UX Researcher Finds Seducible Moments are the Secret to Content Success
“Seducible moment” sounds like a phrase you’d find in a men’s magazine in an article about how to get busy with more ladies.
But it’s actually a term software developer, programmer, and a user experience expert, Jared Spool used to explain how to get to the heart of content success. He studies seducible moments and other aspects of content and design at his research lab in Massachusetts, called the User Interface Engineering.
Seducible moments happen when users are engaged in free content that is meaningful to them, says Spool. As a result, after consuming the content, they are more likely to purchase related content, products, and services.
Who would expect someone who excels so brilliantly on the techie side of communications to be the person who “gets” content so well? Not me.
At least, not until I heard him speak at a talk in Austin, Texas. I was literally blown away by all of the actionable insights he shared at a sitting-on-the-floor-room-only Meetup.
Of course, he states that great design is important, too. But quality content is paramount to great UX. “Without good stories, good design is not useful,” Spool stated.
What writer is not going to love this guy? Plus, he’s hysterical.
Spool shared fascinating and entertaining examples of companies that are achieving seducible moments — and a few examples of companies who aren’t.
The New York Times — If You Wall it Will They Pay?
When I attended SXSW in 2013, one of the sessions I attended was a discussion about how The New York Time was adjusting to the “Internet age.”
One of the strategies it was implementing was a pay wall. The newspaper’s website would allow readers to read 10 articles for free each month. But to read more, they had to pay a subscription fee.
No one outside of the paper thought it would work.
It not only worked — it greatly exceeded even the venerable NYT’s expectations.
“They removed all of the ads from their site, because they no longer needed that income — and the ads were just getting in the way of the content people wanted,” said Spool.
“Not only were regular New York Times’ readers willing to pay for unlimited online access, but also so were new customers who wanted to read more than 10 articles a month.”
As if the newspaper needed a cherry on top of its success, many of the new readers also paid for a subscription to the paper version.
The seducible moment here, says Spool, is “The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning content. People understand that it’s worth paying for. You can only pull that off with excellent content.”
The NYT content consumption strategy was so successful that other media outlets have adopted it too, like the Financial Times and The Boston Globe.
Crutchfield — How it Crushed Walmart
In another fascinating case study, Spool told us the story of how a company called Crutchfield crushed Walmart in a research study conducted in his lab.
Spool and his team wanted to find out how consumers would behave when purchasing camera equipment on the two companies’ very different websites. They gave each study participant the same amount of money to purchase a camera on one of the sites. Then they watched them engage in their ecommerce experience.
Like many companies, Walmart’s camera pages simply contain the content provided by each camera manufacturer.
Unlike many companies, Crutchfield has taken a very different approach to camera content.
The company hires its own support personnel who are passionate about cameras to write all of the content they want about the equipment. This has resulted in volumes on everything from camera bodies to lenses.
If you’re looking for a camera there, you’ll find long and detailed descriptions of each piece of equipment, in-depth product research reports, comparison charts, photographs, videos, and more.
The result of the study:
On the Walmart site, users spent 89% of the money they were given to buy a camera. They pocketed the remainder (allowed in the study).
On the Crutchfield site, users spent 237% of the money they were given in the study. This means they spent 137% out of their own pocket for product upgrades and accessories.
The only different between the two sites, said Spool: “Content.”
Walgreens — Blocks UX
Not all of Spool’s examples were success stories. He put an image of Walgreen’s website up on the screen and pointed out its problems.
“Research found that people go to this site for four main reasons — prescription refills, the photo features, the location finder, and to search for exactly the products they want. Yet, Walgreen’s buries what consumers actually behind large ads.”
He noted that advertising is the antithesis of seducible moments because it disrupts users from the content they want with content they don’t want.
Now that I understand the science behind seducible content, I know I’ll be aiming to create more of those moments in my writing. What about you?
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Photo Credit: stillkost