Duolingo Marketing shows the power of social media versus prime-time television. Nuvi shows you how to read the signs.
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A Duolingo Lesson: SNL vs. Some Kid’s Tweet

How did a single tweet from a kid mean more to the language learning app, Duolingo, then being on prime-time TV? And how Duolingo's smart marketing made it happen?

On Saturday, November 2nd, SNL featured a skit with Kristen Stewart and the app, Duolingo. If you’re not familiar with the app, Duolingo is a language learning software that has quickly climbed to the top of its industry.

After the skit aired, we expected a big surge in the conversation surrounding the brand, so we decided to listen and find out. We were right. There was a massive spike in conversation from November 2nd (the night it aired) to November 3rd (the morning after.)

A green line graph shows the spike of conversation around Duolingo's SNL skit. The highest spike was 700 mentions. The graph looks like a mountain range: short little mountain to the left and then a mountain, with several little spikes, rises on the right end of the graph.
Saturday Night Live featured a skit with Kristen Stewart and the app, Duolingo.

There were about 27,000 total mentions in this timeframe. Additionally, the November 2nd airing of SNL had a rating of 4.1. For those unfamiliar with how TV shows' ratings work, 4.1 is one of the best ratings you can get, so you can imagine that Duolingo would be ecstatic to be receiving this kind of visibility.

We decided to widen the scope a bit to see how this spike compared to the conversation in the last two weeks and what we found was surprising. 

The SNL skit spike occurred on Nov. 4, but looking back to Oct. 26th, and even taller mountain or spike occurred. A single tweet got about 1.5k mentions.
A second higher spike of mentions appeared before Saturday Night Live aired on network television

We noticed that there was a huge spike in mentions around October 25th, before the SNL skit ever aired. As you can see from the graph above, the spike is almost twice as big as the spike following the SNL air date and the mentions increased by 280%. 

What could be so big as to completely blow the SNL conversation out of the water? Well, after some more digging, it’s definitely not what you would imagine. 

Nuvi's bubble graph has Jake's tweet highlighted. From his tweet, white lines connect to all posts that shared or mentioned his tweet. This connection feature is part of Nuvi's software to help you easily highlight trends. Jakes tweet has so many white lines, it's hard to see anything else.
A single tweet from an obscure account gets shared 40,000 times and generates more Duolingo brand mentions than Saturday Night Live

We used our bubble tool to identify the source of this crazy influx in conversation and tracked it back to this single tweet by @mcguffiejake.

Tweet mentions Duolingo app and mascot. Goes viral. The tweet says "[halloween party]. my friends: haha look outside the window! someone came dressed as the duolingo owl lmao. super realistic costume too. me, a week behind on my norwegian course: oh god no. lock the fing doors." His tweet has 39K retweets and 207.6K Likes
Duolingo push a spoof feature launched in April Fools day goes viral in Halloween

With almost 3,000 followers, their tweet accumulated almost 40,000 retweets in a matter of days and those retweets were seen by almost 16.5 million people. 

Nuvi's reach and spread visual for Jake's tweet. Reach is usually displayed in a blue box, but this is just a line. Expanding from the reach is the spread in a green box, which is a tall rectangle. Reach: 5,593. Spread: 16,450,719
Tweet mentions spread

This is massive, compared to the 7 million total people who had seen tweets related to the SNL skit. Below you can see that the initial tweets reached almost 6.5 million people, but the spread quickly dwindled. Alternatively, the tweets surrounding the ‘Halloween party’ tweet had a very small initial reach but spread quickly to 16.5 million people. 

Nuvi's reach and spread visual for SNL skit. Reach, this time, is a tall rectangle, while spread is very thin. Reach: 6,422,225. Spread: 396,472
Saturday Night Live generated mentions' spread

If you’re wondering, “This is what beat SNL?!” Well, so were we. At first, we didn’t get the reference, but we kept widening our view and looked at the last year of conversation. 

The line graph shows three significant spikes in conversations around duolingo. The first, that lead to the rest, was on April fools. It got over 24k mentions. The spike was taller than either of the others.
April Fools' Day compared to Halloween tweet and Saturday Night Live show

This is the spike analysis for Duolingo since March. In March, the baseline was really low and then shot up in April. With more research, we learned that this huge influx in conversation was due to a marketing campaign that they launched called Duolingo Push. 

Banner of duolingo push. It's a dark blue banner except for an open door letting the light of night inside. In the doorway is the duolingo owl standing there looking cute. the banner reads: Never miss a day of language practice again. duolingo's new, in-person notifications cna find you wherever you are. ignore at your own risk." The owl's not so cute now.
A cartoon image of a woman eating noodles with a chopstick while looking at her desktop. Behind her is an open window. Peaking over the edge is the duolingo owl.

One of the key features of Duolingo is keeping a running course streak. Every day that the user keeps the streak going, they get rewarded. To help the user stay on track, Duolingo provides very insistent notifications to prevent them from losing their streak. 

Duolingo Push was a spoof campaign for these notifications that would remind users to complete their daily course. The catch? The notifications would come via the Duolingo owl, in-person, anytime, anywhere. Their ads demonstrated Duo the owl showing up on dates, at the gym, or even at your work.

This campaign launched the company into “meme-worthy” status and the internet went crazy about the cute (or creepy) Duo owl.

A man in a robe is sitting on his bed. He's on the phone and holds a book in his other hand. Behind him is glass patio doors. The duolingo owl peeks around the curtains on the other side of the glass at him.

Seven months later, and their campaign is still taking the internet by storm. So much so, that the spike surrounding the SNL skit couldn’t compare. We are seeing in real-time, the results of an impactful and successful marketing campaign.

What made this campaign so impactful and how can these insights help you?

Duolingo successfully understood and connected with the usability challenges of its customers. The company was also able to poke fun at their own persistence with notifications, as well as put a face to those reminders with their mascot, a cute little owl. By doing that, they were able to appeal to the younger generation’s love of memes and solidify their campaign’s success. 

Social listening gives a strong advantage when preparing a marketing campaign because of the user’s ability to learn about their audience and competitors, compare historical data with present plans, and adjust accordingly. But what about after the campaign launches? What insights are valuable that can continue to help their marketing approach? 

Long-term listening gives you the ability to understand what resonates and what doesn’t, tweak campaigns in real-time, and measure results more effectively. Nuvi allows you to identify what people love, what they don’t, and then use that conversation to your advantage. 

Social listening goes beyond vanity measures. It’s a research, strategic, and tactical tool. Inform market research competitive analysis, product development and product launches with unsolicited feedback from your target audience. Listen to gain the wisdom and confidence you need to make effective and impactful decisions over and over again. Listen to connect. 

If you want to learn more about Nuvi’s solutions and how we can help you improve your customer experience journey, call our solution experts at 1-801-753-0926 or email us at cxsolutions@nuvi.com

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