I have spent the past decade building measurable high growth B2B and B2C products across industries and form factors. I design and architect for crisp scalable solutions, analyze behavioral patterns, and build repeatable behaviors.

Increasing subscription purchase rates and LTV via plan routing and optionality.

The last and most important key metric to the companies health and success is the growth of paid subscription acquisition rates and the user retention and lifetime value that is associated with it. Payment testing is one of the most hypothesized and validated areas of the StudyMode business and an area of incredible growth and optimization via stripping the payment funnel to it's most basic and refactoring UX as well as user routing.


The first point of optimization of our subscription rate was an analysis into the current funnel steps end to end for a user to purchase a subscription.  The legacy routing was a 11 step process with attrition at each point while also relying on manual user action to reengage within the application.  That process was refactored for a simplified three step process to bring views of the plan page to the top of the funnel.  It's important here to consider the notion of empty calorie metrics as in simplifying the flow and showing payment offerings to users we had to do so in a nuanced fashion to enforce value in the platform prior to pushing users to pay in which if that is not achieved then retention will suffer.  Here we also removed the contributor option based on our exponential content growth in the past year to allow for payment plan optimization and testing of a purely paid offering.

Legacy User Routing

  1. User lands on essay
  2. User creates an account
  3. User routed back to essay
  4. User Selects "read more" on an essay
  5. User routed to plan page
  6. User selects "contributor"
  7. User uploads a file
  8. User unlocks limited essay content
  9. User selects "read more" on another essay
  10. User routed to plan page
  11. User purchases a plan

Updated User Routing

  1. User lands on essay
  2. User creates an account
  3. User routed to plan page
  4. User routed to checkout page
  5. User purchases a plan

Focused Payment UX

Legacy Payment Page

Beyond user routing, the legacy payment page such as the upload process forced users to make multiple choices on a single page. Cluttered on the same page were questions of:

  • What did they want to pay?
  • How did they want to pay for it?
  • What is your personal information?

As you can see payment was presented in bitesize denominations which did prove confusing to some users with also no clear presentation of what the user will be billed at that moment thus causing a chargeback risk.

Updated Payment Page - Stand Alone Pick a Plan Page

The compiled payment page was broken into components we could leverage throughout the site as an easier entry point into our plan offerings. This page allowed for focused testing as well and a clean slate for payment comparison pricing models.

Updated Payment Page - Focused Checkout Page

Following the updated pick a plan page users were provided a streamlined checkout page with reduced cognitive load on anything outside of completion of their purchase.

Payment Plans and Flexibility

Now that we had an optimized payment route and flexible compartmentalized pages we went further into fine tuning the payment options with free trials, price tier testing, and LTV analysis.

Free Trials

Always providing either an upload value proposition or a fully paid premium offering, the company had never tested the waters of free trials.  This was hotly debated due to the immediacy of need that the majority of users presented. The hypothesis derived was will free trials allow us to acquire 2.5x users into the payment conversion funnel with a 50% cancellation rate in a 7 day free trial thus giving us a net positive gain dependent on LTV?

In our initial testing and production rollout, 54% of Free Trial signups were billed at least 1x with a Free Trial signup being worth ~$39. This integration provided an additional $100-$140K per week of billable revenue albeit at a lower LTV rate.

Price Testing

Moving onto price testing the standard monthly and semester plan pricing had never changed and stayed at their traditional $29.95 and 89.95 price points respectively. We employed new daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual pricing and over the course of 6-7 months found a sweet spot after aggressively testing the upper and lower bounds and combinations of plans.  What was derived was a monthly, quarterly, and annual plan price point with free trial fall back options for users who don't engage within 7 days of signup.  This blend allowed for free trials to be used conditionally as a reengagement hook while the initial plan offering while still keeping our increase in users through the conversion funnel and a net gain across the board.


Via the ongoing testing and optimization of the payment funnel UX, payment options, as well as backend processing to date we've realized a  350% growth in purchase rate contributing to year over year revenue growth. Not only are we getting all time high volumes of users through the payment funnel but we've also been able to push LTV from an average of $90 per user to $140.

Structuring User Generated Content with NLP

Increasing user acquisition rates via frictionless onboarding for a deeper engagement opportunity.