The Hook Framework

A radical way to understand the science of behavior and get winning solutions upfront

Alexander Sergeev avatar
Written by Alexander Sergeev
Updated over a week ago

Starting any business intends risks. However, there are different ways to decrease these risks early in the product development process. These ways offer approaches and frameworks for predicting the success of businesses in advance and ideas for preventing pitfalls.

The Hook Model is one of such frameworks. This is a reverse analysis of the mechanisms that modern products apply today. The approach was initially described by Nir Eyal in his famous book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.

The Hook Framework: how does it work?

The Hook framework connects your solution to the user’s problem and form a habit. It consists of 4 components: Trigger, Action, Reward, and Investment.

The framework visually looks like the structure of any 2x2 matrix, for example Value/Risk matrix or the Eisenhower Matrix for prioritization.

Component 1: Trigger

A Trigger is something users see, feel or think of. It may be accustomed to the experience of their favorite products that they overlook the hooks that first brought them in. 

Common features such as email alerts, notifications or icons can be called External Triggers that are aimed to cue your mind to act.

You may ask yourself about Triggers:

  • What are the Triggers to use your product?

  • What are the applicable Triggers for your personas?

  • How could you make the Triggers more effective? etc.

Component 2: Action

If users do not take action, the Trigger is useless. Action is the minimum interaction the user needs to have with your product to be rewarded. The harder you make the Action, the more motivation you need to manufacture. 

The following questions about Actions may be helpful: 

  • What is the minimum Action the user may take in anticipation of a reward?

  • Have you minimized the efforts needed to take the Action?

Component 3: Reward

The Reward can be considered as the objective for the user. There are many tunings you can do to manufacture the desire for this reward, beyond just helping the user achieve their goal with the interaction. 

As the example: when we open a fridge door, we see the light turns on and we may feel excitement. However, soon after the response becomes predictable and boring. The promise of different treats waiting for us keeps us coming back. 

The questions you can ask yourself about Rewards are:

  • How do you reward your users?

  • Is there interesting variability?

Component 4: Investment

Whenever users invest their time, efforts, data or money, they are more likely to return. The investment stage is the fourth step in the Hook model. This stage is typically more about asking your users for more data or a kind of service you want your users to undertake. 

You should always ask for more data from users if you want to hook your user to your product.

The following questions can be asked: 

  • How do your users load the next Trigger and create preference by investing efforts into your product?

  • What opportunities may be improved?

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