One theme that comes up repeatedly in what I read, and thus write, is the importance of Triggers. In my February analysis of Jonah Berger’s book Contagious, I discussed how triggers are one of the five core elements to creating a product with word of mouth. Then in June, I discussed Nir Eyal’s bestseller, Hooked, in which the author builds a model on creating a habit-forming product; triggers represent one of four phases of the model. Given the importance of word of mouth (virality) and habit (retention) as two of the three core components of customer lifetime value (LTV), this highlights the crucial role that triggers provide in success.
The role of triggers in virality and retention
Triggers are reminders for people to talk about our product, game or ideas. In Berger’s book, triggers are the foundation of word of mouth and contagiousness. For example, you may regularly show images of your game with coffee, so that people will think about and start discussing your product when they go to Starbucks.
The first step of Eyal’s Hook Model of retention is triggers. Triggers cue the user to take action. There are two types of triggers: external and internal. Habit-forming products start by alerting users with external triggers like an email, a website link or the app icon on a phone. An external trigger communicates the next action the user should take. Online, an external trigger may take the form of a prominent button, such as the Play Now button on many games. When users start to automatically cue their next behavior, the new habit becomes part of their everyday routine. Continue reading “Lifetime Value Part 23: Triggers, the key to both retention and virality”
Earlier this year, I wrote about Nir Eyal’s great book, Hooked, and how it can help you create a product with great retention (e.g, something habit forming). What is particularly interesting is that one of the most habit-forming endeavors is entrepreneurship and building companies. The four principles of the Hook Model—Triggers, Actions, Variable Rewards and Investment—also show why entrepreneurship is so addictive.
First, there must be a trigger. Triggers prompt you to take an action. In the case of starting a business, the trigger is seeing an opportunity. It could be waiting for a taxi that never arrives (probably the trigger for Travis Kalanick to start Uber) or going to a restaurant based on a critics review and getting a bad meal (possibly the trigger for Jeremy Stoppelman with Yelp). It is consistent at retail, you cannot find a good wine so you think about starting a wine store.
The next step in the Hook model is the action phase. The trigger, driven by internal or external cues, tells the user of what to do next. There are three ingredients required to initiate any and all behaviors:
- The user must have sufficient motivation.
- The user must have the ability to complete the desired action.
- A trigger must be present to activate the behavior.
Continue reading “Why starting companies is habit forming”
The hottest book in Silicon Valley currently is Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal, and for good reason; it is an incredibly valuable book for building a business. As Eyal points out, amassing millions of users is no longer good enough. Companies’ economic value is a function of the strength of the habits they create. User habits become a competitive advantage. Products that change customer routines, where users become hooked, are less susceptible to attacks from other companies.
Users who continually find value in a product are more likely to tell their friends about it. Frequent usage creates more opportunities to encourage people to invite their friends, broadcast content, and share through word-of-mouth. Hooked users become brand evangelists: Megaphones for your company, bringing in new users at little or no cost.
Habit-forming products change user behavior and create unprompted engagement. The aim is to influence customers to use your product or play your game on their own, repeatedly, without relying on overt calls-to-action such as ads or promotions. Once a habit is formed, the user is automatically triggered to use the product during routine events such as waiting in line at Starbucks. Eyal uses the Hook Model to show how to create a product or game that become habit forming for users, that have a long term competitive advantage and are more likely to generate word of mouth.
The Hook Model
The Hook Model describes an experience designed to connect the user’s problem to a solution frequently enough to form a habit. Eyal defines habits as behaviors done with little or no conscious thought. The convergence of access, data, and speed is making the world a more habit-forming place. – Businesses that create customer habits gain a significant competitive advantage. It has four phases: trigger, action, variable reward, and investment. Continue reading “The secret to creating a hit habit-forming product or game”
Last year I recommended Jonah Berger’s fantastic book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, which discusses how to generate word-of-mouth marketing for your product. It is a particularly valuable book for mobile game companies, where word of mouth is often credited with the success of a product (see Flappy Bird) but is a virtual black box, with most companies considering it a matter of luck. Rather than luck, Berger shows how you build a product or marketing campaign to generate word-of-mouth success.
Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all buying decisions, according to Berger, and probably an even stronger force in games. Berger shows that while traditional advertising is still useful, word of mouth from everyday consumers is at least ten times more effective. Continue reading “The key to growth: word of mouth”