How to Promote User Actions with Attractive Rewards

May 23rd, 2017

How to Promote User Actions with Attractive Rewards

Before you get started with the article, make sure to go through the following in the series:

Now that you have triggered users and made them take an action, it is time for your product to perform.

How to Promote User Actions with Attractive Rewards

Every product has an objective to meet. For product motivation we need to cut down the steps of an intended outcome in order to maintain user engagement. And what draws user engagement other than a product solving a problem.

In this article, we will let you know about the Rewards. Rewards that give users what they want or deliver what it claims.

Understanding Rewards

While we can take rewards to be a technical functionality on the mobile or web, they are more related to the Human Psychology.

In the early 1940s, two researchers collaborated to learn about the special areas of the brain. They implanted electrodes in the brains of lab mice and connected a liver that gave the mice the access to give themselves tiny shocks.

What came as a surprise, lab mice were hooked to the sensation in their brains and would continue to press the lever time and again. The results were quite same when the experiment was conducted on humans. In some cases, researchers had to forcefully take away the machines from subjects who denied to relinquish them.

While researchers assumed that it was the pleasure center of the brain (nucleus accumbens), recent studies prove them otherwise.

According to the test undertaken by a Stanford professor, Brian Knutson, it is not the reward (shocks) that the people are hooked to but the gamble of pressing the lever. More than the stimulation, people love pressing the liver and waiting for the outcomes.

Understanding Rewards

As stated in Nir Eyal’s book

“The study revealed that what draws us to the act is not the sensation we receive from the reward itself, but the need to alleviate the cravings for the reward.”

Lesson 1: Rather than focusing on the reward, make sure you are creating cravings for the rewards.

Understanding Variability

Have you ever watched a baby’s first encounter with a dog? If not, it is time you watch it on Youtube now. The mixed emotions of the baby show how genuinely we are surprised when we encounter something unusual.

Understanding Variability

But, what happens after 1 year of the encounter? The baby knows it is a dog and it doesn’t hold baby’s attention anymore. By now the child has discovered all the traits and is least surprised by any of the dog’s activities.

Considering the situation, we can compare the dog with a newly launched product which claims something great. Without variability, the product will be monotonous. We will become like children and lose interest once we know what actions the product will result into. However, once we get a habit of it and start using them without any conscious thought, we love every feature of the product.

Variability encourages unpredictable nature

Lesson 2: Variability encourages unpredictable nature and keeps user motivated.

How To Design a Reward System that Satisfies User Cravings?

Rewards are not a free pass

In the year 2007, Jason Calacanis came up with a brilliant Question-Answer website that rewarded users of bounty points. The fun part was that users could collect bounty points if their answer was chosen to be the best amongst the rest. These bounty points could then be exchanged in lieu of real money.

At first, people seemed to love what Mahalo came up with.

However, their numbers came down as people started losing interest while another Q&A site began to boom- Quora.

Quora came up with a strategy that gave users social acceptance rather than monetary rewards.


Though the rewards offered by Mahalo were variable, people were somehow not interested in what was being offered. Why? Because people who are on a Q&A website are not looking to make money.

If people with great knowledge wanted to make money, it would be easier for them to work on an hourly basis rather than look for websites like these.

In simple words, Mahalo’s rewards were not satisfying to users it was targeting.

This is where Quora took the edge and stole the show. They offered social acceptance and appreciation to brainy minds. Now, that’s something unusual and soul satisfying!

Which Rewards You Should Offer?

Variable Rewards must satisfy the type of audience you are targeting. It is important that you understand how can you solve user’s problem and offer something exceptional.

Understanding what encourage users to come back to a habit-forming product offers an opportunity to designers to build products that match with user’s interest.

At ILLUMINZ, we help you build products that perform well in the real world. With our out thinking solution and user-centered approach, we help you create a Hook Model that works wonders for your business. Send your business details on

Up Next: The Final Stage of the Hook Model is Investment. Simply rewarding the users what they need is not enough. You need to make sure people invest in your product and eagerly wait for updates.