Mobile App Success Story: Hooked


Reading is important! It provides important benefits for the brain while it develops imagination and creativity. But when to find time to open a book? And how to focus on the story when there are so many distractions around you? These questions have a unique answer coming from mobile world, of course! Hooked is the chat stories app which presents short novels in the form of text messages. To get to the next paragraph you just need to tap once. The best part is that you can start reading anywhere and anytime. It sounds interesting, right? Let’s learn more about Hooked!

Brilliant Idea

Prerna Gupta and Parag Chordia started their carrier as mobile developers with music apps like AutoRap. After selling their startup to Smule, they continued their work in the same domain until one day when they realized they wanted something else. The couple sold or donated everything and lived a nomad life for a year. During this period they wrote a novel and they studied the opportunities provided by the technology for convincing young readers to pay attention to their work. This is how Hooked started. The app was launched in 2015 and step – by – step it reached the top of the App Store. It will be interesting to discover the methods used for promoting Hooked.

How Hooked Did It

The main idea behind Hooked is to create an innovative way for making users interested in reading fiction stories. Let’s see how its creators managed to impress their audience.


Looking closer to Hooked you can realize that everything is about the way the story is told. Users are brought right in the middle of the dialog between characters without any introductions. They understand the novel from their messages because we all know that readers tend to skip big blocks of text especially when they contain boring descriptions of places or scenarios. Let’s face it, who didn’t want at some point to read other people’s conversations? The app is built around this behavior. Going further with the idea of using storytelling for acquiring users, we recommend you to read what Prerna Gupta said about the app in a post published on Medium. On top of that, the story where she described the path they followed before building this app is really inspiring.

Social Media

It is mandatory to mention the effects produced by the chat interface. It is almost impossible to try to convince teenagers to do something if you ignore their preferences. They love to send and receive messages; they need to share their thoughts about a certain activity. They need to see that their opinions really count. It is about building a community around the app. Besides that, Hooked creators managed to offer to their readers a space where they can add their own ideas for creating special stories. Adding social media features to the app completed user experience. Remember that every app owner needs to reach their users’ expectation. Being creative and adapting a classic activity to the modern and dynamic mobile world is the secret of success in this industry.

Wait Or Pay

It is important to mention the business model that helps Hooked owners monetizing their app. Users are able to follow a six – minute conversation and after that they need to decide if they want to wait 40 minutes to continue their reading or they are too eager to discover the end of the story and they subscribe for the unlimited access. Some people agree to wait, a few take advantage of the seven – day free trial and others are so attracted by the scenario that they spend their money inside the app. There are also some users disappointed by the fact that they need to pay for finishing a story but when we see Hooked in top charts we understand that its owners focused on publishing stories interested enough to convince customers that the app’s worth their time and money.

Push Notifications

What if people decide not to pay because that 40 – minute break could be useful for them to finish their mandatory tasks? What can you do then? Users already left the app and they are probably too busy to remember about that short novel they were reading less than an hour ago. The simplest solution implemented by Hooked creators is to send customers push notifications reminding them about the characters and the plot. If they finished their daily chores and the story is interesting enough they will come back to the app.

Bonus Tip: Read Your Data!

Prerna Gupta and her husband knew from the beginning what they wanted. Their goal was to attract teens, like the ones that use Snapchat to pay attention to what they offer. A good think is that they ignored what people were saying about teenagers, that they don’t read anymore. Defining your target audience is a great start but you need to go deeper and to connect with them for discovering their preferences. And so they did. After all, they worked in the mobile industry so many years. Before launching the app they tested their product and tried to find out how many customers would read their stories. Additionally to this information, the team behind Hooked needed to know what kind of characters and plots users prefer. This way they were able to offer them what they really wanted.

Final Thoughts

Hooked is an app based on a truly interesting story which encourages all entrepreneurs to follow their dream. The most important lesson is to focus on the right elements in order to obtain the wanted results. The first step is to decide your goal and after that you need to discover the tools that will help you to achieve your purpose. Even if it seems a long journey, remember to enjoy every step you make. This way you will have a successful business and a great story to tell!


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