When you need to make an ecommerce website as effective as possible, you need to focus on the big things. Trust, checkout flow, good product descriptions etc. This is what will make the difference.

It’s a little bit different with apps or websites that you use daily. First, those are not selling you anything. Not directly. Secondly, they have different metrics important to them. Optimizing for time on site and engagement is completely different than optimizing for sales. Lastly, because you use these sites so often, you’re familiar with all the elements of it. So you notice even the small and subtle changes. With an ecommerce site it could be your one and only visit.

This is where micro nudges come in.

A micro nudge is a well-timed small animation that prompts the user to do a “small” task that they may have otherwise forgotten or not have taken notice of.

Here’s an example from Instagram:


The sliding “Add a comment…” element is a micro nudge.

It’s not shown on default, but once the user seems interested in the post (aka the user has paused in scrolling to look at a post), the slide down animation nudges the user towards a desired action: commenting. Commenting is a small action that’s easily forgotten so the nudge serves as a reminder.

The action is hidden by default. It’s only shown when the user’s most likely to comment — when the user’s interested in the post. The slide-down animation captures the user’s attention and reminds the user to take the action when they’ve already been primed to do so.

Here’s another example from Instagram. Same concept — the tags are only shown when the user has paused and seems interested in the picture.


LinkedIn tried something similar with their “Be the first to comment” animation under posts with no comments yet. What they did wrong is showing it under all non-commented posts, regardless if you were interested in it or not. It created a lot of visual clutter and could easily become annoying if you were hassled too much to comment on stuff of no interest to you.

The main purpose of a micro nudge is to prompt the user to do a “small” task that they might have otherwise forgotten or not have taken notice of. If the user is already interested in a post, then asking them to comment is a “small” ask. If the user isn’t interested in a post, then asking them to comment is “bigger”.


Essentially, micro nudges work best when…

  • The task is small and the nudge is serving as a reminder.
  • Discriminatory — it is well-timed and only shown when user has “expressed” interest. If it’s shown all the time, the nudges could become distracting, feel forced, or just annoying.
  • The nudge is easily noticeable and not hidden.

The next step would be to identify which actions are important, potentially interesting or useful for users or customers, and focus on those. Try different ways of attracting attention.

Micro nudge: a micro animation for behavioral change


PS. Here’s my micro nudge: like GrowRevenue on Facebook. Or follow on Twitter. Sorry, it’s not animated. Can you live with it? I don’t have the Instagram’s funding 😃

PPS. If you did like or follow, thank you. And high five!