University of Padova


Persuasive Web

PERSUASIVE WEB: RECIPROCITY AND VIRTUAL REWARD STRATEGIES IN PERSONAL DATA OBTAINING ON WEB SITES.

In the last decades Internet has become one of the best communication medium in the occidental world.
The currently trend of the market is to exploit its large mass of navigators in order to create new strategies for advertising and new services aimed to online business. New services include for instance online trading and selling, managing auctions (like eBay), financial managing, digital communication (like email, SMS, MMS, telephone over the net), and customer service and satisfaction.
An increasing number of companies builds up internal Internet divisions (or buy this favours from a third party) to develop new market strategies and that kind of new services.
According to this scenario obtaining personal data from Internet navigators is a crucial mission of these companies: those data are utilized to investigate the target customers and to project advisor campaign; some strategies are aimed to persuade the navigator in providing his personal data.

In this research we tested some of these strategies, within the theoretical field of the Captology.
Captology’s model is focused on the persuasive outcomes that can be obtained with a well-designed technology and was baptized by professor B.J. Fogg from Stanford University (http://captology.stanford.edu) in 1996.
We tested two macrosuasive strategies currently used in web sites such as Virtual Reward and Reciprocity.
We also studied some elements of Microsuasion in one experimental condition.

To design the microsuasion elements we analysed and compared some existing Internet sites and we applied the founded elements to the experimental site.

An example of microsuasion analysis
Picture 1: an example of microsuasion analysis

To maintain an ecological validity of the research, we built a knowledge-based website, loaded it up on a public server and finally we post the address in big forums on the Net.
The users were motivated to visit our site in order to find two guides about the video compressing on DVD media and, subsequently, they were asked to fill in a simple questionnaire requesting the personal data.

A screen shot of the first guide: How to create a non-standard VCD (XVCD) from a different kind of video (using TMPGenc) The second guide explains how to create a DVD-Video from different kinds of video using Nero Vision Express
Picture2: a screen shot of the first guide: How to create a non-standard VCD (XVCD) from a different kind of video (using TMPGenc) The second guide explains how to create a DVD-Video from different kinds of video using Nero Vision Express.

In the Virtual Reward situation the access to the guides was dependent on the response at the questionnaire, while in the Reciprocity condition the access was free, and a request to fill in the questionnaire was displayed before and after the guide.

A screenshot of the persuasive website without microsuasion elements A screenshot of the persuasive website with microsuasion elements
Picture 3: a screenshot of the persuasive website without microsuasion elements Picture 4: a screenshot of the persuasive website with microsuasion elements

RESULTS

The result of data collected over about 1 month shows that the strategy of Reciprocity is more persuasive than Virtual Reward.

A simple chart about results: the efficacy of Reciprocity strategy on the increase of the number of Personal Data provided
Picture 5: a simple chart about results: the efficacy of Reciprocity strategy on the increase of the number of Personal Data provided.

We can also see that microsuasion elements do not produce a direct persuasive effect on the number of personal data provided, but a decrease in the number of questionnaires responded.

An in-depth statistical analysis (ANOVA and T-Test) shows the presence of an interaction between the micro and macrosuasive strategies.

Graph showing the interaction effect found
Picture 6: the interaction effect found

We can observe that at the presence of the Reciprocity strategy the elements of microsuasion lower the number of personal data provided. In the Virtual Reward condition the trend is reversed.

In a nutshell, we can conjecture the intervention of another variable, like the ‘trust effect’ or ‘fear of the spam’.

At present we are writing an article about these findings and we have also planned to examine this phenomenon.

Click here to see the Poster (pdf about 300 kb) presented by Giovanni Petrucci at “HTLab Day: Cognitive Science and Technology 06” at University of Padova on May, 26, 2006.

You can study in deep the Captology in the Stanford’s site (http://captology.stanford.edu) or with these books:

– Fogg, B. J. (2003), Persuasive technology: Using computers to change what we think and do, San Francisco, U.S.A.: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. Now (2006) even in Italian, edited by Apogeo

For face-to-face persuasion you can read:

– Cialdini, R. B. (1984), Influence. The psychology of persuasion, New York, U.S.A.: Quill William Morrow and Company.
The Italian version is edited by Giunti: ‘Le armi della persuasione’

And for human-computer relations you can read

– Reeves, B. & Nass, C. (1996), The Media Equation : How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places

In the occasion of the Italian translation of his book, prof. Fogg released an interview about Captology.hese articles from the Espresso:

http://espresso.repubblica.it/dettaglio-archivio/893251

and the Portalinus

http://www.portalinus.it/redazione/penne.asp?idpenne=184&startposition=1

by Francesca Tarissi.


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