To improve efficiency and reduce costs, government agencies provide more and more services online. Yet, sometimes people do not access these new services. For example, prior to our field experiment intervention, Ontario spent $35 million annually on infrastructure needed for in-person license plate sticker renewals. In Canada’s most populous province, only 10% of renewals occurred online. Our intervention tested variations in messaging mailed with sticker renewal forms that encouraged consumers to renew online. We changed text and color on the envelope to try to make the benefits of the online service more salient. In addition, changes to text and color on the renewal form itself emphasized either consumer gains from online renewals or losses associated with in-person renewals. Each intervention increased use of the online service when compared to the unaltered messaging. The combination of salience and gain framing achieved the highest number of online renewals: a 41.7% relative increase.
Academic Paper: Castelo, Noah, Elizabeth Hardy, Julian House, Nina Mazar, Claire Tsai and Min Zhao (2015), Moving Citizens Online: Using Salience & Message Framing to Motivate Behavior Change, Behavioral Science & Policy, 1 (2), 57-68.
Summary: IdeaExchange – Faculty Focus: Nina Mažar (2016), How “Choice Architecture” Changes Behaviour, Rotman Management Magazine, Fall, 103-106.