Hooked | Nir Eyal

Summary of: Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
By: Nir Eyal


Delve into the world of habit-forming products with Nir Eyal’s insightful book, ‘Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products’. Learn about the underlying psychology and strategies behind the most captivating products that attract long-term customers and bolster market positions. Using the four-step Hook Model, Eyal unravels the secrets behind creating addictive products and showcases the importance of external and internal triggers, promoting user actions, providing variable rewards, and facilitating user investments. This summary will guide you through the fascinating realm of product design that transcends ordinary usage and morphs into ingrained habits.

The Science of Habit Formation

The reason we struggle to stick to our New Year’s resolutions is due to our habits. These are activities that we have done so often that they have become unconscious actions. Our brain forms habits to save time and effort, but changing them is difficult. Studies show that repetition is the easiest way to adopt a new habit, while usefulness is necessary if repetition isn’t possible. Habits can be easily reactivated, making breaking bad habits challenging. By understanding how habits form, we can adopt new habits more successfully.

The Power of Habit-forming Products

Today’s successful businesses have one common trait: habit-forming products. Customers keep using them due to the difficulty of breaking habits and the benefits of long-term use. These products attract long-term customers, provide strong competitive advantages, and flexible pricing. Customers also act as advertisers by sharing their experience with friends and family. Breaking and replacing habits is challenging, making it difficult for new products to attract customers. Pricing power is higher, as customers depend on the product to keep up their habit. The enduring success of the QWERTY keyboard layout illustrates how challenging breaking habits is, despite superior alternatives.

The Power of Habits

Companies use the Hook Model, a four-step cycle, to create a habit-forming product. The four stages include a trigger, action, reward, and investment. By repeating these steps, the user will develop internal triggers and a habit forms around the product. The Hook Model is a powerful self-reinforcing cycle that shapes our long-term behavior.

Triggers for Habits

Habits are not formed spontaneously but through external triggers. These triggers, also known as “calls-to-action,” are necessary for the product to become part of a customer’s habit. The trigger may be paid advertising or a relationship trigger that relies on viral dynamics. For instance, Facebook grew due to users inviting others to join. For the trigger to work effectively, it must offer the user a simple choice of actions. Overly complicated triggers will discourage users from engaging with the product.

Creating Habit-Forming Products

Companies need to create internal triggers in customers to successfully lead them through the Hook model multiple times. Internal triggers are formed by making a mental connection between a product and the desired solution to one of our problems. Negative emotions such as boredom, fear of social disconnection, and stress make powerful internal triggers. Once internal triggers are developed, customers will feel the impulse to use the product more often. However, triggers only serve as cues, and other factors determine whether or not customers actually use the product.

The Power of Triggers in Habit-Forming Products

Have you ever wondered why trigger words are not enough to make people take action? According to a behavior model, a person needs to have sufficient motivation and capability to take action. Thus, companies should focus on increasing these aspects of their products. If they can’t, they should prioritize making their product easier to use since it’s cheaper to do so than increasing motivation. To increase motivation, companies should provide the outcomes desired by their users, heed their emotions, and focus on their simple goals. The question is, what makes people keep using a product over and over again until it becomes a habit?

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