Customer story: How e-learning solution Busuu expanded into new markets

Centili Marketing

Busuu is one of the world’s most used language learning apps, and top recommendation for goal-oriented learners, according to CNET (2020). Launched in 2008, it has shaped up into a global community of over 100 million active learners. Ever since its inception, the Busuu team has excelled in building solutions that make language learning accessible for people around the globe. Busuu lessons are created by linguists and enhanced with AI. They include personalized study plans, speech recognition, and instant feedback from native speakers. Having acquired Verbling in 2020, Busuu is expanding into the live video tutoring space as well.

Challenge: Getting to language learners quickly, in remote markets

Busuu is the kind of a new generation digital product, with a global outlook and bold vision. With their mobile app, anyone can learn languages, regardless of their country, location, or age. Classes are also available via their desktop app, smoothly synced with mobile platforms. Busuu supports 12 of the world’s major languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, Japanese, and Russian. It interfaces with many other languages, so there is hardly a country in the world where people would not find Busuu a helpful companion in learning.

Yet, reaching them is not easy. Outside of the established e-learning markets, the road to new learners can be bumpy. Developing or geographically distant markets can be complex and difficult to understand and approach. They will often have their own sets of regulation, device and technology preferences, payment methods, marketing routes and business culture. User acquisition (and retention) models in those markets can differ from those in Europe or in the USA. With Busuu focusing on what they are best at – building stunning language learning solutions – adding new users can call for the involvement of partners.

Centili Fusion: Capturing the opportunity

As a technology partner, Centili enabled Busuu to launch their app as part of the monthly tariff on a large mobile network in North Africa. This was done over Centili Fusion – the bundling platform which allows easy creation and management of packages consisting of telco and digital products, which are charged via telco plans. The joint effort involved telco partners promoting the bundle and making it easy for their mobile users to download and try Busuu. Those who liked it simply continued using it, with the monthly cost charged to their telco bill. Centili took care of the integration and technical prerequisites needed for such a product to launch. For Busuu, it was a new market that would have otherwise been difficult to approach, and Centili played an important role in facilitating the arrangement – technically, legally, and commercially.

As Valentino Serino of Busuu says, that is exactly the way to work with Centili. It is important to identify countries and networks where bundling partnerships have the potential to do well, after all market specifics have been considered, and then use Centili experience in navigating telecom integrations, contracts, and commercial agreements. That way, benefits can be quickly created for all parties. Also, execution is paramount. “Ideas and planning are important, but if you can’t execute on a project and capture the opportunity, benefits will be weak”, he said.

Rapid user acquisition, with excellent retention

In a close technical and commercial cooperation with a telecom network, enabled by Centili, Busuu was able to reach hundreds of thousands of mobile subscribers, and offer them their language learning app for a free trial. Many of them downloaded and started using the application, of which the majority continued to use Busuu after the free-trial period.

Following the project implementation, benefits were created for all the stakeholders – mobile subscribers with an appetite for language learning, the telecom operator which sought ways to delight their subscribers, and Busuu, a product at the forefront of new e-learning models, which obtained a rapid user acquisition channel in a whole new market.

-It was excellent work from Centili – communication was always good, and we understand each other really well. Whenever we had a technical requirement or asked for customization, we got it with no delay. (Valentino Serino, Senior Partnerships Manager, Busuu)