How The Highly Addictive App, Hooked, Climbed to the Top of the App Store
Elisabeth Brier and Esha Gupta

Though launched only a few years ago in 2015, Hooked has already risen to the top of Apple’s top free apps chart, joining the ranks of major app giants like Bitmoji, Snapchat and Instagram.

If you’re not yet familiar with the increasingly popular app, Hooked allows you to read bite-size stories in text message form.

Users claim that platform is “highly addictive” and to learn more about it, TechDay sat down with the company’s Creative Director, Esha Gupta.

As a new disruptive means to storytelling, how do you go about explaining Hooked in an effort to attain new users? How do you emphasize its value and highlight the need it's satisfying?

The best way to understand Hooked is to read a story in the app. Therefore, we often use product demos to explain Hooked to new users. Once a reader is hooked on a story (pun intended! ;D), the value prop is obvious: addictive stories on your phone.

What are the primary methods in which new users are attained? Who is your target audience and how are they reached?

We primarily rely on our stories to do our marketing for us. When a reader loves a story she finds in Hooked, she’ll tell her friend to read it too. We also leverage social media marketing to get the word out to new audiences. Our core demo is comprised of teens and millennials ages 13-35, with a gender split of 60% female and 40% male.

How do you utilize science and data to enhance the creative component of Hooked? How can you attribute this reconciliation to the platform's "addictiveness"?

We are always looking at data to see how our readers are responding to stories in the app, and we use this information to help guide which stories to show them, and what types of stories to develop going forward.

From where do you gather content and what is the criteria for Hooked worthy stories?

We work with authors represented by top literary agencies to source stories for Hooked.

How do you predict Hooked will expand in the near future? What changes can we expect to see in either format, genre, caliber etc?

Our goal is to tell great stories. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible in chat fiction. We want to go deeper and broader with our stories. Chat fiction is a new art form, and it will take time for authors to develop their voices and narrative style, but we know it’s possible to tell stories this way with as much meaning and emotion as the greatest stories of our time.

What do you believe it is about Hooked that makes it so addictive - enough for it to rise to the top of Apple's top free apps chart, surpassing apps like Bitmoji, Instagram, and Snapchat? How can other entrepreneurs follow suit?

What makes Hooked addictive is that it appeals to basic human emotions. Storytelling is fundamental to the human experience, and with Hooked, we’ve discovered a way to tell the most visceral stories in a format that grabs you immediately, and doesn’t let you go.