How open are you

‘Open’ people prefer liberal, artistic websites…

Whether we like it or not, we’re living in an age in which the personalisation of our online experience is fast becoming the norm. You encounter it every single day –  from the tailored search results you get from Google, to the recommended products that show up in your Amazon account.

The fact is that we’ve come to expect our online experiences to reflect (and be influenced by) our past actions, preferences and visits.

But what if you could predict which websites you’d like based solely on your personality?

How open are you?

Well, a group of researchers have been exploring just that. Following on from my recent post ‘Your personality predicts your online behaviour (1)‘, this week we’re taking a look at the kinds of websites that OPEN people tend to prefer.

In case you missed it, the trait of OPENNESS measures the degree to which you are curious and imaginative, and how open you are to seeking out novel experiences. If you score highly in openness, you’re likely to be emotionally more sensitive, politically liberal and tolerant, and you’ll show greater interest in aesthetics, culture and ideas. If you score low in this trait, you’re probably more conventional, authoritarian, conservative and less creative.

Which websites attract OPEN people?

According to research carried out by Kosinski, Kohli and Stillwell in the USA [1], people who score highly in OPENNESS tend to prefer liberal and artistic websites that typically fall into the following categories (among others):

  • Arts & Animation
  • Business Marketing
  • Business Services
  • Arts & Photography

So for example if you score highly in OPENNESS, chances are you’ll probably like these sites:


Which websites attract CONSERVATIVE people?

On the other hand, if you score very low in OPENNESS, you’re likely to frequent more conservative websites, the likes of which fall into the following classes:

  • Reference & Education
  • Arts & Television
  • Sports & Soccer
  • Shopping & Children

Examples of such sites include:


Make it work for you

Although the research I’ve cited above was carried out in the USA, it illustrates the impact that our personality traits can have on the kinds of websites we visit.

Whether you’re a vendor, consultant or multi-million-dollar business, if your target audience already expresses a set of observable behaviours (such as browsing history), wouldn’t it be incredibly useful if you could discover (and leverage) their personality traits to inform the design of your website, products and platforms in order to attract and engage them more fully?

Use this in your business

To date I’ve found one organisation that mine audience personality data extraordinarily well, and they’re based out of Cambridge University. Preference Tool is a platform that enables businesses and marketers to dramatically improve their targeting, and their work has been published in peer reviewed papers such as the one cited in this article.

If you’d like to find out more or try out their platform, you can email me directly for an introduction and a special trial discount.


Want to know more?
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The Psychology of Online Persuasion



[1] Kosinski, M., Kohli P. and Stillwell D. (2012) Personality and Online Behavior. Web Science, 12, June, pp. 1-7.

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Nathalie Nahai

Nathalie Nahai

Best-selling author of "Webs of Influence" (Pearson). International speaker, consultant, columnist at Marketing Week.