How to Build Habit Forming Products
Hooked (2014) by Nir Eyal and ex-Boston Consulting Group ‘Behaviour Engineer’ and Facebook ad agency guy.
Simply put, he explores how we form habits - for better or worse - and how modern companies build products and services (manipulate perhaps?) to take advantage of a known set of traits and behaviours.
The book centres around the “Hook Model” - Trigger, Action, Reward and Investment.
Trigger - an external event that gets to you try the product for the first time (read, marketing it well).
Action - what we need to do, to get started using it. Hint - the simpler the better. Fewer required fields, removal of barriers to entry.
Reward - fulfilling the need we first sold to the user - whether it’s social engagement, winning at a game, successfully and simply analysing a new A/B test we’ve rolled out. Interestingly, he talks about ‘variable rewards’ being crucial here. If you get the same response each time, you grow tired quickly. It’s the reason you sometimes win a free spin playing a slot machine, or why a marketing email saying ‘ click here to find out your unique discount amount’ gets a huge open rate.
Investment - the old adage, people don’t value things they get for free. Whether it’s time, money or data is seemingly irrelevant. Once you’ve invested you feel obliged to keep using it, and the circle closes itself - you’ve formed a habit.
At first it might not feel like a marketing book - but the creation of that habit? It’s all about how it was positioned to the consumer to begin with. Also if you an design and deliver highly engaged users, there's no better ROI. Time to read up and muscle your way into the next Product design meeting!