SEEK | Supporting a pricing model transformation

Timeline: May 2017 — September 2018 (1 year 4 months)

Cheryl Paulsen
5 min readSep 30, 2020
Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst


Seek is Australia’s leading online employment marketplace, connecting jobseekers with employment opportunities and helping employers find candidates for advertised roles. Seek’s business model centres around selling job ad products to employers. During my time at Seek, the business was undergoing a pricing model transformation moving from fixed priced ad products to variably priced ad products. This was one of the greatest transformations the business had undergone since its inception, and the initiative spanned several years. I spent 16 months leading the experience design for this program of work.

The challenge

Seek’s ad product suite consisted of 4 ad types (think bronze, silver, gold and platinum) which had all previously been fixed in price. Under the new variable pricing model each ad type price would become dynamic, fluctuating based on real-time market conditions. Because of the complexity and sensitivity surrounding a change of this nature, the business decided to start the pricing model transition with one ad product: the gold level ad known in market as “Premium.”

To support this Premium ad pricing transition, our product team would need to make a number of updates both on and off the Seek platform including:

  • The products landing page, subscription page and price lookup tool
  • The employer flow for creating a job ad, including the product choice architecture and checkout pages

We would also need to design a new email based report to communicate return on investment (ROI) for Premium ads.

Additional complications

  • The choice architecture and checkout sat within the primary revenue conversion funnel and were therefore highly sensitive. It was imperative any new design protect the existing conversion rate and revenue
  • Legacy technology made the UI difficult and time consuming to work with (quick experiments and A/B test were not an option)
  • Due to the strategic importance to the business, this initiative required managing many senior stakeholders

Business objectives

In addition to scaling the new Premium ad pricing to 100% of employers, the business also wanted to increase adoption of Premium ads by 50%.


Understanding the problem space

I began by reviewing all recent and relevant internal research relating to Premium ads and our ad product choice architecture. I completed a landscape review exploring the pricing models of similar products, and the language being used to describe this pricing. I socialised insights with the cross-functional team and broader stakeholder group.

I then proceeded to interview a small sample of employers to understand how they were currently using Premium ads and any budget considerations and needs. I complimented these interviews with a survey to a broader sample to get some numbers behind our insights. I again socialised insights with the cross-functional team and broader stakeholder group. We then moved on to solution design exploration.

Solution designs

To support this initiative, a number of updates were required to existing designs on the Seek platform. For the simpler pieces of work, my approach was lean and streamlined; I ran with the designs working closely with our Marketing and Commercial Excellence teams to ensure my language was consistent with our product positioning. I then socialised mock-ups with our cross-functional team for feedback and iterated as necessary. Updates of this nature included the products landing page, subscription pack page and price lookup tool.

Products landing page

For more complex pieces of work, such as re-designing our product choice architecture and designing a new ROI report, my approach was deeper and more robust. I organised sketch-up workshops with our team and relevant stakeholders to gather a wide range of solution approach ideas. I continued to evolve concepts, bringing the team together as necessary for input and feedback. I organised a regular cadence of usability testing, socialising learnings with the team while continuing to iterate on designs until we felt confident to proceed to a pilot.

Product choice architecture
ROI email report

To maintain transparency across the program of work, I created a UX wall within our product team space and held informal weekly showcases. I provided design updates to the broader stakeholder group in our fortnightly steer co check-ins. I also socialised all concepts in our design team weekly pin-ups to get feedback from other designers.

Piloting in market

Working with the engineers in our team, I supported the delivery of all required assets. We were now ready to pilot our new service to a small group of employers (about 10% of employer traffic). I collaborated closely with our Product Manager to monitor results daily. We worked with customer service and our internal Seek sales team to stay close to any incoming customer feedback. The pilot ran for approximately 1 month.

Outcomes delivered

The new Premium pricing and all supporting designs were scaled to 100% of employers. Adoption of the Premium ad product doubled (hurray!).

Lessons learned

It takes time for people to adjust their mental model, especially when moving from a simple concept to a more complex one. During this program of work I found our internal sales team to be hugely valuable. They are continuously spending time with customers and hearing first-hand how new products and features are landing. I connected with the sales team frequently during this initiative to hear what customers were saying. By doing this I was able to understand how conversations were going and what language was working well with customers. I then fed this back into our designs.