IDG Contributor Network: The behavioral economics of authentication

A key strategic client of ours shared that their app suffered a material abandonment rate when they required their customers to implement strong passwords. Maybe this group doesn’t use a password manager. Maybe they got tired of the password-reset process. Whatever their reasons, these customers just abandoned the app, loyalty incentives and all.

The app-abandoning customers may not go to a competing brand immediately, but there’s a higher risk that they will find an easier, less-secure experience elsewhere.

That isn’t doing anyone any good. We – consumers and organizations – need to change our behavior. Organizations can now implement authentication technologies that improve security and user experience. Consumers just need some nudging to follow along.

Instead of pushing, nudge

In “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness,” Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein described a method for altering people’s behavior by changing the way choices are presented – the choice architecture – in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing the incentive structure. Since consumers don’t want to sacrifice convenience for security in the authentication experience, let’s explore how we might apply the nudge at login.