Hooked, get your users addicted to your product.

Last week I have just finished the book “Hooked” by Nir Eyal and his theory about how to create habit-forming products impacted me a lot. That is why I have decided to try to explain in a small article the key components everybody that want to build a successful product has to keep in mind.

Nir has created a hook model diagram that is divided into 4 stages: Trigger, Action, Variable Reward, and Investment.


A trigger by definition is: “anything, as an act or event, that serves as a stimulus and initiates or precipitates a reaction or series of reactions”. Nir divides the triggers into two types, external and internal.

External triggers

An external trigger communicates the next action the user should take and they are divided into four types

  • Paid Triggers: This type of triggers are used by companies generally to acquire new users and then leverage other triggers to bring them back.
  • Earned Triggers: They are free in that they cant be bought directly, but they often require investment in the form of time spent on public and media relations. Some examples are, favorable press mentions, hot viral videos, etc …
  • Relationship Triggers: As its name indicate, these triggers are based on one person telling another how amazing a product/service is.
  • Owned Triggers: This type of trigger differs from the other three in that owned triggers prompt repeat engagement until a habit is formed. Without owned triggers and users tacit permission to enter their attentional space, it is difficult to cue users frequently enough to change their behavior. Some examples of owned triggers are, email newsletters, app update notifications, etc …

Internal Triggers

Emotions, particularly negative ones, are powerful internal triggers. Positive emotions can also serve as internal triggers, and may even be triggered themselves by a need to satisfy something that is bothering us.

“Internal triggers manifest automatically in your mind. Connecting internal triggers with a product is the brass ring of consumer technology.”

The ultimate goal of a trigger is to create a habit in the users day to day. A good example of it is the FOMO pain, FOMO means ¨fear of missing out¨ and it is the type of emotions that create the habit to go all the time to check all your social media platforms.


The trigger informs the user of what to do next; however, if the user does not take action, the trigger is useless.

Based on Fogg Behaviour Model, an action is a combination of three key factors: Motivation, Ability, and Trigger. This model is represented by the formula B=MAT.


While a trigger cues an action, motivation defines the level of desire to take that action. All humans motivations are based on:

  • Seek pleasure and avoid pain.
  • Seek hope and avoid fear.
  • Seek social acceptance and avoid rejection.


Easier equals better. Make your product so easy to understand that the users are able to know how to use it without thinking about how to.

For companies, the greatest return on investment generally comes from increasing a product´s ease of use, since increasing motivation is expensive and time-consuming.

Ability is influenced by the six factors of time, money, physical effort, brain cycles, social deviance, and non-routineness.


All habit-forming products utilize one or more of this three types of rewards.

Rewards of the Tribe

This type of rewards are based on our connectedness with other people, that is why also they are called social rewards. Some examples are; Likes on Facebook, Quora questions/answers, Stack Overflow answers, etc…

Rewards of the Hunt

Human being always has the necessity to acquire physical things, such as food and supplies. Today the best products are the one that feeds our necessity of acquiring new things, but these things don’t need to be physical, they can be virtual, such a unique weapon in the new Star Wars game.

Rewards of the Self

This is the most powerful reward since we seek to conquer new obstacles, even if it is just for the satisfaction of doing so. Good examples of this kind of reward are video games, clean our email inbox, courses in Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, etc…


This phase is based on letting know the user that investing time in the app will bring future rewards. Some apps provide you with followers or reputation if you spend and invest your personal time in them, some examples are Instagram, StackOverflow, or Twitter.

All the investments also have a consequence, generate the next trigger to start the cycle again.


First of all, I would like to thanks, everyone that has taken the time to read the article. Since it is my first article I would love to listen to any feedback that you can share with me.

I have decided to write this article, since I’m a Product Owner that loves to build products that can make things easier for the people, and this book is so rich in knowledge that I felt like I have to try to share with more people like me, that maybe never listened about the book.

If after reading this article you think you have learned something, do not hesitate to buy the book, since here we just scratched a little on the surface of the contents that the books provide.