Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 12, 2011 9:49 PM

Force And Friction

The more actions you force on the consumer, the more friction you cause.

There was talk a awhile back about forcing people to give up their email address to have access to content. I've seen this executed many ways. In one instance, you can't see anything unless you offer up your email address. I've seen other instances, where you have access to partial content but full access when you give up your email address. There are still some Blogs that require you to register to leave a comment.

These types of tactics create friction.

In some instances, the friction is good. Traditional newspapers feel that by forcing readers to register to leave a comment - and this includes a level of verification - that they're keeping out the riff raff and ensuring a higher level of quality in terms of discourse. Others might argue, that the work of registering probably turns off many people who may be able to add value to the conversation (personally, I can't be bothered to take the time to register and be validated to leave a comment on a newspaper website or Blog). Brands like The Economist know the intrinsic and unique value of their content, so the layers of friction to become a paid subscriber to their online content works for them.

One of the most challenging marketing efforts is figuring out whether or not your friction is working for you.

Adam pointed me to a service that forces you to tweet about a video on YouTube before being allowed to watch it. Avinash Kaushik (author of Web Analytics - An Hour A Day and Web Analytics 2.0) calls this "the selfish lover" (when you reach climax before your partner... and that's all you care about doing). Common logic would tell you that forcing someone to tweet about a video before they get a chance to view it could create a level of resentment. Common logic will tell you that if the video is good, people will naturally and intuitively want to share it. The moment of truth will come in figuring out if this friction doesn't cause resentment.

Remove the friction. 

Great products have the marketing built into it. This isn't anything new. Seth Godin has talked about it forever. Tom Peters has talked about it forever. If you remove all friction, if you let people truly connect and dive deep into what you have to offer, people are both smart and kind. They buy from you, they will become loyal to your brand and they will talk about it. This is the compassionate lover (first you, then me). It seems a little disingenuous to try and force it out of the gates - especially if you don't have a established brand or credible reputation in the market.

But then again... I could be wrong.

By Mitch Joel