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"Hooked" with Nir Eyal (Marketing Insights Podcast)

hookedOn today’s episode of the podcast, Danny talks to author and blogger Nir Eyal about unconscious behaviors we engage in without even thinking!

When you use something all the time, you never think about what really goes into using it. Your actions become habits, and it all becomes automatic.

Nir’s research is based around what he calls the “hook model.” It’s all about why we do what we do, and how we engage with products and services. It’s got a lot to do with why we form habits, and how to tell if they’re healthy or not.

This is some high quality psychological stuff here folks, and it’s not only interesting from an end user standpoint but from an entrepreneurial standpoint as well!

So what are you waiting for? Dive in!

Listen to the podcast!

Click here to download the transcript.

Distilled Wisdom

  • Unprompted engagement is when people begin to use your product or service without being asked, when it just becomes habit to them. For example, email is a technology that we’ve become so habituated to that we find ourselves checking our phones  or computers constantly, even when we have nothing to check. Social media platforms, especially successful ones, are based on forming habits.
  • There are 4 phases to Nir Eyal’s “hooked” model:
    1. Trigger – what is it that draws them in?
    2. Action – what is the action that they’re interested in?
    3. Variable Reward – what do they get out of it?
    4. Investment – what do they need to put into it?
  • If your business model requires habits, you need to have these four basic elements to draw people in. Digital or not, if your product requires unprompted engagement, you need these steps. But a lot of business don’t need to be habit forming. Lots of business can drive traffic with advertising, email or other channels.
  • Gamification can be habit forming, but does not have to necessarily. Farmville was massive when it launched, but it has since died out almost completely. That has to do with Variable Rewards. First there was Farmville, then came Cityville, then all sorts of weird, bonkers ideas like Chefville and all sorts of other things. People eventually realized it was all the same game, and the reward they were getting out of the game wasn’t rewarding anymore.
  • People tend to use products for a while, but then they fall off the trend or the habit, and they just don’t care anymore. That’s because they’re missing the Investment phase of the hook. It requires the user to put something of value into the system. Take for example products that try to change user health regiments. Most of what these products offer is just data. For those who aren’t playing for the numbers, it just gets tiring. Unless you’re putting something of yourself into these programs and gizmos, you’re not going to get anything out of it but numbers.
  • There are four quadrants of behaviors we want to change:Behaviors we want to do and those we don’t.Behaviors that have a high dependence of control vs. low degree.If you want to get a little physical activity every day, the trick is not to punish yourself and beat yourself up about it, it’s being mindful about the pleasure and the positivity. However, quitting smoking, you can’t find pleasure in quitting, but you also can’t beat yourself up about it. You have to align the behavior you want to change with the method you want to use.People just try and stick with it and try to force themselves to keep going, hoping it will eventually becomes automatic. Similarly, if you have a coach forcing you to do something, the moment he leaves, you’ll drop off. It’s the handholding that helps you, and once that’s gone, you’re right back to where you started.
  • If someone has 3 hours to set aside to put this information to work for them, what should they use them for? Well, if you want to learn to love doing something and get into the habit, you need to start by first making it a low willpower behavior. Make it an MEA – minimum enjoyable action. It’s like learning how to love running, not just learning to run. Start by scheduling a 15 minute walk – that’s your MEA. It’s not punishment, it’s not a goal. It’s just a scheduled thing you want to do. It’s not hard, and it should be fun. If you find the right change method, you can start a consistency around that method, and find the pleasure in it. That 15 minutes can turn into 20, or 30. Not because of goals or punishments, it’s because you want to!

And don’t forget that you can also download the transcript of this podcast.

You can sign up for more information about Nir and his method and get updates about his upcoming book here!

He also publishes extremely useful and thoughtful information on his blog.

Do you have any ideas on how to make an E-book better and more engaging than the run of the mill PDF? Post them in the comments!