IN A NUTSHELL — HOOKED: HOW TO BUILD HABIT-FORMING PRODUCTS

“Come on now
I hear you’re feeling down
Well, I can ease your pain
And get you on your feet again ”

— Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd

We are driven by habits. Habits are driven by emotions and triggers. They control you and me. Every move we make is driven by one of these three core motivators:

seeking pleasure / avoiding pain
seeking hope / avoiding fear
seeking social acceptance / avoiding social rejection

Habit-forming products take leverage on those motivators. Warning: Can be used for evil purposes. Don’t do that. Is there a formula to keep users coming back?

Apparently, yes… thats what the hooked model is about. How do you keep users coming back to you?

Powerful habit-forming products understand which user emotions may be tied to internal triggers and also know how to leverage external triggers to take user into action.

The hooked model claims there are four steps for a habit: trigger, action, reward, investment.

Trigger is the itch. They make us take action. It can come from within or it can be external. Internal triggers are more powerful. It comes from emotion. Can you show me where it hurts?

Once you user feels the pain, you have the pill to put him on his feet again. He just have to take action. What motivator drove your user? What reward was he seeking?

There are three kinds of reward: the hunt, the tribe and the self. Rewards of the tribe are connected to social acceptance. Rewards of the hunt are related to the cheer pleasure of variable reward, like cassinos. The rewards of the self are the ones that simply make you feel good.

If you give the reward they need, they will invest in you. Next time they come back, they are more committed to your service. They will be more open to you. They will be willing to work harder. They will call their friends. This is very important, because it restarts and feeds the hook cycle. That’ll keep him going through the show.

Wrapping it up, you need to ask yourself these 5 questions for building effective hooks:

1. What do users really want? Where is the pain? (internal trigger)
2. What brings users to your service? (external trigger)
3. How can you make it easy for your user to take action? (action)
4. Are your user fulfilled after taking action? (variable reward)
5. After action, is the next trigger loaded making your users commit? (investment)

Keep making your cycle faster, tweaking on the workflow of the user. Keep it fluid and commit to providing the rewards your users seek. Listen to user feedback. Never stop improving. Don’t be evil.