Motivation Motivation defines the level of desire to take action. For instance Google was not the first search engine, but it had the most simplistic look. The infinite scroll popularized by Pinterest takes away the pain of turning pages and makes the experience flawless and so much more addictive. The point is: enabling the user to take action when doing becomes easier than thinking is a key factor of success. The Scarcity Effect In an experiment, one jar held ten cookies while the other contained just two.
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Both of these companies were young and had questionable revenue streams. What they did have, in each case, were stunningly large numbers of frequent users. How did these companies, along with others like Pinterest and even Facebook itself, achieve such tremendous growth and stickiness?
How did Facebook supplant more established competitors like MySpace and Friendster? 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. Everything begins with a trigger — an email, perhaps, or an advertisement.
It could be an invitation from a friend. The trigger changes over time. After the initial one, other external triggers may follow — email reminders, mobile notifications, etc. Social logins, for example, eliminate registration forms and double-opt-in email confirmations. Simplicity is critically important. Try that in Photoshop! Once a user completes an action, rewards will reinforce that behavior. Imagine if every time you posted an update on Facebook, the same three friends liked it.
The real world of social feedback is a lot more exciting to our brains. One photo we upload may go unnoticed, while another explodes with likes, shares, and comments. Often, elements of gamification can be used to reward desired user actions: badges, awards, public recognition, etc. 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.
At a practical level, this increases switching costs. If you have built a large following or body of work on one service, do you really want to start all over on another?
But, at a fundamental level of human behavior, the investment of effort exploits the concept of consistency. Spending a significant amount of time doing something makes a person believe that investment must have been worthwhile, and increases the probability of continuing that behavior. 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.
Addiction for Good? If you accept the model as a valid blueprint for building habit-forming products, you may then ask where the ethical boundaries lie. Candy Crush, anyone? If you develop apps, websites, or even physical products, get Hooked!
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal – Summary and Key Takeaways
Both of these companies were young and had questionable revenue streams. What they did have, in each case, were stunningly large numbers of frequent users. How did these companies, along with others like Pinterest and even Facebook itself, achieve such tremendous growth and stickiness? How did Facebook supplant more established competitors like MySpace and Friendster? 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.
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Start your review of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products Write a review Jan 04, Ted rated it did not like it Update: I ended up publishing a longer version of this - with a discussion of the trend towards more addictive technology in the tech industry more broadly - on the Huffington Post. At least within the tech scene, it seems this book is very well-known, and that, to some extent, scares me. Among many other occurrences, a line in the book says Instagram "helps users dispel boredom by connecting them with others. But his discussion of morality is too little, too late - during his talk, he spends forty minutes discussing how his model will allow audience members to build the next Facebook, and then five minutes pleading with them to use this information only to improve the world. When I saw the talk, I suspected he added this bit at the end to appease sane-minded audience members and prevent heckling. The chapter also employs a nauseating number of religious puns: "Switching to a different digital Bible - God forbid But it bothers me to see it filtered down and formulatized in a set of followable steps.
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