Nir Eyal: The: Psychology of Building Addictive Products
divine pursuit of daily active users.
Every hook starts with two types of triggers: external and internal
External Triggers tell you what to do next based on outside info. Think features like notifications, buttons, arrows reminding you to scroll, and more blunt techniques like the constant email reminders we love to hate.
Internal Triggers are more critical — and also ignored by most product designers. These are the true reasons that prompt us to action… but the information for what to do is not obvious digitally. Rather, Internal triggers are stored as associations inside the user’s brain.
The simplest behaviors in anticipation of a reward:
To achieve scale scale, “You need to absolutely understand the emotional trigger in your user’s life.”
This leads to an interesting ethical dilemma: To make a truly effective hook, we have to capitalize on users’ negative emotions. To keep them using the product, their negative emotions (and thus the need relief) need to stick around.
Creating the Formula for Getting Hooked
For any human behavior, Nir says, Behaviors = Motivation + Ability + Trigger
Increasing Motivation: 6 Tactics to Make Your App Addictive
- Seeking pleasure.
- Avoiding pain
- Seeking hope
- Avoiding fear
- Seeking acceptance
- Avoiding rejection
Increasing Ability: Lowering Barriers to Addicting Behaviors
If you can do something simply, quickly, and cheaply, without complex thought, you’re more likely to do it again, and again, and again…
Triggers & Rewards: Make Acting Valuable, but Unpredictable
The point of variable rewards is to give users what they came for. Scratch the user’s itch, and leave them wanting more — but don’t reveal your hand to let them know how far between they are between rewards, like with drops of good equipment in video games.
An Incomplete Loop: A Review of Nir Eyal's Hooked
The more frequently a company is able to bring users through this loop, the more likely it is that they’ll successfully induce a Habit in their users or customers.
Students of psychology might recognize the basic three-step process of Operant Conditioning, also called the “Habit Loop” in Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit”, as the core of the Hook Model. To this core, Nir has added a fourth element: Commitment.
Nir outlines five different types of triggers – four types of “external triggers” and one type of “internal trigger”.
In the reward section he talks about the three primary types of variable rewards, which he calls rewards of “The Tribe” (social), “The Hunt” (food, clothing, shelter, etc.), and “The Self” (intrinsic)
Paypal, Google Maps, and Dropbox are other examples of apps that violate the principle of Variable Reward. All of these products are quite practical and utilitarian, which perhaps hints at an addendum to the principle: “Utilities do not need to reward variability. In fact, stability and a lack of surprises might be preferred.”
Nir also writes that “Investment comes after the variable reward phase, when users are primed to reciprocate”. But this is not necessarily the case.
Hooked by Nir Eyal - Neuromarketing
Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: A Guide to Building Habit-Forming Products, has the answer: these firms created products with habit forming, even addictive, characteristics.
Eyal proposes “The Hook Model” as a design approach for designing habit-forming products. This model, which builds on BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model, is a circular process that, if done right, becomes self-reinforcing.
Everything begins with a trigger – an email, perhaps, or an advertisement
Eventually, the triggers become internal to the user
The action phase must be as simple and easy as possible.
Once a user completes an action, rewards will reinforce that behavior. It’s a bit counter-intuitive, but variable rewards work better than consistent rewards.
Often, elements of gamification can be used to reward desired user actions
The last stage of the Hook Model is also a bit counter-intuitive: investment. Even though the action phase emphasized ease and simplicity, a truly habit-forming product requires an investment of user time and effort.
The cumulative effect of cycling through this sequence many times is that the product becomes a habit; external triggers and rewards become less important as the triggers and rewards become internalized.
BOOK REVIEW: “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products” by Nir Eyal
A cemented habit is when users subconsciously think, “I’m bored,” and instantly Facebook comes to mind.
The first-to-mind solution wins.
Investment: An action that improves the service for the next go-around. Inviting friends, stating preferences, building virtual assets, and learning to use new features are all commitments that improve the service for the user.
What user behavior do you want to make into a habit?
The Key to Building Habit-Forming Products People Love
“Customers rebel if they feel locked it, habit-forming products should be “want to” not “have to”
“Examples of self-triggers … Lonely = use Facebook, uncertain = use Google, bored = Pinterest, YouTube, ESPN
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