Applying Best Practices from Connect London - busuu's story

Kimmo Koivisto Oct 04 2017 2 PM | 3 min read

The paid social team behind language learning app busuu attended our Connect London event and decided to put some of the best practices presented there to the test. Read more about what they changed in their Facebook bidding and audience strategy, and how it worked. 

Their story: Make use of any spare moment to learn a language

busuu is the world’s largest social network for language learning. They offer courses in 12 different languages online and in their mobile app to more than 70 million learners worldwide. 


Their goal: Further scale-up Facebook marketing while keeping CPAs down

“Facebook is an important acquisition channel for busuu’s mobile user growth. Using Facebook, we’re able to reach people very similar to our existing customers, which allows us to drive new premium subscriptions for our language courses.” says Jon Beazley, busuu’s Digital Acquisition Manager.


Approach: Putting Connect insights to the test  

busuu was already an advanced Facebook advertiser and their paid social team was continuously A/B testing to find what works and what doesn’t. The team attended Connect - the industry event series for paid social experts - in London to learn more about scaling their campaigns effectively.

“We came away from Connect with a lot of insightful and actionable advice on further scaling our campaigns, which we decided to put to the test.”

A couple of the key tips busuu learned at Connect:

1)  Use large audiences

Why? Facebook’s targeting algorithms are powerful. It’s better to use large audiences and let Facebook select who to target than to split your audiences and leave them less room for optimization.

“Previously we had quite a granular focus when it came to targeting. After Connect we began to group our old ad sets together and use larger audiences to feed the delivery algorithm more data for optimization. This helped to significantly reduce our CPA and increase the scalability of our campaigns.”

2)  Bid boldly

Why? Because of the auction model Facebook uses, it makes sense for every advertiser to bid their true value i.e. the average life-time profit for a conversion excluding the Facebook marketing costs. That’s why advertisers should bid high despite their target CPA - you end up paying less than you bid and you get better delivery.

“Before the Connect event, we were optimizing higher up the funnel as found it was difficult to get results at scale optimizing towards premium subscriptions. We were bidding more cautiously to avoid skyrocketing CPAs. First we moved our optimisation goal further down the funnel, which resulted in delivery issues when using automatic bidding. Then we switched to manual bidding at our true value, which also posed limitations to delivery and results.” 

“Bidding boldly, we found that manually bidding much higher than our target CPA resulted in our premium subscription campaigns starting to actually deliver. This allowed us to drive even more efficient results at a greater scale than we previously thought was possible to achieve.”

Their results: busuu-results-bidding-audiences.png


“Applying the industry best practices we learned at Connect meant we could simplify our campaign structure and drive more efficient results, giving us more time to focus on experimenting with new audiences and creatives.”


A creative example from busuu


“We have found we were able to drive a higher volume of premium subscriptions whilst simultaneously improving efficiency. This allowed us to scale spend to a point where we are comfortable making Facebook our largest acquisition channel by some margin. Moving forward, our focus is on automating creatives and audiences.”


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Kimmo Koivisto

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