We’re bringing a bottle of tequila to the next marketing experts meetup. Read The Goldpanifesto

Unbiased stories & studies from the frontiers of marketing

“How Expensive Are My Ads?”

ezoic ad revenue index (0 – 100)


NeuroTactic Overview

Motivating Uncertainty

Uncertain positive outcomes can increase the perceived value of an offer


In situations where a positive result is uncertain, like when we know there’s a possibility for a reward or some other “win,” like a lottery, we have a higher motivation to trust and engage with the process. When someone finds themselves in one of these scenarios, they’ll go out of their way or pay a premium for uncertainty rather than certainty.

Uncertainty can be used to your advantage in marketing by creating a sense of curiosity and mystery around an end result, reward, sweepstakes, giveaway, or trial. Try to incorporate a level of uncertain rewards, based on customer engagement, purchase history, or some other metric, into your customer journey.

Brand trust is a requirement in order to effectively trigger the Motivating Uncertainty Effect. People trust a lottery since it’s an established organization and heavily regulated. Try to ensure you have a deep level of trust with your audience before engaging this NeuroTactic.

Primary Source:

Fisbach A, Hsee C. “The Motivating-Uncertainty Effect: Uncertainty Increases Resource Investment in the Process of Reward Pursuit.” Journal of Consumer Research, 2015.

Dream Category:


The DREAM framework, created by Vivid Labs, represents a research-backed framework for effective marketing messages. It stands for Desire, Routing, Emotion, Attention, and Memorability.

AIDA Category:

Decision, Action
AIDA is a well-known framework for assembling a marketing message. It stands for the four steps of human decision-making: Attention, Interest, Decision, and Action.

Get The Book:

Snake Oil walks you through using and testing NeuroTactics in your own marketing, along with other critical skills marketers need to have these days.