“We like something more when we’ve invested more effort into it”

More effort leads to more love (but only when we are able to complete our actions). Customization is about more than individual preferences. It is also about the effort put into it. This customization effort increases liking.

This effect is also called the ‘Ikea-effect’, since Ikea lets it’s customers assemble their own products.

The IKEA Effect from Advanced Hindsight on Vimeo.

Scientific research example:

Imagine you’re given a sheet with clear instructions on how to create an origami crane. Then you make one. Dan Ariely found that you value your own creation more highly than other people’s. This is due to the fact that you’ve put a lot more effort into it.

Dan proved this further by making the task harder. Imagine you get the same task, but now with unclear instructions (“for the sake of science” Dan removed the legend). Now the task is harder and involves even more effort.

The result: with unclear instructions, your creation looks even worse (according to others), but you value it even higher than your first creation. Furthermore, you would think that after putting more effort into your creation that others would love your creation as well…

commitment bias or labor-love effect

Online Persuasion tips:

  • Allow people to tailor your product (not just to satisfy individual preferences, but also to invest effort and thereby liking your product more).
  • You might even allow your customers to create and design their own products.
  • In your sales dialogue don’t just focus on usability (decreasing effort), but play with the opposite as well (“play hard to get”) to find the optimal mixture of effort that increases liking but still ensures that your customers find the digital sales dialogue easy enough to finish.


Having to close a pop-up requires effort. This might explain why Kras.nl found a 30% increase in conversions among visitors that close a pop-up questionnaire (see also ‘self-consistency‘, they are closely related)…

Online questionnaire - self-consistency

Online questionnaire – self-consistency

Further reading on the commitment bias or labor-love effect: