On approaching this problem, it was crucial to gain a better grasp of how Spotify users’ routine and interest in using the app.
The current Spotify app follows a HOOK model, found in Nir Eyal’s theories on customer behavior. HOOK consists of four parts — Trigger, Action, Reward, and Investment.
A Trigger is a cue that causes an individual to take action. There are two types of triggers: internal triggers are emotions such as loneliness, boredom, and insecurity, whereas external triggers can consist of friend recommendations, messages, and the current weather.
The Trigger → I want to listen to some music and see what my friends are listening to
An Action takes place after the trigger. Action can include scrolling, listening, refreshing, and playing within an App.
The Action → Opens the app, views the friend activity feed
The Reward is the user’s desire, taking the form of happiness, information, recognition, and acceptance.
The Reward → Find what your friends are listening to
An Investment is what users are willing to do for further rewards. In Nir Eyal’s argument, repeated rewards contribute to increased investments — whether time or monetary consumption. In a sense, investments can drive future benefits including money, effort, and time.
The Investment → Scroll through the friend feed and click on individual profiles, spending more time on the app
The Fogg Behavior Model reveals an inverse relationship between motivation and ability. When the action is complex, users require more motivation. Thus, it is important to make the minimum action (in this case: accessing the Friend Activity feed) as effortless and quick as possible for the users.
- What is the most minimum action the user takes in anticipation of a reward — finding what their friends are listening to?
- How can I minimize the effort required to take the intended action?
Spotify has crafted a near-ideal habit loop… I want to know how I can enhance it further.
I conducted 9 interviews with individuals who use Spotify and had several conversations with casual Spotify users. My goals were to:
- Understand how users make listening choices
- Discover the Spotify elements that loyal Spotify users care the most about (music variety, the design, playlist recommendations, Desktop Friend Activity feed, etc.)
I began to map my observations from user interviews in order to find the underlying trends from research. After hours of rearranging post-its, I finalized the diagram below. What really stood out to me was the fact that users are interested in external triggers: tracking friends’ listening activity and their recommendations. The most loyal Spotify users mentioned that the app differs from other streaming services for its visual design and fun playlists.