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Hook Your Audience with Habit-Forming Products

Did you know that people check their phones at least 34 times a day and possibly up to 150 times a day?

While that might seem surreal, technologies like cell phones, on-demand music and streaming services, and many more have pulled us in to create daily product usage habits we didn’t even realize we were forming.  

Have you ever wondered what makes some products so habit-forming and how you can make your product or service the first that comes to mind when the need is presented?

Author Nir Eyal in his book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” walks you through how to manufacture habits in your target audience by linking your products and services to your users’ daily routines and emotions rather than relying on expensive marketing.


The Hooked Method

Eyal’s Hooked Method focuses on four main components: the Trigger, Action, Variable Reward, and Investment.

1. Trigger

Triggers cue a user to act and can be either external or internal.

External triggers tell users what to do by providing information within their environment, such as an email, website link, or app icon on a phone.

An internal trigger tells users what to do next by using associations stored in their memory. For example, Instagram helps people calm their fears of “missing out,” or FOMO, and helps build new habits by using internal triggers. Instagram aims to eliminate boredom by connecting people with others through sharing photos and exchanging banter.

2. Action

After the initial trigger comes action.

Actions are the simplest behaviors done “in anticipation of a reward.”  To increase desired behaviors, marketers need to ensure a clear trigger is present, make the action easier to do, and align the action with the right motivator.

The most common motivators that drive action are: “seeking pleasure and avoiding pain; seeking hope and avoiding fear; seeking social acceptance while avoiding social rejection.”

3. Variable Reward

The Hooked Method is set up to create a craving in your audience using intrigue.

If you open your fridge, you always get the predictable reward of the light turning on. But what if you got a new, random treat every time you opened the door? It would “hook” you into opening your fridge much more often simply out of intrigue.

There are three main types of variable rewards: the tribe, the hunt, and the self. Take some time to brainstorm how your product or service could heighten your users’ search for variable rewards.


4. Investment

Finally, the last step in the Hook Model is investment.

This phase focuses on the anticipation of rewards in the future and comes after the variable reward phase, when users are most likely to reciprocate.

Investment doesn’t necessarily mean people paying for your services. Investments might be inviting friends, stating preferences, and learning how to use the site more. With Pinterest, for example, the person saves the pictures they like on their “board.”  This gives the site information about her likes and dislikes, increasing the likelihood that they will come back again.

“Investments increase the likelihood of users passing through the Hook again by loading the next trigger to start the cycle all over again.”

We, too, are hooked… on making our customers happy! We offer high-quality work done for a great price. Check us out today!

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

by Nir Eyal with Ryan Hoover

Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain products out of sheer habit? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us? Nir Eyal answers these questions (and many more) by explaining the Hook Model—a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior. Through consecutive “hook cycles,” these products reach their ultimate goal of bringing users back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.

Hooked is based on Eyal’s years of research, consulting, and practical experience. He wrote the book he wished had been available to him as a start-up founder—not abstract theory, but a how-to guide for building better products. Hooked is written for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders, and anyone who seeks to understand how products influence our behavior.

Eyal provides readers with:

  • Practical insights to create user habits that stick.
  • Actionable steps for building products people love.
  • Fascinating examples from the iPhone to Twitter, Pinterest to the Bible App, and many other habit-forming products.