Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products – Nir Eyal
The secrets that companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon don’t want you to know
“Internal triggers tell the user what to do next through associations stored in the user’s memory.”
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Emotions, particularly negative emotions, are powerful internal triggers.
Fear, Greed, lust are some of them.
ACTION #step-2 of hooked model
Action follows the trigger phase.
“The trigger, driven by internal and external cues, informs the user of what to do next.”
Ingredients that are needed to initiate any and all behaviours:
- Sufficient motivation
- Ability to complete the desired action
- Presence of the trigger
In other words, B = MAT (Motivation, Ability and Trigger).
Humans are motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain. To seek hope and avoid fear and to seek social acceptance and avoid rejection.
Key to innovative products
To create a truly innovative product:
- Understand the reason why people use a product or service
- Layout the steps that the customer must take to get the job done
- Remove steps until you reach the simplest possible process
Make it SIMPLE
To increase the likelihood that an action will occur, product designers should focus on simplicity. Designers can also use heuristics to influence user behaviour.
Elements of simplicity:
- Time. An indication of how long it takes to complete an action
- Money. The fiscal cost of doing something
- Physical effort. The amount of labour required to take action
- Brain cycles. The amount of brainpower needed to complete an action
- Social deviance. The acceptability of a particular action
- Non-routine. How much the action disrupts existing routines
VARIABLE REWARDS #step-3 of the hooked model
Rewards are unpredictable in the timing and size of reward.
Variable rewards drive more user activity than fixed rewards. Companies that offer a chance at variable rewards such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter get more users hooked to their products.
“Experiences with finite variability become increasingly predictable with use and lose their appeal over time. Experiences that maintain user interest by sustaining variability with use exhibit infinite variability.”
Variable reward techniques
Types of variable rewards:
- Tribe. Rewards of the tribe are driven by our social connections to others
- Hunt. Pursuing material things and resources is rewarding in itself
- Self. Humans have intrinsic motivation to better themselves and gain competency
Some examples of variable rewards
- Variable rewards can lead to compulsive behaviour on the part of the user.
- There is email addiction, social media addiction, and even addiction to news cycles.
- This form of addiction happens because with variable rewards you never know what you are going to get.
Only by understanding what truly matters to users can companies create the right variable rewards.
INVESTMENT #step-4 of the hooked model
“Before users create the mental associations that activate their automatic behaviors, they must first invest in the product.”
- Escalation of commitment: Once you commit to doing something (invest your time and money), you are likely to commit more over time.
- IKEA effect: People are likely to overvalue their efforts. You see what you have achieved as being more valuable compared to what others have done.
How to use the hooked model
To build effective hooks:
- Look for internal triggers. Ask yourself what pain is the product relieving
- Find the external trigger. Ask yourself what brings users to your service
- Simplify. Make it as easy as possible for the user to act
- Create a variable reward. Variable rewards leave users wanting more
- Create investment opportunities for the user. Do users store value as they use your product?
The morality of manipulation
With the Hook Model, it is easy to manipulate users. The maker of a product needs to ask two questions:
- would I use the product myself?
- will the product help users materially and improve their lives?
This has four quadrants that show the different types of creators: the peddler, the facilitator, the dealer, and the entertainer.
- The facilitator. The facilitator helps users create healthy habits
- The peddler. Peddlers rely heavily on advertisements and create products that users rarely want
- The entertainer. Creates a product that they cannot in good conscience claim that the user wants
- The dealer. Dealers create products that they personally cannot use because they are often manipulative and exploitative