“Often our motivation – and thereby actions – can be ignited rather easily”

When something is really easy to do, but our motivation isn’t very high, we tend do nothing. However, ‘sparking triggers’ can rather easily boost our motivation, and thereby do make us act.

A ‘Sparking Trigger’ will make us act when:

  1. We notice it,
  2. it levers one or more relevant motivations and, most importantly,
  3. the trigger occurs at a moment when we are both motivated and able to perform that behavior.

Clarifying example:

B.J Fogg uses the following example for sparking triggers: he hadn’t used a Facebook account in a while, so Facebook automatically sent him a Trigger mail to get him to sign in again. The mail states:


You haven’t been back to Facebook recently.
You have received notifications while you were gone:
1 message, 9 friend requests

The Facebook Team

Although B.J Fogg describes it differently, Facebook clearly focuses on increasing the motivation to log in by mentioning the message and friend requests, making this a clear ‘Sparking Trigger’ (focused on motivation, not ability).

Online Persuasion tips:

Assuming that ability is high, but motivation needs some leverage:

  • Identify which motivational elements your customer is lacking in order to take action.
  • Analyze what information will fill in or compensate for each gap in their motivation.
  • Then, analyze what the best moments are to intervene with this information, and choose the most appropriate medium and/or device accordingly.
  • Find the most appropriate medium for your nudge, and design your trigger to perfectly suit this medium and moment.
  • Finally send out your ‘Spark’ at the chosen moment, via the chosen medium, including the motivation leveraging information.


A/B Test:

Paras Chopra, founder of Visual Website Optimizer, does (obviously) a lot of A/B testing. He tested a Sparking Trigger by presenting visitors of www.visualwebsiteoptimizer.com with a pop-up that interrupts their visit, containing a trigger to sign up. The trigger boosts our motivation by emphasizing ‘Free’ and a Call-to-Action that says [Create A/B test ->]. The effect was amazing! It increased signups by 50% in comparison to  Paras’ original homepage.

VWO - Sparking Trigers

Sparking Trigers

Further reading about facilitating triggers: