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The Tenets of A/B Testing from Duolingo‚ Master Growth Hacker

First Round Review
First Round Review
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Duolingo’s VP of Growth Gina Gotthilf examines the four A/B tests that have been most crucial to Duolingo’s growth and shares lessons and cautionary tales.

A/B TEST #1: Delayed Sign-Up

  • What was causing them to lose or fail to retain users?
  • Implement hard and soft walls regarding signing up.
  • Test early users to determine if signing up before using your product or after is better.

A/B TEST #2: Streaks

  • How do they get people to do it every day or every other day for languages to stick?
  • Streaks keep track of how many days in a row a user has used the product.
  • When possible, have users set goals that will help them form habits.

A/B TEST #3: Badges

  • How do they get users to complete more lessons?
  • Badges are rewards that represent meaningful accomplishments.
  • Successful testing demands balance; at the core of the minimum viable product (MVP) is “viable,” so try to avoid getting caught up in the “minimum” aspect.

A/B Test #4: The In-App Coach

  • How do they encourage people based on their ability to improve their skills rather than their natural intelligence?
  • Duo is Duolingo’s supportive in-app owl mascot who encourages users using a growth-mindset.
  • Sometimes you have to put your assumptions and personal tastes aside and just try it.

The Tenets of Testing

  • Rake in and rank tests continuously.
  • How many people will be affected by this change?
  • How many hours will go into running the test?
  • Refine and repeat.
  • Remember to design with restraint and stand firm on what you stand for because mission trumps metrics.
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