Scratch-it Ikea Effect

The Ikea Effect is Key to Interactive Marketing

You’ve just returned home from Ikea.

Cracked open the cardboard box, and dumped the contents onto the living room floor. A few hours, and 1,723 tiny pieces later, you’ve got your masterpiece: a coffee table.

This table quickly becomes you most prized possession. You knock your friends feet off it. Demand everyone uses coasters. Clean it daily.

Why does this $119 coffee table suddenly mean so much more to you than any of your other (more expensive) furniture?

Welcome to the theory of perceived value.

Around these parts we think the psychology behind perceived value is important. In fact, it’s one of the six psychological factors we’ve determined drives consumers to purchase. And, it’s one of the reasons why we think reveal marketing works so well.

The Ikea Effect

The idea of perceived value is something relatively new to the marketing world. After all, most would equate the value of something with what they paid. Thus, that $119 coffee table is valued at $119.

Not so fast. Turns out value has an emotional side to it. Psychologists have found the more effort we exert in an activity, the higher the value we place on it.

When Harvard Business School studied this, they dubbed it “The Ikea Effect.” It means that because you built that coffee table, to you it’s worth more. You’ve placed a higher value on something because you became emotionally attached to it while creating it.

Pretty interesting, right?

You’ve probably experienced this in other parts of your life. Baking a cake, finishing a DIY project, painting your house. Doing all these things yourself create a higher value in your mind and lead to positive feelings.

So what does this have to do with marketing?

Oh, quite a bit actually.

Embracing the Interactivity in Marketing

The concept of perceived value plays perfectly into something like reveal marketing.

What too many marketers focus on is getting the customer to click. But what about asking them to earn that click, to put in effort before they see the result?

Suddenly what’s behind that click feels a lot more important to them on an emotional level. Asking your customers to actively engage with your campaigns before they get the result triggers an emotional attachment and higher value to your brand.

Hungry Jacks

A great example of this is from the Australian burger chain, Hungry Jacks.

Scratch-it Ikea Effect

To compete against bigger brands they created an interactive app. Once a customer entered a store, they checked in with the app and were asked users to complete a task (in this case, shaking their phone) in order to reveal a coupon or prize.

Customers loved the concept. And, it enabled Hungry Jacks to start building a campaign that was not only interactive, but gave customers the small psychological boost that they accomplished something and got a prize because of their work.


Here’s another example of an interactive campaign that got great results. InstaEDU is an online tutoring service aimed at students of all ages.

Scratch-it Ikea Effect

They wanted to do something to increase interest in their service and get more customers. Enter interactivity.

They developed a Scratch-It that allowed users to play a game that revealed a prize of two hours of free tutoring. Not only that, but right from the prize page, users would be able to click and redeem right away, while those positive feelings and perceived value was still high.

See how it works?

Increase Perceived Value

When you create marketing campaigns that are focused on increasing perceived value, you’re going to trigger results from your customers.

The more effort they put into completing the task, the better they will feel, and the higher level of positive feelings they will associate with your brand.

Keep those key psychological insights in mind when you think about how you can increase conversions, engagement, and appeal to your customers.

Liz Froment

Liz is a marketing content writer for the Scratch-it team. She loves learning and writing about email marketing. You can find her tweeting about it and a lot more at @lfroment.