Duolingo Gains 10,000 New Followers with Native Douyin Marketing Strategy

New Followers
Native Ads boost CTR for creator videos by
Cost Reduction in lead gen (Dec 22 vs. Mar 23)

The Objective

Like many in the global education industry, Duolingo has long identified China as a market too big to ignore. This vast market offers a diverse user base, encompassing students and working professionals with a wide range of language learning needs, both personal and career-oriented.

In line with Duolingo’s product offering, Chinese users exhibit a wide spectrum of interests and language learning requirements spanning English, Japanese, French, and even Arabic and Swahili.

To capitalize on this opportunity and grow their brand in China, Duolingo launched a focused campaign to boost its follower count on Douyin, with the goal of amplifying reach and generating more leads for its mobile app.

The Solution

From the outset, Duolingo knew it was important to adopt an integrated approach, one that would compound each of their marketing methods and reduce their overall lead gen costs. This led to the adoption of a special 3-pronged marketing model, spanning creator endorsements, traffic boost, and search optimization.
First, Duolingo identified and collaborated with relevant Douyin creators through the Ocean Engine Creator Marketplace (Xingtu). Selected creators were then tasked with producing high-quality content with the overall goal of seeding interest and inspiring their follower base to learn a language using the Duolingo mobile app.
A CTA (call-to-action) button was added to each video, directing users to the brand’s official Douyin account and a landing page hosting a lead-gen form. (This particular strategy also helps to increase conversions based on growing the number of users following the brand’s official Douyin account.)
To drive even more traffic, Duolingo leveraged Douyin Native Ads to promote creator videos to a wider and highly targeted audience. Next, using Ocean Engine, Duolingo launched search ads to optimize the search results with the aim of acquiring more leads.
Lastly, the brand strategically integrated “blue words” into the comments section of the creator videos as an additional trigger to guide users to search after viewing content. These keywords are highlighted in blue at the top of the video’s comments section, which directs users to the search results page, presenting a prime opportunity to re-engage users through strategically placed search ads.

Ad Products

Search Ads
Search Ads
In-Feed Ads
Native Ads
Creator Collaboration
Creator Collaboration

The Results

By combining the strengths of KOLs, Native Ads, and search ads, Duolingo was able to successfully engage users across the entire user journey, from the upper marketing funnel (awareness and consideration) to the lower funnel (conversion).

Under this integrated approach, Duolingo gained over 10,000 new followers on Douyin, while reducing its lead gen costs by 3,000% (Dec 2022 vs. Mar 2023).

Utilizing Native Ads to target highly relevant users also allowed Duolingo to increase the conversion rate for creator videos, which was 222% higher than organic creator videos during this period.

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