How MacroFactor Removed Friction to Drive Engagement

An AI implementation that has a meaningful impact on the user experience.

I have started and subsequently stopped using various calorie trackers more times than I can count. There’s undeniable value in having data on your caloric and nutritional intake when it comes to optimizing health and fitness. Despite that, there is so much friction in consistently tracking what you eat that it’s very difficult to get people to consistently log what they are putting into their bodies.

Friction is a funnel’s worst enemy. You know it, I know it, the dashboards we use to obsessively track metrics know it. If you’re able to remove that friction, you can make magic happen.

On my recent quest to explore the health & fitness mobile app space, I came across an experience that stood out to me as delightfully frictionless. I had downloaded a nutrition app called MacroFactor with the expectation of, once again, temporarily tracking my eating. I figured it would be more of the same, but the first time I went to log a meal in the app, I encountered a wonderful surprise.

In one of my favorite AI implementations to date, MacroFactor has removed a significant amount of friction in the process of logging foods by allowing you to describe your meal and then automatically itemizing and classifying it for you without you having to look up and select each individual item. This is a massive improvement.

Every app has a core action that it wants its users to take and so long as users are taking that action consistently they are substantially more likely to retain. That action orients around the core functionality of the app; for example, an app like FitnessAI’s is “completed workouts,” Strava’s is “activities tracked,” and MacroFactor’s is “foods logged.”

By reducing the friction involved with taking your app’s core action, you’ll increase the number of users that take the action at all and the frequency in which the average user takes the action, both of which will help drive wins for retention and thus your business. This feature by MacroFactor is an example of exactly that.

This week’s homework: think about what the core action of your product and how you might be able to get more users to take that action more often. Are there places you can reduce friction? Are there ways you can incentivize taking the action more often (hint: think streaks from last week’s post)? Optimize around that core action and thank me later.

You’re going to want to check these out…

  1. In this interview - Mac Martine walks through the strategies and thought processes that helped him build his company to $58k MRR.
  2. This article - highlights some of the benefits that best-in-class companies like Duolingo have experienced by implementing streaks into their products.
  3. This video - by YC is a great listen. Y combinator content is always top notch.