The Growth Newsletter #155
Video retention mechanisms. Psych Energy. 2x daily use gamification.
Happy belated Martin Luther King Jr. day to all the Americans in the crowd.
I'm Canadian, but I feel MLK day is a great reminder to everyone to fight to make the world a better place. To right a wrong. To relieve some pain and suffering.
Although we're not all fighting for social rights, entrepreneurs are all working to make tomorrow better than today. Big or small. Macro or micro. We see a problem, and we're working to fix it.
So here's to all the doers out there 🥂
Topics for the day: Video retention mechanisms. Psych Energy. 2x daily use gamification.
Let's dive in
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1. Include a strong "retention mechanism"
Insight from Jenny Hoyos and MrBeast.
Last week I shared Jenny Hoyo's structure for her 10-million view YouTube Shorts.
Viral videos immediately open a loop that viewers desperately want to close.
But your video needs to have a built-in "retention mechanism" to keep them engaged throughout the entire video so they don't just skip to the end to close the loop.
Nobody does this better than MrBeast. Examples:
Survive 100 Days in Circle, Win $500,00
Instead of just watching the contestant sit in boredom in an empty house with limited food, MrBeast does things like break the house in half, hire a marching band to play music all night, and hire creepy clowns to stand outside and stare in through the windows.
$10,000 Every Day You Survive Prison
Every day the contestant is in the room, he's forced to give up one of the items in the room, making it progressively harder to be there. It's engaging to watch his suffering amplify.
MrBeast takes it up another level by hiding a $100,000 check in his guitar. You keep watching just to see if he finds it.
$1 vs $1,000,000 Hotel Room!
Comparing hotel rooms at different prices levels has a natural retention mechanism as we're all curious to see them ramp up to $1,000,000—and pick our favorites.
If you plan to make videos, including video ads, study MrBeast's videos. Ask yourself:
- Why is he doing this?
- Why am I still watching?
Basically everything in his videos are intentional retention and engagement mechanisms.
2. Measure your funnel's Psych Energy
Insight from Darius Contractor.
Psych Energy (coined by former Head of Growth at Airtable, Darius Contractor) is your visitor's emotional energy level as they go through your funnel.
- 0 Psych = "f*** this"
- 50 Psych = neutral/indifferent
100 Psych = "I'm in love"
Every positive interaction adds to their Psych. Every negative interaction subtracts from it.
The amount they have when they hit your site depends on HOW they get there. Branded search, assume > 50. Cold email link click, assume < 50.
It also depends on how they feel about your brand in general from previous interactions (directly or indirectly). A brand with a great reputation and positive word of mouth will lead to more people having > 50 Psych when they hit.
Things that add to their Psych (and increase conversions):
Things that subtract from their Psych (and decrease conversions):
- Bad design or reputation
Slow loading pages
Confusing UI or UX
- Vague copy
- Form fields
In short: Build up their Psych high enough before you deplete it by asking them to do things like entering email, card info, address, add a profile image, etc.
Audit your funnel to maximize Psych before conversion steps.
3. Gamify 2x daily use to combat churn
Insight derived from Duolingo and Duoplanet.
Churn kills growth.
Combating churn is a mix of:
- Selling to the right person in the first place.
- Having a great product that solves an ongoing problem.
- Wowing them with great onboarding so they start using it.
- Keeping them hooked on your product.
This tactic is for #4.
Duolingo is the best at gamification. They've turned what is one of the most boring and gruelling things to do (learn a language) and made it fun and addicting.
They do a ton right but this is about their Early Bird and Night Owl chests:
Early Bird & Night Owl Chests
If you complete a lesson before Noon, you'll get a Early Bird chest giving you an 2x boost to XP from lessons for 15 minutes. BUT you can't open it until 6PM. You get a push notification when it's ready to open.
Then between 6PM and Midnight if you complete a lesson, you get a Night Owl chest (same reward) that you can only open it the next morning (again with a push notification).
For this to work, Duolingo had to gamify in others ways first:
- Gaining XP let's you compete with friends & strangers. And people get super competitive about this.
- Every day you do a lesson you add to your streak. There are people with a streak of several years—my own record is ~500 days.
Therfore, the reward is actually meaningful to people, and it costs Duolingo nothing to give.
And the chests encourage using the app TWICE per day, not just once—and gives them an excuse to send you a push notification in a non-annoying way.
Takeaway: A hooked user that uses your product multiple times per day is very unlikely to churn any time soon. Get creative with incentivizing frequent use.
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I love nothing more than boring business/governments being silly:
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