What is the one thing that is common between the products in the image below?
These products have created a habit loop in our behaviour!
Do you want to know how to build your product also using the Habit framework?
If yes, welcome to the Hooked Model by Nir Eyal
The Hooked model helps build habit-forming products, that prompt users to return and use those products over and over again, without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.
Hooked model is a four-step process embedded into products to create and increase user engagement by subtly influencing their behaviour.
What is it special about Hooked model?
Consumer behaviour is a complex topic with tons of models and thousands of research papers but Nir Eyal simplified it with his Hooked model in his bestseller Hooked
3 Distinctive factors which set apart the hooked model from others,
Simple To Understand: You can understand the basics in 5 minutes with his Hooked loop diagram.
Rigorous: It has an internally consistent structure, which efficiently decomposes the challenge of customer engagement.
Actionable: It’s not just an idea or a way to explain things. Any company can use it to improve user experience and user revenue.
“Habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day, and at last we cannot break it.” ―Horace Mann
Habits form the basis of our behaviour. According to a study published through Duke University in 2006, 40% of our behaviour is habitual. This isn’t always a bad thing.
For many businesses, the ability to create a product or service so inviting users can’t help but interact with it daily is closer than they realise. They just need to follow a simple principle:
Connect a user’s problem to your solution with enough frequency to make it a habit as much as possible in a day.
To apply this framework practically, you can use Hooked model.
To simply put, to create habit-forming products, you must move a user through a loop that over time to help them develop the habit of returning and using that product.
The loop consists of four components:
- External — What gets the user to the product?
- Internal — What does the user really want?
What is the simplest behaviour in anticipation of reward?
3. Variable Reward:
Is the reward fulfilling, yet leaves the user wanting more?
What is the ‘bit of work’ done to increase the likelihood of returning?
Let us get deeper into each step in the loop,
The trigger is the push button of a behaviour. Triggers come in two types: external and internal.
Something that queues an action – like an icon such as the “play” button on YouTube, or an email)
A subconscious urge that happens when the user is browsing through the product itself. The internal trigger becomes part of their routine behaviour and the habit is formed.
It is suggested that to convert the external trigger to internal trigger,
For example, suppose Tony clicks and shares an old pic of him with his friend Steve on Instagram. Now when Instagram notifies the tag mention to Steve immediately he checks the pic and the trigger now makes him remember the moment again.
Something that happens when the user expects a reward.
For example, scrolling through your Instagram feed. (A critical part of the hook model, as it relies on crystal clear UX design).
In this part, there is a model called the BJ Fogg Model, which clearly explains the action and the motivation behind it.
I suggest you check my previous article for a more in-depth understanding of BJ Fogg Model.
Basically, this says the harder you make your Action, the more motivation you need to manufacture.
All humans are motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain, to seek hope and avoid fear, and finally, to seek social acceptance and avoid rejection.
― Nir Eyal
With Netflix, that’s as simple as performing a search for your movie or series.
With Instagram, it means opening the app, scrolling through the newsfeed or watching the status of friends.
3. The Reward:
The Reward is the why, the objective for the user, emotionally speaking. It turns out that there’s a lot of tuning you can do to manufacture desire for this reward, beyond just helping the user meet their goal with the interaction.
Nir argues that variable rewards are the best ones to be given to users because predictable one’s don’t create desire.
The predictable response of your fridge light turning on when you open the door doesn’t drive you to keep opening it again and again.
Whereas Checking Whatsapp whenever our friend or colleague texts us makes our reward more novel and variable.
According to Nir Eyal, The last phase of the Hook is where the user is asked to do a bit of work. This is the phase where we increase the habit-forming nature of your product by getting people to come back through the hook.
This phase has two goals,
1. Loading the next trigger.
The first is to increase the odds that the user will make another pass through the Hook when presented with the next trigger.
The user does something to bring themselves back. For example, commenting someone’s pic on Instagram. Nothing immediate happens, but you have invested in the platform and loaded the trigger in anticipation of the reply, the external trigger that pulls you through the hook once again.
2. Storing value.
Second, now that the user’s brain is swimming in dopamine from the anticipation of reward in the previous phase, it’s time to store the value
The product improves with use. Unlike physical tools, digital products get better with use. Clothes, laptops and cooking implements depreciate with wear and tear.
Software appreciates. It does this by adding content. The more content you watch on youtube, the more you are invested in it and the better and more personalized the suggestion becomes.
The investment generally comes in the form of asking the user to give some combination of time, data, effort, social capital or money.
Finally to end up with, in my scholarship program with CXL. I have learned great lessons and Hooked model is one among of it.
I strongly recommend any product aspirants, marketers and entrepreneurs to read
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal.
Also, watch this awesome TED talk by Nir Eyal,
Products that require a high degree of behavior change are doomed to fail
― Nir Eyal
I love to discuss this model and other psychology and persuasion concepts, So if you like to discuss drop down a comment and let’s start our conversation.
Your valuable feedbacks are always welcome as it improves my skills.