3rd Party Social Proof – $100M Brand Pulling “Little Tricks”

I found a fun little thing that the Native deodorants are using to do increase their conversions. If you don’t know what Native is, it’s an organic deodorant D2C brand that recently was acquired by P&G for $100 million dollars in cash.

The gimmick here is that they are trying to build 3rd party social proof by using a page that is named after a person who apparently is a blogger but has no following. The 3rd party page is being used to advertise their brand with a 3rd person copy which gives it a review/testimonial feel.

Social proofs are big part of social media advertising as they can increase you conversion rate by a lot. Ads that have 1M+ views and 10K+ engagement have significantly lower cost per acquisition due to the social proof alone.

After visiting the page I found out the page has no following

And the ad library is burning fuel week after week

Gaming The System & Little Tricks

I finished yesterday’s blog by asking if gaming the system is a good idea to make money or not. I have gamed the system all my life. When I ventured into internet marketing, the first platform I drove traffic from was Digg.com

It was a social news site kind of like reddit that doesn’t exist in its original form anymore. It was an insane source of traffic and Zeeshan mentored me well on how to really make the best out of it. We could get most stories to the front-page on a daily basis. We drove 10s of thousands of unique visits. Not just that, our content reached the eyes of editors of the largest publications in the world which would often result in backlinks and further traffic as well as SEO juice from them. I built my blog SmashingLists almost entirely out of Digg and sold it for a pretty hefty amount back then.

I loved it. It wasn’t just traffic, it was really high quality traffic. After the demise of digg and trying a few other things like StumbleUpon etc, I ventured into viral Facebook marketing. I did that briefly for about 3 months. It certainly was the darkest shade of grey. I don’t encourage anyone to choose this shade in their lives. It’s not worth it.

After that with my co-founders Saad and Zeeshan, we leveraged the organic traffic from Facebook by building and acquiring Facebook pages. Very white hat and we did it for the longest time. We built many websites and made a ton of money.

In summary, gamification of the system has been the heart of our internet marketing journey. I’ll go on to the point to state that if big tech companies claim that they haven’t done it to “hack growth” they lie. Wasn’t Facebook built by scrapping off the student list of all Harvard students? Aren’t AliExpress affiliate ads served on Torrent website popups? I have seen all these mainstream apps like ride-hailing, food-delivery, pretty much everything, capitalizing the grey areas.

Growth hackers study the systems, the AI, find the shortcomings, and capitalize on them. That’s what they are designed to do.

But some people suggest gamification is a small guy game. A few days ago, PG published this tweet

I agree with him.

I have seen or known 100s of people who have made millions and tens of millions all by capitalizing the “little tricks”. It’s totally possible. It works. There are probably a million case studies of millionaires who made it through beating the system.

Although, really big money, the unicorn status, the billions, are not made with little tricks and gamification. They are made by solving a problem so big that it helps millions and tens of millions people use the service or the product. I’m still willing to bet though, that the growth of these companies are still carried out using the “little tricks”.

Since people from emerging and under-developed world are often not so well off, to them $100 seems like a big deal and they would happily settle for little tricks and gamification as long as it provides them the opportunity to make that $100 and a road that would eventually lead them to become somewhat wealthy.

To finish this off, if you game the system, you’ll make it. If you build a product or service that helps millions of people, you’ll make that every hour what you’ll make with gaming the system in your lifetime. But even while you build a product or service that helps the people, don’t forget to game the system along the way.

Two Months Streak – Gamification of Your Business & Life

Today, I’ve completed 2 months of writing this blog at least once everyday. A few days ago, I spoke to my friend in a vlog about game mechanics. We spoke of one of the game mechanics that I introduced in my life called streaks. Today, I wanted to talk a lot more about game mechanics.

Games Are Awesome

Games are very very interesting in psychological terms. They are interesting because they don’t (directly) solve any problems like email or Uber does. Despite not solving any problems, game developers retain the users. And they can only do that because they hack human psychology. Because games work in this particular manner, it means game developers must have learnt a great deal from psychology and sociology research.

I Never Played Games

I haven’t really played a lot of games. Then how did I end up studying games? I did that because I read on “gamification” which is the science of taking game mechanics from the games and implementing them in your websites, apps, businesses and even your life. And so instead of reading psychology, I simply studied games as I found it to be an easier hands-on case-study of implementing human psychology for user retention and other reasons.

Why Game Mechanics

As already spoken in a post I made earlier, user retention is often much cheaper than user acquisition. So the startups are always trying to learn new ways to retain existing customers. And there’s no better way to do it than gamification of your startup.

What Can You Do With Game Mechanics

There are many many types of game mechanics. We’ve already spoken of streaks and I’ve first hand seen benefit of implementing it in my life, time and again.

Other types of game mechanics could be points, achievements/badges, leaderboard, etc. Have you noticed Careem gives you both points and a gold status badge, if you use it repeatedly. It’s done to retain you as a user.

Another type of game mechanics is to make user feel like he’s the chosen one. The chosen one feels he was born to carry out the task given to him by the business or the app. When you receive marketing material stating that you’re chosen for something, they are basically just trying to hack your brain.

Users are also driven by sense of accomplishment and progress. A lot of apps try to integrate progress into the app usage to make users feel like they are in process of solving great challenges. This makes users feel accomplished.

Another kind of gamification is creating impatience. It sounds insane when I think about it, but revoking access to a certain feature for certain amount of time and only enabling it after a certain time has passed has a positive affect on user retention. The user craves the feature despite not even wanting it otherwise. This is creating unessential impatience.

And my favorite, scarcity. Almost everyone in e-commerce uses this. Because the stock is obviously always running out and there are only 4 pieces left that would probably go away in 8 minutes and 7 seconds. The fear of missing out is triggered and you make an impulse buy.

There are many many more types of game mechanics and I’d actually like to learn some more from you in the comments below.