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Designing for habits

8.October.12

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When an investor suggests ways to increase engagement, Im like...

Source: runningastartup.tumblr.com

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The science of engagement

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Some prerequisites

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1. A vision

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2. A moral compass

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3. A business model

Source: Alex Osterwalder, Business Model Generation

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4. A process

Source: Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

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What do we build?

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My goal
If your model requires regular,
better product hypotheses ... unprompted user engagement ...

... design patterns to help you form ... to increase odds of success.
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Todays deliverable
3 testable hypotheses intended to
increase engagement.

Anything else?
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Me

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Patterns

NirAndFar.com

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OMG businesses

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Vitamins or painkillers?
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Selling painkillers

- Obvious need - stop pain - Quanti!able market - Monetizable

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Selling vitamins

- Emotional need, not e"cacy - Makes me feel good knowing... - Unknown market

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Vitamins or painkillers?

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Habit is when not doing causes pain.


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Habit-forming technology
Pleasure seeking Pain alleviation

Vitamin

Painkiller
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Creating pain? (more of an itch)


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hab it
/habit/ Noun, Def: An behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary, without cognition.
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pref er ence
/pref()rns/ Noun, Def: A greater liking for one alternative over another or others.
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ad dic tion
/dikSHn/ Noun, Def: A persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance.
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Habits are good business


Higher life-time value Greater price inelasticity, can charge
more

Word-of-mouth brings down cost of


acquisition = Higher ROI
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Helping people do what they want to do.

Why is this graph smiling?

Source: Inc. magazine, Dec. 2011

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Holding on to customers

Source: Amy Jo Kim, Community Building on the Web

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StackOver#ow
Largest technical
QA site

Alexa rank 93 5,500 questions


answered daily

FT Sta$: 66
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To build habits need...


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Frequency and utility

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Hooks
Low engagement High engagement

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The Hook

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Remember: ATARI
A - A hook has 4 parts: T - Trigger A - Action R - Reward I - Investment
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In summary
Habits generate unprompted
and frequency. engagement (the itch) and user preference.

Creating habits is a function of utility Repeatedly connecting your solution


with the users problem is called, The hook.
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Your turn
Does your business model require
habits? Why? engage? solve?

How frequently do you expect users to What problem are they coming to
5 min activity
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Triggers

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Habits arent created, they are built upon

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Triggers
External Alarms Calls-to-action Emails Stores Authority
What to do next is in the trigger

Internal Emotions Routines Situations Places People


What to do next is in the users head NIR EYAL
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External triggers in tech


Owned - Emails, SMS, noti!cations.. Paid - SEM, ads.. Earned - PR, free media.. Relationship - Word of mouth, a"nity
groups..
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Example: Pharma
External Internal

What to do next is in the trigger

What to do next is in the users head NIR EYAL


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Negative emotions are internal triggers


Dissatis!ed Indecisive Lost Tense Fatigued Inferior Fear of loss Bored Lonesome Confused Powerless Discouraged
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Emotional triggers Shiv x-framework


Content Excited

Bored

Stressed

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People with depression check email more.


Source: Kotikalapudi et al 2012, Associating Depressive Symptoms in College Students with Internet Usage Using Real Internet Data

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Internally triggered technologies


When I feel... Lonely Hungry Unsure Anxious Lost Mentally fatigued ... I use Facebook Yelp Google Email GPS ESPN, Glam

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Habits form from frequent problem/solution !t.


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How !nd the problem?


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Know the narrative



Find the trigger to attach to. Every time you (internal trigger) use (product).
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Jack Dorsey on narratives

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Betty Crocker

1952 invented instant cake mix. Assumed the trigger was hunger and narrative included making a complete meal quickly. Complete marketing disaster. What customer really wanted was to feel and show love. Instant didnt cut it.
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Source: Finding Betty Crocker, Susan Marks

Instagram triggers

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Instagram triggers
External - FB and Twitter - App noti!cations Internal - Fear of loosing the moment . . . - Bored, lonesome, curious...
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In summary
Triggers are the !rst step of the hook. The designer informs what to do next
through external triggers. through internal triggers. triggers.

The user informs what to do next Emotions provide frequent internal


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Your turn
Refer to the problem (you think) users
are solving with your product.

Come up with 3 internal trigger


to a feeling.

hypotheses (emotions, routines, situations...)

If youre stuck, ask why? until you get


10 min activity
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Build a narrative
Pick the most frequent internal trigger. Who is the user? What are they doing right before
they use your product?

What brings them back? Every time


user (internal trigger) ... they ...

10 min activity

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Hypotheses check

Is your internal trigger hypothesis correct?

Is your narrative really happening? If not, why? Get out of the building. - Stephen Blank

Do your external triggers communicate and connect with the internal trigger? Do they answer what its for?
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Actions

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Simple actions before reward


Log-In (Facebook, Wordpress) Search (Google, Kayak, Yelp) Open (Twitter, SMS, email) Scroll (Pinterest, Instagram) Play (YouTube, online games)
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when doing < thinking = action


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Fogg Behavior Model B = m.a.t.


motivation triggers

Source: Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford University

ability

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Fogg Behavior Model B = m.a.t.


motivation trigger (SUCCESS!) trigger (FAIL!) ability
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Source: Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford University

mo ti va tion
/mt vSHn/ Noun, Def: The psychological feature that arouses an organism to action.
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Motivators of Behavior
Sensation Anticipation Social Cohesion Seek: Pleasure Hope Acceptance Avoid: Pain Fear Rejection

motivation

Source: Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford University

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a bil i ty
/bilit/ Noun, Def: The capacity to do.

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How increase capacity to do something?

Source: Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford University

ability

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Factors of ability
Time Money Physical effort Brain cycles Social deviance Non-routine

Source: Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford University

ability

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Cross-functional teams
motivation = marketing

triggers = interface design

ability = product

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Which increase !rst, motivation or ability?


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Move ability before motivation


motivation

triggers

Source: Dr. BJ Fogg, Stanford University

ability

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You can try and increase motivation...

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But often get same result

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Focus on simplicity to increase behavior


Simplicity is a function of your scarcest resource at that moment. - BJ Fogg

Factors of ability
Time Money Physical effort Brain cycles Social deviance Non-routine
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Differ by person and context

Twitter homepage

2009

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Twitter homepage

2010

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Twitter homepage

2012

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Evolution of Twitter
2009 2010

2012

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In summary

Action is the second step of the hook. The action is the simplest behavior the user can do before getting rewarded. To increase behavior:

Ensure a clear trigger is present. Increase ability by making it easier. Align with the right motivator.
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Your turn
Map the steps users take to solve their
problem with your product.

Start with o$-line internal trigger... ... through your interface ... ... to the reward, the point where the
problem is alleviated a bit.

10 min activity

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Quora mobile app



Internal trigger = Bored + curious Action = 1 - click app icon 2 - sign-in if not already 3 - scroll

Am I bored anymore? If not, thats the reward. Reward = see interesting questions

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The scarcest resource



Review the #ow and ask where is the action the most di"cult? Which resource is lacking?

Time, money, physical e$ort, brain cycles (too confusing), social deviance (too outside the norm) or non-routine (too new)

Brainstorm three testable ways to make the action easier.

10 min activity

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For homework

Does your what its for? messaging align with your users motivator? Seek: Pleasure Hope Acceptance Avoid: Pain Fear Rejection

Explore latent motivators you might hear from users. NIR EYAL
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Variable rewards

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The brain and rewards

Source: Olds and Milner, 1945

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Reward system stimulators

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Were Olds and Milner stimulating pleasure? (not exactly)

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The stress of desire



Dopamine system activated by anticipation of reward And dampened when reward achieved

Source: Knutson et al 2001

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To supercharge the stress of desire add variability

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Anns story
Su$erers from
Parkinsons

Treatment includes Becomes a Why?

dopamine boosters compulsive gambler


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The endless search


We crave
predictability make sense of cause and e$ect drives the search

Compulsion to

Dopamine system
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Curious by nature

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Variable rewards
the Tribe the Hunt the Self
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Search for social rewards


the Tribe
- Acceptance - Sex - Power - Empathetic joy
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Rewards of the tribe

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Rewards of the tribe

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Rewards of the tribe

experience taking

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Search for resources


the Hunt
- Food - Money - Information

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Rewards of the hunt: search for resources

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Rewards of the hunt: search for resources

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Rewards of the hunt: search for information

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Dare you not to scroll

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Search for sensation


- Mastery - Consistency - Competency - Purpose
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the Self

Rewards of the self: competency and mastery

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Rewards of the self: competency and mastery

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Farmville fatigue

Source: Sterne Agee analyst report 2012

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Rewards decay
As rewards become predictable, they
become less novel
Finite Variability
- Single-player games - Consumption of media - Finishing a race

In!nite Variability
- Multi-player games - Creation of content - Communities - Running for pleasure or competition

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Gut check
Does the reward have an in!nitely
variable component? meaningful?

Is the reward authentic and Does it satisfy the internal trigger, the
problem the user came to solve?
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In summary

Variable reward is the third step of the hook. Levers for variability include:

Reward type (Tribe, Hunt, Self) Frequency (how often) Amplitude (how high or low the valence of emotional response)

Authentic, in!nitely variable, and provides a solution to users problem. NIR EYAL
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Your turn

10 m

in act

ivity

Take a look at your user #ow. Does your reward o$er something that keeps the user looking for more? Brainstorm 3 ways you could add variability to the reward. Consider the search for rewards of the:

Tribe (rewards conferred by others) Hunt (rewards of resources) Self (rewards of personal mastery, control, purpose)
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Investments

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Investment

Where user does a bit of work. Pays with something of value: time, money, social capital, e$ort, emotional commitment, personal data ...
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Increase likelihood of next pass



Done in anticipation of future rewards Makes next pass through hook more likely by:

Loading the next trigger Storing value Increase preference Improving the service
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Pinterest (consumer)
T
Facebook, Twitter, WOM

A
Scroll
Boredom, curiosity, mental fatigue

I
Join Objects of desire (Hunt)

VR

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Pinterest (curator)
T
Email noti!cation

A
Log-in
Lonesome, seeking connection ...

I
Pin, Re-Pin, Like, Comment

VR
Communication (Tribe)
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Loading the trigger in Any.do



Investment into the product with time, data, and social capital Loads the next external trigger by connecting to calendar.
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Storing value

Data

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Storing value

Followers

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Storing value

Reputation

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Storing value

Content

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Increasing preference
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Endowment e$ect

When chimps given juice bar and peanut butter, 50/50 preference split. When given PB !rst, 80% chose to keep rather than exchange. The endowed item was preferred Only worked for food
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Source: Brosnan et al 2007

Labor is love

Value own work almost as much as an


experts.
Source: Ariely, Mochon and Norton, 2012

Even if others dont.

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Labor increases value


People who pick
lottery numbers assign greater odds.

Source: Langer, 1975

Others labor increases value

Source: Buell and Norton, 2011

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Others labor increases value


Search took same
time.

People seeing
the work perceived more value.

Source: Buell and Norton, 2011

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As we invest, we endow and tend to overvalue.


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Rationalization and commitment

Jesse Schell, Professor of game design, NIR EYAL Carnegie Mellon University

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Preference cycle
Investment: Should I spend on this? Con!rmation: Since I spent on it before, and I am not an idiot, it must be good. Rationalization: Only an idiot would have spent on something not good.
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Adaptive preference formation



Changing preferences to be more compatible with the situation. We acquire preferences to serve our need to be consistent. Relieve pain of cognitive dissonance.
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Source: Jon Esler, 1983

Little investments, big results


Group 1: 17% accepted Group 2: 76% accepted

Source: Freedman & Fraser, 1966

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Acquiring taste

Think of the !rst time you tried spicy food or alcohol. Acquiring taste follows similar patterns of rationalization to avoid cognitive dissonance. Change ourselves as we change our preferences. Im a ____ drinker.
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Creating preference
We overvalue the results of our labor
(endowment e$ect)

But need to rationalize this irrational


value (cognitive dissonance)

One way to do this is to change our

taste (adaptive preference formation)


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In summary

Investment is the fourth step of the hook. Small amounts of work to increase the likelihood of the user returning by:

Loading the next trigger Storing value Increasing preference Improving the service
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Your turn

Take a look at your user #ow. Is your user asked to invest after or before the reward? Brainstorm 3 ways you could add small investments into the user experience to:

Load the next trigger Store value Increase preference Improve the service with use

10 min activity

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Hooks create engagement


Low engagement - External triggers - Low preference High engagement - Internal triggers - High preference
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The hook canvas


Trigger
2. External trigger - What gets the user to the product? 1. Internal trigger - What does the user really want?

Action
3. What does the user have to do to receive the reward? How can it be made simpler?

Investment
5. What makes the user want to come back? Has the user put in a bit of work to increase the odds of returning?

Variable Reward
4. Whats the reward? Does it give the user what she wants? Does it maintain an element of surprise?
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Email
T
Icon on phone Procrastinate, anxiety, thoughts of others.... Open unread messages

I
Write back Tribe, hunt and self

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Facebook
T A

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With more hook cycles

Greater loyalty, increased price inelasticity, greater satisfaction.


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3 hypotheses

What will you test?


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Now go test it
Thank you! Please take this survey:
OpinionToUs.com
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