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Jovialis
02-12-17, 18:53
Companies mapping out their digital strategy often tell me their goal is to be thought leaders. But after digging deep into the psychological drivers of interactions with websites and mobile apps, clearly the conversation needs to be about behavior, not thought leadership. The goal should not be for consumers to think about your product, but rather to integrate it into their daily habits. And as a result, drive retention. Let me explain.

I left the house the other morning, drove to the train station, hopped on the train, and only then I could not for the life of me remember if I’d locked the front door. After several frantic calls to my neighbors, I found that I had. Like many of you, I leave the house at the same time every day, as part of my daily routine. My routines are so frequently repeated that they’ve become unconscious – turning off lights, hanging the car keys on the key rack, feeding the cat, checking Facebook on my smartphone.

Checking Facebook? Yes, using a mobile app is the exact same type of psychological habit as most day-to-day household actions such as locking the door as you leave the house. A Duke University study found 45% of our everyday actions are the product of habit. Your challenge as an app creator is to make your solution part of that 45%.

Brains are happier when they don't think.

How does using a mobile app become as habitual as locking the front door? Let’s look at what happens to our brains when we form habits.

Your brain loves routine. Routine allows you to follow the same route to work every day while your brain does other things like thinking about your work presentation. Routine frees up your brain’s resources for more complicated actions. This is why our brains reward us for routine and encourage us to create more routines. For example, after we turn on the light switch several times and the light turns on, our brain learns that this is what it should expect. The next time we flip the switch, we are rewarded with a small burst of dopamine. After several similar repetitions, a new association is created and this behavioral pattern is etched into our neural pathways – a new habit is formed.

This is how consumers develop habits. As we already know, habits, rather than conscious decision-making, shape about 45% of our everyday choices.

And there is one thing that brains love even more than routine: positive surprises. Positive surprises deliver bursts of dopamine that are three to four times larger than those produced by habit-based rewards. Your team won the big game, you get 500 likes for a blog post you wrote? You’ll get a dopamine burst.

So, when it comes to apps, we need to avoid abstract goals like thought leadership, and aim for clearly defined actions. The conversation about your app needs to be about behavior that will increase user engagement. What do you want your customers to do? Check in with friends on your app? Open it twice a day and take a specific action? Share content? Click? Read?

Our brains can only turn behavioral actions into routines. The simpler the action, the quicker your users can establish habits. The more clearly we can define the specific behavior we’re trying to initiate, the faster we can move on to the real questions that app creators should be asking themselves: How can we trigger user to engage via a desired behavior, and how can we transform it from a conscious action into a subconscious habit?

Trigger habit-forming behavior.

Stanford University researcher BJ Fogg suggested that you need three things for human behavior to occur: motivation, ability and a trigger. Triggers are divided into two types: internal and external.

External triggers guide as toward what needs to be done next, for example, the Like button on Facebook or the play button on an embedded video. These are crucial to keep users working smoothly on your app, and should be thoroughly considered in user interface design. However, to truly connect your app with user needs and create associations that lead to habits, you need to intimately understand their internal triggers.

Internal triggers are the inner motivations that compel us to use an external trigger. In the context of apps, internal triggers are what drive us to use, and come back to, our favorite apps. We use Waze to establish a feeling of control in an uncertain environment – traffic or getting to a new destination. We turn to Facebook when we feel the need to connect with people. We play Candy Crush when we feel bored.

Whenever we act on these internal triggers, we get a dopamine reward, reinforcing our behavior. In all the above apps and many others, we receive the bonus of a pleasant surprise - a Facebook Messenger message, game rewards, or any other small surprises that result in the dopamine burst that strengthens the habit loop even further.

How to make your app a habit.

Start by identifying one or two simple patterns of behavior connected to your app, and designing cues and rewards around them. If the behavior patterns you choose are easy enough, and the rewards are on-target, this will motivate repetition. Behavioral repetitions trigger the creation of new associations, which evolve into habits.

So, while thought leadership is a lofty marketing goal, remember that it’s the last thing you want your users to engage with.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/behind-online-behavior/201712/how-create-addictive-experiences

Pretty interesting read about how the brain works. I can see how fostering repetition through routines can create an addictive experience. Though, I don't see how it could be that stimulating. Wouldn't it feel better to break away from routine, and have new positive experiences? Despite the fact that people constantly check social media, is not simply for the action; but to get something new out of it: To have some type of social connection.

Angela
02-12-17, 20:52
Pretty interesting read about how the brain works. I can see how fostering repetition through routines can create an addictive experience. Though, I don't see how it could be that stimulating. Wouldn't it feel better to break away from routine, and have new positive experiences? Despite the fact that people constantly check social media, is not simply for the action; but to get something new out of it: To have some type of social connection.


I don't quite understand that part either.

I also wonder what it says about me that I'm not on social media at all, not Facebook, not twitter, not anything. This site is the only social media type site I frequent, and I try not to give out too much identifying information.

One thing, though, I want a T-shirt with this on it. :)

Brains are happier when they don't think.

Thinking too much is definitely a problem, however, for another quote:

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

Jovialis
02-12-17, 21:10
I don't quite understand that part either.
I also wonder what it says about me that I'm not on social media at all, not Facebook, not twitter, not anything. This site is the only social media type site I frequent, and I try not to give out too much identifying information.
One thing, though, I want a T-shirt with this on it. :)
Brains are happier when they don't think.
Thinking too much is definitely a problem, however, for another quote:
"The unexamined life is not worth living."

I'm rarely on social media myself, and I feel like this forum has taken the place of it too. Probably because I like to learn about interesting subjects, instead of the dumb stuff people share on social media sites.

I guess there needs to be a balance. Usually when I'm with certain friends, the conversations are less intellectual; and my brain get's to think less :) But I can't stand to do that for long. Though I do have fun with them.

Jovialis
02-12-17, 21:26
Another thing, is that unlike on social media, I will actually debate someone on here if I disagree with them. Which is also a mentally stimulating activity. Everything is just too personal on social media. For example, I wouldn't argue with my second cousin about his opinion about politics.

Angela
02-12-17, 22:20
You're right; politics has become toxic. The number of people who can debate it without starting to insult the intellect or character of the other person is becoming vanishingly small.

There isn't a single soul in my life who is interested in populations genetics; that's why I have to indulge it here. :)

However, I do have friends who share certain of my intellectual pursuits. I have a lot of friends in my book club, and no, we don't read romance novels or crime procedurals: it's history, biography and serious fiction, i.e. Pulitzer Prize or National Book award type stuff either here or in Canada/UK. It grew out of a "Woman's Club" in town. Men have often asked to join, but most of the women don't want it, so they vote it down. It's too bad, imo, although a lot of the men read the selections anyway and discuss the books with their wives, so we get their views second hand. One of my best friends is also a music teacher/voice coach, and she's my go to person for serious music.

If I didn't have these outlets I would start to bore you people here with posts about them. :)

I also have plenty of people with whom I discuss cooking, or movies, or clothes and make-up and hair, or even celebrity gossip if I've recently been to the supermarket. Some of them would never join the book club because they're intimidated by it, I think, but some are members. There are well-rounded, down to earth people out there who do have intellectual interests. Some who have none of those interests can be wonderful, good people, and lots of fun.

I hate when people put other people into boxes and judge them. That's a big part of what's wrong with American elites today.

bicicleur
03-12-17, 10:40
Brains are happier when they don't think.

It is not 100 % correct I guess.
The article says that in absence of challenging or stimulation activity the brains fall back into routine.
The brains like challenging and new activity but they get tired very quick.

For me, this is the only place to discuss archeogenetics too.
It's a hobby which I practice since 8 - 10 years now.
I can't discuss this topic with my friends in real life.
It takes to long to explain what it all is about.
When you socialise or when you're with a group of friends, the topics discussed change at least every 5 minutes, nobody is interested in a topic that lasts longer to explain.
Developping an app is developping a 1 to 1 relationship.
It is the only way to get the interest of a person for longer than 5 minutes.

Jovialis
04-12-17, 18:38
When I first started getting into population genetics, I tried to talking to some of my friends about it. Though they didn't really seem to have much interest in it. I guess if you're going to have a conversation, others want to give their input; instead of being lectured for too long.

However, I've noticed that DNA testing, like 23andme, is actually a pretty good conversation piece. Everyone I've spoken to about it is always intrigued to hear about the results, and/or share a desire to do a test themselves. It's also a good way to kind of put your foot in the door, for more elaborate discussion of genetics; explaining what some components actually mean.

firetown
04-12-17, 18:54
Pretty interesting read about how the brain works. I can see how fostering repetition through routines can create an addictive experience. Though, I don't see how it could be that stimulating. Wouldn't it feel better to break away from routine, and have new positive experiences? Despite the fact that people constantly check social media, is not simply for the action; but to get something new out of it: To have some type of social connection.

That's the whole trick. Life is repetitive. Similar experiences repeating themselves. There are many different types of new interactions you can have on SM, but in reality they more or less all provide you with a feeling of being connected and maybe even fill the lack of knowledge you crave. Not meaning necessarily scientific facts or wisdom, but it can be random info about some singer you are into.