A single-digit increase in retention can mean a double – or even triple-digit increase in profits. Returning customers are more likely to spend – and to spend more. But in order to get there, you have to keep customers coming back. To do that, you have to build and master capabilities to drive meaningful connection and deliver valuable messaging. I’ve been exploring that idea in a new Mobile Presence series – Reimagine Growth, a special mini-series focused on retention marketing brought to you here by CleverTap. Recently, I learned how Gradeup, a top-ranking education app in India has become a massive success. They have learned how to engage and encourage users every step of the journey. 

Ankit Gautam, Associate Vice President Marketing at Gradeup leads marketing for Gradeup and Go-Prep. For these two education apps, he develops brand strategies, manages marketing campaigns, and specializes in increasing top of the funnel metrics from mediums like YouTube.  Ankit shared Gradeup’s secret to meeting increased demand during COVID-19 as well as the formula for post- (and pre-) pandemic success. 

How ramping up video production increased consumption 

Digital learning has moved to the forefront during COVID-19, as students across the world have seen their schools close down and move learning online. That’s true in India as well, and the Gradeup team is adapting to the new demand by scaling video production and more.   

“So, a lot of people, a lot of users are coming to our platform and they are consuming a lot of material that we are providing to them,” says Ankit. “A lot of it is actually for free, or for a free trial version for the users.” As people prepare for competitive exams on their own, Ankit says the education apps are seeing a rise in consumption.  

Gradeup boasts 20 million registered users across desktop and mobile, with around 3.5 million monthly active users on the app. But Ankit notes that since the company has ramped up its video content consumption has followed. “If you look at the last month’s performance, about 350 million minutes of video content was consumed across Gradeup, on websites and our app put together,” says Ankit.  

“And this is just only on our platform, we do have around 13 channels at the moment, so that’s a different story altogether,” Ankit says. 

Quality content builds loyalty 

When it comes to online learning, the quality of the content and the instructors are of utmost importance. Not only does having a good reputation for providing the best content help bring in new users, it helps guarantee that first-time users come back again and again. 

“The thing is that a lot of people do not get quality education in India because the country is so geographically widespread and also there are different economic structures in the country,” says Ankit. “So we have a very, very strict screening process for each of the faculty members that we onboard because on a larger level, they are responsible for teaching around 2,000-3,000 students.” Not only is the Gradeup team looking for faculty with a great track record of producing results, but they also need to understand how online learning works and be able to use the platform to its full potential – while still building relationships with students.  

“So it’s a very strict process and we do not operate on volume,” says Ankit. “One of the biggest USPs for us is that we might offer five things out of the ten possible things which are then in the market, but out of those five things, all five would be at around 9 and 9.5 on a scale of 10 in terms of quality.” 

Education as a catalyst for change 

We all know education has the ability to transform lives, and the web has the ability to bring this invaluable catalyst for change to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access it – especially in a place as big and economically diverse as India.  

Ankit says, “There are certain states of India, like Bihar or Uttar Pradesh, which are one of the poorest states in the country. So, Bihar has a population of around 90 million people overall and a lot of competitive exam aspirants come from the state. One of the most interesting numbers that we also came across recently is that out of these 90 million people, around 3 million people registered for our courses last year…or have watched our free videos on our platform.” 

Meanwhile in Uttar Pradesh, a state where roughly 3% of the population is below poverty line, “over 3.5 million people in the last 12 months have registered or signed up for our free classes or are right now consuming our course material that we are providing them.” 

With a mission this important, Gradeup is focused on making sure it’s accessible to as many people as possible by focusing on user acquisition as much as retention. Much of its UA comes in through organic channels but that doesn’t mean the company ignores its UA strategy.  

But retention is also part of the long-term plan. “Retention definitely plays a huge part in terms of our overall daily strategy because we want to make sure that people stay with us for a much longer time and engage much deeper with our product,” says Ankit. 

To learn more about Gradeup’s UA and retention strategies, tune in to the entire interview here