Habit Forming Product Development

- An Introductory Guide

What differentiates successful products from others?Β 

Habits!

πŸ“

A habit is simply a learned behavior that we perform for receiving a reward. And the more satisfaction we gain from receiving a reward, the more likely we will repeat the activity.Β 

πŸ“

Just think about it. Every morning we go through a routine of drinking coffee, going for a run, and checking social media apps. We repeat these habits almost every day in our lives, either consciously or unconsciously.Β 

πŸ“

In fact, If you figure out how to create user habits and harness them to build new behaviors, nobody can beat you in any industry.

πŸ“

In simple words, if you learn to build products that can help people create new habits, your product is likely to be successful. This is because habit-forming products have low churn rates and high lifetime value.

But how do companies build habit-forming products?

Before we answer that question, let’s quickly describe what a habit-forming product is and what they do.

What is a habit-Forming Product?

πŸ“

In layman’s terms, a habit-forming product is something that has the power to change consumers’ behavior.

πŸ“

Social media apps are a classic example of habit-forming products.

πŸ“

Whenever a new notification arrives, users are tempted to check it. And when they check notifications, they feel a great amount of gratification which makes them come back again and again.

πŸ“

Here’s how a habit-forming product accomplishes this. β€” First, the habit-forming product will load a trigger or create an expectation for something exciting to happen. This value builds up value, and over a period of time, it motivates users to come back again and again.

πŸ“

To better understand this habit cycle, let’s look at its every phase more closely.

What is Hook Model?

The hook Model was originally pioneered by Nir Eyal, a consumer psychology expert & author of the book.

- Hooked

πŸ“

It is a process of forming a user journey that starts with a trigger, which prompts the users to take a specific action. In return, the users receive a variable reward, which encourages them to come back, ending the cycle with continuous user investment.

πŸ“

The more this cycle repeats, the higher the chance of users developing a habit of using your product on a regular basis.

But how do successful companies develop such user journeys that result in a habit-forming product, winning tens of thousands of loyal users or customers?

How to Develop Habit-Forming Products Using Hook Model?

πŸ“

To develop truly successful habit-forming products, you need to understand the four phases of the hook model that we described earlier.

πŸ“

The hook model involves four critical phases that ultimately help in developing habit-forming products.

🎯 Trigger

πŸ“

A trigger in the habit cycle is a cue that initiates an automatic user behaviour or action.Β 

πŸ“

There are two types of triggers involved in a habit cycle - Internal & External

Internal Triggers

πŸ“

Internal triggers are simply a thought, emotional state, or feeling that serves as a cue for a specific action or behavior. Internal triggers are generated from within an individual and are mostly unique to each human being.

πŸ“

In simple words, internal triggers serve as a prompt, reminder, or self-realization, to engage in a specific behavior until it becomes automatic.

External Triggers

πŸ“

External triggers are a cue that comes from the environment.

πŸ“

Some examples of external triggers include receiving a push notification, a recommendation from a friend or loved one, and seeing an ad on Instagram.

πŸ“

The more external triggers a user experience about a particular behavior, the higher the chances they will develop an internal trigger, which will eventually form a habit.

To better understand this, let’s assume the following scenario.

πŸ“

Say you’re bored at work and scrolling Facebook. While browsing your feed, you suddenly come across an advertisement (Trigger) about a stand-up comedy video from YouTube. You click on the link (Action), watch the video (Reward), and Youtube fine-tunes its algorithm to send you better or similar recommendations.

πŸ“

The next day, a friend or colleague shares another stand-up comedy Youtube video. You either watch instantly or bookmark it to watch it later. Over a period of time, you automatically begin to associate watching stand-up comedy videos with boredom. As a result, you develop an internal trigger.

πŸ“

Once that happens, your internal feeling of boredom will automatically get you to open Youtube and push you through the loop of watching stand-up comedy videos.

🎯 Action

πŸ“

As described earlier, an Action in the habit cycle is a behavior that users go through in anticipation of receiving a reward. The action part is also what satisfies your trigger.

πŸ“

To explain this more simply, let’s go back to our Youtube example. When you saw an advertisement for a stand-up comedy video, it sparked your curiosity.

πŸ“

Clicking on the video link (Action) to find out whether the video is actually funny (Reward) or not satisfied your curiosity (Trigger).

πŸ“

The same principles apply to building habit-forming products.

πŸ“

The only thing you need to take care of in your habit-forming product is that the action part should be easier, while triggers should almost automatically provoke the desired action in your target users.

πŸ“

If your users feel even the slightest friction in taking the action, the less often they will finish it, which is not conducive to instilling a habit.

🎯 Reward

πŸ“

For every behavior to become automatic, it needs to have a reward in it. This reward should be an unpredictable one. This is because predictable rewards don’t provoke curiosity.

πŸ“

In simple words, if the reward is predictable, people will get bored quickly.

πŸ“

Variable rewards, however, not only prompt an extreme dopamine hit, but craving for variable rewards actually generates an emotional reaction that’s often times greater than the reward itself.

πŸ“

In habit-forming products, there are two main types of rewards that instill a habit in users successfully.

πŸ† Social Validation Rewards

πŸ“

This type of reward makes us feel important, loved, or accepted. An example of this type of reward can be receiving hearts (likes) on Instagram

πŸ† Tangible Rewards

πŸ“

This type of reward refers to an experience or physical item that is given to oneself for reinforcing a specific behavior. An example of tangible rewards can be a small treat after closing an important sale or watching tv after finishing a project.

πŸ“

In a nutshell, variable rewards should satisfy the user’s needs while encouraging them to come back and reengage at the same time.

🎯 Investment

πŸ“

While a Trigger, an Action, and a Reward are enough to complete to create habitual behaviors in users, adding User Investment in this habit loop can make it significantly effective.

πŸ“

Put it simply, the action should not only lead users to variable rewards, it should also be a small investment by users to improve the quality of future rewards.

πŸ“

For example, the more active a person is on Twitter, the more followers he is likely to gain, and the higher number of likes, comments, and retweets they can expect for future tweets (Action).

πŸ“

When incorporating the User Investment element in your habit-forming product, just make sure that the investment should come in naturally.

πŸ“

In other words, the action part should be as easy as it possibly can be to encourage continuous user investment.

πŸ’‘

Most Important Tips for Habit Forming Product Development

πŸ“

Now that you’ve finally understood how the hook model is supposed to be leveraged for developing habit-forming products, it’s almost time to put this information to practice.

πŸ“

To help you increase your likelihood of developing a successful habit-forming product, keep in mind the following tips!

πŸ‘‰

Understand the Difference Between Frequent & Infrequent Habits

If you want to develop a successful product, be it digital or physical, you cannot do so by basing it on infrequent habits.Β 

This is because if your product is not going to be used by its users frequently, it’ll never create a habit in your target users. So if you want your product to become successful, it needs to become a part of your users’ everyday lives.Β 

According to Nir Eyal, if your product isn’t used at least once a week, it will be extremely difficult to create habits in your target users.

To do this, you need to make the action part easier to do over time, or you should have clear triggers that encourage users to take action.

πŸ‘‰

Leverage Content to Boost Customer Engagement

One of the problems why companies fail at developing successful habit-forming products is that they get fixated on getting users to buy products and neglect to focus on strategies to get users to return to engage with them To spark constant engagement among your product’s users, you need to leverage content to get users to come back.

Williams-Sonama, a popular high-end cookware company, struggled to get repeat customers. The company couldn’t figure out how to create a habit of buying high-end cookware among its customers.Β 

To overcome this problem, the company decided to attach a habit to its product by developing a cooking blog on its website.

On the blog, they regularly publish cooking recipes, cookware recommendations, and other cooking-related articles multiple times per day.

On top of this, they actively promote their blog to their existing and potential customers via email and social media. And when their customers come across their blog content (Cue), it sparks a curiosity in their minds (Trigger), which leads to more engagement (reward), and ultimately making more product sales.

πŸ‘‰

Build a Loyal Community

Another way to create habits in your customers is by building a loyal community that satisfies their psychological needs to connect with other people.Β 

Humans are hardwired to attract to whatever makes them feel like they’re important and a part of something exclusive.Β 

Hallmark, for example, was struggling to increase their sales because their customers only buy holiday ornaments once or twice a year.

To solve this problem, Hallmark started a community named Keepsake Ornament Club through which they began to post message boards, send email newsletters, and even host product launches & meetup events to build a community.

This, in turn, led their target audience to becoming curious about the club, enticing them to become a member so that they can attend future meetups and product launch events.

Thanks to this, Keepsake Ornament Club has today become Hallmark’s highest source of revenue, all because it successfully formed a loyal community of customers by making them a part of an exclusive club.

Similarly, if you want to build habit-forming products, you can consider building a community for your target users that makes them feel like they’re a part of something important.

πŸ‘‰

Focus on Engagement, Growth, and Monetization

Engagement, growth, and monetization play a vital role in developing successful habit-forming products.Β 

This is because when you focus on just one of these three areas, the likelihood of your product becoming successful is close to none.Β 

But when you focus on all three areas of your product, the chances of success are extremely high.Β 

For example, when you just focus on cranking out products but neglect to work on keeping customers engaged and monetizing your product, you won’t succeed.

Likewise, if you can grow your product and even keep users engaged but fail to monetize it, you’re not going to succeed either.

For any product to become and remain successful for a long period of time, it needs to keep a balance in all three areas.

πŸ‘‰

Reiterate Based on Users’ Feedback

Feedback from users is critical for building successful habit-forming products. This is because user feedback provides valuable insights into what users like and dislike about your product.Β 

Additionally, it also tells you how your users perceive and interact with your product. These insights can help to reiterate your product into something that aligns with your users’ values.

For example, you can easily spot any pain points, bugs, or frustrations your users face when using your product. Based on this information, you can then update your product’s features, design, and user experience. This, in turn, can help to keep your product relevant to its users, increase engagement, and drive innovation.Β Β 

So if you want to build a habit-forming product and make it successful, encourage your users to submit feedback and incorporate them into the product development process. It will help to build a product that users love to use on a daily basis, which will result in creating a loyal user base for your product.

🌟 Famous Examples of Habit-Forming Products

πŸ“

Now that you know how to build habit-forming products, let’s discuss some famous examples of habit-forming products that prove why the hook model works.

🌎 Social Media Apps

πŸ“

Social media apps are a prime example of successful habit-forming products.

πŸ“

If you use a smartphone, chances are you might have already installed at least social media app (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok) and use it on daily basis.

πŸ“

But have you ever wondered how did you develop a habit of checking social media apps on your smartphone on a daily basis?

πŸ“

It’s because social media apps have nailed the habit-forming aspect. In simple words, almost all social media apps have smartly employed certain design elements that serve as a psychological trigger within us for frequent use.

πŸ“

These triggers usually occur when we receive a notification for an unpredictable reward, which sparks curiosity and leads us into taking action like checking the notification, responding to a friend’s message, or replying to a comment on your picture.

πŸ’ͺ Fitness Apps

πŸ“

Fitness apps are another popular example of habit-forming products.

πŸ“

If you have used a fitness app before, then you might already know that these apps encourage their users to set fitness goals, offer personalized workout & diet recommendations, and through gamification.

πŸ“

For example, when you set your fitness goal, these apps regularly send you reminders to do workouts, follow a diet plan, and update your progress. This creates a sense of accountability and motivation in users.

πŸ“

Over time, fitness apps successfully instill a habit in their users by providing a personalized and engaging experience to help them achieve their fitness goals and stay active.

✈️ Flight Booking Apps

πŸ“

Flight booking apps leverage various strategies to form habits in their users.

πŸ“

For starters, flight booking apps make the entire flight booking experience hassle-free by providing a convenient way to search for flights, compare prices of different airlines, and book tickets.

πŸ“

To make the reward even more exciting, flight booking apps create FOMO by offering limited-time discounts. This drastically increases the likelihood of users forming a habit of using a particular flight booking app for all their travel needs.

πŸ“‘ Conclusion

πŸ“

As you’ve just learned, habits are a critical aspect of building successful products that users keep coming back to use again and again.

πŸ“

And now that you have learned the key elements that form habits in users like a trigger, action, variable reward, and user investment, you can employ the same principles to develop products that users will love to use on a regular basis and remain successful for a long term.

πŸ… Awards

Now We are Part of the

indiainsurtech.com/
software developers ahmedabad

Call us

Career : +91-90165 81674

Sales : +91-99747 29554

Email us

Career : hr@digiqt.com

Sales : hitul@digiqt.com

Address

Mumbai

WeWork, Enam Sambhav C-20, G Block,Bandra-Kurla Complex, MUMBAI-400051, Maharashtra.

Ahmedabad

706,31FIVE Building,opp.Palladium, Corporate Rd, Makarba, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Β© Digiqt 2023, All Rights Reserved