How language learning platform Busuu grew revenues by 80% during lockdown

How language learning platform Busuu grew revenues by 80% during lockdown

Some brands have been able, during the pandemic, to not only be good corporate citizens but even grow revenues as a result.

If you’re learning a foreign language you may have heard of Busuu. You may even be one of its 100 million users globally. But if you’re also a parent struggling to home school your kids during lockdown, then you will have appreciated its Keep Kids Learning initiative.

Free online lessons for kids aged 5-14 to learn English, French, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese were made available by the platform on YouTube just days after the UK lockdown was announced. Historically aimed only at adult learners, this was a brave decision. It was intended to support its customers as they home school their children. It was also a smart one that paid off.

Busuu Lead CRM Manager Collette Mosca, says, “During covid lockdowns, we saw new user registrations grow by up to 200% compared with pre-lockdown and revenue growth of up to 80% year-on-year.”

Thinking on your feet

The education industry has boomed during lockdowns, so Busuu is not unusual in that regard. In fact, the platform watched as user registrations increased in China in January and February and it was only in mid-March, as growth in other markets correlated with the lockdown, that it realised there was a clear link.

“Being quick on your feet is very important in CRM and although it was universal, the lockdowns seemed all of a sudden,” admits Collette.

Nonetheless, within days, the Marketing and CRM teams had created Keep Kids Learning – a feat that would normally have taken weeks.

In the first two weeks, Busuu uploaded more than 100 video lessons online, attracting 60,000 views and 3,000 subscribers.

Collette Mosca

Reflect the true situation and watch the response

The new, free service was promoted to its user community using social and CRM.

Alongside changing images on the site from groups of people socialising outside to smaller groups at home, copy in all communications was also changed subtly. The key was to reflect the current situation – a bigger challenge than it seems as the site is in 15 different languages.

New key phrases such as ‘indoor hobby’ and the more familiar ‘learning a language’ (in English) yielded marketing performance improvements.

Email open rates grew by 14%, conversion by 13% and revenue soared by 38% compared to pre-covid campaigns.

“By changing the language and making it more situational we saw improvements and variations also performed well. So we will always take that into consideration from now on,” says Collette.

Observing lifestyle changes

Users have also changed the way they use the site and the CRM team is drawing useful lessons from these observations.

“In the past, our ‘time of send’ was during commuting hours as people read their emails on the train. That worked really well but the timing and the language across each market is now very different. We’re still experimenting on this,” says Collette.

CRM has played sometimes a lead but most often a supporting role in its marketing. One of the company’s biggest initiatives recently has been its referral offer in which, if you refer a friend, both of you receive 30 days of free lessons.

This is being communicated through CRM, which is also adding an engaging element of competition for friends and family members that sign up.

Collette says, “Once the ‘friend’ has joined, we message both parties saying ‘your friend has just done this’ on their course and ask them ‘how far have you got in your learning?’”

This social element is vital to the site and the way it markets its services to users which, as Collette says, “gives life to language learning.”

For Busuu’s CRM team, it has been “a rewarding privilege”, says Collette, for the marketing and CRM teams to know that they have hit the sweet spot of delivering social good and business success.