5 Facebook Consumer Interaction Drivers From Sigmund Freud

By Guest Writer 

Sigmund Freud is famous for making society’s understanding of the conscious mind versus the unconscious mind popular. The conscious mind is associated primarily with our current moment of perceptions and awareness, while the unconscious mind largely motivates the actions in our lives — even if these motivational drivers are only available to us in a disguised form. If you compare the mind to an iceberg, as Freud often did, the unconscious is the large mass unexposed below water level. Humans: We are complex beings, aren’t we? Now let’s fast-forward about 100 years: How do we use Freud’s principles to create extremely successful and engaging social and mobile marketing solutions?

Think about this short lesson from Freud the next time you make a restaurant decision from a Yelp reviewer, change your mind when opting in to a Web form, or decide to buy that pair of New Balance sneakers over Nike when presented the option in a social shopping application. Is it only because of a present perception you are aware of (price, fit, need), or does a possible unconscious motivator also propel you toward one direction over the other, which you can’t always put your finger on right away? In most successful and engaging marketing experiences, you’ll often tap into multiple parts of your mind, especially when it comes to socially connected mobile experiences.

At Stuzo, when architecting, designing, and developing mobile experiences (we’ll use both social and mobile in this post interchangeably, as the social Web is mobile, and vice versa), we’ve learned a lot over the years from Freud to create successful social and mobile engagements for leading brands. Here are our five tips for marketers to engage users to take action by tapping into their conscious and unconscious minds with the help of our friend, F.R.E.U.D.


Popularity, glamour, admiration — there are more ways to tap into this motivating factor for your audience than just making them rock stars within your social campaign (although for some, that is a perfect example of an engagement driver using fame as a motivating factor). Mobile and social web experiences can pull fame into the mix in a myriad of ways. By enabling social hooks and personalization into the experience, this driver can be amplified and provide a user with recognition in their network. News Feed, Timeline, and the other moments of interactions with our social networks are all chances for users to receive their five minutes of fame. Your social marketing solution has the opportunity to showcase this opportunity as one means of compelling action through the Fame motivator.

Have you ever seen a brand hold a contest or drawing to feature a customer as their Facebook cover photo or retweet one of their customers’ tweets? Have you ever shared the amazing run you completed and sat back to watch the likes rack up? The fame motivator may have helped compel you to do so. How can you leverage fame in your next branded mobile campaign?


Cash, product, savings — yes, they motivate, but, they need to be executed properly in your digital marketing mix. Fortunately for us marketers, mobile provides a great platform for riches-based tactics to be executed in a more personalized and location-based fashion to convert. There are multiple ways to enrich the lives — or the bank accounts — of your audience when crafting the appropriate mobile engagement programs that leverage the riches motivator. These may include coupons; buy one, get one free; push notifications to convert based on location; prizes for engagement; and many more.


Ever catch yourself with the TV on at 3 a.m. watching a charity’s heart-wrenching commercial and immediately pick up the phone (or text in), not realizing you made a donation until you see that next bank statement? Me, too. If you didn’t, you know you’ve been pretty darn close, and your conscious and unconscious minds were certainly busy at work during this decision.

There are many ways to figuratively tug at the heartstrings of users for the purposes of driving engagement by using the same motivational levers of those commercials. We see this often with corporate philanthropy initiatives online that drive social and mobile action to endorse a cause. Clicking the like button or sharing with your friend is much easier than picking up the phone these days, and marketers know just how to engage us based on our emotional relationship to a brand or a campaign. Remember, mobile customers — gasp — are also humans. When you engage mechanics that draw a response based on feelings, you, too, are learning from our friend Freud and pulling the emotion driver.


Utilities are the cornerstone of the early adoption and success of mobile brand experiences, both native mobile and mobile Web. We want to get stuff done, save time, and do it wherever and whenever we want. It’s no surprise that this is the driver you can probably identify with the most in mobile experiences — that’s because your native apps most often leverage this driver as the primary mechanism. Banking on the go? Check. Mobile microsite with store hours? Check. We see it every day. And when designing mobile solutions, there is often a place for incorporating the ability to complete an action or a routine task faster or more effectively on the go as a driving mechanism. Include a meaningful utility in your experience, and it could help create your desired customer engagement levels.


Distraction is all around us. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it’s just way too much. We lead busy lives, especially with our ever-increasing mobility. We get more messages than ever, have more apps than ever — but sometimes marketers have the opportunity to incorporate just the right amount of distraction for their customers to get entrenched in an experience powered by a brand, and barely realize it. We see this often on mobile, whether it’s an ad driving users to an immersive experience, a spin-to-win game, or a short role-playing experience to navigate the user through a branded journey. The list goes on.

Some apps may be purely utility (i.e., simple online banking), but for the most part, you will find that mobile and social engagements often introduce a mix of the above drivers for a healthy and sustainable engagement. For example, simple online banking with a seasonal promotion for a $10 gift card by signing up for paperless billing to save trees ) reads as a powerful utility-based app incorporating some temporal riches and a sprinkle of emotion. Freud may not have thought about mobile engagement in 1886, but he did teach us a thing or two.

A well-crafted mobile engagement can trigger the proper conscious and unconscious drivers. Whether the brand interaction is on your computer, mobile device or even offline, someone is attempting to connect and drive action. Pay attention next time this happens, and if you look closely, you’ll often find there is often a blend of the F.R.E.U.D. drivers at work.

As marketers, we have more opportunities for touch points with customers than ever, but we are faced with an increasingly shorter customer attention span. With the mobilization of our audience, this requires more dedication to identifying the proper engagement strategies for your mobile customer.

Mark Spangler is a partner and executive vice president of operations at Stuzo, one of the original five Facebook Preferred Marketing Developers. During his tenure at Stuzo, Mark has led the company to delivering the full life cycle on more than 800 social and mobile Web experiences, resulting in countless industry awards. Mark works with leading companies to define and execute on social and mobile strategies across verticals, with notable clients including Procter & Gamble, Anheuser-Busch InBev, MasterCard, CBS, Coach, and HBO. You can connect with Mark on Twitter.