The Hook Model: How to Make Using a Product into a Habit

Image designed by

I’ve reread the book “Hooked: how to build habit-forming products” by N.Eyal and R.Hoover and collected the key ideas from it in a single article. The book is about how to get someone into the habit of using a product or service. The authors call this the “hook model” and divide it into four phases:

● Trigger

● Action

● Reward

● Investment

Let’s take a closer look at each of these phases.

1. Trigger

Triggers can be internal or external.

External triggers are agitators that contain a call to action. The most basic example is a push notification asking the user to rate a cab ride or respond to a message.

Internal triggers are tightly connected to people’s thoughts and feelings. For example, boredom could serve as a trigger for opening Facebook. These kinds of associations only appear after multiple repetitions of a certain sequence of actions. So the more a person uses a product, the more powerful the habit becomes.

2. Action

In order for a trigger to lead to an action, the authors suggest adhering to the rule of “it’s easier to do than to think.” Social networks are quite advanced in this regard. It’s easier for us to tap a notification than to think about how much we actually care about it at that moment.

The authors indicates three motivators that increase the likelihood of performing an action:

1) obtaining pleasure or avoiding pain

2) obtaining hope or avoiding fear

3) obtaining social acknowledgment or avoiding social unacceptance

3. Reward

The goal of a reward is to satisfy people’s needs and encourage them to use the product again. The book describes three types of rewards.

  1. “Tribe rewards” that satisfy a need for social approval. These include likes, ratings, and statuses. For example, let’s say Medium calls me a top-notch writer in the design field, which motivates me to maintain this status (those artful manipulators!).
  2. “Hunt rewards” that satisfy the need to acquire material resources (casino, stock markets) or information (social media, news).
  3. “Self rewards” — internal rewards that satisfy a need for internal satisfaction derived from one’s own skill or the completion of a certain task. For example, these could include beating a video game or completing an educational course.

4. Investment

The more actions the user performs, the more powerful the habit becomes. Once you’ve uploaded your first photo to Instagram, you’re more likely to become a regular user. This happens for two reasons: 1) you will invest a tiny bit of personal information and 2) obtain a better understanding of how the service works (in other words, you’ll enact scenarios and take your first step towards forming a habit).


While reading the book, I started asking questions about the ethics of the model under discussion. But eventually I came to realize that the hook model can also be used for good. For example, it could be used to get people into the habit of educating themselves or being physically active. So the ethics of the methods described in the book depend on how they’re used.

You might also find useful:

How to Promote an App on the App Store and Google Play

10 Takeaways for Startups from 20 Lessons at Stanford University

📝 Read this story later in Journal.

👩‍💻 Wake up every Sunday morning to the week’s most noteworthy stories in Tech waiting in your inbox. Read the Noteworthy in Tech newsletter.




We localize apps, games, websites, & software and provide video production, multilingual marketing, & instant translation services. Visit us at

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Mapping Out Pieland

Designing “Design Thinking” based solutions

Say Anything? Behind the Scenes of Suggested Responses

A content designer’s hand pens the app-suggested phrase Where’s that?

The African Architectural Narrative: An Essay on How Gaining an Understanding of Vernacular…

Interview with VFX artist, supervisor and founder of Skyhouse Studios-Robert Grbevski

STARTUP FOUNDER reveals how to make 4.000 $ a Month FROM HOME| Part 1: Getting Started

UX — Where Do I Begin?

We want feedback: help us build a better mobile browser

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Blog of Alconost Inc.

Blog of Alconost Inc.

We localize apps, games, websites, & software and provide video production, multilingual marketing, & instant translation services. Visit us at

More from Medium

Hey Product Manager — What is Product Team

10 Metrics every Product Manager should know, understand and optimize.

The Koalafi product team has our first offsite!

Improv circle in the midst of hilarity

Rethink Product Management