The Hooked Model

hooked model

What is the Hooked Model?

The Hooked Model was developed by Nir Eyal, a writer and consultant on technology and consumer behavior. Eyal first introduced the Hooked Model in his 2014 book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products”. The book became a bestseller and the Hooked Model quickly gained popularity among product designers, marketers, and entrepreneurs.

Eyal’s inspiration for the Hooked Model came from his own experience as a startup founder, where he struggled to build products that could attract and retain users. He began to study the psychology of consumer behavior and found that habit-forming products shared certain characteristics. Eyal distilled these characteristics into the four stages of the Hooked Model.

What are the 4 stages of the Hooked Model?

The four stages of the Hooked Model are: trigger, action, variable reward, and investment.

1. Trigger

The trigger is the first step in the Hooked Model. It’s the prompt that initiates the user’s behavior. Triggers can be internal or external. External triggers are things like notifications, emails, or calls to action, while internal triggers are things like feelings, emotions, or thoughts. Triggers can be classified into two types: external triggers, which come from the product itself, and internal triggers, which come from the user’s own motivations and desires.

2. Action

Once the user has been triggered, the next step is to take action. The action can be any behavior that the user performs, such as clicking on a link, opening an app, or making a purchase. The easier the action is to perform, the more likely the user is to do it. Designing simple and intuitive user interfaces that make it easy for users to take action is a key component of the Hooked Model.

3. Variable Reward

The third step in the Hooked Model is the variable reward. This is where the user receives a benefit or satisfaction from completing the action. The reward should be unpredictable, so that users feel a sense of anticipation or excitement each time they perform the action. This can be achieved through the use of gamification, rewards programs, or other techniques that make the user feel that they are receiving something valuable.

4. Investment

The final step in the Hooked Model is the investment. This is where the user puts something into the product or service, making it more likely that they will continue to use it in the future. Investments can be anything from personal data to customization settings. The more invested the user is in the product, the more likely they are to continue using it, and the more difficult it becomes for them to switch to an alternative.

The theory behind the Hooked Model is that by understanding the four stages of habit formation and how they relate to user behavior, designers can create products that are not only engaging but also habit-forming. However, the issue is that the Hooked Model is not based on accurate scientific research, and so it is unlikely to be helpful in creating an engaging, habit forming product.

What are examples of the Hooked Model?

Unfortunately, there are no high profile, successful products that have been designed using the Hooked Model. In fact, almost all of the most successful apps directly violate the Hooked Model.

For example, Uber has users go through the Investment stage at the beginning of their user journey. In fact, almost every single app-based service has Investment come first, not at the end of engagement process.

In addition, almost all successful products and services use continuous rewards, not variable rewards. Variability would destroy the user experience and engagement of most types of applications.

For more examples and information of how the most successful products violate the Hooked Model, check out the following article: An Incomplete Loop: A Review of Nir Eyal’s Hooked

What are the 4 stages of the Hooked Model?

As covered earlier, the 4 stages of the Hooked Model are: Trigger, Action, Variable Reward, and Investment.

How to create habit forming products

Creating a habit forming product is all about finding Behavior Market Fit. In order to do this, you need to choose the right behavior for your target market. If you build your product around the right behavior, it is very likely to become habit forming. To learn more about this, check out the following articles:

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