The Psychology of Impulse: 3 Tricks to Get More Clicks


According to Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners, by employing the latest findings from the field of cognitive science it is possible to increase the conversion rates of web sites. On the imedia connection website, the 90-9-1 rule of participation inequality is referred to, describing the relationship between heavy contributors, intermittent contributors and “lurkers”, who seldom, if ever, take action.

In order to elicit a behaviour such as a click, argues Dr B J Fogg, psychologist at the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, three things must be present: motivation, ability and an effective trigger. Motivation breaks down into sensations of pleasure seeking and pain avoidance; anticipation, which balances hope with fear; and social cohesion, which exists in the tension between the need for social acceptance and the avoidance of rejection.

Avoidance of negatives appears to be a stronger motivator than seeking positives. Ability can be seen in terms of trained behaviours, overcoming resistances due to unfamiliarity and complexity. Triggers include facilitators, which communicate a call to action combined with an assertion that “it’s easy”; sparks, which combine a call to action with an additional motivator; and signals, which work on subjects that already have both motivation and ability.

The Fogg behavioural model contains a detailed toolbox that marketers can use to elicit desired online outcomes.