You’re Hooked

Note: This information has been edited and summarized from the book “Hooked.” Buy here.

THE HOOK MODEL

79% of smartphone owners check their phones within fifteen minutes of waking up every morning.

A 2011 university study suggested people check their phones 34 times per day. However, insiders believe that number is closer to an astounding 150 daily sessions.

We’re hooked!

The technologies we have turned into compulsions, if not full-fledged addictions. It’s the impulse to check a message notifications.

It’s the pull to visit YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter for just a few minutes, only to find yourself still tapping and scrolling an hour later.

Image credits: Farnam Street

  • Trigger

A trigger is the actuator of behavior- the spark plug in the engine. Triggers come in two types: External and Internal.

Habit-forming products starts by altering users with external triggers like an e-mail, a website link, or the app icon on a phone.

For example, suppose Angelina, a young woman in Pennsylvania, happens to see a photo in her Facebook News Feed taken by a family member from a rural part of the state.

It’s a lovely picture and because she is planning a trip there with her little brother Johnny, the external trigger’s call to action intrigues her and she clicks.

By cycling through successive hooks, users begin to form association with internal triggers, which attach to existing behavior and emotions.

When users begin to automatically cue their next behavior, the new habit becomes a part of their everyday routine.

  • Action

Following the trigger comes the action: the behavior done in anticipation of a reward. The simple action of clicking on the interesting picture in her News Feed takes Angelina to a website called “Pinterest.”

Companies leverage two basic pulleys of human behavior to increase the likelihood of the action occurring: the ease of performing an action and the motivation to do it.

  • Variable Reward

Variable rewards are one of the most powerful tools companies implement to hook users.

Research shows that levels of neurotransmitter dopamine surge when the brain is expecting a reward.

Introducing variability multiplies the effect, creating a focused state, which suppresses the areas of the brain associated with judgment and reason while activating the parts associated with and wanting desire.

When Angelina lands on Pinterest, not only does she see the image she intended to find, but she is also served a multitude of other glittering objects.

The images are related to what she is generally interested in. Now she is spending more time on Pinterest, hunting for the next wonderful thing to find.

Before she knows it, she’s spend 45 minutes scrolling.

  • Investment

The last phase of the hook model is where the user does a bit of work.

The investment phase increases the odds that the user will make another pass through the Hook cycle in the future.

 The investment occurs when the user puts something into the product of service such as time, data, effort, or money.

As Angelina enjoys scrolling through Pinterest, she builds a desire to keep the things that desire her.

By collecting items, she gives the site data about her preferences.

Soon she will follow, pin, repin, and make other investments, which serve to increase her ties to the site and prime her for future loops through the Hook.

SUMMARY

  • A trigger is the actuator of behavior- the spark plug in the engine.
  • Triggers come in two types: External and Internal.
  • By cycling through successive hooks, users begin to form association with internal triggers, which attach to existing behavior and emotions.
  • Following the trigger comes the action: the behavior done in anticipation of a reward.
  • Companies leverage two basic pulleys of human behavior to increase the likelihood of the action occurring: the ease of performing an action and the motivation to do it.
  • Introducing variability multiplies the effect, creating a focused state, which suppresses the areas of the brain associated with judgment and reason while activating the parts associated with and wanting desire.
  • The investment phase increases the odds that the user will make another pass through the Hook cycle in the future.
  •  The investment occurs when the user puts something into the product of service such as time, data, effort, or money.

About the author

mazin

Hello visitors,
This is Mazin Shaikh, the author of this blog. I love gadgets, books, and love to help the needy or solve a problem of others. It gives me an immense pleasure to do such things.

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