Add elements of ownership and possession.

Elements of ownership and possession is the fourth part of the Octalysis Framework. The older a person is, the more attached they are to their things. We all like to collect things. But what’s more interesting is we value things that are already ours much more highly than things that we do not have, even when the market value is exactly the same. The perceived value of our own watch is much higher than of a watch on the store shelf.

That’s why this strategy is so powerful. Once a user earns something in the product, they will be much more engaged and will value the product more—because of the virtual good they have there.

While implementing this, remember that you always want to motivate users to make a desired action. You should start with a question: What do I want the user of my product to do? Then design a system that will make your user to do this.


  1. Let your user build from scratch.
    Instead of giving your user the move-in-ready house, let them decorate it and decide how it will be furnished. The same strategy works for virtual products.

  2. Make your users collect the set.
    This is one of the most powerful techniques. It creates a desire in the users to collect all the elements and complete the set. The collectable elements might be characters, items, or badges.

  3. Create economy with exchangeable points.
    If you create a point system that users really value, they will be willing to trade the points for other virtual goods. Creating a good economy is not easy, though. First of all, you must make the points valuable to the user.

  4. Give your users something to monitor, something to look at constantly.
    A good example of this is Google Analytics. Show users charts, graphs, and graphics of things they care about.

  5. Personalize your product to the user, so they will not imagine using anything else.
    In a game, this can be done by learning a user’s past behavior and customizing the experience based on that. For a product, a very good example is Waze: it learns from the users where they want to go every time they open an app. If a user opens an app at 8 a.m. during the week, Waze will ask if the user wants to go to work. The app learns from the user’s behavior.


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