How to Build Habit Forming Products w/ Nir Eyal

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Nir Eyal, Stanford Business School lecturer, start up mentor, and author of “Hooked: How To Build Habit Forming Products.”

Nir’s research is fascinating.

He studies how businesses design habit forming products that create “unprompted user engagement”- like the habit that makes you check your phone 40+ times a day without realizing it.

Though Nir’s research focuses mostly on technology companies, the insights his research provides can easily be translated to what we do here.

Nir’s “Hook Cycle” puts a framework around the reasons why we keep coming back to the same companies so you can understand how you can influence your customers habits.

This is an experimental new feature for the blog, and we very much welcome your feedback.


In my interview with Nir, we discuss:

  • How habit forming products are everywhere and changing our behavior on a fundamental level
  • The 4 step “Hook” model to build addictive products
  • How this model can be applied to e-commerce and SaaS products
  • Where most founders miss the mark
  • What metrics you should look at to find your “Hook”

Pay close attention, because Nir’s advice is extremely beneficial to the entire conversion optimization process.

Do You Like This Feature? We Want Your Feedback!

Our plan with this feature is to bring you interviews with some of the brightest minds in conversion optimization, product design, user experience and growth.

If you like this interview, have suggestions on how it could be better, or have a topic you’d like us to cover in the future – let us know in the comments and we’ll be sure to work it in.

Bonus: The Hook Model Explained

Hooked Model from Nir Eyal

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Join the conversation Add your comment

  1. Love the new interview concept. The headphones the host wore seemed to “basement” for me & were a distraction; with cord dangling and all that. Just my opinion.

    1. Hey Brad, thanks for the feedback!

      Probably won’t ditch the headphones, but I can certainly work on the dangling cord issue :-)

      Is there anything or anyone you’d like to see us interview for future editions?

  2. Tommy,

    I love the new concept. Someone who i would love to see you interview are the guys over http://www.salesbrain.com/ . I would love to see how they apply neuroscience to sales & marketing.

    And my question to these guys would be:

    What is the 80/20 of neuromarketing. From a neuromarketing point of view, What is the “vital few” that we need to know/do as marketers to convert more prospects into customers ?

    Thank you and looking forward for the upcoming interviews

    P.S: one idea for this new concept is to gather questions from the community up ahead to ask your guests.

    1. Portrait of Tommy Walker

      What great suggestions for both the guest and the feature :-) I’ll be sure to reach out this week.

      Also, keep your eyes on the Facebook page, I’ll be looking for questions there too!

  3. Love this concept. It’s easy if it pertains to email, or facebook…but your typical run of the mill SaaS would really have to be creative to pull this off. It is where gamification comes into play IMO.

    1. I see what you’re saying, but wouldn’t email just be a delivery channel for the “external trigger” your SaaS is trying to satisfy?

      For example, you guys do task management, right?

      What if when someone on a team completed the task ahead of schedule, the entire team was notified over email – and gave the opportunity for who ever was ahead of task to help with another part of the project?

      Or everyone would be able to see the work the person completed had finished, and had the opportunity to give notes or comments on what was finished?

      The idea wouldn’t be to deliver the “thrill” of Facebook, but rather use what you can to get your new users back into the SaaS product as frequently as possible.

      There’s of course the entire On-boarding and first run process we could talk about too, but I think that’s better left for another interview ;-)

  4. It’s awesome interaction, seriously love to listen your findings and research. Well done. Keep it up. :)

  5. I’m currently reading the “Power of habit” and makes me suspicious how much the hook book is based off that. I didn’t consider it until the guest mentioned words right off that book like hook, trigger, cue, etc.

    That’s not to say the hook book doesn’t build off it but found it weird BJ Fogg was mentioned but not Charles Duhigg.

    1. Interesing. I haven’t read “The power of habit.” but that there’s overlap in the terminology is unsuprising.

      Duhigg’s work is mentioned in Hooked. As far as I know this field of researchers is relatively small, so if it feels similar, it’s probably due to the small pool of work.

      It’s like everyone citing 37 signals A/B testing case studies and saying “Smiling people improve conversions!” See what I mean?

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How to Build Habit Forming Products w/ Nir Eyal