How HiNative Grew 330% with YouTube influencers

HiNative connects language learners all over the world via a social network enabling them to learn from one another. Language learning is not an easy place to build a break-out company, but they hacked the system and grew 330% with YouTube influencers.

HiNative’s aggressive push into the YouTube influencer marketing helped to skyrocket their growth. Their user base grew from 390,000 to 1.7 million in one year, publishing 280 videos with YouTube influencers all around the world.

HiNative noted that they experienced a lower cost per install versus other channels – exponentially increasing their influencer marketing ROI.

Even more impressive is that users they acquired from videos made by YouTubers were much more engaged with the platform and spent more time on the app.

HiNative’s process for engaging YouTube influencers was simple enough. Ten of their part-time employees were responsible for outreach and relationship management of the YouTube influencers. They handled discovery, communication, content approval, and other aspects of the campaign.

HiNative’s YouTube influencer content

엠쌤Margarita’s review now has around 30,000 views. Most of her content is focused around language learning and Korean culture, making her a pretty solid fit for HiNative’s target audience of international language learners.

The review is very well done, showcasing the platform in web and on mobile. As with all great influencer campaigns, Magarita’s video feels natural, and she takes a genuine approach to the review. The YouTuber speaks honestly about the platform, constructively criticizing bugs while highlighting the overall approach and structure of learning with HiNative.

In the description of the video she mentions that while the video is sponsored, all the opinions she expresses are her own. The description also includes trackable links to HiNative’s download pages.

Barriers when working with YouTubers

HiNative has grown massively using influencers, but it hasn’t always been easy. HiNative’s influencer campaign was a process of learning and iterating. Here are some of the things they learned while growing 330% with YouTube influencers.

Influencer Audience engagement 

HiNative made a mistake they quickly learned from. After working with a huge gaming YouTuber who reviewed their app in a similar manner to Margarita, they realized that the effectiveness just wasn’t there. They experienced much lower interest from the gamer’s followers because the niche wasn’t right and the audience wasn’t interested. When working with YouTube influencers, it’s important to focus on the relevant engaged audience, not just the total subscriber amount.

Problems with YouTube influencer communication

Not every YouTube influencer has the luxury of having a manager or handling agency. The YouTubers who did almost always responded quickly, posted on time, and acted in a highly professional way. However, when dealing with YouTube influencers who didn’t have professional agencies, HiNative encountered communication issues and delays.

Hinative learned Influencer outreach is tough

HiNative had to reach out to over 1100 YouTube influencers in order to publish 280 video clips. At around 25% influencer conversion rate, they cited communication difficulties, high publishing prices, or simple timeline issues as being the key problems. While 280 videos is a substantial number, working with Modash will have you wondering what you’re going to do with all those extra influencers responding to your requests.

Discovering effective YouTube influencers

Working with local influencers in specific niches is highly effective but often difficult to do. HiNative cleverly worked with less expensive micro-influencers (YouTubers with smaller audiences but high engagement rates), the tradeoff being that it was much more difficult to actually find each influencer during the discovery process.

YouTuber timeline troubles

To grow 330% in one year, HiNative interacted with YouTube influencers all over the world. This global reach exacerbated communication difficulties and stretched out publishing timelines. It often took up to two months from the first point of contact until a video was actually published. Most of this time was spent on negotiation, explanation, content iteration, and simply waiting for responses from influencers.

HiNative’s huge success over the course of the year wasn’t from the result of highly complex marketing schemes and millions of dollars in support. They simply engaged their target audience by collaborating with the people they trust. YouTube influencers are a great opportunity for your brand to connect one-on-one with your target audience. Take the lessons HiNative learned about discovery communication and workflow, and set yourself up for a similar victory. If you need help, contact us.

Check out HiNative, the language learning social network.