business model 商业模式
The tactics that the best digital brands use to stay relevant in users’
minds and lives.
Using the example of Barbra, with a click on the interesting picture in
her newsfeed, she’s taken to a website she’s never been to before called
Pinterest. Once she’s done the intended action (in this case, clicking
on the photo), she’s dazzled by what she sees next.
The degree to which a company can utilize habit-forming technologies
will increasingly decide which products and services succeed or fail.
Nir Eyal is the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
and blogs about the psychology of products at NirAndFar.com. For more
insights on using psychology to change behavior, join his newsletter and
receive a free workbook.
endless scroll 无限下拉滚动
Type the name of almost any successful consumer web company into your
search bar and add the word “addict” after it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Try
“Facebook addict” or “Twitter addict” or even “Pinterest addict,” and
you’ll soon get a slew of results from hooked users and observers
deriding the narcotic-like properties of these sites. How is it that
these companies, producing little more than bits of code displayed on a
screen, can seemingly control users’ minds? Why are these sites so
addictive, and what does their power mean for the future of the web?
After the trigger comes the intended action. Here, companies leverage
two pulleys of human behavior: motivation and ability. To increase the
odds of a user taking the intended action, the behavior designer makes
the action as easy as possible, while simultaneously boosting the user’s
motivation. This phase of the Hook draws on the art and science of
usability design to ensure that the user acts the way the designer
Aza Raskin from the Centre for Humane Technology said social media
companies deliberately use addictive technology in their apps in order
to lure us in to spending as much time on their platforms as possible.
From “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products” by Nir Eyal
人文技术中心（Centre for Humane
But unlike a sales funnel, which has a set endpoint, the investment
phase isn’t about consumers opening up their wallets and moving on with
their day. The investment implies an action that improves the service
for the next go-around. Inviting friends, stating preferences, building
virtual assets, and learning to use new features are all commitments
that improve the service for the user. These investments can be
leveraged to make the trigger more engaging, the action easier, and the
reward more exciting with every pass through the Hook.
Sandy Parakilas, who was a platform operations manager at Facebook
in 2011 and 2012, said there was definitely an awareness that Facebook
was habit-forming when he worked at the company.
We’re on the precipice of a new digital era. As infinite distractions
compete for our attention, companies are learning to master new tactics
to stay relevant in users’ minds and lives. Today, just amassing
millions of users is no longer good enough. Companies increasingly find
that their economic value is a function of the strength of the habits
they create. But as some companies are just waking up to this new
reality, others are already cashing in.
Facebook and Instagram have told the BBC that their apps are
designed to bring people together and that they never set out to create
The trigger is the actuator of a behavior — the spark plug in the Hook
model. Triggers come in two types: external and internal. Habit-forming
technologies start by alerting users with external triggers like an
email, a link on a website, or the app icon on a phone. By cycling
continuously through these hooks, users begin to form associations with
internal triggers, which become attached to existing behaviors and
emotions. Soon users are internally triggered every time they feel a
certain way. The internal trigger becomes part of their routine
behavior, and the habit is formed.
But, like it or not, habit-forming technology is already here. The fact
that we have greater access to the web through our various devices also
gives companies greater access to us. As companies combine this greater
access with the ability to collect and process our data at higher speeds
than ever before, we’re faced with a future where everything becomes
more addictive. This trinity of access, data, and speed creates new
opportunities for habit-forming technologies to hook users. Companies
need to know how to harness the power of Hooks to improve people’s
lives, while consumers need to understand the mechanics of behavior
engineering to protect themselves from unwanted manipulation.
A company that forms strong user habits enjoys several benefits to its
bottom line. For one, it creates associations with “internal triggers”
in users’ minds. That is to say, users come to the site without any
external prompting. Instead of relying on expensive marketing or
worrying about differentiation, habit-forming companies get users to cue
themselves to action by attaching their services to the users’ daily
routines and emotions. A cemented habit is when users unconsciously
think, I’m bored, and Facebook instantly comes to mind. They think, I
wonder what’s going on in the world? and before rational thought kicks
in, Twitter is the answer. The first-to-mind solution wins.
What separates Hooks from a plain vanilla feedback loop is their ability
to create wanting in the user. Feedback loops are all around us, but
predictable ones don’t create desire. The predictable response of your
fridge light turning on when you open the door doesn’t drive you to keep
opening it again and again. However, add some variability to the
mix — say, a different treat magically appears in your fridge every time
you open it — and voilà, intrigue is created. You’ll be opening that
door like a lab animal in a Skinner box.
Aza says he did not intend to hook users with it but says the
business model of many social media companies is designed to maximise
user time online. He says this encourages designers to come up with
technological tricks that hook users.
Companies must understand the mechanics of habit formation to increase
engagement with their products and services and ultimately help users
create beneficial routines.
But how do companies create a connection with the internal cues needed
to form habits? They manufacture desire. While fans of Mad Men are
familiar with how the ad industry once created consumer desire during
Madison Avenue’s golden era, those days are long gone. A multiscreen
world, with ad-wary consumers and a lack of ROI metrics, has rendered
Don Draper’s big-budget brainwashing useless to all but the biggest
brands. Instead, startups manufacture desire by guiding users through a
series of experiences designed to create habits. I call these
experiences Hooks, and the more often users run through them, the more
likely they are to self-trigger.
For example, suppose Barbra, a young woman in Pennsylvania, happens to
see a photo in her Facebook newsfeed taken by a family member from a
rural part of the state. It’s a lovely photo, and since she’s planning a
trip there with her brother Johnny, the trigger intrigues her.
Aza Raskin invented the endless scroll – the app feature that means
you don’t have to click to get to the next page and can keep scrolling
for far longer than maybe necessary or healthy.
I wrote Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products to help others
understand what is at the heart of habit-forming technology. The book
highlights common patterns I observed in my career in the video gaming
and online advertising industries. While my model is generic enough for
a broad explanation of habit formation, I’ll focus on applications in
consumer internet here.
Creating associations with internal triggers comes from building the
four components of a Hook — a trigger, action, variable reward, and
As Barbra enjoys endlessly scrolling the Pinterest cornucopia, she
builds a desire to keep the things that delight her. By collecting
items, she’ll be giving the site data about her preferences. Soon she
will follow, pin, re-pin, and make other investments, which serve to
increase her ties to the site and prime her for future loops through the
How Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest Hook Users
Habit-forming technology creates associations with “internal triggers,”
which cue users without the need for marketing, messaging, or other
Variable schedules of reward are one of the most powerful tools that
companies use to hook users. Research shows that levels of
dopamine — the neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s pleasure
center — surge when the brain is expecting a reward. Introducing
variability multiplies the effect, creating a frenzied hunting state,
activating the parts associated with wanting and desire. Although
classic examples include slot machines and lotteries, variable rewards
are prevalent in habit-forming technologies as well.
Consumers must understand how habit-forming technology works to prevent
unwanted manipulation while still enjoying the benefits of these
When Barbra lands on Pinterest, not only does she see the image she
intended to find, but she’s also served a multitude of other glittering
objects. The images are associated with what she’s generally interested
in — namely, things to see during a trip to rural Pennsylvania — but
there are also some others that catch her eye. The exciting
juxtaposition of relevant and irrelevant, tantalizing and plain,
beautiful and common sets her brain’s dopamine system aflutter with the
promise of reward. Now she’s spending more time on the site, hunting for
the next wonderful thing to find. Before she knows it, she’s spent 45
minutes scrolling in search of her next hit.
A reader recently wrote to me, “If it can’t be used for evil, it’s not a
superpower.” He’s right. And under this definition, habit design is
indeed a super power. If used for good, habits can enhance people’s
lives with entertaining, and even healthful, routines. If used to
exploit, habits can turn into wasteful addictions.
The last phase of the Hook is where the user is asked to do bit of work.
This phase has two goals as far as the behavior engineer is concerned.
The first is to increase the odds that the user will make another pass
through the Hook when presented with the next trigger. Second, now that
the user’s brain is swimming in dopamine from the anticipation of reward
in the previous phase, it’s time to pay some bills. The investment
generally comes in the form of asking the user to give some combination
of time, data, effort, social capital, or money.