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  • Writer's pictureJasaro In

How to Build a High-Retention Product?

Duolingo, renowned for its language learning platform, has made headlines not just for its content but also for its innovative, addictive widget.

How Duolingo built World's Best Retention Product?

Let's break it down to how it achieved this feat.

1. Through Gamification

Duolingo's use of gamification elements like points and streaks has significantly increased user engagement and retention. For their high retention rates, they took inspiration from games like Angry Birds and Clash Royale.

Duolingo's retention rate has increased to 55% in recent years, up from 13% in 2012. It also uses a psychology trick, the Zeigarnik effect, which says people better remember and finish tasks they've started but haven't finished yet.

2. Using AI

Duolingo Max, now powered by GPT-4, brings AI to language learning. It offers 'Explain My Answer' for insights into your responses and ‘Roleplay’ to practice conversations with app characters, like ordering coffee in a Parisian café. Initially, for Spanish and French learners on iOS, it's a fun, immersive way to learn languages.

Duolingo also uses AI models, like the Bird Brain model, to predict how well you might do in exercises and tests, creating lessons that are just right for learning.

3. Data-Driven Decisions and Effective Push Notifications

Duolingo always tries new things and checks how users like them. They use what they learn to make the app better. For instance, changing their app icon to a green owl led to 9.6% more downloads. Also, they use their owl mascot, Duo, to send clever reminders. Adding a red dot for practice reminders on the app icon increased daily users by 1.5%. These smart moves help keep the app fun and popular.

4. Balancing Free and Paid Content

They smartly mix free content with premium, paid features. This way, they attract a wide range of users while also earning revenue to support and grow their platform. Duolingo Plus, which offers ad-free and offline access, reached 5 Mn subscribers in 2021, accounting for 43% of its revenue.

5. Keeping Users Hooked

Features like daily streaks and social sharing are designed to keep users engaged daily. Duolingo has over 56 million monthly active users, who spend an average of 15 minutes per day on the app.

6. Standing Out in the Market

Duolingo has a strong position in the market. It is the most downloaded education app in the world, with 500+ Mn downloads. It also has a high customer satisfaction rating, with a Net Promoter Score of 62, which is higher than the average NPS of 34 for education apps.


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