The Hooked Model: Triggers
Insights From ‘Hooked’ by Nir Eyal with Ryan Hoover
The first step in using The Hooked Model to create a habit-forming product is to exploit a trigger.
Triggers are situational cues that tell a user to take some kind of action.
Triggers are the foundation on which habits are built.
There are two types of triggers: external triggers and internal triggers.
External triggers are situational cues that we encounter in our environment.
They’re stimuli that tell us we need to do something.
For example: a check engine light is an external trigger that tells us we need to fix our car.
In the tech space, a common external trigger is a notification that pops up on a user’s phone.
The trigger prompts them to use the product.
The ultimate goal of an external trigger is to push users through successive cycles of The Hooked Model until the user doesn’t even need to experience an external trigger to perform the desired action anymore.
Once a user has developed a habit, they are cued by internal triggers.
Internal triggers are subconscious cues that tell users what to do through mental associations.
Negative emotions like stress, boredom, loneliness, frustration, and indecisiveness commonly act as internal triggers.
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For example: when a user is bored, they might subconsciously pull out their phone to scroll through a social feed.
The social media company has successfully associated the negative emotion of boredom with the action of scrolling through a social feed in the user’s brain.
In the past, the user might have needed an external trigger like a notification to prompt them to use the social media company’s product.
But now, all it takes is the internal trigger of boredom.
Hooked points out that when creating a habit-forming product, designers should consider what internal triggers they want their product to be associated with.
Once you decide which internal triggers are most likely to cue your ideal user to use your product, you can use external triggers to drive users to action and start building that mental association between the user’s internal trigger and your product.