What is the Zeigarnik Effect?
The Zeigarnik Effect, studied by psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, is the psychological principle that explains how incomplete tasks stick in our mind more than ones we have completed. If we don’t finish something, we experience dissonance, resulting in an uncomfortable feeling. Not finishing something puts us in a state of tension and gives us an added incentive to complete the task.
Digital marketers and developers often use progress bars for web forms or payment processes. The bar reminds users how far through the process they are, and provides an incentive to complete it. The effect is often enhanced by starting the user at a midway stage so that they feel more invested from the start.
The Zeigarnik Effect is very useful in marketing as it encourages users not to stop in the middle of a task, therefore avoiding cart abandonment.