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The secret of Tinder
Or.. The hunter’s loop And how to apply it to your products
Ever wondered why Tinder is such an addictive dating platform?
There are of course many reasons
But I think that more than anything, Tinder is actually a casual game. (With benefits).
Backboned with one of the most addictive loops I know: The hunter’s loop.
Which is a primal, instinctive model wired to our brains.
This model can be applied to almost everything, digital and tangible.
Applied right, this could boost your product to a never before seen engagement.
But before I spill the beans and tell you what it is..
Make sure you have 5 minutes. This is the average reading time for this deck.
I’ll introduce myself
My name is Dori Adar, creative director at TabTale. I love games, digital products and junk food. firstname.lastname@example.org
The hunter’s loop has 6 phases.
Phase #1 Spotting patterns
Spotting patterns 1 Spotting patterns is something that we are wired to do.
Spotting patterns 1 Our brains loves this activity. We do it passively most of the time.
Spotting patterns 1 Until we spot something that triggers an emotion.. the prey.
Phase #2 Envisioning the prize
envisioning the prize 2 Upon spotting the target, the hunter starts to feel her heart pounding faster
envisioning the prize 2 She might look at an antelope, but what she really sees..
envisioning the prize 2 Is the prize.
envisioning the prize 2 If you ever filled up a lottery ticket and immediately started thinking of the millions to come, you know what I’m talking about.
envisioning the prize 2 Envisioning the prize fills our hunter’s head with a “let’s do it” feeling
envisioning the prize 2 Caused by the sweet dopamine doses the nerve cells now release
This dose is just enough for what I call: the small act.
Phase #3 The small act
The hunter decides to act. A small, simple act. The small act 3
She moves to place, aiming, waiting for the right moment to attack. The small act 3
Phase #4 Anticipation phase
During this phase dopamine keeps on kicking, ensuring she were more focused Anticipation 4
Making the reward even more desirable. Anticipation 4
This build up is extremely important. Without it the hunt would be emotionless.
Phase #5 The big act
The big act 5 Everything is channeled to the moment when the hunter goes for the battle!
Phase #6 The reward
The reward 6 (And if all went as planned) Winning the reward, the prize.
This marks the end of the hunters loop, leaving the hunter hungry for the next one.
Spotting patterns Finding the target Imagining the reward The small act Anticipation phase 1 2 3 4 Action starts. The reward 6 Action stops A few minutes The hunters loop
Some casual games use this loop as the backbone of their game mechanic
Although it is usually one phase shorter. No “big act” (phase #5) in a casual game.
Or the game might become too complex and hardcore.
Let me show you what I mean while deconstructing “Angry birds”
1: spotting patterns
1: spotting patterns 2: Envisioning the reward
1: spotting patterns 2: Envisioning the reward 3: The small act
1: spotting patterns 2: Envisioning the reward 3: The small act 4: Anticipation phase
1: spotting patterns 2: Envisioning the reward 3: The small act 4: Anticipation phase 5: The (variable) reward
This also works in Candy crush saga.
1: spotting patterns 2: Envisioning the reward 3: The small act 4: anticipation (Chain reaction) 4: The (variable) reward
As you can see, no “big acts” are needed here.
But I want to stress out the importance of variable rewards, that we have just seen in those games.
A variable reward is changing all the time. Sometimes small, sometimes big,
In a nutshell - this variability is what gets us hooked.
Nir Eyal, the author of “Hooked” described it nicely:
The light in the refrigerator is a nice reward, but constant. It’s always there.
Therefore, not very exciting. This door will remain closed until we are hungry.
However, if each time we opened the door we’d find a different snack inside...
We would open this fridge A LOT.
(BTW each time you share this presentation you will also see a different snack.)
Now lets see how Tinder does it.
1: Spotting patterns, finding the target
1: Spotting patterns, finding the target 2: Envisioning the reward Whatever you imagine….
1: Spotting patterns, finding the target 2: Envisioning the reward Whatever you imagine…. 3: The small act
1: Spotting patterns, finding the target 2: Envisioning the reward Whatever you imagine…. 3: The small act 4: Anticipation Waiting for the answers...
1: Spotting patterns, finding the target 2: Envisioning the reward Whatever you imagine…. 3: The small act 4: Anticipation Waiting... 5: reward
Since tinder is also a “real-life” game, “It’s a match” is sometimes just triggering the big act (chatting, flirting, meeting)
And the hunters could continue and get their tangible reward in real life
Whatever it may be.
But since most of the “tinder relationships” ends with “it’s a match” I argue that this phase is the digital reward.
And because of Tinder’s mobile nature, it is all happening pretty fast, too.
Which makes it a tight and perfect hunters loop.
This reward is also variable. You know, “Some girls are bigger than others”.
So what can we learn from applying the hunter loop into a digital product?
1. Make sure the reward is super understandable and desirable, so the users could envision it.
Make sure that the “small act” is indeed small, understandable and easy to do.
Try to complete the loop within the digital realms, saving “big acts” for real life
Remember the variable reward.
I want to leave you with 2 more thoughts:
Thought #1: Almost everyone is a hunter.
People hunting for dates are a big market and their reward is clear.
But people also hunt for art, food, jobs, experiences..
Think how you can apply the hunters model in your product.
Thought #2: There are also the gatherers.
Gatherers act differently than hunters. Pinterest, for example, is a good product for gatherers.
Think of your users. Who are they? Hunters or gatherers?
Subscribe to get my next presentation on the gatherers loop
And feel free to drop a line should you need some insights on your product!
P.S Did you learn something from this presentation?
If the answer is yes.. Please share it!
Though I lied about the different snacks appearing when sharing :P
Thank you <3