Ed-tech is one of the most booming startup sectors in India today. There is a large addressable audience, growing investor interest, increasing paid subscriptions, and intense competition. A recent Google-KPMG report estimates the overall sector to grow 8x and reach $2 billion by 2021. The paid subscriptions to reach 9.6 million by that time with a 6x growth since 2016.
At WebEngage, we are privileged to be working with hundreds of ed-tech companies. Industry leaders like Toppr, Unacademy, Testbook, Cuemath, Shaw Academy have associated with us to execute their user engagement and retention initiatives.
To lay firm grounds of our leadership in user engagement and retention for ed-tech companies, we recently spoke with Zishaan Hayath, CEO at Toppr, whose venture has been instrumental in shaping the future of ed-tech in India.
Toppr is India’s leading after-school learning app for 5th to 12th graders. It supplements the classroom learning with lectures, practice material, tests & doubts to make learning personalized for every child.
Launched in 2013, Toppr started with being a platform that helped students prepare for competitive exams, from IIT-JEE, AIIMS to BITSAT, and more. Once they sniffed success coming in, it was time for them to focus on junior and senior standards (grades 5th-12th) – the sphere where India’s largest student population lies.
From just 40,000 content pieces in 2013, Toppr now boasts of:
- 2 million pieces of learning material (and aims to reach 3 million by 2020)
- 4 million-plus solved doubts, and;
- More than 3 million tests taken on its platform to date.
After a recent fund-raise of $35 million, the ed-tech startup aims to hit around 20 million users by next year from the existing number of 8 million.
Get an insider view from the success drivers themselves, Zishaan Hayath and Joe Kochitty, VP of Product, about the nitty-gritty of Toppr’s journey and how WebEngage is supporting them in this deed.
How do you define your mission?
“Make learning personalized for every child” – Zishaan
He continues, Toppr believes that every student is different and has different learning needs. This belief is what drives them to work relentlessly towards solving student problems using advanced technology and helping students learn better.
Which is why they emphasize on an adaptive learning approach for each student.
“Our platform currently has more than 2 million learning pieces, from adaptive practice questions to videos. These come together seamlessly and give a 360° learning experience to each student,” the CEO adds.
Toppr primarily uses artificial-intelligence-based machine learning algorithms, on top of their robust infrastructure, to create personalized learning paths for students.
So what makes Toppr stand out from the competition?
Zishaan takes off with some interesting stats here:
“Our north star metric – engagement per day. Our students currently spend 120 mins on our platform every day. Having said this, our closest competitor clocks approximately 40 mins per day!”
While putting forth his thoughts, he mentions that different students have different needs. Generalization doesn’t work. Toppr’s metrics are on the higher side because the app adapts to every student’s individual needs, thus adding value to their education.
“Students take Toppr and build it into their own learning app. Now imagine:
- Students from rural and urban areas are empowered with high quality and personalized educational content.
- Students with low-confidence, health issues, learning disabilities, etc. can learn at their own pace and ask questions on a chat app without being judged.
Helping students overcome the divide that exists in our current education system makes our work even more rewarding.”
Moreover, Zishaan proudly echoes about the super deep content library (with 70K+ videos and 15 lac questions) they’ve created to cater specifically to the needs of each student.
Your purpose behind scouting for a marketing automation solution?
According to Zishaan, “To cater to every student’s need, we need to offer unique content pieces to each student, as they progress in the app.”
For this, Toppr had to:
1. Send contextually relevant learning content to users
Proactively send contextually relevant learning content to every student on the platform. This communication happens based on their progress and interaction with Toppr app or website.
2. Run quick experiments to understand user behavior
Joe adds that their product team, like all other successful teams, believes in experimenting a lot. He says, “It is important for us to know how our users behave and how each of the new features we have launched impacts user behavior. It’s important we get these iterations done very quickly, so that insights are faster and the development cycles are shorter. Before WebEngage, we could launch only 2 experiments every week. That’s very slow for us. Our primary motive was to boost the speed with which we could iterate.” He continues, “That’s when we found WebEngage.”
“Before WebEngage, we could launch only 2 experiments every week. That’s very slow for us. Our primary motive was to boost the speed with which we could iterate.”
Tell us how WebEngage has enabled you to enhance the online learning experience for students?
Joe happily shares, “WebEngage has transformed our user engagement and redefined the way we solve every student’s problems. We’ve seen that sending contextual messages to users really help in improving engagement metrics.”
Here are Joe’s and Zishaan’s views:
1. Driving Content Discovery & Personalization
Joe continues, “With WebEngage, we could easily create dynamic segments based on real-time data and send highly targeted content to our students in line with their individual progress. This helped us bring in more rigor to our engagement and retention metrics.”
He adds on, “Our retention numbers look good. Our M6 retention is at 78%. Our DAU to MAU ratio is 40%, signifying the value of contextual messages and giving users the right incentives to return to the app.”
“WebEngage’s marketing automation platform is robust enough to maintain our massive data points in one place, helping us manage our communication across multiple channels including email, SMS, in-app and push notifications.”, Zishaan prompted.
“WebEngage’s marketing automation platform is robust enough to maintain our massive data points in one place, helping us manage our communication across multiple channels including email, SMS, in-app and push notifications.”
2. Enabling faster testing cycles
Once WebEngage came in, Toppr’s experiment cycles took a complete u-turn.
As per Joe, “Our speed just multiplied, to the point that we were testing 2-3 experiments per day. That’s a speed we’ve never seen before. We could easily send new feature updates, get instant, meaningful insights into what product changes are in line with the business objectives, and iterate faster.”
3. Driving user adoption
“WebEngage has been a key platform in driving user adoption for two of our major product upgrades – monthly pricing and refer and earn. Targeted push and in-app campaigns have also increased traffic to our pricing page by 35% MoM and unassisted order attempts by 10% MoM.” adds Joe.
These efforts have been conducive in achieving their north-start metric of engagement per day. Toppr students currently spend an average of 120mins/day on the Toppr app learning for their subjects. It’s an industry benchmark with the closest competitor clocking a 40 mins/day on the app.
What is your favorite feature on WebEngage?
Joe took no time to announce his favorite feature as the ‘Journey Designer’!
“It allows us to segment users based on the actions they have performed on the app and configure specific user journeys for various scenarios from a single place. This is the most used feature by almost all teams at Toppr.”
Why do you think WebEngage is the best choice for Toppr?
“To get the marketing automation platform set-up correctly it’s a lot of effort,” remembers Joe. He mentions that after trying out a bunch of marketing automation platforms, WebEngage stuck on; and the team was super helpful and supportive since the beginning!
“The onboarding process was very easy. We were up and running very fast, and our campaigns were live in a very short duration,” adds Joe.
Last but not least, would you recommend WebEngage to others?
Definitely yes! Joe was excited to answer this. “WebEngage has brought more cadence and rigor to our communication. Our product and marketing teams are more efficient at what they do!” Zishaan quotes and signs off.
“WebEngage has brought more cadence and rigor to our communication. Our product and marketing teams are more efficient at what they do!”
WebEngage has successfully helped Toppr, and many more businesses reach out to their consumers in a more personalized and contextual manner. If you are a business looking out for an automated way to communicate with your users, do let us know!