What is the purpose of the fifth article from this book?
Now that you attracted your users attention with triggers. Encouraged them to take action and use your service/product and offered them variable rewards; what happens next? What is the long-term plan? The answer is in the hands of user investment!
All the little works that your user does in interaction with your product can be an investment. The time they spend to figure out how to use your product, personal data they put up in your website, the time they spend with your product and etc. User investment is about the future rewards that make the next action more likely.
So how does this investment work? To answer that, we should learn about endowment effect, adaptive preference formation and cognitive dissonance.
People Value Their Labor
In 2011 a number of American students were asked to make origami based on instructions. After that, they had to price their origami. For the next step they had to price origamies that were made by experts. The results were rather interesting. Results showed that the students valued their own origami as much as an expert’s even though it wasn’t half as good! The truth is that people value their labor so much (endowment effect, IKEA effect). Therefore when someone invests time on your product, feels a weird kind of love towards it!
adaptive preference formation
We love to think that we choose freely but in fact our choices are dictated by our previous choices and preferences. In a study two group of people who lived in suburb were asked to put a not-really-nice-looking sign of “drive carefully” in their yard. In the first group only 17% of people agreed but on second group 76% agreed! But what was the difference? The second group was asked to put a much smaller sign behind their windows. That’s it! Because this group had done something smaller with the same concept before, they were more eager to continue. That’s how small acts like a little sign can decide beforehand for our future behaviors.
Rationalization and Commitment
Let me explain this with a simple example. In a really old tale there is a fox that notices bunch of grapes. The fox really wants the grapes but no matter how much he tries it’s way too high up for him to get. So the fox starts talking himself out of wanting it. Reasoning that the grape was too sour anyway or that it wouldn’t fix his hunger. In other words the fox runs away from not being able to get something great and with that relieves the cognitive dissonance.
In fact we rationalize things to change our beliefs. For example when we see that our friends are playing Clash of Clans although we know that it will be fruitless at the end, we rationalize it to the point that we are even willing to pay money for it! We some how make up reasons why this is not a bad decision!
How to Use User Investment
But when do we ask our user to invest in our product? How do we use their investment? And what is the role of user investment? To answer the first question, after any kind of rewards we provide for our users we can ask them to invest a littler more. Like completing a small part of their profile or following our product on social media. As in for the second question, with the help of these investments like personal data and profiles we can learn more about users and provide them with better services. At the end we should know that user investments play a role in making the next external trigger. Like an email or a notification in future. Also remember that with giving your users special credits like good reputation or prioritizing them in some of your services you can encourage them to come back to your product.