(Decoding the patterns behind habit-forming technologies)
Have you ever wondered why we’re compelled to check Facebook or Instagram after every 15-20 minutes? Is it a habit? Or are we just hooked to these habit-forming technologies? Just drop everything you’re doing an think about these question. Have these things become our habit or are we just hooked!
Recently, we came across this beautifully written book- Hooked: How to Form Habit- Forming Products by Nir Eyal, which answers all these questions. In his book, Nir talks about how do successful companies create products people can’t put down. Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop. What makes us engage with certain products out of sheer habit.
According to him, there are three basic elements that help in building habit-forming products- emotion, feature, incentive. Hooks are everywhere- Apps, Games, Movies, TV series, Sports & Jobs, Smartphones, Tablets, TV wearable technologies give companies the ability to affect our behavior. Habits automatic behaviors. It is a regular tendency or practice especially one that is hard to give up.
There are 2 major things he focused on. First, the most successful products in the world make us form habits around them. Second, one of the key ingredients of a habit-forming product is having variable rewards.
And majority of times, habits are formed due to triggers. Triggers include all those elements which compel us to do certain thing or action. And triggers are of 2 types- internal & external triggers. To make a product that becomes your TA’s habit, it has to trigger them. To understand it better, let’s first understand what are these internal & external triggers.
include emotions, behavior, social connections. These triggers manifest automatically in your mind connecting internal triggers with a product in the brass ring of consumer technology negative emotions are powerful triggers, boredom, loneliness, frustration.
are those which tell people what to do next- Emails, Website, links, app icons, notifications, call to action. You need to have a product or service that it becomes your TA’s habit. There are further 4 elements of external triggers- Paid trigger ( ads), earned trigger (viral content, press mention), relationship trigger (product referral), owned trigger (newsletters, app icon notification).
And for that to happen you need to trigger them. Let’s understand it better.
Have you ever asked thought why Apple’s iPhone is the most profitable product in the history?Or ever wondered why every 7th person on this planet is on Facebook? These companies are doing phenomenally well for themselves. But the basic reason behind their success is that their product has literally become a habit for people! Nir also mentioned 3 things about how making your product habitual will help.
Firstly, believe it or not habits are tough to break. And we often become very loyal & long time customers to companies who make habit-forming products. Secondly, you’ll always have advantage over your competitors. For them to out com you, they’ll have to come up with a new and better habit-forming product. And lastly, people who use habit-forming products are not very sensitive to price change. Often it is said “Once an Apple user, always an Apple user”. No matter how expensive the product gets, if it has become your consumer’s habit they’ll purchase it.
You must keep one more thing in mind. Your product should be rewarding. Also the rewards must change after a certain point in time. For example Dropbox. People using Dropbox never worry about their data getting lost. Similarly, social media websites like Facebook & Instagram keep adding new features in their application. And this is why we spend ‘n’ number of hours using them! So to create a product that people love, make sure they get a lot of different rewards, which keep changing, from using it.
Before launching a product or service, ask yourself –
- Will this product make my consumer’s life better?
- Would I use this product?
Your product will become a habit only if it triggers your TA, makes their life easier/better and lastly if you won’t use your own product then how can you expect your consumer to use it. Let’s take the most basic example- Smartphones. By using only one device you can call, text, send emails, browse internet, listen to songs, watch videos and the list is endless.
In order to make your product grow you need to make a habit-forming product which triggers them and make them hooked to you product/service.
Rest, you can always reach out to us! 🙂