Introducing persuasive design principles in digital ticketing solutions
1. February 2023
The basic principles, elements and techniques that persuasive design uses to influence human behaviour and decision-making, is crucial to growing ticket sales in a digital and mobile age. Persuasive design should be used to enhance the ticket buying process, making it more personalized, engaging and convenient.
SOCIAL PROOF AND GROUP THINK
The first key principle of persuasive design is social proof, a theory first formed by Robert Cialdini in his book “Influence”. The term suggests that individuals are inclined to imitate the actions of others when making decisions. Within the ticketing domain, it can be applied displaying number of tickets already sold, specific data on who already bought tickets like location, age or gender. Testimonials from previous guests, or an invite to engage with other guests before the event. Social proof like these, build trust and increases the likelihood of potential customers making a purchase.
Social proof is not a new discovery in Behavorial psychology. In his book “Victims of Groupthink” psychologist Irving Janis address the phenomenon “Herd Behaviour”, explaining how the individual conform to the actions of the group, as a way of fitting in, avoiding social rejection, and maintaining social status. Anyone that has ever been involved in fan culture, knows the value of owning the right artifacts, the right collectibles, being able to document being a part of the community.
Besides the obvious ways to incorporate social proof in mobile ticket solutions, a deeper understanding and acceptance of the individuals need for being an accepted part of a group, can be used for improving the entire ticketing and event experience. If you’ve never been to a soccer match or to a classical music concert, you have no idea how to fit in. The pre-event possibilities the mobile ticket offers can educate you, so you feel comfortable that you’ll fit in, and get the herds approval.
NUDGING A SCARCITY MINDSET
Persuasive design borrows from many different scientific traditions, and uses the economic concept of scarcity, where demand for a specific good or service is higher than supply. In a Persuasive design context, it has been proven several times that people are more likely to take distinct action, if they are made to believe that the opportunity in front of them is limited or rare.
Adapted to the process of selling digital and/or mobile tickets, this can be applied emphasizing limited number of available tickets. Creating a sense of urgency showing a countdown to the upcoming event.
The use of game design elements in non-game settings, is well known, but incorporating interactive elements to the digital and mobile tickets, may be one of the most obvious sales increasing elements to apply from the persuasive design cookbook.
Anyone that has ever played any kind of computer game, knows how crucial the feeling of progress is, quite often more important than the actual gameplay. In almost every signup proces, purchase or any other digital activity, your progress is documented and presented to you visually, to reward you and encourage you to continue. This basic element has a profound effect on the human brain, and the reward expectations impact on the cognition is well documented in multiple studies within neuroscience.
WITHOUT A REFERENCE, NO PERCEPTION EXISTS
This widely accepted truth, was made operational by Dan Ariely in his book “Predictably Irrational”, introducing the term “Anchors”. Based on the idea that people base their perception, and therefore, there decisions on reference points or starting points. What Dan did was telling us all what we already knew, if you want to sell a cheap $10 watch for $20, display it next to a fancier watch that looks almost the same but cost $100.
When a future concert guest is picking out seats at a venue, selling the more expensive seats uses the same concept to alter perception, but instead of emphasizing the difference, the reference point here downplays the difference between the price for the cheap seats and the 10 to 20% more expensive seats.
THE ART OF UX & UI
If UX was a religion, scripture would be “Don’t make me think” by Steve Krug. It defined how the user experience, usability, user interface, was essential to the success of a product or service, and how to ensure that.
Any obstacle that the customer experience, most be either removed, improved or reduced, so that the process in itself becomes as seamless and smooth as possible. Friction is the enemy, and logic is what 9 out of 10 finds natural, and not what the company, the engineers or even the UX expert think is the right way. If the user misunderstands, the design is wrong.
PERSUASIVE DESIGN ENHANCES THE DIGITAL SOLUTION
The psychology and concepts behind the Persuasive Design craft, is wisdom man has known always, but in a digital age it has become a discipline that grows stronger with every new technological possibility. As a toolbox for creating more efficient and seamless solutions and well working marketing funnels, it is powerful, as a way of understanding and enhancing the entire customer journey, it can be the determining factor for success.
Cialdini, R. B. (1984). “Influence: The psychology of persuasion.” New York: William Morrow.
James B. Rowe, Doris Eckstein, Todd Braver, Adrienne M. Owen (2014) “How Does Reward Expectation Influence Cognition in the Human Brain?” Behavioural and Clinical Neurosciences Institute, Cambridge, UK
Steve Krug (2000) “Don’t make me think”
Irving Janis (1972) “Victims of Groupthink”.
Norman, D. A. (2013). “The design of everyday things.” Basic books.
Schell, J. (2014). ” The art of game design: A book of lenses.” CRC Press.
About the Author
CMO at Venue Manager A/S
BA in Marketing Management
Diploma in Economics
BA in Communication