The Infinite Scroll
If there’s one thing I hope The YF Fam takes away from YF material, it’s that tiny changes can have a huge impact:
How many times would you rewatch a video?
None, if it’s okay.
Twice if it’s pretty good/funny/educational etc.
Three, four times if it’s hilarious or exceptional.
Five times in a row? Probably not.
Now how often do you watch a gif, where you don’t have to do anything but watch.
Probably at least 2x all those numbers.
The default has changed from default nothing to default watch.
It took effort to rewatch, it now takes effort to stop watching. You need to pause or scroll past it or take some other kind of action.
That seemingly innocent act of having to press play is a huge barrier.
Why? Because it’s so much effort?
I don’t think so.
I think it’s because it’s a prompt, and that prompt makes you conscious of what you’re doing.
When you’re conscious of what you’re doing, you’re less likely to behave impulsively.
Why do you eat fewer chips if you eat it from a bowl vs. the bag?
Because having to refill the bowl four times, gives you the feeling that you’re a fat ass and that feeling increases with every refill.
Look at the infinite scroll on social media vs. page numbers (like Google).
Ever since infinite scroll became the norm, things like stickiness and time on site increased massively.
Instagram, where you’d have to go to page 2 after 15 posts and page 3 after the next 15 wouldn’t be nearly as addictive.
Because that mindless scrolling would be interrupted. (Something that would actually be a good thing if the company had your best interest at heart and not that of advertisers.)
*When theaters tried to boost popcorn sales, they tried many things inc. two for ones etc.
But people felt like they were being gluttonous. Eventually, they noticed that the key to getting people to buy more was to simply make the bucket bigger.
I have a strong suspicion that over 80% of family bag chips in supermarkets aren’t bought with the intention of feeding the family. But rather by a single person who can subconsciously use that as a justification to buy the bigger bag.)
More on counter-logical ways to get people to behave differently and boost business in this essay series: Why Spend Less When You Can Spend More? Part 1