Flickr / Photo by hitchinssamson.

Book Report, Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products

"Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products" is a book written by Nir Eyal. It talks about the Hook model and how it works to help people build a habit-forming product. This is an easy-reading book that delivers every point explicitly. In this book, there are 8 chapters, explaining different stages in creating a product that makes people hooked.

In the first chapter, Nir introduced the concept of Habit zone. In order to create a habit, frequency and perceived utility play important roles. Habit zone lies in the region with high frequency with low perceived utility to low frequency with high perceive utility. That means, if a product is used frequently, it will cause user form a habit, for example searching through Google; if the frequency is low, then the use of the product needs to yield high perceived utility to form a habit, for example shopping on Amazon. Product in a habit zone will gain high customer lifetime value. Nir also separates products into two categories. One is vitamin, the products that may add value to us but not necessary. Another one is painkiller that we feel the strong need to have it. Those products alleviate users’ pain by relieving a pronounced itch. That is the reason why some of the apps keep us using them frequently while some are just lying in our phones after we downloaded it. Instagram is for sure becoming a painkiller product. The reason of using Instagram becomes a habit is related with the trigger embedded in Instagram.

In the second chapter, Nir explains how habit is formed. According to Nir, habit is not created, rather, it is built upon. It is stimulated by triggers. For a product, there are external triggers and internal triggers. Creating external triggers are expensive. So the most efficient way is to create internal trigger, which is users’ learned association with the product. In order to create the association, Nir offered a model called Five Why Model that is digging into the ultimate reason behind a costumer behavior. For example the ultimate reason for people using Instagram and other social media is the fear of missing out.

In order to drive trigger into action, the action required to use the app is also an important factor for the product. Nir summarizes that a certain behavior is lead by motivation, action and trigger. So if the action is simple, it will make costumers more willing to use the product.

In the latter chapters, Nir also covers the reward mechanism used in the product and the investment user put into the product. Overall, this book offers different strategies and ways to create a product that can have high stickiness. I highly recommend people interested in product development and management read this book.

Flickr / Photo by hitchinssamson.