Headspace Product Growth Brief

What is Headspace?

Headspace is a Meditation app striving to help make the world a happier and healthier place. It was founded by Former monk Andy Puddicombe and former Ad Agency executive. The app has hundreds of themed sessions on everything from stress to sleep, bite-sized meditations for busy schedules, SOS exercises in case of sudden meltdown to make Meditation simple and easy.

I wanted to share some of my thought process on how I would address growing Headspace’s subscriber base as a way to learn and because I’m passionate about what they do!

Analysis & Research to define key areas for optimization – I used online reviews and news articles and generally what I found on google to inform some product and user research. I chose to start with user-centered qualitative approach since I don’t have access to the real hard data.
  1. How is the product growing?
    • What demographic, region is growing the fastest and which is slow?
    • Total New Users?
    • New users by source?
    • Understand what is driving new users
    • Activated users – someone who actually signed up or performed an action.
  2. What experiments have produced growth previously, are they replicable?
    • What Lifetime value do they produce?
  3. What users do we struggle to attract?
  4. Trial members to subscribers, is the conversation optimized?- How do we get more people to convert to subscribing members?
    • Get an idea of what is missing in the trial and reasoning users are not converting to paid subscribers from user surveys or NPS score comments.
      1. How do you get people to commit to keeping headspace
      2. More referrals, holidays deals, and features.
      3. User feedback on trial and why they didn’t convert
        • What are the pain points
        • Articles
          1. Price?
            • Majority of review articles use this as a barrier to continuing using headspace.
              1. “You must pay for the service after completing the trial: Headspace costs $12.99 per month, about $95.85 per year (listed as $7.99 per month, but billed once annually), or $399.99 for lifetime access. That’s expensive when compared to other monthly services, like Spotify ($9.99 per month) and Netflix (also $9.99 per month)”
              2. “And the free approaches can also be better than what you’ll find on Headspace. Meditation is a highly personal thing. It’s far easier to personalize your practice using free guided meditations rather than using Headspace’s highly generalized approach”
          2. Usability?
          3. People, who already meditate – value prop?
            • Going back to it to basic?
          4. Bad at clearing head
Reasonable Assumptions

Price seems to be the biggest issue users tend to have an issue with at this point.

Since Headspace was just redesigned it’s too early to say what impact it has had in producing growth. However, I’ve seen a positive reception so far.

Some users who have previously done meditation or have used another service find Headspace trial to basic and not worth the price of upgrading.


Learnings from Design for Health Event via presentation by Janis & Priya

Users want more guidance because they don’t know what to do after trial pack.

  • What pack to start with and why?
  • Too many options – Paradox of Choice

Time isn’t a problem, it’s building a health routine.

Most users didn’t make it past a week and are new to meditation.

Potential Solutions/Tests

I would address the pricing as the majority are complaining about this. We can talk to the finance and management team about what we can do about this.  

  • Offer lower priced subscription for the holidays as a 3-month fee to get them over the hump and get a sense of the full product features. Would have suggested a Family plan or Student plan, but you beat me to the punch!
  • Cheaper price if a buddy refers you.
  • What to measure?
    • Can be A/B tested vs normal offering
    • Can eventually see if the LTV of the user is worth the limited time deal.
    • Is it driving new users?
    • Are they activated users?
  • Talk to marketing teams to Gameplan a campaign to show the deal.
    • Black Friday Savings/Cyber Monday
    • For the holidays.
    • Email current trial members and post via social media platforms much like the family plan or student plan.
      • Can A/B test those and optimize.
        • Subject line
        • Content

Based on user reviews via blog posts and articles, it seems that people who have already done meditation find the intro pack to basic.

  • Validate this assumption with Data – Is it really an issue that is hindering our subscriber growth?
    • Can do a quick survey to get real data points to validate this through an email or an alert in-app asking users to whether they are beginners, intermediate, or advanced mediators when they sign up.
      • Do those that more intermediate and advanced decide not to subscribe after ten days
    • If you find this assumption to be true –  run a growth experiment by:
      • Segmenting those that have intermediate and advanced experience and A/B test those users by providing different experiences and see who is more likely to convert to a subscription.
        • A – regular customer journey through 10-day trial
        • B – Access to more advanced packs in the 10 – day trial
    • Asses how much time this will take from Marketing & Analytics teams and if it’s a good use of their time.
    • How much Engineering & Design time and manpower will this test take?
      • To autogenerate certain packs for each group?
        • Is their time better spent on something else?
        • How
          • For example, can use the Level 1-2 course for the Intermediate group and 3-4 for the advanced.
          • Or just give them the Intermediate & Advanced group the option to pick whichever pack they want to trial for the ten days.
          • Since some packs are 30 days long, they might be incentivized to subscribe so they finish all 30-days of the pack they chose
  • Example Mobile Wireframe 

Help user get more guidance by asking them questions

  • Create an alert that asks the user about how they are feeling after they initially subscribe
    • To help them figure out which pack, to begin with after the intro pack.
      • Based on their answer guide them to a few suggestions
        • I’m feeling anxious
          • Managing Anxiety pack
          • Letting go of Stress
          • SoS – Feeling overwhelmed
    • Can look like the wireframe above.
    • Can A/B test doing this every ten days or ever 2wks
  • Talk to engineers, management, design, research, and science to the team to really dig into whether it’s a good idea and how much time and MVP of this feature would take.
    • Where does it fall on the priority list?
    • How much ENG time and design time will it take?
    • How much time away from research and product will it take away?
    • Is the ROI worth it is our estimations?

What do we Measure

    • Trial conversion rate vs regular trial journey
    • Customer Acquisition Cost
    • Customer Loyalty & Retention vs regular trial journey
      • LTV
    • Revenue
    • ROI
    • Subscriber growth
    • Churn Reduction
Direct Competitors Overviews

Calm – Meditation App

  1. Similar in its subset of features
    • Sleep
    • Meditate
      1. Stress
      2. Happiness
  2. Has two other categories not in Headspace
    • Mindful Movements
    • Music vs Headspaces Sounds(More targeted for sleep)
    • Different people creating the content vs one(Andy)
    • Sleep stories are narrated by Celebrities.
  3. The homepage has twitter reviews to validate the product.
  4. Ranked No.1 in revenue by SensorTower in Q1 2018
    • $8 Million in revenue
  5. Apptopia
    • Looking at 14-day user retention for U.S. users, both Headspace & Calm retain about 7% of new downloads past that point, leading us to infer about 7% of all installs end up becoming paying customers at least for a mon

10% Happier – Meditation app for the fidgety

  1. Similar in its subset of features
    • Sleep
    • Meditate
      1. Managing Stress
      2. Beginners
      3. Happiness
      4. etc.
  2. Videos by expert teachers, not just one person
    • 300+ Video Lessons
  3. 500+ Meditations
  4. Has increased its In APP Purchase revenue 179% YOY.

Simple Habit – Meditation app for busy

  1. Only an app
  2. Recently raised a Series A – $10Million
  3. Ranks 4th on highest revenue according to SensorTower
  4. 3rd most popular Meditation App behind Calm and Headspace
  5. The website has no info outside of downloading the App
  6. Similar in its subset of features
    • Sleep
    • Meditate


Bonus Ideas

A really cool feature to have in-app would be a notification that tells your buddy reached a milestone with the ability to congratulate them! This would keep the user more engaged by positively reinforcing the behavior of meditating! You can also, send an email asking users to congratulate their buddy on their milestone as well.

I use Apple Music and they have albums by Celebrities and Athletes like Lebron’s Unbreakable Playlist. Something similar could be used as a growth experiment to leverage influencer’s like Serena Williams, Kevin Love, or Jeff Wiener to create custom “Album” of their favorite packs they use to help prepare them for the challenges they face.  

  • Can help new users overcome the guidance issue.
  • Can be an easy Marketing campaign that attracts users as well.

Take advantage of NBA season and partnership with them!

I actually started looking into Meditation because of Basketball, being a huge Lakers fan. They have an international fanbase you can tap into.

    1. NBA season is going to start soon.
      • Send an email survey asking if people are excited about the start of the NBA season.
        1. Those that reply yes, get a specialized NBA email journey.
        2. One of the biggest organizations in the world uses headspace.
          • Whether you’re an NBA champion, hedge fund manager, or startup founder. Happier and healthier employees have been shown to be more productive, resilient and creative.
            1. The Players – some of the best athletes in the world
          • The Coaches
          • The Employees
            1. Marketing
            2. Finance
            3. Etc.
        3. Link it back to being mentally strong regardless of your occupation.
          1. Ex | What Jeff Bezos, LeBron James, and Arianna Huffington have in common.
      • A Blog post of a current athlete, like LeBron James or Coach like Luke Walton about how Headspace has helped their team come together and handle the scrutiny of performing under immense pressure and scrutiny. Especially at a Global Brand like the Lakers.
        1. Can appeal to the emotion of spreading the importance of mental health as well. – In the big picture we want to help them, so let’s be honest and real about it!
    2. Landing page to go along with the Email
      • Get in the zone like the best athletes in the world.
      • Picture of NBA team or players using headspace.
        1. A quote from a player or coach about how Headspace helps.
        2. Keep some of the content from the Headspace for Work page.
          1. Committed to Science and Meditation made simple.
        3. Andy Puddicombe said, “Having a strong mental game is something that we all aspire to in our lives.  But when it comes to athletes, it is more than just an aspiration, it’s a daily requirement.  Whether it’s used to enhance preparation, performance, or recovery, knowing how to train the mind and apply these techniques is an integral and essential part of sporting excellence.”
          1. That applies to people at game-changing companies like Adobe, LinkedIn, and GE who are always trying to innovate. Having happier and healthier employees can help them be more creative and better able to solve problems.

Steve Nash video can be a good piece of content to add here and can be leveraged to drive demand from a youtube AdWords campaign as well for both B2C and B2B.


About Dhiren Patel 25 Articles
Founder & Writer Having had three open-heart surgeries along with a stroke at the age of four, a cousin born with a heart condition and a mother with schizophrenia, I am mindful as to just how fragile life can be. For that reason, I am passionate about helping people improve both their physical and mental health! Learn more about me at dhirenp.com

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