Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

A great mix of product marketing, influence and psychology, backed up by some fascinating pieces of research.hooked

The hooked model that Nir guides you through is a way of using habits to drive use of your product. Or, put another way – building the marketing into your product.

From the words of Nir himself: “Instead of relying on expensive marketing, habit-forming companies link their services to the users daily routines and emotions.”

The hooked model that Nir uses (the book includes comprehensive examples on how to apply) includes:
1. Trigger (external or internal)
2. Action (the behaviour done in anticipation of the reward)
3. Variable reward
4. Investment (when the user puts something into the product. e.g. completes their profile, invests money)

Here’s a great summary of the hook model from the book:

“What do users really want? What pain is your product relieving? (Internal trigger) What brings users to your service? (External trigger) What is the simplest action users take in anticipation of reward, and how can you simplify your product to make this action easier? (Action) Are users fulfilled by the reward yet left wanting more? (Variable reward) What “bit of work” do users invest in your product? Does it load the next trigger and store value to improve the product with use? (Investment).”

The book also goes through some classic influence principles (which I love learning about), such as the impact of scarcity, the framing effect and anchoring. One that I hadn’t heard of before was the ‘endowed progress effect’, which Nir says is, “a phenomenon that increases motivation as people believe they are nearing a goal.”

The study given as an example is those punch type cards that you get in for coffee card rewards. In this study it was purchase eight car washes to receive one free. Here’s the where the progress effect comes in:

“Both groups still had to purchase eight car washes to receive a free wash; however, the second group of customers—those that were given two free punches—had a staggering 82 percent higher completion rate.”

Fascinating huh? I wonder why this approach isn’t used more in NZ?

Here’s some more interesting quotes from Hooked:

(all quotes directly from the book)

  1. “Seventy-nine percent of smartphone owners check their device within fifteen minutes of waking up every morning.”
  2. “The aim is to influence customers to use your product on their own, again and again, without relying on overt calls to action such as ads or promotions.”
  3. “Facebook’s success was, in part, a result of what I call the more is more principle—more frequent usage drives more viral growth.”
  4. “A company can begin to determine its product’s habit-forming potential by plotting two factors: frequency (how often the behavior occurs) and perceived utility (how useful and rewarding the behavior is in the user’s mind over alternative solutions).”
  5. “Make your product so simple that users already know how to use it, and you’ve got a winner.”
  6. “Slot machines provide a classic example of variable rewards of the hunt. Gamblers plunk $1 billion per day into slot machines in American casinos, which is a testament to the machines’ power to compel players.”
  7. “Emotions, particularly negative ones, are powerful internal triggers and greatly influence our daily routines.”

Sound like your sort of book? Grab a copy here.

Happy reading,

C x

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