It is time-consuming and expensive for an online business to identify their exact target audience on the Internet. Quantitative research through website analytics helps uncover general information, like some demographics, but building a user profile this way lacks a deeper understanding of the target market.
Therefore, knowing the actual users that visit and interact with websites across the Internet, will help businesses create a successful customer profile and thus communicate with the right audience. This is where Droppster came in and addressed the problem.
According to a BI American survey among marketing professionals, identifying the target customers is a challenge most marketers face. Businesses with both physical and virtual stores might find out that their customers are totally different and their offline research do not apply to online audiences.
The idea was to let users control and interact with their online activity. By doing so, the system automatically generated a personalized ranking of visitors for any website on the Internet and humanized anonymous unique visitors, transforming them into real people, performing real tasks.
The main benefit was that it allowed website owners to identify their loyal clients and preset their target audience for future campaigns. We called this concept “reverse nanotargeting” since it’s the individual customers that find you, instead of you looking for them.
The solution came in the form of a gamification system that ranked both Internet users and websites and acted as a counter of online visits that rewarded users for browsing the Internet.
Using a bookmarklet, users could record any website visit they make by “dropping by” a website, and use them to get 12 unique titles and real rewards from our partner websites. They were also able to see their personal online stats, share their visits and follow visits of friends or famous users.
The first step was figuring out a simple structure and user journey we could start with. We needed a profile page, where users could easily access the feed containing dropped-by websites, their activity and their general individual ranking.
It was also important to encourage social connections between users by allowing them to follow each other, liking dropp-bys but also manage their profile information and have access to metrics regarding their online activity.
The main action required to record a visit was clicking the “Dropp by” button, which involved a user behavior that had to be considered when designing the system.
In order to create this kind of habit, I made sure we integrated a few supporting elements into the experience, offering:
● visual feedback every time people used the button, through an interactive animation on the dropped by page. This was acting as a visual reinforcement, confirming the action
● individual and general ranking titles awarded to the most active users. It was a bragging right based on a technique called reciprocation, in which we offered something in return for their effort
● prizes and Easter eggs, given after a random number of dropp-bys. It was a variable ratio of reinforcement, in which rewards are offered after a variable number of actions performed by the user
Whenever users dropped by a website, metadata about the visited page was recorded and stored. This information included time, date, domain, title, image and description of the page, which we used to build a feed of recommended websites inside each user’s profile.
The feed was a key element for making users return to the platform, since it gathered interesting destinations on the Internet, made by you and people you followed. Users could like or redropp other dropp bys or undropp their own visits.
Usability wise, the interesting thing was that all the entries were generated with only one click using our bookmarket, making this the simplest system for sharing a webpage.
Titles represent a way to acknowledge and reward the most active users on the Internet. Once users owned one, it will be displayed on the top of their profile.
There were 2 types of titles, general and individual, with 12 titles each.
Titles for general rankings were awarded to the first 12 most active droppsters. The activity taken into account represented the total number of dropp-bys recorded on all Internet websites visited by users. These were the most prestigious titles awarded on the platform.
The same thing applied for the titles for individual rankings. They were awarded to the first 12 most active droppsters and represented the total number of dropp-bys recorded on a specific website visited by users. These were also very prestigious, especially for popular websites like Facebook, Twitter or Youtube.
My goal was to emphasize the 2 main components of the platform that would make the users return: the feed, in order for them to find inspiration and the user rankings, to check on their current status.
It was also very important to maintain a visual hierarchy of the navigation and emphasize elements like main actions and feed entries.