How we helped Bolt increase conversion rate by 57% (before Uber was banned)

Case studies
2019 Mar 07
By Kristína Radová

What is there to do when facing already established businesses which have the upper hand in the field you’re about to enter? Quite a lot actually. What’s the best part? All of the solutions are (tight) budget-friendly and won’t cost you any additional expense.

This is a story about how Loss aversion, Social proof, and the Endowment effect helped Bolt grow in the Slovak market, by increasing conversion of their job ads by 57% (even before Uber was banned).

When Bolt (former Taxify) decided to make waves in the Slovak market, the general public was quite familiar with alternative to classic taxi company – such as Uber and Hopin.

It’s good when people are familiar with your line of business as it decreases doubts and reservation they might have about your product, but  it’s also a challenge to break into a market where the direct competition is already established.

Bolt has managed to successfully established itself, with the number of both its customers and drivers growing steadily. But they were Bol(t)d and wanted to see what potential was there to up their game. 

The challenge

Bolt invited us at MINDWORX to help out. Our assignment  was to increase the effectiveness of their online advertising aimed at potential drivers. In other words, to get more of the core target to click on their ads.

How we approached it 

We aren’t an advertising agency. Our approach to creating ads is different. We took a close look at the psychology of potential drivers.

Many drivers work other jobs too, so it’s always tempting to put your feet up after work and just chill. What could win people over to snatch an opportunity to drive after hours? 

Well, a different ad, perhaps? One pointing how much it would hurt to lose money. It was all in the copy. 

Loss aversion and Social Proof

Losing sucks, and we do everything we can to avoid it. Customers do too, even when it’s about things they don't have yet. The fear can make them act on impulses they’d normally ignore. So it made sense to first drawn out loss aversion from our arsenal of weapons.

This is what the original banner on Facebook looked:

As you can see the initial copy doesn’t point out to any loss, it focuses merely on the gain; what I’ll get if I do apply.

We decided to flip it, directing attention to what they would to lose, if they didn’t do anything. 

We replaced the text in the original paragraph with a simple question, “Would you rather sit at home in the evening or easily make an extra 60€?” 

This evokes the sense of loss the viewer would feel if he or she doesn’t take the opportunity to drive and earn. We are loss averse and hate losing money so it makes for a powerful call to action CTA. And the word ‘easily’ helps the choice feel like a no brainer.

Note that the copy referring to loss is subtle and implicit. Don't miss out on great opportunity is so overused that is instantly falls into a category of an unwanted ad, which is what we as customers subconsciously and instantaneously turns away from.

The copy in the bottom part, right next to the SIGN UP button, takes it all up a notch introducing a principle called Social proof, pointing out that joining, what many others already do, might be a good idea. 

This eliminates uncertainty associated with taking a leap of faith, joining an unknown company (at a time), compared to Uber which was already established. 

Potencial drivers might have following worries:

“Isn’t is a sham? Will I be treated fairly? Will I have enough work?”

What the message “hundreds of drivers in Bratislava” helps to create is a simple reasoning:

“If there are hundreds of drives in Bratislava, it must be great. I should join too.”

We put our ads to the test against the original ads. The results? Conversions rose by 54%.

You might think we could be pretty content, yet we knew Loss aversion had one more fascinating ramification to offer.

The endowment effect

We offered several versions of the ad. The one which proved to be most effective used the Endowment effect.

We know it’s tempting for many in advertising to ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater’. We resisted the temptation and kept the good stuff – the benefits of driving for Bolt while not changing the content much. Simple adding of another interesting facet of consumer behavior into the mix, gave it more resonance.

The long and short of the effect we used is that when we own something, we value it beyond its objective value. And sometimes even imagining owning something can produce the same results. The illusion of ownership, makes feel like a rightful owner,  fearful of losing it and more likely to act should it come to it. 

So how does one create a sense that people already own that extra €750? All we did was tweaking the copy about average monthly income and replaced the original text  “Drive and earn 1800€ a month” with a simple question “How would you use an extra 750€ a month?”


The copy on the bottom also communicated the benefit of receiving weekly payouts. Interesting benefit for those living paycheck to paycheck.

What do you think happened? Conversions went up 57%.

As people read the ad, they started imagining they owned the money and what would they use it for and suddenly it was harder to give the money up even though they hadn't earned it yet. 

As you can see behavioral insights combined with smart copywriting makes advertising more effective. More people clicked on the ads and applied for the job, which increased the number of registered drivers.

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