How to make consumers addicted


With the savage growth of the Internet all over the world, mobile phones are becoming more and more intelligent, for many people, smartphones are like an extension of the body, the first thing to do when you wake up is to look at your phone, and the last thing you do before going to bed is to look at your phone, and even studies have shown that a third of Americans would rather have less sex than lose their mobile phones, and we have to admit that we have become addicted.

Addiction is one of the most common psychological states in human beings. This state of mind is being repeatedly studied and exploited by businesses. More and more companies are now realizing that having a large user base alone is not enough to create a competitive advantage. The user's dependence on the product is the key to determining its economic value. To keep users loyal fans of their products, companies need to understand not only what attracts users to the product, but also why users love it.

Common addictive products

As a result, the business community has created an "addiction model" in which experiences are designed to form habits by frequently connecting user habits and solutions to each other. This addiction pattern can be seen everywhere in casinos, video games, the Internet, and even in the workplace, so let's take a look at the addiction mechanism behind them.

Casinos – whether it's Las Vegas, known as the "Sin City", or Macau, China, which is known as the "Casino City", and casinos all over the world have a similar set of addiction design mechanisms. In terms of casino design, all casinos in the world are connected to the hotel, and there are no windows, no clocks... It's all about the convenience and comfort of your rest and your next adventure. In addition, whether it is a casino or a gambling game machine, it will constantly create a sense of expectation of "almost winning" and "almost winning", and at the same time hire bewitching beauties to give you "I am the strongest" psychological hints, so that you can always maintain excitement and anticipation, and then lose self-control and fall into the whirlpool of gambling addiction.

Games - Games and gambling are similar, in the game design hidden from a "know-start to play-layer deep-addiction-sinking" guidance chain, the game industry's addiction methods are like the "mystery formula" of the restaurant industry, is a secret that makes people want to stop. In addition to designing products around people's needs and giving timely feedback, the reward and punishment mechanism, virtual titles, levels, and honors in the game are the ultimate passwords for players to become addicted. Each game will set corresponding rewards and punishments for players according to the time, ability and results of the game, and rank the results, and the best players will be admired by other players, which satisfies the psychological needs of human beings to be respected and self-realized, such as the popular online game "Genshin Impact" in recent years.

The Internet - Comparing the Internet with gambling and games, it is not difficult to find that the Internet also has a similar set of addictive mechanism design. The addiction mechanism of the Internet lies in the change reward of Internet products to users, and we all have such an experience: every day we frequently open our mobile phones, and look forward to seeing the latest developments in the circle of friends, messages sent by friends, news updates from news websites, and new models launched by shopping websites... These are the "change rewards" you receive every time you trigger your phone. Statistics show that the value of WeChat is the highest in existing Internet products, 61% of users open WeChat more than 10 times a day, Chinese use WeChat for more than 40 minutes a day, WeChat users have precipitated their social information data, reading, payment and other data on WeChat, people are increasingly inseparable from WeChat. This system constantly encourages us to post moments, and some people even find themselves stuck in their moments.

Common addiction models

Behind every addictive product or business model, there is a complete "addiction model". The model is divided into four parts: Triggers, Actions, Rewards, and Inputs.

Trigger - On the street, we sometimes encounter "scan code gifts" promotions, they often ask you to scan the code to follow their company's official account, and then in return, give you a small gift. This is a typical external trigger mode, in contrast, internal triggers are mostly based on negative emotions, such as emptiness, loneliness, resentment and other negative emotions, often choose to play games, brush the circle of friends. Whether external or internal, triggers suggest a habit, external triggers can foster new habits, and internal triggers create emotional bonds that turn new users into die-hard fans of the product.

Action – Triggered followed by action, an addictive product that must get as many users as possible to take immediate action as quickly as possible. For example, the rule in the free-to-play video game industry is that game developers delay charging players until they are addicted to playing. Once the player starts to be impatient to play the game and is eager to reach a higher level in the game, it becomes logical to dig into the pocket. The real revenue actually comes from the sale of virtual game supplies such as virtual items, health, and superpowers.

Reward – just as when people gamble, the most obvious stimulus is the moment when they expect to win, this is the third stage of the hook effect – variable reward, and this stimulus is not in the reward itself, but in the uncertainty and variability. Therefore, if the product wants to retain the hearts of users, it is indispensable to emerge endless new ideas. A classic example is slot gambling, where players never know whether their next hand will win a small $5 or $50,000 jackpot, and the unpredictability of the reward becomes a powerful incentive for players to repeatedly pull down the joystick. This is also the difference between hook addiction mode and the general feedback loop, because it creates craving. Recent research has also shown that it is not the pleasure of the reward itself that attracts us to action, but the urgent need to repeat an action over and over again.

Commitment – The final stage of completing the "addictive" cycle is to "load the next trigger". During this phase, the "addictive" model encourages the user to invest something into the service, thus increasing the likelihood that the user will use the service in the future. For example, when users add friends, set preferences, or create content they want to save, they're actually storing value on the platform. The more value a user stores in a service, the more they invest in that service, and the better the user experience will be. If users are asked to cancel their WeChat Weibo accounts now, many people can't do it, and there are too many user information, history, and memories in the account. Users are also reluctant to give up their existing fans, which is what psychology calls sunk cost ( expenses incurred in the past that are not related to current decisions), or stored value.

After the old man was defrauded, he sent money to the scammer many times in a row, and the same reason: he didn't want to accept the fact that he was deceived, as long as he kept sending money, the scammer continued to comfort him, and the money he remitted before was not necessarily a loss. And once the remittances are stopped, his hard-earned money is really lost, which is also the effect of sunk costs. Therefore, before the scammer cheats the old man 1 million, he only needs to cheat 10,000 yuan first.

In fact, there is plenty of evidence that people value a product or service more as they give, and the more time and effort a user puts into a product or service, the more they value that product or service.