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Engaging products don't happen by
mistake. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, even spectator sports, all have an underlying methodology behind it making them engaging and ultimately habit-forming.
We interviewed Nir Eyal, author
of Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products. His background in advertising and gaming led him to write about consumer psychology principles that change customer behavior. He explains how to create engaging products using his Hook model.
A hook is a 4-step
process that connects the user's problem to a company's solution, frequently enough to form a lasting habit. With successive cycles of hooks, customer preferences are changed, tastes are formed, and habits take hold. What is a Hook?
Because habits are big business.
Addictive products depend on unprompted user engagement. No advertising, no spammy messages. If you can increase user engagement to the point where people turn to your product out of habit, then you've gained customers for life. Why are Habits Crucial?
The idea is to create
a mental link with internal triggers -— most frequently these are negative emotions. So when we feel lonely, what product do we reach for? When we’ve got a question, what app do we use? How Does a Product Become a Hook?
A trigger tells us what
do next. This can be internal ("I'm feeling bored") or external (an email from the company). Trigger1
An action is something a
user does in anticipation of a reward. The less effort it takes to get the reward, the more frequently customers will complete the action. Action2
This is the payoff. But
because it's variable, it doesn't always come when or how the user expects it. Like a slot machine, this keeps the user endlessly searching for the next reward. The variability of the reward creates mystery. If the mystery is gone and the product becomes predictable, then the user stops engaging. Variable Reward3
This increases the likelihood your
users will come back to your product. e.g. When you like or comment on something, the system sends you an external prompt like an email saying “you might like these other things,” which brings you back into the “hook” again. Investment4
User investment can take several
forms such as: A. DATA: The more a user gives the company data, the better the service becomes over time. (e.g. Amazon, Pinterest) B. REPUTATION: The more a user engages, the better his reputation becomes. (e.g. Upwork, eBay, AirBNB) C. FOLLOWERS: The more a user increases followers, the easier it is to communicate with more people. (e.g. Twitter) D. CONTENT: The more content a user uploads, the more it becomes the only destination for cloud storage. (e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, Flickr) E. SKILL: The more a user spends time learning a tool/ service/software, the less likely they are to switch to a newer tool. (e.g. Photoshop) Watch THE video where Nir Eyal explains his Hook model in detail.
What a lot of entrepreneurs
sometimes fail to realize is that it's not necessarily the best product that wins. Frequently, it's the product that's at the top of customers' minds that succeeds. Making your product a habit is key to its success.
Facebook Messenger App by Kārlis
Dambrāns. https://ﬂic.kr/p/noAL4E Untitled by Johan Larsson. https://ﬂic.kr/p/9yBrLm Facebook Like by Owen W. Brown. https://ﬂic.kr/p/8pfreV NodeXL Twitter Network Graphs- Social CRM by Marc Smith. https://ﬂic.kr/p/7SGo1D Brain Lobes by Allan Ajifo. https://ﬂic.kr/p/of4Z2o Images