Decoding User Onboarding: Trends You Need To Know

decoding user analytics content title and two cartoons on laptop

We surveyed over 50 product managers to understand how they approach user onboarding in their company. They shared their priorities, and dug into the different tools, channels, and tactics they use to create engaging onboarding experiences. 

Let’s dive into the user onboarding data and statistics we’ve discovered.

What’s in the report?

  • User onboarding priorities
    • Key takeaway: Customer onboarding 🤝customer support
  • User onboarding timings: What happens when?
    • Key takeaway: Think flexibility 💡
  • Think outside the app: Other elements of user onboarding
    • Key takeaway: Email remains a complementary tool 👑
  • Personalizing the onboarding process
    • Key takeaway: No more cookie-cutter onboarding ❌🍪
  • Your toolkit: What people want from a user onboarding platform
    • Key takeaway: No code? No problem 🤖
  • Conclusion and final thoughts

The onboarding experience sets the tone for a customer’s entire relationship with your company. Successful onboarding often means high customer retention rates and customer lifetime value.

Which means: it’s worth investing time and effort to create the best user onboarding experience possible.

User onboarding priorities

quotes with microscope for the section

From reading our survey responses, we identified four key reasons that came up time and again.

study pie chart of most common reasons for product manager to use user onboarding platforms

48% of product managers use a user onboarding platform to increase product adoption

No surprises here — our survey found the main reason PMs start using a user onboarding platform like Product Fruits is to increase product adoption:

Screenshot of cartoon talking quotes of the product managers

💡 Helping people make use of all the features your product offers makes a huge difference as to whether they keep using it long-term. 

PMs need a way to get users into the product and introduce the key benefits it offers, including features that may not be immediately obvious. That’s where a user onboarding platform comes in:

Screenshot of cartoon talking quotes of the product managers

Now, you can skip the initial draft of Tour creation, and let AI generate seamless onboarding flows. Thanks to AI-powered technology, it’s even easier and faster to create relevant onboarding tours.

Fruity Tip: User onboarding requires more than a product tour, it’s a whole ecosystem of education and support that users can access at any time. Here’s how we use some of our features:

  • Tours: Welcome and provide an overview of the platform
  • Checklists: Provide order and a sequence of actions for feature adoption
  • Hints and Tooltips: Give contextual information 
  • Life Ring Button: 24/7  Support a click away
  • In-app Announcements: Communicate with users
  • In-app Surveys: Provide insightful feedback

26% of product managers use a user onboarding platform to reduce support tickets

The second biggest reason PMs adopt a user onboarding platform is to reduce the number of support tickets coming in. 

Product walkthroughs, tooltips, and onboarding checklists all guide customers to carry out the most common tasks and processes in your product — with a little help. 

Left to their own devices, new users might struggle to complete those tasks. In which case, one of two things normally happens:

  1. They either reach out for support, or 
  2. They stop using your product altogether. Which we all want to avoid happening.

A user onboarding platform helps your newest users familiarize themselves with your product without needing support reps to hold their hand every step of the way:

“Better customer education leads to fewer support requests.”

Screenshot of cartoon talking quotes of the product managers

Fruity Tip: The Life Ring Button is a powerful tool that can be used to help support users through challenges and troubleshoots, without having to rely on your support team. 

You can trigger Product Tours to explain features directly from the LRB. Additionally, opt to interlink your Knowledge Base so that users can quickly find relevant articles through a search bar. 

Other goals for using a user onboarding platform

While increasing product adoption and reducing support tickets were the main reasons PMs look for a user onboarding platform, they’re not the only ones.

17% of survey respondents said their goal was to increase trial conversions. 

text 17% of survey respondents said their goal was to increase trial conversions. 

A further 9% of PMs said their goal was to reduce customer churn. A user onboarding platform can reduce early customer churn by helping customers start getting value from your product more quickly. Once they start realizing the benefits, it becomes easier to justify the ongoing investment — and to get other team members using it too.

Key takeaway: Customer onboarding 🤝customer support

Unsurprisingly, most PMs look for a user onboarding platform to help increase product adoption. But the second biggest reason is more unexpected: reducing support tickets.

A user onboarding platform doesn’t just benefit your product team — its benefits can be felt across the business. 

With the right onboarding tools set in place, support teams spend less time troubleshooting for new users. Instead, they are able to focus more on established customers, making them more likely to stay with your company for longer.

Fruity Tip: Implement the Feedback Widget in your Life Ring Button. That way you can get direct insights into the most common challenges to help drive relevant product improvement. 

User onboarding timings: What happens when?

text 🔎 What does “onboarding” mean to your company? Many PMs think of it as the very start of the customer lifecycle — the first few times a user logs in to your product, or their initial trial period.

🔎 What does “onboarding” mean to your company? Many PMs think of it as the very start of the customer lifecycle — the first few times a user logs in to your product, or their initial trial period.

So when we look at traditional onboarding activities — like product walkthroughs, tutorials, and checklists, it’s no surprise that most companies run these when new customers first log in to the product. 

But a significant proportion of survey respondents run them at other times, too.

screenshot of graph showing when customer go through the onbaording flows

46% of users go through an onboarding flow on first log-in

Almost half the respondents to our survey said their onboarding flow is set up to trigger when new customers first log in to their product. 

In comparison, only 3% said users go through that onboarding flow on their second log-in.

Although the first log-in is ideal for onboarding flow, it might also put users off. For example, they may prefer time to explore your product for themselves first.

Keep an eye on onboarding metrics like walkthrough and checklist completion to figure out if this is the best timing for your users. If onboarding engagement starts to drop, consider offering those interactions a little later in the customer trial or journey.

Fruity Tip: Design your onboarding flow with different learners in mind. You can achieve this through user segmentation. Some users prefer a hands-on approach, relying on contextual onboarding. While others prefer visual walkthroughs and demos. Whatever they choose, resources should be available for further support.

20% of users go through an onboarding flow any time during their trial period

Other companies take a completely different approach to their onboarding flow. Instead of offering it at a specific time — like first or second log-in — new customers can go through the onboarding flow at any time during their trial period.

This approach offers more flexibility to users. They can explore and start using the product, but if they get stuck or want to learn more about different features, they can go through a more formal onboarding flow at their own pace.

screenshot of two cartoon putting puzzle pieces together and a fruity tip

Fruity Tip: Use tooltips or hints to launch contextual product tours for users to learn a feature at their own pace. For new features, use announcements that are able to trigger product tours to educate users on new available action

35% of companies make their in-app product tours and checklists always available to users

Some companies take product education to a whole new level. While 43% of survey respondents offer in-app product tours and checklists once to new users, more than a third of respondents make them always available.

So whether a user is on their first or 100th log-in, they can access product tours and checklists directly from the Life Ring Button to guide them through some of your product’s key features at any time. 

This recognizes that onboarding isn’t a one-time task that’s either “done” or “not done”. For some users it can be an ongoing journey with your product, as they start using new features, integrations, or processes.

30% of companies make product tours and checklists available when launching new features

Almost one-third of respondents to our survey said they make product tours and checklists available to users when they launch new features. They use things that are traditionally seen as “onboarding tools” as part of their ongoing product education efforts.

If you have a user onboarding platform like Product Fruits, you can use its features at other times in the customer lifecycle — not just during their first use or trial period.

Key takeaway: Think flexibility 💡

The traditional onboarding flow focuses on your newest users — tooltips and checklists pop up on first use. 

Consider making them always available instead, so users can work through at their own pace. You may even find users revisit parts of your onboarding multiple times, as they get to grips with different areas of your product.

This flexibility can help boost product and onboarding engagement, and reduce support tickets. 

Think outside the app: Other elements of user onboarding

text with microscope that says "🔎How does onboarding impact other parts of the business? Does it work in isolation? "

When we think about user onboarding, it’s easy to focus solely on the activities customers will complete in your product or app, like tutorials and walkthroughs. 

But there are lots of other channels and actions you want customers to complete during onboarding to get the most out of your product. Our survey respondents shared the other tactics they use to onboard new customers.

Graph of other elements used in user onboarding ith product fruits study

39% of companies use video during their onboarding process

When you’re learning something new — whether that’s a fun hobby or a work tool — it’s often easier to understand what you’re doing if someone shows you, rather than following written instructions.

So it’s no surprise that a significant number of our survey respondents have started using video during their onboarding process. These videos can show new users how to set up a particular product feature, or provide an overall introduction to the product in a visually engaging way.

And this approach is clearly popular with customers: 33% of these respondents said they’d seen a noticeable increase in goal conversions after adding video into their onboarding flow.

text that says  33% of these respondents said they’d seen a noticeable increase in goal conversions after adding video into their onboarding flow and a cartoon with satisfaction scores

43% of companies use welcome emails in their onboarding process

Email is another common element in the onboarding process. Companies use email in several different ways:

Graph breakdown of how product managers use emails during onbaording from product Fruits survey study

Onboarding and email need to work hand-in-hand. They both complement one another. Email is a popular channel because it helps keep your product top-of-mind for new users, even when they’re not logged in and actively using it. Emails can bring users back to the app. 

Conversely, in-app onboarding can use emails to communicate best practices to help users get the most out of their experience. 

Fruity Tip: Something as simple as a welcome email can be enough of a nudge to prompt users to log back in and pick up where they left off with your product.

Other common elements in the onboarding process

While video and email were the most commonly-used elements in the onboarding process, they weren’t the only ones. 

11% of respondents encourage new users to integrate their product with other tools during the onboarding process. And 7% get customers to invite other users during onboarding

These PMs know that our work doesn’t happen in isolation — you use multiple tools and work with lots of different people on your team every day. 

Fruity Tip: Make it easy to connect the tools your clients use most commonly. Facilitated integration with used tools and adding work colleagues increases early adoption and helps users get the most value from your product.

Key takeaway: Email remains a complementary tool 👑

Onboarding doesn’t just happen in your product. 

Look at other channels (especially opportunities to communicate with your customers 1:1 like email) to help users learn about your product and new features. 

This will help keep your product top-of-mind and makes it more likely people will log in more frequently — the email (or other interaction) serves as a reminder of how your product can help the user achieve their goals.

Personalizing the onboarding process

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Some companies have a very clear idea of the steps new users need to complete to get started in their product. They have a one-size-fits-all approach to onboarding.

But what if you have multiple user groups who have access to different feature sets? Or you target several market segments who all need different things from your product?

The right tools let you adapt and tailor the onboarding process for your new customers.

Among our survey respondents, the majority of PMs were using segmentation to tailor and personalize the onboarding process — but a significant proportion weren’t.

pie chart breakdown of the users that segment their user onboarding

56% of product managers use segmentation to tailor the onboarding experience for new users

More than half our survey respondents personalize and tailor the onboarding experience for new customers by segmenting their users. This allows users to have walkthroughs or product tours of the features most relevant to them:

cartoon bubble quote "“We have different user account types that have different permissions. So only admins get a tour of the admin features, as these features aren’t available to other users.”

You can also personalize the onboarding flow depending on where customers are in the buyer’s journey:

cartoon bubble with quote “We differentiate between users who are evaluating our product and users who are already customers. We understand what value looks like for each of them and create different onboarding for each group.”

By segmenting new customers based on known characteristics (like account type or trial status), you can personalize their onboarding experience to help them get the most from your product.

36% of companies see an increase in onboarding completion when using segmentation

More than a third of PMs who use segmentation in their onboarding process say they’ve seen a noticeable increase in onboarding engagement and completion.

This uptick in onboarding completion is all thanks to one thing: relevance

You can tailor your onboarding flow to show different user groups only the features and functionality that are most relevant and beneficial to their needs. 

The result? More engaged users, spending more time getting to know your product.

22% of product managers set up in-app welcome screens for new users

Another way PMs can personalize the onboarding experience for new customers is to create the best first impression.

22% of our survey respondents have set up a dedicated in-app welcome screen for new users. This is like rolling out the red carpet when they first log in.

wlecome sign from cartoon jumping out of laptop browser

A welcome screen does exactly what its name suggests. It welcomes users to your app and lets them know how to learn more about this new product. And it doesn’t have to be super elaborate or complex. Something as simple as a short welcome message goes a long way toward helping users feel comfortable and supported as they start using your product.

Key takeaway: No more cookie-cutter onboarding ❌🍪

If you want to increase completion rates of your onboarding walkthroughs or checklists, consider creating personalized experiences for different users.

Your customers need different things from your product, so don’t just have a one-size-fits-all onboarding flow. 

Instead, segment users into different groups to provide a more tailored experience, which means they get to know the features most relevant to their needs.

two cartoons figuring out a diagram and a lightbulb

Your toolkit: What people want from a user onboarding platform

microscopt and hand with quote that ays "🔎 Now we’ve seen how PMs build and customize the onboarding experience for their users, let’s look at how they do that. "

All our survey respondents were Product Fruits customers, and use our onboarding platform to help users get started in their products.

So what are the features our customers use most to onboard their users?

From checklists to product tours, an onboarding ecosystem provides lots of different ways to help new customers engage with your product and learn how to use it:

Bar chart that breaks down all the features that are most used during user onboarding

99% of companies use product tours in their onboarding flow

Almost all of Product Fruits’ customers set up product tours as part of their onboarding flow. Only 1% of users don’t have any product tours set up. Product tours are such a common part of onboarding that customers are likely to be surprised if you don’t have one set up.

If you’re building a tour of your product, it can be difficult to know how much to show. Our customers tend to keep them relatively short — 68% of companies use up to 5 cards in their product tour, while 32% have six or more.

pie chart breakdown of how many product tour cards are used

Fruity Tip: By keeping your product tours short, you can really focus on showing the most important product features. Then, customers can discover other parts of your product on their own.

76% of companies use onboarding checklists for new customers

Three-quarters of our customers use onboarding checklists. These give users simple tasks to complete, to set up and start using your product. Checklists are a popular onboarding feature as they give new users more control over their experience — they can work through the list items at their own pace.

Like product tours, our customers tend to keep their onboarding checklists relatively short. 85% of users have 1-5 items on their onboarding checklist, and only 15% have 6 or more. This helps avoid overwhelming new users with a huge to-do list the first time they access your product.

47% of companies send surveys during the onboarding process

How do you find out how new users are getting on during the onboarding process?

Well, almost half our users ask them by sending short surveys. These are a great way to check in with your newest users and spot potential challenges they’re experiencing during onboarding.

73% of our users send short, 1-5 question surveys, while 27% send surveys that ask 6 or more questions.

Pie chart breakdown of how any questions users send per survey

While you might want to know every little detail about how they’re getting on with your product, try to be selective with the questions you ask.

Other frequently-used tools in your onboarding toolkit

While product tours and checklists are some of our users’ favorite onboarding tools, they use other Product Fruits features too.

88% of companies use tooltips to highlight specific features or give users little hints to help them get the most out of their product. These in-product tips can help users get to grips with specific features by guiding them step-by-step. They can also draw attention to new features.

74% of our boost customers use the life ring button. This gives users fast, one-click access to their help center, so they can independently solve product challenges or find answers to their questions. Having easy help center access reduces the burden on customer support teams, and lets users self-support.

Cartoon sitting on floor with big laptop and support

In-app announcements: for onboarding… and beyond

Many of our users also send in-app announcements. These provide valuable updates to all customers — not just those in your onboarding flow. 

Sharing product updates and announcing new features were the most common reasons companies shared in-app announcements, but there were lots of different reasons for doing so:

Bar chart that shows reasons why users use in-app announcements

Key takeaway: No code? No problem 🤖

The right tools can help you level-up your customers’ onboarding experience. A dedicated onboarding platform gives you access to lots of different features and functionality to help you boost customer engagement with your product.

No-code tools like Product Fruits are easy to use and help you add customization and personalization to your platform. 


As this report shows, there are lots of different ways to build an onboarding flow for your product. The best onboarding flow is an ecosystem of different activities, touchpoints, activations, and communications that all work together to improve the user experience in your product.

Each touchpoint works in combination with the others — your product tour isn’t something completely isolated from your onboarding checklist. By offering multiple pathways and opportunities for users to familiarize themselves with your product, you boost engagement with your product.

Do you want to learn how to improve your onboarding, increase conversion rates and reduce churn? Contact our team of onboarding specialists, who can help you find tailored solutions to reach your goals.

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