides