Using scarcity to drive engagement in mobile apps

In behavioural economics, scarcity is a well known approach that drives engagement and desire in a product but can also lead to some “irrational” decisions by users. It is widely used in the business world in order to drive sales and in gaming as one of the fundamental methods in monetization. Scarcity can be applied in different forms in things like time, access, resources and others. With the introduction of scarcity, products may become more attractive and their perceived value increases, putting this way some sort of pressure, driving actions by users under the fear of missing an opportunity. When properly placed, scarcity can also create obsession and desire feelings, leading this way to engagement in mobile apps.

Creating the illusion that there is a limited quantity of a certain product available and only a select few will be lucky enough to get their hands on them, this increases people’s need and want to acquire them. This principle does not only apply to material things, but in the gaming world it can be used for game elements and certain app privileges or powers to use in the game. Making something appear to be rare increases people’s perceived value of it and their desire to have it. Just look at the efforts that collectors make to acquire a special edition of a product, how far fans of a band go to get their hands on limited tickets to a concert, and much much more.

Pokemon Go uses this approach extensively with the introduction of several rare Pokemon for players to catch. Some Pokemons are really difficult to find and have certain super powers, making users eager to hunt them down and catch. Some of these Pokemons appear only in specific areas and they are very difficult to spot and catch. There are even some Pokemons that are so rare to find that there is no record of anyone seeing them in the game yet, giving rise to rumours and creating great hype around them. Needless to say, these are some of the most sought after Pokemons, and people strive to level up in an effort to find them and catch them.

In behavioural economics, scarcity is a well known approach that drives engagement and desire in a product but can also lead to some “irrational” decisions by users. It is widely used in the business world in order to drive sales and in gaming as one of the fundamental methods in monetization. Scarcity can be applied in different forms in things like time, access, resources and others. With the introduction of scarcity, products may become more attractive and their perceived value increases, putting this way some sort of pressure, driving actions by users under the fear of missing an opportunity. When properly placed, scarcity can also create obsession and desire feelings, leading this way to engagement in mobile apps.

Creating the illusion that there is a limited quantity of a certain product available and only a select few will be lucky enough to get their hands on them, this increases people’s need and want to acquire them. This principle does not only apply to material things, but in the gaming world it can be used for game elements and certain app privileges or powers to use in the game. Making something appear to be rare increases people’s perceived value of it and their desire to have it. Just look at the efforts that collectors make to acquire a special edition of a product, how far fans of a band go to get their hands on limited tickets to a concert, and much much more.

Pokemon Go uses this approach extensively with the introduction of several rare Pokemon for players to catch. Some Pokemons are really difficult to find and have certain super powers, making users eager to hunt them down and catch. Some of these Pokemons appear only in specific areas and they are very difficult to spot and catch. There are even some Pokemons that are so rare to find that there is no record of anyone seeing them in the game yet, giving rise to rumours and creating great hype around them. Needless to say, these are some of the most sought after Pokemons, and people strive to level up in an effort to find them and catch them.

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