Psychology Of Frequency And Stickiness


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Presentation from Psychster Inc., a research firm dedicated to the psychology of social media, to the Puget Sound Research Forum in 2006 on the psychology of reach, frequency, and stickiness.

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Psychology Of Frequency And Stickiness

  1. 1. The Mouse’s Revenge: The Psychology of Reach, Frequency, and Stickiness David C. Evans, Ph.D. Psychster Inc.
  2. 2. Formula for Total Page Views <ul><li>Users/mo * Visits/user/mo * Page Views/user/mo = Total Page Views/mo </li></ul><ul><li>People * Checking * Clicking = Total </li></ul>People Checking Clicking
  3. 3. Increasing Checking and Clicking is more important than increasing People. <ul><li>1 additional visit per user increases total page views by 2.5 billion. </li></ul>Why? Adding 1 to any column increases the total views by the product of the other 2 columns. <ul><li>1 additional page view per visit increases total page views by 637 million. </li></ul><ul><li>1 additional MySpace user increases total page views by 464. </li></ul>0:4:06 34,046 5.7 1.4 4,166,000 Reunion 0:10:56 148,817 9.1 2.5 6,456,000 LinkedIn 1:01:31 6,560,961 35.1 8.0 23, 346 ,000 Facebook 0:47:41 773,599 33.9 3.2 7,078,000 MyFamily 2:20:03 27,328,175 43.4 10.7 59,613,000 MySpace 0:08:21 50,160 6.8 4.5 1,624,000 Friendster 0:06:18 13,267 3.7 1.9 1 ,858 ,000 Tickle 0:09:25 119,707 5.2 2.9 8, 078 ,000 Evite 0:08:53 259,224 9.6 2.0 13,992,000 Classmates Time Per Person (hh:mm:ss) /month TOTAL Web Page Views (000) /month & CLICKING Web Pages Per Person Per Visit /month CHECKING Visits Per Person /month PEOPLE Unique Audience /month
  4. 4. How do we do it? Ask B.F. Skinner.
  5. 5. <ul><li>Design </li></ul><ul><li>“ Variable interval reinforcement schedule” (Skinner, 1939) </li></ul><ul><li>Unknown time until cool content appears </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent anticipatory responses </li></ul><ul><li>Checking: More site visits </li></ul>People * Checking * Clicking <ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Any UGC: Email, comments on profile, message boards </li></ul><ul><li>Breaking news </li></ul><ul><li>Netflix queues </li></ul><ul><li>Ebay bids </li></ul><ul><li>Email and alerts </li></ul>
  6. 6. People * Checking * Clicking Remember how often you used to hit “Send/Receive” before they implemented popup alerts? That’s because it was a variable interval reinforcement schedule.
  7. 7. People * Checking * Clicking People * Checking * Clicking <ul><li>Design </li></ul><ul><li>“ Variable ratio reinforcement schedule” (Skinner, 1939) </li></ul><ul><li>Unknown actions until cool content appears </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent responses without extinction </li></ul><ul><li>Clicking: More page views without tiring </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Games of chance, sports </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>MySpace FOAF </li></ul><ul><li>Realty, product browsing </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube video </li></ul>
  8. 8. People * Checking * Clicking Have you ever clicked dozens of YouTube videos to find one that’s funny? That’s because it’s on a variable ratio reinforcement schedule!
  9. 9. <ul><li>Metcalfe’s (1996) Law: The value of a network increases exponentially with the number of its members. </li></ul><ul><li>“ We have 80 million members!” </li></ul><ul><li>Some special human group sizes: </li></ul><ul><li>4 people – conformity group (Asch, 1949) </li></ul><ul><li>15 people – sympathy group </li></ul><ul><li>150 people – community group (Dunbar, 1992; see Gladwell, 2000) </li></ul>Deindividuation (Zimbardo, 1969): The release from social norms that occurs when people are absolved of their identities. The Internet medium provides de-individuation. This is traded for content like an asset. Don’t ask for an email on the first page of a site. You must “buy” it with content or engagement. People * Checking * Clicking
  10. 10. Recommendations <ul><li>More checking: Build in an unknown time interval </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Add email, comments, or a message board. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add an RSS feed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Display new content at random intervals. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize or eliminate email alerts except monthly. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>More clicking: Add a slot machine </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Display your database of content in a random rotation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t replace browse with search without due consideration & testing. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>More people: Market to the small group not the society </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Add four testimonials or recommendations. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Market virally. Tell people to join with friends, not the world. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build the site to pivot around existing groups. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build a business model where people register not for their own benefit but for the benefit of a close other. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t ask for the email on the first page. Pony up something first. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. About Psychster <ul><li>Our mission is to leverage the theoretical views and experimental rigor of psychology to assist social media ventures. </li></ul><ul><li>Our-philosophy is that end-users are taking control of their media in a Web 2.0 world. The more you understand them the better. </li></ul><ul><li>Our people are Ph.D. trained social scientists with extensive business and publishing experience in social software and social media. </li></ul><ul><li>Our clients are publishers, advertisers, designers, academics and entrepreneurs with online investments. </li></ul>
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