Some products gain popularity while others flop.
Why to build habit forming products?
Habits are hard to form and even harder to break. The companies which build habit forming products have an edge in this competitive market. Increase in Customer Lifetime Value(CLTV) by making millions of loyal customers provides an edge over pricing of the product helping organisations in reduction in over-spending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.
Habit forming products are nice to have vitamins but once the habit is formed, they become must have painkillers.
The experience of using a product is built around a hook cycle which comprises of 4 phases. The user goes through each of these phases repeatedly as they keep coming back to a product. This helps in forming a hard to break habit and a user gets hooked.
The four stages involve trigger, action, variable reward and investment.
- 1st Stage- TRIGGERS
Triggers compel user to take action. A user can be hooked in the cycle either through external or internal trigger.
External Triggers –Anything which tells user to perform action by placing information within users environment is external trigger such as any advertisement or referral from friends or family, an email, a website link or app icon, signing up for newsletter.
Internal Triggers – cue user by associating with users memory and emotions. Negative emotions such as boredom, loneliness are powerful internal trigger for using a particular product.
- 2nd Stage- ACTION
After receiving an effective trigger user performs certain action. This action therefore has to be easier than thinking so as to reduce cognitive load in user’s mind.
For a user to perform some action ensure that a trigger is present, increase the ability of performing any task by making action easier and finally align it with right motivation.
Dr. BJ Fogg formulated Fogg’s Behaviour Model which explains what drives user’s action.
Behaviour (action) = Motivation + Ability + Trigger
- 3rd Stage- REWARD
Now comes the stage where user is provided by a reward for the action which he/she performed in previous stage. User’s interest has to be maintained by providing them with variety of rewards. Monotony in reward can bore a user and hence novelty of experience keeps people coming back to the product.
Reward could be a gratification from others or gains either in virtual or physical form or a feeling of mastery or completion.
- 4th Stage- INVESTMENT
In this phase user puts something of value back to the system which increases the chances that user will make another pass through the hook cycle again. These investments could be some valuable data or following right people, building reputation or acquiring a skill.
These investments create mental associations which activates automatic behaviour. When a user has gone through hook cycles multiple times a strong habit is build in users mind and by loading next trigger the cycle starts all over again.
Few successful companies who have effectively organised their product strategy using Hooked Model are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest which provide delightful experience to their users.
Knowing deeper insights on how habit forming products work can help organisations to curate subsequent problem solving products.