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“You should follow me on Twitter”

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As the forcefulness and personal identifiability of the phrase increased, the number of clicks likewise increased. “You” identifies the reader directly, “should” implies an obligation, and “follow me on twitter” is a direct command. Moving the link to a literal callout “here” provides a clear location for clicking. I tried other permutations that dulled the command, used the word “please” in place of “should” and made the whole sentence a link. None of them performed as well as the final sentence.

At the very least, the data show that users seem to have less control over their actions than they might think, and that web designers and developers have huge leeway for using language to nudge users through an experience.

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