In today’s app-driven world, time spent in apps dominates mobile usage, but 25% of all apps are used just once before being discarded. Few and far between are those that inspire loyal use. Top 100 apps across the globe including Facebook has been able to increase the time spent by users by nearly 10%, as per a report from Opera Mediaworks.
The biggest question here is how to improve user engagement. One of the concepts of developing high engagement app is Zeigarnik Effect
What is Zeigarnik Effect:
As per the research by the Scientist Bluma Wulfovna Zeigarnik in 1927, we remember incomplete tasks better than completed tasks. It is due to the task-related brain initiation which is there till we complete it. The human brain has a tendency to remember unfinished/incomplete/interrupted tasks better than the completed or finished tasks. This effect can be used as a concept to improve the user engagement.
How Zeigarnik Effect can be used to develop high user engagement:
Leaving the unfinished effect: Always try to leave an impression on the user that the task on the app is unfinished. In various apps especially Training/Games where status bars or completion percentage are meant to improve the user engagement, we find such unfinished status.
Developing the product ecosystem: As per the Zeigarnik effect, a user tried to acquire the entire product ecosystem due to unfinished effect. It is predominantly seen in the case of Apple products where the users keep on adding new products launched by Apple to help them get the sense of completeness. It is used wisely in app development where the roadmap can include launching various independent modules at different times to improve the engagement. However, we need to remember that there should not be any dependency; otherwise, it can be a big detractor.
Bringing a sense of competition: Have you ever thought why user engagement is high on apps like Facebook & Twitter? One of the reasons is the user’s hunger to get more likes/comments on their posts. Even Orkut did well in India and primary reason was the testimonials which led to a better user engagement. It is because every person compares with another to judge the completeness of their task. Hence, if the product feature allows, then accommodating likes may not be a bad idea.
Gamification: Have you ever wondered why games have too many levels or stages. One may have a desire to finish all the stages as soon as possible. The Zeigarnik effect explains the above behavior. The catch is that we need to reward the user for the completion of every level or stage. We, humans, have a tendency to go for more rewards to experience a sense of completeness.
In the end, we can conclude that psychology plays the most important role in driving user engagement. Multiple companies have used this concept for various products across the century and is still relevant in today’s world.