When we feel lonely, we log into our Facebook account. When we are bored, we watch funny videos on YouTube. Websites like these are so addictive that they have become an integral part of our lives. How do companies create such products?
FOUR ELEMENTS TO CARE ABOUT
Successful companies incorporate four key elements into their products or services to hook millions of users. Companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple have already mastered this technique. By understanding this technique, next generation startups can also emulate their success.
There are basically four steps to creating the hook. These are the trigger, action, reward, and investment. Using these four elements, companies can alter user preferences and form habits.
Take for instance, the case of Twitter. The trigger that encourages most people to use Twitter is killing boredom. To kill some time and to get entertained, a user will open the app and start scrolling. They are now in the action phase. The act of scrolling and reading will relieve their boredom a little. This is the reward. Their search for more rewards will encourage
them to continue reading and scrolling. This creates social interaction. The user enters the investment phase when they follow somebody, reply to a tweet or retweet something. All of these things will encourage the user to come back and use the product again and again. Over a period of time, they will acquire a number of followers who will read a person’s tweets, which will give the user a sense of accomplishment, thus compelling them to stay. That’s the basic principle of Twitter. You join it so that you can kill time, but when you get followers, you get addicted to it.
The same pattern will work in the case of offline products as well. However, in this case, the reaction is likely to be slower.
But these are all a little sinister, aren’t they? Before the advent of information technology, businesses achieved success by building products that consumers loved and benefitted from. And to create engagement with the consumer, they provided superior after sales service. In a way, this hook system has killed the free consumer choice. It is too mechanical and exploits the vulnerabilities of the consumer.
On the flip side, technology has presented numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs. By using these principles, all entrepreneurs can create products the whole world gets excited about.
As for the consumers, well, if they don’t want to be controlled by technology they should understand how these products influence their behavior. This would not be possible if they didn’t know how these products work.