Growth Marketing

As consumers rewrite the traditional digital marketing funnel, companies must keep customers engaged and loyal — for longer. That is where growth marketing shines. To successfully implement this method, you gotta first look to the best of the best. Believe it or not, that is the language-learning app, Duolingo… 

What is Growth Marketing?

Growth marketing is a marketing technique that has several major focuses: 

  • Lowering customer acquisition cost
  • Fine-tuning campaigns
  • Improving customer experience and lifespan 

The YouTube video below by Elena Bezborodova provides a clear, simple definition of the practice. 

Additionally, this approach is data-driven, producing stronger, more predictable results. If that sounds good, keep reading to discover how Duolingo is cashing in with this modus operandi… 

Duolingo Maximizes Growth Marketing 

Duolingo is an app with one purpose — to teach you a foreign language through daily practice. 

And if you use Duolingo, you know they remind you around the clock to do so. 

Yet, somehow its notifications seem to affect us instead of being ignored as spam. In fact, the longest-running streak on the app is 4,100 days… 


Also, the company reported to The Wall Street Journal that 5 million users have a learning streak over a year. 

But how exactly does that translate into dollars and cents? 


Here is how they use growth marketing to make a mostly free app profitable…

Constant Testing

As we mentioned earlier, growth marketing is heavily based on metrics. That means continual A/B testing and tweaking messaging. 

Duolingo has this on lock with their “bandit algorithm.” 

Simply put, this programming tests different wording of the notifications it sends and discovers the most effective version. It also tests the best times of day to send those little nudges… 

Then, it uses that information to get more users actively learning. In turn, people in the app longer are more likely to upgrade to the paid subscription. 

More specifically, Duolingo uses two types of notifications in tandem to keep you coming back for more… 

Evoking “Loss Aversion” 

Before, we talked about the “streaks” users have using Duolingo. Users are very proud of — and want to maintain — long streaks. 

Duolingo uses that to their advantage by notifying you when you may lose your streak and rewarding you for keeping it… 

This growth marketing tactic is called “loss aversion,” and it’s extremely effective. So much so that James Clark was prompted to keep up his Duolingo Spanish streak from Mount Everest!


James Clark via WSJ

By now, you can see how this language app really embraced and made the most of this marketing method. 

But, how can you adapt it to your business? 

Tap Into to Duolingo’s Winning Streak 

Just because you don’t have a revolutionary algorithm or a pushy owl mascot doesn’t mean you can’t use growth marketing. 

You just have to break what they’re doing down to basics to start making a difference. 

For example, testing the keywords and messaging in promotional emails and ads can be done by any business. From there, you can see which ones work best for you and bring in the most people. 

Further, in the same vein as Duolingo Streaks, owners could implement loyalty programs and rewards for product use. Both of which many companies have seen success with. 

Ultimately, growth marketing is about not being afraid to try new things out. After all, the biggest marketing mistake you can make is not to do it all… 

Be Great,

GCTV Staff

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