Nate outlined what he called 10 psychological drivers that engage users and support product growth, including fear of missing out, the herd mentality, vanity, and personalization.
Nate left Microsoft to join Zillow, where he managed the creation of the company’s mortgage business, among other products.
1. Fear of Missing Out & Product Growth
FOMO, we’ve all had it, right? Some of us feel FOMO more strongly than others, but there are things you can do to tap into that—such as scarcity, urgency, and competition.
A historic example is limited-time offers.
- Would anyone ever buy a Shamrock shake if they were sold every day of the year?
- The manufactured urgency created around beanie babies and the scarcity of them.
- Digital products using clocks to build urgency, whether it’s a coupon that expires or a shipping deal.
Many companies say they only have a certain number of items available at this price or how few remain in stock. Putting limits on product and inventory availability can go a long way.
Another way to elicit FOMO is by showing that you could miss out by revealing that you’ve already missed out.
This is the idea of showing that other people want it. A site may show the number of views, likes, how many people brought that item today, or there’s a bunch of ways that you can do this, but it shows the item is popular, which can start driving some of that fear of missing out.
2. Herd Mentality
This is based on the concept that we are humans and we are social creatures. We grew up in communities or groups and as a result, we have a natural tendency to look to others for confirmation, such as authority figures, social proof, people around you, or influencers.
Wheaties sold a lot of Wheaties by marketing professional athletes and Oprah can pretty much sell anything by putting it on her list. Herd mentality is essential for product growth.
If you’re a startup, showing that you’ve been published in a paper or proof that ‘Hey, I’m legit,’ creates authority. For B2B, it is more about who uses you, who are your customers, or do you have proof that you’re a good company.
Even small things can add credibility, such as having a lock icon on your site, the e-trust stuff, those items can dramatically change your conversion rates in shopping carts and conversion paths.
It’s powerful and coming back to the concept of if other people like that restaurant, gave it good reviews, then it must be good. There’s a lot of power there for product growth.
Being able to give testimonials, like reviews, on a website—especially for a new product—can go a long way. But it’s important to think about who you’re targeting because you want testimonials to come ideally from your customers.
About the speaker
Nate is Vice President, Product at Zillow and has been with the company for over 13 years. He is responsible for Zillow’s Growth and Rich Media Experience teams, helping expand Zillow’s audience and unique rich media. Nate has built and managed a number of Zillow products, including its Growth teams and mortgage business. Nate joined Zillow from Microsoft and has an MBA from the University of Washington and a CS degree from DePauw University.
About the host
I believe in our ability as humans to solve problems in creative and simple ways. I’ve had the good fortune to work on and with some of the brightest and most creative teams and people in various roles in product development. These experiences have enriched me personally and I carry them with me to every new challenge. I like big problems that have beautiful and simple solutions. I’ve worked on financial products for people of fixed income, products that bridge humans across the planet in moments of their greatest need to connect as well as tools that disambiguate, equalize and democratize access to data and content. The companies I’ve worked with range from startups to large public companies where chiefly my role has been about unlocking and connecting customer unmet needs to the people engineering and designing the products. I enjoy playing many roles and leverage the tools and resources at hand to bring products to market. I’ve direct experience when and how to deploy artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced cognitive services. My patents cover areas in video and conversational interfaces, platform extensibility, mobile applications, and large scale software. Following to be read by computers, not humans: Interests include: Human rights, feminism. food and farming sustainability, Non-Profits, product management, information retrieval, UX Design, future-of-work, artificial intelligence, machine learning, communications, virtual assistants, digital media, branding.