February 09, 2022
Case Study

Time To Value: 3 speed-to-value marketing case studies featuring A/B testing, value focusing, and niche ad targeting



Communicate relevant value to your potential customers.

Because unless you rapidly get them to the value they seek – bounce, bounce, bounce – they will be gone.

To help you swiftly engage your customers, in this article we bring you examples from Talkspace, a custom apparel company, and a nonprofit medical disease foundation.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Time To Value: 3 speed-to-value marketing case studies featuring A/B testing, value focusing, and niche ad targeting

This article was published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

You have just moments of your customer’s attention. How will you make the best use of those precious few moments?

The most important thing you can do is to be clear and get them to the info they are seeking as quickly as possible.

As Flint McGlaughlin puts it in a recent course session, “Be clear on exactly what conclusion you are trying to win” (from Website Wireframes: See real webpages optimized for marketing conversion).

Today we bring you three examples of brands trying to quickly, clearly communicate to the right customer to win the right conclusion.

First up, Talkspace gets out of the customer’s way and brings them to the information they are seeking by shortening an end-of-quiz animation. Then, a custom apparel company goes all in on quickly communicating the key value it delivers by focusing the company’s very name on that value element (fittingly enough, that value is speed of delivery). And finally, a nonprofit that quickly communicates clear value to potential leads by getting its message in front of the right niche audience.

Quick Case Study #1: Talkspace subsidiary increases conversion 60% by A/B testing animation length

Lasting is an app and website that offers online couples therapy. It is owned by Talkspace, a telebehavioral health company that has grown to more than 1.5 million clients and has therapists that span all 50 states.

The team’s goals were to increase conversions and new user activation on the Lasting website. To increase the efficiency of its activation funnel on the web, Josh Petrovani Miller, the Talkspace product lead for Lasting, believed it was essential to boost landing page conversion and signup completions. By optimizing the entire user experience and connecting Lasting’s search engine marketing (SEM) campaign to the in-product experience, Talkspace would drive return on advertising spend (ROAS) and revenue growth, while decreasing acquisition costs.

The team’s strategy centered on minimizing the time it takes to create an account. Once a user enters the Lasting site, they are prompted to start a relationship quiz. The purpose of the quiz is for Lasting to use the information gathered to create a tailored plan that provides the most value possible for users. At the end of the quiz, users are shown an animation informing them that their custom plan is in the process of being constructed.

“We have an experience where web traffic comes in and starts a relationship quiz and, when they complete it, they get a chance to start a trial of Lasting. At the end of the quiz, we have a little animation video that provides some information to the user,” said Miller, Senior Product Manager, Talkspace.

Creative Sample #1: Loading bar animation

Creative Sample #1: Loading bar animation

The team A/B tested the Lasting activation flow. Miller hypothesized that shortening the time-to-value would lead to higher conversions, since users would be realizing that value sooner. By reducing the duration of the animation and removing friction from the signup process, the team would be able to maximize ad spend and directly impact customer acquisition cost (CAC) and ROAS by increasing landing page conversion rates.

Increasing the speed of the loading bar animation proved to be an effective way to get value to the user as fast as possible. “It was originally eight seconds long. We decided to test a shorter version that was just four seconds and, sure enough, the users that viewed a shorter video…many more of those users actually got to the checkout screen,” Miller said.

The web experiment of increasing speed-to-value by simply tweaking the length of the animation resulted in a significant 60% increase in conversions.

Web A/B testing has shown to be a key component of Lasting’s growth strategy to optimize its web user acquisition funnel. Talkspace was able to reduce friction and improve speed-to-value, driving a sizable boost in conversions. The more trial signups, the more Talkspace can grow both its user-base and revenue.

“On top of testing different video lengths, you can also try playing around with the video’s location and cover image to see if that moves the needle,” said Aaron Glazer, CEO, Taplytics (Talkspace’s A/B testing platform). “If your goal is to improve conversions, I suggest also running tests at the checkout flow. Try experimenting with things like the number of steps or screens, payment methods, autofill options and the call-to-action button copy.”

Consistent A/B testing continues to drive incremental gains for Talkspace that results in increased return on investment (ROI) and revenue.

Quick Case Study #2: Custom-apparel company grows to a $90 million company by emphasizing speed in its value proposition

Every company delivers many different types of value. But when it comes to your marketing communication, you must make a strategic decision about which element of value is most important to emphasize.

For Rush Order Tees, the name itself indicates which element of value they highlight in their go-to-market strategy – speed of product delivery (an element of value that has likely increased in importance to customers during the pandemic).

“The name of our company – Rush Order Tees – holds our marketing edge and is the greatest marketing tool we use. We’re faster and easier than 99 percent of competitors,” said Michael Nemeroff, CEO, Rush Order Tees. “We always leave capacity open to meet the demand of last-minute customers who need an urgent turnaround. Other print shops don’t normally do this.”

This value focus strategy helped the company increase sales from $20 million in 2016 to $90 million today with 90 percent of profit coming from repeat customers. The company is now the second largest custom apparel company in the world, T-shirt supplier for the Philadelphia Eagles, partner of the Philadelphia 76ers, and one of Inc’s 5000 fastest-growing private companies.

Quick Case Study #3: Charity foundation uses proxy parameters to target niche medical patient audience indirectly, nets a $16.67 CPA with social media ads

 IGA Nephropathy (IgAN) Foundation ran lead generation Facebook ads to help the foundation generate new member prospects. The charity organization works to fund research into this rare autoimmune disease that attacks kidneys. So, its desired lead definition is just a tiny niche – IgA Nephropathy patients, caregivers, and family members

The team was getting their leads through organic means like newsletter sign ups and word of mouth and decided to try the organization’s first paid campaign.

“We are a nonprofit organization by patients, for patients and our mission is to ensure that no IgA Nephropathy patient feels alone. We invested in this lead generation campaign to help reach more patients so they can access the resources and support we provide,” said Bonnie Schneider, Founder & Executive Director, IgA Nephropathy Foundation.

Niche targeting was of critical importance for the organization to recruit the right members. “While Facebook doesn’t allow you the option to target kidney disease patients, we instead used workaround parameters to target them,” said Anna Easterbrooks, Digital Marketing Director, CURA Strategies (the foundation’s communications agency).

Those parameters included:

  • Kidney Disease Awareness
  • Kidney Walk
  • National Kidney Foundation
  • American Kidney Fund
  • National Kidney and Transplant Institute

“When marketers are faced with the prospect of targeting a very niche audience (in our case, IgA Nephropathy patients) it’s crucial to develop an audience profile that will allow you to map out the targeting parameters you can leverage to reach them, and those parameters may be out of the box. There’s no box you can check for niche audience targeting, like a patient of a rare kidney disease. Instead, ask yourself: what does this audience read or listen to, what kind of media outlets are they consuming? What groups are they following? What interests do they have in common?” Easterbrooks said.

She continued, “Or think of where behavior and interests can intersect, for our example we sought out targeting folks who had participated in kidney disease walks (Interest: Kidney Disease Awareness + Kidney Walk).”

Within the ad copy, the team often listed four immediate and direct member benefits – be the first to get the latest IgAN news, research, clinical trials and IgAN community events.

For the ad graphics, the team used actual photos of members gathered at awareness events, which they believe gave the ads credibility and authenticity.

Creative Sample #2: Facebook ad for charity foundation

Creative Sample #2: Facebook ad for charity foundation

The Facebook ads ran for two weeks at a total spend of $2,000.

  • 120 leads (defined as someone who clicked on the ad and submitted their contact information via the form) with a cost per acquisition (CPA) of $16.67 per lead
  • 633 clicks – “The conversion rate landed at 19%, even after the full two-week run, which is much better than Facebook’s average (one to three percent) for these campaigns!” Easterbrooks said.
  • 102,983 impressions (total views)

“To be sure your targeting is working, you can set yourself up for success by adding a custom form field to your lead form that includes a key question. For example, we created a drop down for the lead to designate themselves as a patient, care partner, advocate, friend, or family member,” she said.

Here is a breakdown of the organization’s leads from the campaign:

    • 77 (64% of total) are patients
    • 23 (19%) are family members
    • 4 (3%) are care partners
    • 4 (3%) are advocates
    • 2 (1%) are friends


“We tweaked the targeting a bit as we went to get a desirable ratio of patients,” Easterbrooks said. “Given that 64 percent of our leads were patients and 22 percent were family members/care partners, we’d say these parameters were effective in replicating their desired audience.”

“The campaign was a great success. This campaign enabled us to rapidly increase our membership in a very cost-effective way. In fact, it went so well, we plan on continuing to run the ad campaign for at least another month so that we can continue connecting patients and their care partners with our peer support services, resources, and updates on research and new treatment options. I highly recommend this approach to any organization looking to increase membership at their organization on a limited budget,” Schneider said.

Related Resources

Value Proposition for Startups: 3 questions every startup must have the courage to answer

Value Gulfs: Making sure there is differentiated product value when marketing upgrades and upsells

Momentum Marketing: How to get the ball rolling toward a purchase decision

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