Case Study: Removing Pricing Improves Beta Sign Ups by 31%

Posted by on 14th, Apr, 2014

In December 2013 we proudly invited people to join the beta list for our new web application, Unveil. Unveil allows web and graphic designers to present design concepts to clients and get real time feedback all in one place. Unveil significantly reduces the amount of back and forth email communication saving designers and clients valuable time.

Objective

We created a landing page with the objective of gathering as many leads as possible for our free beta period, which would eventually lead on to a paid product. We wanted leads on a free basis initially for two reasons:

  1. It’s possible to get feedback about your product/service, which will allow you to make improvements.
  2. You can let your next round of paying customers know how satisfied your current customers are with your product/service.

The landing page included our proposed pricing plans to plant the seed that Unveil would eventually be a paid product and to give it some context. Being a team of web designers ourselves, we know that parting with money can be psychologically painful. So, with the prices being visible, this could potentially be a barrier to signing up which got us thinking, “What if we removed all references to pricing?”. Cue the hypothesis…

Hypothesis

“More users would signup if the friction of price was taken away”

The Test

We used Visual Website Optimizer to set up an A/B test, splitting the traffic 50/50 between the control (pricing visible) and the challenger (pricing removed). The control landing page made three references to pricing:

  1. “Pricing” in the menu
  2. “from just $1 per month” in the sub heading
  3. Plans & pricing block displayed near the bottom of the page

The changes we made to the challenger landing page:

  1. Removed “Pricing” from the menu
  2. Changed “from just $1 per month” to “Join the beta for free today”
  3. Removed the plans & pricing block displayed near the bottom of the page

Screen shots of the different versions can be seen below and you can view them side by side by clicking here.

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE RESULTS

Control – top

Control top half

Challenger – top

unveil challenger landing page top half

Control – bottom

unveil control landing page bottom

Challenger – bottom

unveil challenger landing page bottom

Traffic Acquistion

We submitted Unveil to the startup discovery website, betalist.com and featured on the homepage for a few days which drove the bulk of the traffic. We deployed banner advertising on websites that have a creative/web design audience such as Awwwards, Web Design Ledger and Web Designer Depot. We also put a small budget towards Twitter ads and banner remarketing. A couple of the banners we used can be seen below.

unveil banner ad, contrasting background unveil banner ad light blue background

The Results

Control
Challenger
Visitors
2361 2355
Conversions
165 216
Conversion Rate
6.99% 9.17%
% Improvement
- +31%

95% statistical significance

Takeaways

The results of this test show that by removing all references to pricing, the number of signups to a free beta product increases. Or to put it another way, the visibility of pricing acts as a barrier to people signing up for a free beta product. Why is this? The truth is we don’t really know – we can only make assumptions:

  • People may have been be put off by the pricing plans either psychologically or because they were deemed too expensive.
  • People may have thought that they needed to subscribe to a paid plan immediately.
  • With no reference to pricing, people may have thought the product was free, indefinitely.

It’s also worth considering the change to the word “free” in the challenger version and the potential influence this could have had. “Free” is one of the most persuasive words in the English Language and studies have shown that the word “free” heavily influences purchasing decisions.

The results could very well be different for other product startups who have a similar pricing plan/model. A split test like this one should only be performed when it makes sense and only in the right context.

Why do you think our challenger page increased signup conversion rate? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

design across devices ebook download banner

Anthony Mcloughlin

Posted By Anthony Mcloughlin

Anthony is a key member of the digital team at Tone, helping dig deep into stats to further understand user behaviours. Follow him on Twitter @anthony_mac85 and on Google+

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  • Tai Rattigan

    Hi Anthony, did this experiment work with way for all of their customer segments? I’d be really interested to hear how new visitors performed against existing ones.

  • http://www.tone.co.uk/ Anthony

    Hi Tai. This test was performed at product launch so all visitors were new. What are your thoughts on the outcome of this case study?

  • http://www.digital-tonic.co.uk/ Manuel da Costa

    Did you track how many of those who converted on the non-pricing page actually went on to become customers? (assuming theres paid plans right now)

    I bet you can still improve conversions by keeping the pricing but adding the tag line – Free during beta or free for 30 days. no card required.

    • http://www.tone.co.uk/ Anthony

      Hi Manuel. The product is still in beta mode but once we make the transition to the paid product I’ll let you know. Great suggestion about the tag line – thanks for the comments! :)

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