Monday, October 29, 2012

LinkedIn lesson in engagement: keep the number fresh

LinkedIn do a lot of things well when it comes to influencing the behaviour of their market, and today I thought it worthwhile to point out one of the tricks they are using: keeping stale information fresh!

Change the number by changing how it's calculated

Every few days the number of people who have viewed my profile changes...but not necessarily because the actual number of viewers has. What do I mean?  LinkedIn cleverly update the count of viewers by changing the time period over which the viewers have been counted.  Where today I may have been viewed by '6 people over the last 3 days', tomorrow I might see that I have been viewed by '10 people over the last 7 days'.

Is this important? You betcha!  It keeps my interest because the number looks different and so I feel compelled to click through to see what's changed.  This interest keeps me engaged with LinkedIn both emotionally and transactionally, in other words, I don't just clock the number, I click through (where they then try to upgrade me to premium).

What's the behavioural technique?

This is the same tool that can be used to make mortgage payments or car finance seem less scary. For instance, you may have seen car ads like this Lexus example that diminishes the purchase price by promoting a weekly repayment instead.  

What trick are they using?  It's called Denominator Neglect, where we focus on the numerator (ie the thing that we are getting like 'viewers') rather than how it's calculated (ie over how many days).  Like a muffin, it's what's on top that counts!

Lessons for your business

Three lessons from what we've covered.1. Your buyer is most likely to be persuaded by the numerator rather than the denominator, so consider how you can best utilise this in pricing,2. Don't underestimate the benefit of putting a new spin on some otherwise unchanged statistic because it may reengage your audience and3. Make sure that you are improving the life of your buyer with any of these tactics because influence is about win/win whereas manipulation is win/lose and a fast track to failure. 

PS Why not join the People Patterns mailing list?  Every month you'll receive a short wrap-up of behavioural tips for business. Click here for the 20 second sign-up.

1 comment:

  1. Bri,

    My first comment slipped into a digital abyss when I tried to post it, so here goes round 2.

    Ok. You are so on the money and after I read your last 4-5 blogs I feel like my brain and persona have been diagnosed with "behavioural economics thought syndrome".

    Seriously, it is rewarding to know that I am not alone in my thinking - I just never knew there was terminology for it (now I'll be going to the library at uni to follow up on it).

    I'm certainly no expert but I'm glad the foundations of behaviour economics are part of my personal tool kit and I will avidly follow your blogs and newsletters, as well as spread the wisdom of your words. I'm glad that I now have avenues to hone my thinking and applications of behavioural economics (I will be more conscious practising and there will be plenty of it. My day job is in the QLD public service...I spend the majority of my day reminding myself of the qualities of the people I know and work with so that I can work positively and productively).

    I found your writing style very comfortable to read (blogs tend to lose me very quickly). It is relaxed but professional and I felt great synergy.

    I found your blog via links from an article in Smart Company newsletter about botched loyalty rewards, because yeah, the Coles campaign was crap and I used to snigger at the Woolworths plain and simple ad campaign - I would have loved to have been in the boardroom the day that was hatched. lol

    Great choice of business name too. Congratulations.

    I look forward to your next articles and I'll be watching my LinkedIn stats too - yes, they are offering me a free upgrade to try Premium for one month but I have to provide my credit card first...huh? No way. So that's a a fail in my books. I reckon if you're going to offer something free as a try before you buy, if it is a good product your customers will sign up...they don't need to succumb to failing to remember that automatic billing will kick in if they don't cancel their free trial before such and such - there you go, a topic for an article perhaps?

    Great stuff, Bri.

    All the best,

    Susan Jarvis

    Head Honcho @ PR for the Little Guy
    Townsville, QLD