CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY

Udacity Grows Enrollment and Engagement with Customized Learning Experiences

“Blueshift is a true partner in helping us deliver relevant and timely learning experiences to our students. Our team loves how easy it is to access and activate our first-party data and automate personalized experiences that drive material impact to our customer engagement and business metrics.”

+36-48%

Purchase Rates

30Hrs

Time Saved Per Week

The Challenge

Drive student acquisition, engagement, and lifetime value by improving the full student experience ー from course discovery to completion ー and scaling the team’s impact.

The Outcome

Udacity increased engagement and purchase rates while becoming more efficient by having a centralized platform to orchestrate engagement by activating their first party data.

Company

Udacity upskills the world’s workforce, helping people stay relevant, secure, and create better lives for themselves and their future through the power of knowledge.

Headquarters

Mountain View, CA // USA

Industry

eLearning

Overview

Udacity is on a mission to upskill the world’s workforce so people stay relevant, stay secure, and can create better lives for themselves and their future through the power of knowledge. They’ve helped upskill more than 15 million students in more than 240 countries and have had more than 170,000 Nanodegree programs completed, and they continue to launch new free and paid courses regularly to help students build new skills.

As a company teaching the world about the applications of data and AI, Udacity wanted to apply these next-level marketing techniques to gain a competitive edge and drive student acquisition, engagement, and lifetime value. They also wanted their marketing, student experience, and support teams to be able to scale across business segments and countries they support.

Objective

Activate Growth Through Personalized Student Experiences

To continue to accelerate their growth and student learning, Udacity set its sights on expediting value across the full student experience, from discovering the right courses to facilitating course completion and furthering skill development by suggesting what to study next. With a growing variety of courses and each student at a different point within their unique learning path, Udacity needed a unified omnichannel marketing platform that would enable them to customize interactions at key moments throughout the learning journey by accessing and applying their first-party data.

Udacity needed a solution that would enable them to:

  • Drive student acquisition and enrollment by surfacing relevant courses to convert more leads and upgrade free members to paid members.
  • Increase student engagement and lifetime value with timely interactions that build learning momentum, prevent drop-off, and re-engage alumni for continued learning.
  • Scale its teams’ impact with a centralized platform that makes it easy to quickly create, optimize, and scale student experiences across channels.

“Blueshift enables Udacity to deliver smoother, faster learning experiences, from helping people find the right program to building learning momentum and helping students achieve their goals sooner. Our team loves how easy it is to access and apply our first-party data. With the diverse amounts of data at our fingertips, it’s now seamless to automate personalized experiences that reflect the interests and unique learning path of each student.”

Solution

Sophisticated Marketing Made Simple

Udacity partnered with Blueshift because its SmartHub CDP was the only platform that centralized everything they needed — including rich customer data, omnichannel orchestration, and contextual messaging — in an accessible way for marketers. With the volume of students, courses, and start dates, traditional customer data platforms and marketing automation systems couldn’t provide the flexibility and breadth of functionality needed and slowed the team down. By centralizing data, intelligence, and execution, Udacity has been able to instantly use rich customer data from various touchpoints to easily create and automate contextually relevant student interactions across their marketing channels, including email, mobile, and social. It’s also been able to easily optimize campaigns for all the regions it supports.

Udacity’s marketing team relies on the following self-serve capabilities within Blueshift to scale their impact:

  • Advanced Segmentation enables greater targeting precision and specific exclusions by leveraging dozens of diverse user attributes, events, and data from across channels.
  • Personalized Recommendations dynamically customize courses and offers suggested to each student across their learning journey based on browsing and previous course engagement.
  • Omnichannel Orchestration makes creating and managing hundreds of campaigns across regions and adding sophisticated triggers to lifecycle campaigns a breeze.
  • Testing & Analytics allows quickly running numerous tests, including testing entire experiences such as onboarding, and provides detailed cross-channel performance reporting so they can optimize every part of the lifecycle.
  • Shared Assets scales marketing content by seamlessly updating with one source edit the continuously changing promotional messaging that’s used across hundreds of templates.

Blueshift makes managing and optimizing hundreds of campaigns across regions a breeze. It enables us to rapidly scale marketing content, promotions, and campaigns by having every tool a marketer needs in one intuitive platform. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish everything we do in our day-to-day.

Strategy

With data about the key moments in the learning experience at their fingertips, in the last five years of using Blueshift, the Udacity team has been able to manage the user lifecycle through marketing to drive student enrollment, engagement, retention, and alumni reengagement and help students achieve their goals faster.

New Student Acquisition

Udacity makes it quick and easy for new leads as well as students who’ve previously taken a free course to discover Nanodegree programs and paid courses that match their learning objectives. With actionable, rich data such as pages viewed, free courses browsed, syllabus downloaded, chat conversations with enrollment advisors, and more, the Udacity team can create precise segments to target students more effectively with relevant courses and driving conversions. To find new prospective students, Udacity syndicates segments built in Blueshift, such as recent purchasers, to Facebook for lookalike targeting. They run proactive reactivation campaigns offering free courses to visitors who’ve become inactive. Using dynamic product recommendations, they continue to surface relevant course recommendations to increase likelihood to convert.

Enhanced Student Experience

Udacity has been thoughtfully improving the user experience at every stage of the learning journey. From new user onboarding to personalized meet and greets to homework reminders and personalized study paths to career services, Udacity has automated campaigns to trigger at key learning events to increase student engagement in the classroom, making the experience smoother, and to prevent churn. Now students receive instantaneous notifications about important class or project information. Mentors receive project submission alerts in real-time enabling them to submit feedback rapidly and reinforce the student’s learning. Graduates continue to be engaged with relevant courses and useful alumni information. As a result, Udacity has seen boosts in student course completion, retention, and continued learning.

Smarter, More Efficient Marketing

With a central system for all of their student interaction data and campaign orchestration across channels, the team has been able to move faster in building campaigns and experiences. They’ve been able to test and iterate on more ideas and seamlessly scale support across their regions. With nested reference segmentation and segmentation templates, they’ve been able to build in minutes complex segments that otherwise take hours for all their campaign types across business units.

Udacity has also realized efficiencies and eliminated friction by having one instance to use across a range of business units and teams. That’s led to time saving by sharing templates and campaign setups and being able to easily troubleshoot across teams’ campaigns without having to toggle between instances. Udacity’s customer support team has also benefited from the central environment by being able to investigate and resolve issues more quickly and serve students better through quick access to the rich user, campaign, event, and behavioral data history within Blueshift.

With the success they’ve seen, the team is focusing on leveraging recommendations across more stages and more channels throughout the student journey. They also plan to test and get more targeted with offers to different segments of students.

The accessibility of data and all the materials we need in one place removes the friction and steps of marketing execution. In 15 minutes, I can access more user and event data than I’ve had anywhere else, build sophisticated segments, and pull together a campaign.

Results

+19-41% Increased Engagement

Offer engagement (CTOR) when testing campaigns with personalized product recommendations

+36-48% Purchase Rates

Purchase rates when testing campaigns with personalized product recommendations

Saved 30 Hours Per Week

Thanks to shared assets, nested and templatized segmentation, ease of A/B testing, and having a central instance to manage campaigns across multiple teams

Additional Customer Stories