How Can Pattern Interrupt Increase Conversions?

October 2, 2017

How Can Pattern Interrupt Increase Conversions?

In order to effectively function on a daily basis, we unconsciously create mental patterns and habits that in time allow us to perform tasks without having to actively think about what we’re doing. For example, you are able to walk and talk on the phone because you are not having to consciously think about how to walk. These patterns not only allow us to function better, but they also make us extremely adept at pattern recognition. In turn, this also means that we are extremely sensitive to pattern interrupts. So what exactly are pattern recognition and interrupts, and how can you apply the principle of pattern interrupt on your automotive website to significantly increase conversions? 

Pattern recognition is when you obtain information from stimuli in your environment, and then match it to the information you already have stored in your cognitive, short-term, or long-term memory. While you can actively look for patterns, such as when you’re attempting to solve a puzzle, most pattern recognition actually happens subconsciously. You can see a brand new, completely different model of a car and still recognize it as being a car through patterns and pattern recognition.

Beyond objects, a path of actions to take to complete a task can also be considered a pattern. When we’re performing a task, our brain formulates a pattern mapping out all of the actions that we are going to take in order to complete the task. For example, when your visitors make the decision to leave your website, their brain maps out the actions they are going to take in order to complete the task: move the cursor over to the navigation bar, hover over the little (x) in the corner, and press down on the mouse with the right index finger to close out of the window. Unfortunately, at that point you will have lost your conversion. 

A pattern interrupt occurs when something falls out of pattern, breaking your focus or commitment to a task. Anything that is unexpected and therefore catches your attention is classified as a pattern interrupt. In fact, it is typically because of this pattern interrupt that something even caught your attention in the first place. Think about when you’re driving home from work and a flashy billboard catches your eye. Odds are, it caught your eye because it was unexpected. You expected the same billboard you’ve seen day in and day out. In the pattern that is driving home from work, your brain mapped out what route you would take, including what it reasonably expected for you to see; the new, flashy billboard that caught your eye was not a part of your pattern. Pattern interrupt is what makes us pay attention, and enables us to better remember things that caused these interrupts. 

So how can you apply the principle of pattern interrupt to increase conversions on your website?

Easy, you can put in place exit intent technology. Exit intent technology monitors your visitor’s cursor. When this technology detects that your visitor has moved their cursor to the navigation bar at the top of the page, a key indicator that they are about to leave your site, without converting, it displays an incentivized message. “Don’t Leave Just Yet… We’re Offering You $250 Down Payment Assistance.” As soon as they make the decision to leave your site, they will have already retrieved the pattern from their long-term memory as to how to leave a website. However, that pattern does not include having an incentivized message appear just as their attempting to leave a page.

The moment that message appears on their screen, their pattern is interrupted. They pause to pay attention to the message, rather than immediately following through with their original decision to leave. With the message that is displayed, you can then reiterate something you have already mentioned on your site, or show them a completely different message or offer. Since they are more likely to be paying attention once this pattern interrupt has occurred, you now have a second chance to convert these visitors that would otherwise not have converted organically.

Exit intent technology is incredibly effective. While you may experience different results with your automotive websites, dealerships have experienced anywhere from a 10% to a 46% increase in leads and conversions upon implementing exit intent technology.  Not only that, but exit intent technology also has the potential to decrease bounce rate and increase the time a visitor spends on your site, further increasing the likelihood that you will be able to transform them into meaningful leads.

The best part is, exit intent technology won’t take away any of the conversions you are already getting on your website. Since the exit intent technology will only deploy a message if your visitor is leaving without converting, you will only be adding to the total number of conversions by capturing those visitors that otherwise would not have converted organically. Those that had already converted won’t even see the message.

Instead of spending money on all of these different forms of advertising to drive traffic to your site, why not allocate some of that money towards capitalizing on the traffic that is already on your site first? You wouldn’t let a customer just walk out of your dealership without talking to them first, so why would you do that on your website?

For more information on how you can apply exit intent technology or DVP’s other features to increase conversions on your website, visit