4 October 2023

Digital Technology Guru

Digital Technology Guru Reviews

Digital Nudges Based on Weather Can Motivate Health App Users, Study Finds

2 min read
Digital Nudges Based on Weather Can Motivate Health App Users, Study Finds

Researchers from the University of Minnesota have found that sending targeted digital nudges based on the weather can motivate health app users to increase their exercise and stay active over time. This study, published in Information Systems Research, aimed to reverse the declining effectiveness of push alerts used health app companies to encourage engagement with fitness.

The researchers partnered with a health app company in Asia and conducted field experiments to determine the most effective message framing based on current weather conditions. They found that during sunny weather, messages focused on health risks were the most effective in increasing exercise, while during cloudy weather, messages focused on health benefits were the most effective.

Notably, the study found that these tailored weather messages continued to resonate with users over time. The researchers repeated the nudges four times over a 55-day period and observed consistent results.

The study supports the theory of “mood as a resource,” which suggests that positive framing can uplift individuals in a bad mood and motivate them to take action, while negative framing can serve as an attention point for individuals in a good mood. By framing the messages with health consequences, the researchers aimed to create a strong connection with app users.

Furthermore, the researchers found that the optimal message pairings were more effective for users with lower exercise levels and those living in lower-income areas. These pairings also resonated with individuals using the app to achieve health goals such as weight loss.

However, the study also identified a subset of users who enjoyed exercise and responded better to the opposite weather-messaging format. This nuanced finding highlights the adaptability of digital nudges based on weather to cater to different audiences.

The findings of this study have practical implications for the mobile health app industry, which boasts over 500 million active users. Integrating weather-based designs into health apps can better motivate users to stay active and healthy, as demonstrated this research.

– University of Minnesota
– Information Systems Research