So you’ve created your software, it works well, the kinks are out, you’ve launched, and… nothing.

It’s extremely frustrating to have a great software with no conversions, or users not behaving in the way that you expected. So how do you increase conversions, or better yet, how can you influence user behavior to result in conversions?

In this post, we’re going to show you how to apply a research-backed behavioral model to motivate your user to interact with your app/software, and attract a specific type of user to your software. By understanding the psychology behind your users’ motivations, and catering to those motivations through an effective UX strategy, you will ensure that your app or software is effective, and attract specifically motivated users.

Understanding Motivation

There are two types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivations are external, such as receiving a reward for completing an action, for example: complete this survey and receive a $25 Amazon gift card (who could resist?). Intrinsic motivations are those that come from the individual internally, an example would be the satisfaction that comes naturally to a person from leaving a comment on a blog post (hint, hint).

So how do you understand your users’ motivations, and use it to bolster the effectiveness, and therefore perception, of your product?

By utilizing Fogg’s Behavioral Model:

Fogg's Behavioral Model

(Source: BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model:

According to this model, three elements have to be present in order for a specific behavior to occur: motivation, ability, and triggers. For example, if you want to increase the downloads of your software, the user must be:

How to Apply These Elements to Improve Perception of your Software

Let’s say your software is a step counting app. As far as ability goes walking is easy for most, and it’s okay if motivation is somewhat low because it still lands beyond the action line.

This is where triggers and type of motivation will really come into play, if you were to send push notifications along the lines of “you’re halfway there!” this would be a helpful trigger for those that are intrinsically motivated, because it eggs them on in a way that already feels good to them.

Intrinsic Motivation Example:

intrinsic 1 instrinsic 2

(Source: FitBit)

For someone who is extrinsically motivated, you can say “you’re halfway to earning your daily goal badge!” That way, they are being motivated by earning something, and you can take it a step further by having badges translate into prizes down the line.

Extrinsic Motivation Example:


(Source: Nexercise)

The type of motivators you use in your software will determine the type of users that will interact with your product. For example, promoting your step counting app as motivating users to walk more with badges and prizes will attract an audience that in extrinsically motivated, while promoting your app as one that cheers you on as you walk will attract users that are intrinsically motivated by exercise. Using one motivator or the other will attract a certain type of user, and greatly alter the perception of your brand.

In Conclusion

By understanding these types of motivations, you can be sure to concentrate on one or the other, which will speak to your user’s specific needs and motivations, thus increasing conversions and ensuring that your product is effective and useful to the user, even after they’ve hit the download button.

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  • Sreekanth Unnithan

    Great stuff Ronnie! Nice way of improving conversion by understanding the different types of motivations. It is very helpful to understand the the type of users and how we focus more on them for conversion. Liked the article especially the behavioral model. definitely going to try it for my website.

    • Ronnie Kassiff

      Sreekanth, I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Please keep me updated on your results applying this model to your site. I look forward to hearing your success story.