As we do every year, our team at Userpilot reviews the onboarding flows of over 100 SaaS Tools to uncover the trends, best practices of… you guessed it – user onboarding!
Read our 2023 report below to learn how your product compares to other SaaS companies and where we can take some inspiration.
"User onboarding should be on top of mind of any person working with SaaS. Everything can be changed except the first impression - make sure to make it right!
That's why, we have discussed this topic back and forth with majority of our clients and there are some clearly visible trends coming in 2023
Overall, given the market situation, you really don't want to lose the money you invested to convert your client, and it is likely to happen if your onboarding s****s - that's why make sure users can adopt your product smooth."
"User onboarding is evolving to become more visually appealing and concise, with SaaS products transitioning away from overlay tutorials and aiming for shorter yet effective experiences."
"Next-gen onboarding will focus on creating shorter and more engaging experiences, implementing rewarded sharing (like Airtable and Notion), offering optional and replayable onboardings, making a wealth of content easily accessible, and providing ultra-personalization through templates, emails, and wizards"
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"The future of user onboarding lies in AI-driven, dynamic processes that learn, adapt, and guide users while being transparent about the learning mechanisms behind it, making AI an interesting and useful aspect for customers."
Yes, there was an overlap – 15% of companies offered both basic plan free accounts, and free trials of higher-tier accounts and 1% more for some tools.
Compared to 2022: only 43% offered a free trial!
Compared to 7% last year.
"Self-serve experiences continue to gain momentum over sales-led ones, leading to a shift in the role of sales teams from closing contracts end-to-end to primarily supporting clients with onboarding and driving expansion revenue."
Typically, we encountered two friction points:
"In my experience as the CEO & Head of Growth at LTV, I find that using templates for onboarding is highly effective. It's also essential to give value to users before they sign up, which can encourage them to engage with your product. Moreover, I've observed that incentivizing activation and sharing during onboarding plays a crucial role in user adoption and growth."
"The best way to reduce friction? Use magic links. Not sure if convenient, fast, or a little annoying! In a way, it certainly makes sense and cuts down on trying to come up with a password/save something on 1pass"
How many SaaS products have welcome screens in 2023?
Welcome screens are a great way to segment your new users by Jobs-To-Be-Done. Knowing the goals your users want to achieve, and customizing the onboarding flows accordingly can be game-changing for the Time-To-Value. You will get them to accomplish their Job-To-Be-Done faster, reduce their time-to-value, and generally help them activate much sooner than if you drag them on a one size fits all 20-step-long product tour. It’s a win-win - your users will get value faster, and you will retain and convert more trial users.
"We are seeing that the onboarding flow is more based around the value that the users will get from the product including the newly introduced AI capabilitie, rather than the features. Hence, the onboarding focuses on experience, not explanations."
You can do this by asking your new users 1-2 questions about what they want to accomplish, or adding buttons that would allow them to “choose their own journey”:
Want to build welcome screens like this without coding? Book a demo with us.
Create welcome screens and new user onboarding experiences with ease.
"It's crucial to ask questions that help understand users' needs and desires to provide them with a personalized onboarding experience. I also believe in using checklists to help users get started with the tool quickly and reach the value of the SaaS product faster. Additionally, offering free 1-to-1 onboarding sessions or calls can effectively assist users during the onboarding process."
"SaaS companies will be increasingly utilizing videos over text documentation for tutorials. Some SaaS products eschew an onboarding tutorial with one video. The video walks through all parts of the product for the customer. Broadly this fits in the theme of preference of users to watch video tutorials over text documentation."
Interactive walkthroughs, on the other hand, take users step by step to perform the key activation points, at their own pace. Sequences of the onboarding process show only after the users have successfully completed the previous steps.
Hint: this takes more effort to build, but is way more effective for onboarding users.
"Gamification and other psychological techniques focused on motivating users to get to their first activation points. Rewards, progress bars, checklists, teasers, confetti celebrations... It's simple, it's powerful and I'm a big fan of this trend."
"We can't ignore the elephant in the room - GPT in all it's versions and OpenAI - and think whether there is a place for it in helping onboard users to SaaS products? Other than that, I would say that it's mostly about connecting everything together in one place - in-app onboarding process, access to knowledge base and customer support, reporting issues, requesting enhancements - give me everything in one place so I don't need to think where to go.
Another trend I started seeing more is Continuous Onboarding - the revealing of new functionality as I am more familiar with the product. This makes the initial onboarding simpler as the product is less busy, and the more I use it, the more features are revealed."
This shows there’s still a big opportunity for your SaaS tools to stand out by simply providing a great onboarding experience.
"Onboarding is more than just checklists. It needs to be personalized to each user. Not one size fits all kind of onboarding with the same boring checklists. Also onboarding should just be a guesswork personalization.
You need to know your audience and their needs and tailor it accordingly. I'm seeing more and more companies moving away from checklists and adopting personalization in their onboarding efforts. I wouldn't recommend to just move away from checklists altogether. But it would be nice to add some personalization so the user feels that special attention and connection with the tool."