The Hierarchy of Engagement

In this article by Greylock Partners (Venture Capital firm) Sarah Tavel explains how engagement is built.

These are the four steps/levels

  1. Growing engaged users – completing the core action
  2. Retaining the users – product gets better with use, users should lose something when stopped
  3. Self-perpetuating – users create virtuous (growth) loops
  4. €1B+ company – all 3 above plus some magic

Tavel states that user engagement is the driving force behind a product/company.

And knowing what to do as a company start as art (early stage) and become a science (later stage).

Her model ties in with the Hook model (trigger, action, reward, investment, tri…)

(also mentioned in The Power of Habit)

Step 1

In the beginning (first step) the growth of users isn’t the most important statistic, it’s users completing the core action.

For this to happen, users need 1) motivation, and 2) ability.

At Queal I can ask myself, what is the core action that our users need to do?

  • Is this a shake every week? And if yes, how do we measure this precisely? (or do we do this with random samples/emails)

Step 2

Will users stick? This will determine the long-term success.

For investors it’s important to look at the accruing (compounding) benefits as the user engages, and mounting losses if they leave the product (e.g. you can’t see your friends posts on Instagram anymore).

Insight: This is why anonymity apps don’t work, they don’t provide new benefits after you start using the product. You don’t build your identity based on such an app (which I guess is kinda their point too).

  • How long do users stay engaged with Queal?

Step 3

The engagement of existing users creates virtuous loops, it makes the product even better. This is what happens if people post things on social platforms. But this doesn’t happen if someone finds his/her true love on Tinder.

  • Is there a virtuous loop possible for Queal (as an offline product?)

How do you build engagement? And in what phase are you yourself?