A few of months ago, I was visiting a friend down in Los Angeles.
We were hanging out at his place, chatting and catching up.
His girlfriend was sitting a few feet away, in the kitchen, watching a YouTube video on her phone.
It was pretty loud, so I asked her what she was looking at.
She came over and sat between us.
In the video, a muscular, blonde-headed fellow with surfer hair ran around with an air horn–blaring it at friends (and strangers).
The horn sounded like it was lifted straight from a train. It must have been at least 140 decibels.
It was literally deafening.
These air-horn shenanigans went on for 5 or 10 minutes, at which point the video ended.
At that time, he “only” had about 8 or 10 million subscribers on YouTube. Today he has 15.1 million.
He’s a phenomenon.
Which is why I decided to watch 2 hours of Logan Paul videos the other day. I wanted to understand why he’s so popular, and how he’s been able to grow his subscriber base so quickly.
And I think I’ve solved part of the puzzle.
In fact, he asks a lot.
His videos have more calls-to-action in them then anything else I’ve ever seen on YouTube.
In the first 2 and a half minutes of the video below, Logan asks the viewer to buy his new merchandise AND subscribe to his channel.
A minute later he gives someone in the video the link to his YouTube channel–and the person tells Logan that he’s “already subscribed”.
Then, at the seven and a half minute mark, Logan gives out the link to his merchandise website again…
You get the picture.
These calls-to-action are so fast (they don’t last longer than 2-3 seconds) that they don’t derail the narrative… but they prompt his audience to do what he wants:
1. Buy stuff
2. Subscribe to his channel
Which brings us to today’s behavior design lesson…
Years ago, when I first started doing behavior-design work for technology companies, I noticed that a surprising number of apps failed because they didn’t “bug” their users enough. After signing up, users would get the obligatory “thank you for signing up” email, but nothing else.
So, inevitably, people would forget about these apps and move on with their busy lives.
You can contrast this timid approach with that of Facebook (the most successful app of all time), which sends dozens of follow-up emails to inactive new users–prompting them to do stuff (“add friends!”, “post a photo!”).
They’re not sending out these reminders to frustrate people. They’re sending them out because they work.
And there’s a general life-lesson here.
If you want people to do something, you should just ask them.
Sure–you can take the passive approach and hope they’ll do what you want, but you’ll be much more effective if you just boldly make your request.
Logan is a testament to that principle.
And his numbers don’t lie.
Some people may think that asking for things (especially so frequently) is obnoxious.
But what would you rather be: annoying or forgotten?
Annoying or out-of-business?
I’ll choose the former any day of the week.
Which reminds me…
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