Want to increase conversions? Increase the number of steps
Here is a best practice when designing interfaces and interactions: Reduce the number of steps.
You reduce the number of steps in completing a task thereby reducing the barrier and having better conversion on the task.
But time and again we have seen examples of a counterintuitive practice, where increasing the number of steps in a task has increased conversion. There is a very good example from twitter from a few years back. Luke Wroblewski explains it quite well on how increasing the steps to Twitter’s on-boarding process and making it gradual, boosted the signups by 29%.
Recently I saw something similar with Upworthy’s Newsletter signup interaction. They have broken this into two steps.
Let’s see what happened here. Yes, it is a two step process instead of directly asking for an email ID to signup for the newsletter. However, they have used a principle from the persuasion expert’s dictionary called the “Power of Commitment”. A bit of introduction first:
Power of Commitment
“I LIKE TO DO WHAT I SAY.”
This principle defines that we like to think that our behavior is consistent with our beliefs. Once you take a stand on something that is visible to other people, you suddenly feel a drive to maintain that point of view to appear reliable and consistent.
Lets break the Upworthy’s interaction:
Step 1: Upworthy applies this principle by asking for a relatively minor, yet visible, commitment from you by asking you if you agree with a feel-good statement. Also notice the color of the “I Agree” button? They know that if they can get you to act in a particular way, your belief is reinforced.
Step 2: So now that your belief is reinforced, they tell you that they are also committed to the idea and ask you to join the mission and receive good content in your mailbox. Also notice how the button “I’m In!” is laced with commitment.
I would like to see how many users have signed-up for Upworthy’s newsletter. However, my bet is that it could be better than websites which have a subscribe link in the right side of the page.