Many companies grow through paid marketing, but at Duolingo, our strategy is a little different! As of early 2023, ~80% of our users were acquired *organically*—maybe they followed us on social media or heard about us from a friend—and we maintain this organic growth by building the best product we can, and giving it away for free. Our hope is that eventually, learners will enjoy using Duolingo so much that they pay for a set of premium features—and it’s working! We’ve found that 7% of Monthly Active Users—and growing!—subscribe to Super Duolingo.
In other words: Our business grows because learners love our product and spread the word to their family and friends, some of whom eventually download the app and subscribe. Rather than investing marketing dollars to drive immediate revenue, we play the long game.
Sounds great, right? But maintaining a healthy ecosystem of Daily Active Users (DAUs) at various points in their lifecycle is a delicate balance. The more learners we have, the more diverse their needs become. To maintain organizational focus while serving this expanding, and evolving, population, we orient teams around movable metrics that matter, and then run hundreds of A/B tests to optimize for those metrics!
But how do you decide on the metrics that matter? And how do you advocate for an organization to adopt new metrics? And what happens if existing metrics stop moving? Our Data Science team developed a growth framework that helped to grow DAUs by 4x since 2019. Let’s explore the path that led us to that framework (the Growth Model), the tangible impact it’s had o...