How Babbel became the top-selling, language-learning app by becoming data-driven

With Amplitude, this leading, language-learning platform built a self-service BI solution to enable its rapid growth.

10

million subscriptions sold

#1

selling language learning app

14

languages offered

Blending meticulously designed language instruction with advanced technology, Berlin-based Babbel is the world’s top-grossing, language-learning app with more than 10 million subscriptions sold and over $130 million in revenue in 2018.Key to its success: a data-centric approach that Babbel credits for its fast growth, including an aggressive expansion in the US where its subscriber base and revenue has tripled year over year.

Becoming a data-driven company

Data wasn’t always a central part of Babble’s story. In fact, for years after its launch in 2007, Babble engaged in very little data reporting, and the results those efforts yielded weren’t flexible enough to meet the needs of its teams. The company’s small analytics team was inundated with ad-hoc analysis requests from content teams working across 14 different languages. This wasn’t sustainable. To take its growth to the next level, Babbel needed its teams to be able to mine their own data insights to help make quicker, better-informed product decisions.

“We needed our teams to be able to answer their own questions, without a lot of technical knowledge. A lot of our important stakeholders are language experts and content creators, and we can’t expect them to also have SQL skills.”
Jakob Willisch, Data Insight Analyst

“We needed our teams to be able to answer their own questions, without a lot of technical knowledge,” said Data Insight Analyst Jakob Willisch. “A lot of our important stakeholders are language experts and content creators, and we can’t expect them to also have SQL skills.”

In 2018, the company turned to Amplitude for a self-service BI solution that would give its product stakeholders direct access to its data. With Amplitude, behavioral data is now accessible across the organization, enabling Babbel teams to track key metrics, better understand product performance, and react quickly.

Data access alone is not enough

Babbel also focused on building data literacy. With the help of the analytics team, the company created an internal infrastructure for coaching its teams on how to make data-informed product decisions. This included:

  • An introductory Amplitude workshop as a prerequisite to gaining access
  • Weekly meetings hosted by data analysts to answer questions about Amplitude
  • An Amplitude Slack channel for ad hoc questions, with data ambassadors to help encourage collaborative problem solving
  • Centralized bug documentation
  • Data protocols covering important events and providing taxonomy construction guidelines for the business

This framework helped Babbel’s teams quickly get up to speed and greatly reduced their dependence on its analytics team.

“The usability of Amplitude is a huge pro for us. As is the speed at which our teams can derive insights and communicate them throughout the organization. Even some of our more tech-savvy users who could be using other tools are using Amplitude because of the speed at which they can derive insights.”
Jakob Willisch, Data Insight Analyst

Putting out better content, more quickly

What sets Babbel apart from its competitors are the language experts who use empirically proven learning methods to design its product. To optimize its learning content, Babbel created a Product Performance team.

The team uses Amplitude to analyze all aspects of Babbel’s learning activities—from the content in each of its lessons to how the lessons are structured. Amplitude Templates provide curated charts to help the team monitor the impact of any product changes. With immediate access to insights in these charts, the team can work in shorter release cycles and put out new content much faster. They can also track how any product changes impact conversion, engagement, and retention.

“Without Amplitude, the Product Performance team wouldn’t be able to do what it’s doing,” said Jakob. “Amplitude is a crucial tool for the teams that are building and structuring our curriculum to be able to continually put out better content much more quickly.”

An improved way of working

Babbel makes strategic business decisions based on data and works towards clear, measurable objectives as an organization.

“Being able to track and monitor our results has been greatly improved through Amplitude,” said Jakob. “Our teams set goals based on specific and measurable metrics, and they don’t rely on analysts to provide OKR support. This wouldn’t have happened if the teams couldn’t directly measure their outcomes in Amplitude. Amplitude has made a huge improvement in the way we work.”

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