Noom Case Study

Amanda Liu
5 min readJan 10, 2023

A psychology-based digital health platform used to provide intelligent nutrition and exercise coaching.

Touchpoint

Youtube Ads

In their Youtube commercial series, Noom presents some very relatable real-life scenarios and points out the psychological models behind them.

Survey (New User Requisition Flow)

After clicking through their Youtube ads, users will be directed to a survey designed to hook their interest.

The whole flow starts with demographic info (~20 questions), followed by a set of habit & behavioral questions (~30 questions). It finishes off with a set of questions that capture users’ past weight-loss history, & mentality (~30 questions).

For every few steps users complete, there will be an alluring page with graphs that states the benefits & results of Noom, ensuring the users stick to the process.

Affiliation Program

Noom has an affiliation program with companies where the subscription cost can be reimbursed as employee benefits. This is an excellent strategy to accelerate exponential growth.

Referral Program

Noom encourages users to refer a friend by presenting significant numbers as an initiative (Who doesn’t want “faster progress“?)

👎 What I don’t like: Dark patterns

When it finally comes to payment, Noom has set up multiple dark patterns, tricking users into spending more money. During the sign-up process, my friend and I accidentally purchased products without awareness. If I didn’t check my receipt, I would never find out.

Other Add-ons

Other add-ons include:

  • Personal behavior change coach (reg. $19/mo)
  • Withings wifi body scale (reg. $60)
  • custom meal & workout plan (reg. $78/mo)
  • custom meal plan (reg. $49/mo)
  • custom workout plan (reg. $29)

Noom has set up this call-to-action (CTA) with several visual cues to prompt the purchase, including the big “save“ labels, red fonts, and comparable data.

NoomBot

NoomBot is the chatbot within the app to provide 24/7 instant Q&A and support. When I was trying to get a refund for my subscription, the bot provided an instant response that would relieve my anxiety. It served as a great buffer during the time I was waiting for a human customer support agent.

Noom Support Team

The Noom Support Team responded to my request in a very timely manner. I put down the request at night and received a reply the next morning at 7:41 AM, along with the refund that I was requested.

Product Highlights

🧠 Psychological Approaches & Habit Forming

Noom’s weight-loss program is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment helps people understand what triggers negative thoughts, compulsive actions, and unwelcome consequences.

Noom also adopts the habit-forming framework from James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, where he breaks a habit into four lifecycles: cue, craving, response, and rewards.

👍 What I like: Efficient courses

Each mini-course is about 2–5 mins and is available in audio. They fit into my lifestyle perfectly: Every morning I will start my morning routine with audio lessons.

💰 Reward System

Noom uses a virtual token called “NoomCoin” to track the progress & milestone of the learning journey. Each day when user completes all the desired action that will positively-affects their weight-loss journey, they will earn a NoomCoin, which will be stored in their noomcoin wallet. However, I’ve yet to discover a way to spend them.

📈 Present Significant Numbers

Significant numbers are used in almost every crucial step in the app to boost users’ confidence. Instead of convincing the users that they can do it, Noom presents concrete data along with graphs & charts to maintain their stamina.

👎 What I don’t like: Ambiguous data source

Even though the numbers are luring, I never see anywhere the source of their data, which undermines their credibility.

❇️ Green Score

Noom divides all food into three categories: green food, yellow food & orange food, based on their caloric density(CD). Users aim to complete a whole day of eating within a calorie range (“weight-loss zone“), with the suggested “golden ratio” of green, yellow and orange food.

Noom further strengthens users’ conception of these categories through mini-games & quizzes.

👎 What I don’t like:

The score only focuses on calorie density, ignoring nutritional facts and how satiation plays on individuals. People might misinterpret the info and think they are promoting a low-fat diet.

🎢 Learning Curve

Instead of throwing all the info all at once, Noom designed a set of courses that guide users through the journey without overwhelming them. Each day, several 2–5 min lessons (available in text & audio) introduce one concept, followed by a short quiz/homework to internalize the knowledge.

Following the designed pathway, users will progressively adopt a new mindset, learning how to change their relationships with weight, food & activities.

Summary

Although sharing the same core (calorie deficit), Noom’s unique psychological approach to weight loss successfully differentiates itself from other traditional calorie-restricting products. I like how their program is educational & sustainable; as the saying goes:

“Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

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