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“How do you drive user engagement by creating habits? Nir Eyal explains”

Conference Report - November 13th, 2013 - Written for Orange Silicon Valley : https://www.orangesv.com/


Nir Eyal is a writer, former entrepreneur, Tech Crunch contributor and mostly, a very famous Silicon Valley blogger (www.nirandfar.com). He teaches growth hacking workshops for young startups.

In this fireside chat with young blogger and entrepreneur Ryan Hoover (ryanhoover.me), he discussed some of his models for creating habits amongst users and getting them hooked to a product.


Essentials

Shrinking interfaces and the growing need for persuasive products: There is less and less room for advertisements on ever-shrinking interfaces; but on the other hand, technology is now always with us. As technology becomes more and more pervasive, it also needs to become persuasive. As a result, good startup ideas are the ones that solve daily pains thanks to an ever-present device (e.g., Google search solves the problem of not having answers to your questions).


Young startups must focus on habits to hook users: Startups who cannot afford to buy user engagement with massive advertising campaigns must focus on creating habits to make their product viral and go past the adaptation tipping point.


User addiction: We are entering an age where companies know when people are addicted, thanks to big data and behavior analysis. They can react to it (but should they?).


Use your own product: Successful entrepreneurs are “facilitators”, meaning they create a product that will improve their own life and distribute it to others. As an entrepreneur, you should not have to put yourself in the customer’s shoes: you should already be a customer. You cannot fail if you are working on something that you want.


Notable

Ø Growth, engagement and monetization are the three components of every startup.


Ø The hook model: there is a pattern of use for every successful startup. The user must have:

o A trigger to push him to use the product (e.g., notifications)

o An action that has the potential to become a simple habit (e.g., checking your email)

o A reward to that action that alleviates the user’s pain (e.g., scrolling down a newsfeed)

o An engagement from the user himself that makes him invest in the product (e.g., posting something on Facebook). If you don’t get the user to invest something of value that makes the service better (data, content, followers…), then it cannot stick.


Ø Whereas the physical world has items that depreciate, tech items have store value and appreciate with user investments.


Ø Technology change will eventually result in new courtesy rules (e.g., not checking your smartphone during a business meeting).


Ø Habit creation can be a moral task: whereas addiction is always harmful, habits can be either good or evil. Startups should want to create habits that are healthy for their users. Companies will have an increasing responsibility for people who get addicted. Concerning social media, Nir Eyal believes they are not fundamentally harmful; but a social pressure is being created around not using a technology. Someday we will start creating antibodies to that pressure.


Ø Creating a habit is impossible; you must transfer a habit from offline life into online life. The way you do that is by establishing frequency -of use- and attitude -towards the product and its image in the user’s mind-.


Ø When a product goes from being a “vitamin” product to a “pain-killer” product to the eyes of the user is when the user has become hooked.


Ø Codify, identify and modify: those are the three steps of habit-testing for products that are already in market. You must first codify what you mean by “hooked user” (e.g., will it be people who use your product once a month? Once a week?). Then you must identify those who are. Last, you must try to modify your other users’ behaviors.


Ø “Consumer behavior designers” are the new growth hackers.


Quotables

“The world is becoming a very addictive place.”




“A technology cannot create habits, it can transfer existing habits from offline life.”


Nir Eyal, writer, former entrepreneur and blogger


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