Social Media

Planned behaviour, risky decisions and mental shortcuts when designing a live video on social media for a football club

Football clubs provide brand experiences through live video on social media for their spectators by producing audiovisual content. Producers of live videos, often in-house marketers or communication managers, can implement psychological principles as discussed by Yocco (2016) to deliver more enticing live videos. This post assumes a fictitious setting to portray how these psychological principles can be applied to the conceptualisation and production of live videos on social media.

A fictitious scenario

FC Xample intends to produce a Facebook live video, which informs the club’s followers about new products or services. The followers will want to watch the live video, because the information provided are relevant for them. Assuming that the fictitious goal of the club is to lead viewers to their FC Xample TV website – a website that offers live-viewing of all games for a yearly subscription fee of €100 – and convert them into paying subscribers, the live video would assist viewers making the planned decision to sign up for the FC Xample TV service.

Planned behaviour

The scenario of planned behaviour which includes behaviour, normative, and control beliefs looks as follows:Planned behavior)

Behaviour beliefs

Yocco (2016, p. 19) notes that “Behavior beliefs are what people think will happen when they do something. […] They form their attitude toward the behavior.” In the case at hand, John, who follows FC Xample on Facebook, thinks that watching the live video will provide him with first-hand and useful information. The information will help him make a decision that leaves him better off. Furthermore, it will give John and all other viewers a time advantage, given that the information is communicated live.

Normative beliefs

According to Yocco (2016, p. 20), “Normative beliefs are the expectations people think others hold toward a behavior. This leads to the formation of subjective norms, or how the individual feels others judge the behavior.” The live video on Facebook provides viewers with the opportunity to interact with the producers and other viewers. Hence, followers of FC Xample will perceive watching the live stream and commenting on the happening as a social norm, potentially strengthening the community feeling and loyalty towards the FC Xample brand.

Control beliefs

Yocco (2016, p. 21) explains, “Control beliefs reflect individuals’ thoughts on whom or where the power to choose to engage in a behavior lies. […] Perceived behavioral control is the level of ease an individual assigns to completing the behavior.” A Facebook live video is easily accessible through a desktop or laptop computer and offers full mobile access through a smartphone. These features give a high degree of control to all followers on where and how they wish to view the stream. Furthermore, it gives viewers the choice to interact with the brand (producer of the stream) or other viewers. Or, they can decide to view the video without interacting in any way.

Next, we will discuss how FC Xample will reassure viewers that a subscription leaves them better off and addresses the uncertainty element.

Risky decisions and mental shortcuts (heuristics)

The live video aims to provide relevant information that motivates viewers to pay for the subscription of FC Xample TV. This will make them a part of an exclusive community which revolves around receiving a full package of football entertainment and never miss a game. In order to achieve that, the club needs to reassure the viewers of its live video that signing up and spending €100 a year leaves them better off than not subscribing. They also need to address the respective uncertainty accordingly. Yocco (2016, p. 42) explains, “Oftentimes, people use mental shortcuts called heuristics to reduce the effort of making a decision, especially when outcomes are uncertain or time is constrained.”

Risky decisions and mental shortcuts

According to Yocco (2016, p. 47-48), the five key factors that affect the decisions that people make include:

Reference point: Start of the decision process – i.e., John wants to watch all games of FC Xample, but is not sure if he should sign up for a yearly subscription, since he has not enough information on the service.

Loss aversion: People assign a greater value to losses than to gains – i.e., not watching the live video will leave John worse off in regard to knowing what FC Xample TV offers in exchange for the yearly €100 subscription.

Certainty effect: People are more likely to make a decision that leads to a sure (certain) gain. When all outcomes are uncertain, people are more likely to engage in riskier decisions with better potential outcomes – i.e., John will consider spending the €100 for the subscription and visit the subscription website, if he is certain that he will be better off with it.

Disposition effect: People cash in on a guaranteed gain too quickly and hold on for the potential to turn around a loss for too long – i.e., as soon as the producers of the live video can guarantee John a gain by subscribing, John will subscribe. As long as that is not the case, John will continuously postpone his subscription.

Purchase of insurance and warranties: People overweigh the probability of suffering a loss – i.e., pay money on premium for unlikely event; this does not directly apply to the case at hand, but is a good point in regard to general e-commerce activities.

John uses heuristics in order to edit his choices and evaluate outcomes. A heuristic is an approach to problem solving. In psychology, it can be considered a mental shortcut that plays a crucial role in the evaluation stage of decision-making (Yocco, 2016). Yocco (2016) discusses six heuristics that can be effectively used when conceptualising persuasive online communication.

For simplicity reasons, we will use Facebook posts of Juventus FC to depict the six heuristics mentioned by Yocco (2016). Click here to read our discussion of «Juventus FC brand content on Facebook designed for heuristics».

Book reference:

Yocco, V. S. (2016). Design for the Mind: Seven Psychological Principles of Persuasive Design, 1st ed., Shelter Island, NY: Manning Publications.

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