Today virtually all of us are part of an online community: from Facebook to Foursquare, we all have a place on the Internet where we hang out. Social networks have become part of our daily routine. This change in behaviour is very significant, as it shows how we react to innovative interfaces that fulfil our core human needs, and this is vital when looking at how our behaviours have evolved in online consumption.
Sites like Amazon have changed how we purchase goods and what we expect from an online shopping experience. Most notably Amazon’s recommendation engine that looks at what products the user browses and recommends others based on the products they are looking at and buying. However, there is a problem. The interaction is mostly between the system and the user.
What if there were a way to engage the user’s social graph in order get them to buy more?
It’s important to remember that we infer a higher value on information given to us by a friend or another trusted user rather than a system, even though we rely on Google to help us navigate the Internet.
Monetization methods are still a one to one affair, instead of a one to many.
- You see the product either from advertising or from searching.
- You make your purchase decision.
- You make the transaction.
Sometimes you may feel that advertising is misleading or in many cases just annoying. The most difficult step of the three-stage process is making the decision to purchase the goods.
We all like shopping, but separating with our hard-earned cash is a huge decision which frequently results in not purchasing due to risk factors and also down to issues such as price, availability, peer reviews and delivery times.
In the next section we are going to share two monetization mechanics in detail, which will show how you can leverage social mechanisms to help overcome the decision factors and motivate better user purchasing behaviours.
The Power of Gifting
It evokes the ancient anthropological need for reciprocity. It feels good to give and receive, and being able to gift a purchase is important. However, this only touches the first level of the gifting economy – it can go much deeper.
Encouraging a simple purchase decision would be as simple as adding in a trigger, a small piece of information placed in our regular daily routines in order to remind and motivate us to take action.
Here is a small example of a trigger:
- Buy for £100 – Trigger
- Gift for £90
Now what makes this unique is the ‘Buy for £100′ triggers a psychological component called Anchoring & Adjustment, which basically means that we rely too heavily (or anchor) on one trait or piece of information to make a decision.
There is a much higher chance most users will purchase the gift option, simply because it’s cheaper, nonetheless, what is important to note is that the intention of the seller is not to sell at the Buy price, but in fact to sell at the Gift price. The buy price is just there to gently nudge the user to go for the cheaper option.
Sites like Groupon and Living Social know that group buying is powerful, but despite that, they miss out key components that complete the group buying experience.
The key success factor isn’t getting X amount of people to buy the product, which is a very simplistic way of explaining the current group buying model. It’s more important to generate a conversation around the product. We aren’t talking about community building, but simple friend-to-friend communication.
A buying mechanic we have used throughout our monetization processes is to introduce a product purchase requirement making the product only available, if its purchase requirement has been reached.
A simple example would be:
- Product B requires 3 people to purchase it in order to be delivered.
- Friend A wants to purchase Product B
- Friend A sends the link or request to their friends.
- Friend A writes, “I really want to get this, I think you should too”
- Friend B and C purchase.
Now looking in more detail – why did Friends B & C purchase the product? Essentially, this is initially down to a social imperative (the need to help a friend out), but that’s just the first part. What motivates the two friends to help is Friend A exerted a small amount of peer pressure, in which it wasn’t seen as a negative effect.
To motivate the user to ask for help with applying light pressure brings the introductory of an appointment dynamic, which can rapidly increase the chance of positive purchase behaviours. Appointment dynamics are seen most common in “limited offer” deals where it makes the user think “I must buy it now, otherwise I’ll never see it again”.
Interested in more?
To find out more on how to monetize your digital content contact us, or alternatively you can register register your interest in our new Adding Monetization toolkit, which will be available soon.