Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How to Build Habit-Forming Products in Four Steps

Can New Model Help Get Respondents Hooked on Research?

By Marc Dresner, IIR

Email, Facebook, Twitter—most of us engage in one or more of these and other, similar types of pursuits every day, usually many times a day, without fail and typically without being prompted to do so.

Some of these activities we can justify.

Maybe not Angry Birds, but we all need email, right? Our jobs demand it.

Even on vacation…with autoreply…when all projects and accounts are in safe hands and you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s before walking out the door…

Let’s be honest: Do you tell your colleagues not to email you while you’re away on vacation or is it usually the other way around?

My boss once threatened me with an additional week of vacation if I emailed her again from whatever beach I was suffering on.

And I’m not even a workaholic.

Sometimes, it’s not a matter of choice; it’s an inescapable compulsion.

Deprivation studies show that separating someone from their smartphone for just one day produces intense anxiety

Indeed, deprivation studies show time and again that when separated from one’s favorite device—usually a smartphone—for even just a single day, people frequently experience intense anxiety.

Nir Eyal refers to the apps and such to which we as a society seem increasingly tethered as “habit-forming technologies.”

“These products somehow draw us to use them…It’s unprompted engagement.”

Nir Eyal
“These products somehow draw us to use them,” said Eyal. “It’s unprompted engagement. They don’t necessarily say, ‘Hey, come open this app,’ and yet we still take out our phone and do it anyway.”

In short, a “habit” occurs with some regularity and usually with little or no conscious thought.

And in his new book, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” Eyal explores the how and why behind this behavior and introduces a model for developing products that cultivate it.

The pattern that habit-forming technologies take time and again is a four-step process: the “Hook Model”

“The process, the pattern that we see habit-forming technologies take time and time again is a four-step process I call the ‘Hook Model,’” Eyal told The Research Insighter.

The Hook Model is very simply an approach to connect your user’s problem to your solution with enough frequency to form a habit,” he added.

How could the Hook Model be applied to increase research response and cooperation?

While this should appeal to anyone in product development for obvious reasons, geek that I am, I couldn’t help but wonder how the Hook Model might be applied to increase research response and cooperation.

To what extent do we see Hook Model principles effectively used in some of our more engaged panels and research communities?

Can these principles be introduced with minimal risk of biasing sample?

In this interview with The Research Insighter—the official podcast series of the Future of Consumer Intelligence conference—we’ll review:

• The four-step process for getting someone “hooked”

• The roles frequency and perceived utility play

• How to increase the habit-forming potential of a product or service, and much more…

Editor’s note: Nir Eyal will present “Designing Habit-Forming Technology” at The Future of Consumer Intelligence conference taking place May 19-21 in Universal City, CA.

As a loyal reader of this blog you will SAVE 15% on your registration to attend The Future of Consumer Intelligence when you use code FOCI14BLOG today!

For more information or to register, please visit 

Want to hear more from Nir Eyal? Check out his blog:

Marc Dresner
Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

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