A wrap up of our latest video interview with Hooked author Nir Eyal. Why the likes of Google and Facebook become habits, not products.
HABITS ARE A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
If we can form a habit with customers they will return without the need for advertising. Think Google - nobody tells you to go back. But in Google vs Bing studies show if you strip out the branding users change to 50/50 usage, yet 99% use Google. It’s not the best product that wins, it’s the product that captures the monopoly of habit.
“ARE YOU BUILDING PAINKILLERS OR VITAMINS?”
is a question that investors will often ask of start-ups. Habit-forming technology challenges that orthodoxy. Facebook, Instagram didn’t start as painkillers, they were vitamins, nice to haves. They became painkillers by forming habits. If Mark Zuckerberg took away Facebook, everyone would be upset (in pain).
HOOK MODEL PART ONE – TRIGGER.
Triggers are external (email notifications, app icons) and internal (existing behaviours and emotions, esp. negative ones). The goal of external triggers is to propel users into and through the “Hook Model” so they are cued by internal triggers (and no longer need external ones). To alleviate discomfort we take action. Find your customer’s internal triggers.
HOOK MODEL PART TWO - ACTION
Ask yourself how can we make the habit easier to do? It’s about shortening the distance between the recognition of a need and the solution to that need. Amazon’s competition is no longer Target, it’s now the shopping list. They want to make it easier to order than to write it down! It’s about usability. Cognitive friction prevents users from taking action.
HOOK MODEL PART THREE – VARIABLE REWARD
Successful products are made engaging by offering variable rewards –mystery, uncertainty. Dopamine surges when the brain is expecting a reward. Variability multiplies the effect, activating the desire areas of the brain and suppressing the judgment and reason areas. Types of reward you can vary: Tribe (approval of other people), Hunt (exciting finds), Self (mastery, completion, control).
HOOK MODEL PART FOUR – INVESTMENT
If you don’t build this into your product you are missing out on a huge opportunity. What is your customer doing that makes your product or service better and brings them back? The user enters time, data, effort, social capital, or money – use this to improve the service for the next go-around. Commitments can be leveraged to make the trigger more engaging, the action easier, and the reward more exciting with every pass through the hook cycle.