I once downloaded this fancy productivity app. At first, I was all in. Tapping away on my phone, making lists, and setting reminders felt awesome. Life happens. Work gets hectic. Netflix released the latest season of my favorite show. And my productivity app? Buried under forgotten apps.
Why did this happen?
The app was great. But I didn't fully adopt it into my routine.
This scenario happens when businesses think more about product design and launch than product adoption.
Launching is half the battle. The other half is to nail product adoption.
Read on to learn:
- What exactly is product adoption
- Common barriers to product adoption
- Factors influencing product adoption
- How to increase product adoption (with real examples and expert tips)
What is product adoption?
Product adoption is when users find, try, and incorporate your software into their lives.
Some products are daily, e.g., your go-to podcast app for your favorite daily podcasts. At the same time, others are weekly (think of the collaboration tool you use for your weekly standups). The win is when users link your product to getting their jobs done.
How do users adopt products?
Users move through six stages of product adoption, not necessarily in this order:
- Awareness: Potential users recognize their problem and discover your solution.
- Interest: They actively seek more information about your product.
- Evaluation: They dive deeper to assess if your product meets their needs and compares to competitors.
- Trial: They opt for a trial or freemium tier.
- Activation: The 'aha moment' occurs when users realize the product's value for the first time, often by performing a crucial task.
- Adoption: Convinced of your product's value, customers make it an integral part of their everyday lives.
Factors influencing product adoption
Several factors can sway users' decisions when embracing new solutions or systems. These include:
Quality and ease of use
Users are more likely to adopt a product if it's easy to use and doesn't require extensive training. Factors such as usability, reliability, and performance also impact adoption.
Real-life utility and value
The practical usefulness of a product and its perceived value, including factors like pricing and cost-effectiveness, greatly influence adoption rates.
Satisfaction with the overall experience matters. This includes customer service, technical support, warranties, and additional features that enhance the user experience.
How to increase product adoption
Customers stick around when they see value and churn when friction occurs.
Here are five straightforward techniques to help you provide value, reduce friction, and increase product adoption.
1. Personalize the user experience
A common mistake hindering adoption is focusing on the wrong crowd. That is introducing your product to the wrong user category.
Users fall into these five categories:
Five Product Adoption Categories:
Trendsetters who can't wait to dive into the newest products.
These folks are all about new tech, even if it's a bit wonky. They're the pioneers.
They need solid recommendations and testimonials before trying something new.
These users want rock-solid support. They prioritize convenience.
Change? No thanks. They only switch when there's no other choice. Think of someone still rocking a 2020 smartphone.
Make your product's value crystal clear in a way that resonates with each group. If you're trying to win new customers, your message should be different from what you tell your current customers.
How to personalize the user experience for product adoption
- Segment users according to their adoption stage
Use product experience tools such as Logrocket or Fullstory to identify issues facing different user profiles. Create targeted content and campaigns based on each profile.
You can approach this by targeting early adopters with exclusive offers and upcoming releases. Their feedback lets you improve your product before rolling it out to more resistant late adopters.
- Personalize the email experience.
Segment users based on their behavior or customer journey. Using tools like Userlist or Encharge, you can send behavior-based emails. It is a way to appeal directly to customers, depending on where they are in the journey.
For example, you can email product guides to help users remove friction if they're stuck. When users finish a task, send them a congratulatory email. If their trial oe subscription is about to expire or renew, schedule a reminder email.
2. Provide a smooth user onboarding experience
Users are reluctant to try a product after a disappointing first experience. An excellent user onboarding process ensures new users get value from your product right off the bat and integrate it into their lives.
Here are ways to ace user onboarding
- Use a checklist to guide users through essential product features, leading them to the activation point.
- Gather customer information, such as their team or role, with a welcome survey. This helps you understand their unique requirements or job-to-be-done.
- Provide optional product guides so users can control their onboarding. Tech-savvy users do not need a walkthrough, but others will benefit.
- Offer contextual support with a chatbot or pop-up forms within the app, minimizing users' need to leave for assistance.
3. Remove adoption barriers
A major friction of product adoption is getting people to change habits or overcome the fear of the unknown. Aside from early adopters, later adopters distrust new solutions.
Here are ways to cut friction and reduce adoption barriers:
- Find out the blockers from customers
Create a customer feedback channel where you can collect and act on user feedback. Monitor customer feedback regularly and prioritize the most critical issues. Send an email or in-app notification to acknowledge customer feedback and show you value their opinions.
- Integrate your product into users' existing workflows.
Changing habits is challenging, and inertia often prevails. For instance, convincing a team accustomed to standups on Slack or Discord to switch platforms is a tough sell.
Height's founder and C.E.O., Michael Villar, formerly an engineer at Stripe with a decade of product development experience, shared how integration helped Height increase adoption.
"We built our team AI standups to be shared within Height, Slack, and Discord. Height's standups include task links. If one team uses Height in a larger organization, Slack and Discord standups can increase adoption velocity. As the links open to Height on the web, other teams will find it easier to adopt."
- Address users' objections before they arise
Address any potential obstacles as soon as possible. For example, some users might hesitate to add their card to a free trial. It is now common for many companies to offer free trials without credit cards and to indicate that on their pricing or signup pages to ease any objections.
- Display testimonials and show the results of switching to your product.
This convinces both early and late majority users. They need to see that your product's value exceeds the required learning effort. This makes it easier for them to switch from a competitor or choose your solution.
I love Basecamp's approach.
There is a testimonial section on their website that serves as social proof.
4. Remove friction
Strive for a user experience that requires minimal effort to reap rewards. Avoid anything that makes them overthink, which may lead to frustration and abandonment.
How to cut friction to drive product adoption strategy
- Watch session recordings to identify points where users face challenges or disengage
Using product experience tools, like Logrocket you can watch app and website interactions. Then, personalize your experience based on this data. Let's say users struggle to locate a specific feature. Consider redesigning its placement for better accessibility.
- Address user barriers at each adoption stage
A helpful way to convince late adopters is to show testimonials from satisfied users before they commit. Ease their concerns with risk-free experiences like free trials and money-back guarantees.
- Make it easy for users to self-serve
Provide resource centers or knowledge bases with adequate visual product guides for users to find answers. Also, ensure your customer support team is always on hand and easily reachable if they can't find what they're looking for or need clarification.
- Ensure your product works across all browsers and devices.
Except in rare or specific cases, your product should work across all browsers, devices, and operating systems. This ensures flexibility and opens your product to a larger audience. Another critical point is to consider the needs of users with disabilities and ensure your product is accessible to everyone.
- Be proactive and innovate
Be proactive and keep innovating and introducing new features your users need. Slack introduced huddles in 2021, their fastest-adopted feature during the remote work peak.
Slack's senior product director, Olivia Grace, shared how constant innovation drives their success.
"After launching Huddles, Slack kept innovating. We added video, screen sharing, and jukebox features to Huddle. Including seasonal backgrounds for Halloween and Christmas. These details matter. Users love them".
Slack has over 10 million daily active users (DAUs). That's ten million+ people who log in daily.
5. Drive feature adoption
Getting users to embrace features extends beyond onboarding. You want to make sure they keep coming back and finding value. Getting new customers is expensive, so you want to maximize their engagement and repeat subscriptions.
Ways to boost feature adoption:
- Use in-app messaging
Use in-app messages strategically to highlight key features. Instead of bombarding users with notifications, send targeted nudges at the right moment when the feature is most relevant and valuable to them.
- Send post-onboarding email campaigns
Send post-onboarding email campaigns packed with valuable tips tailored to specific roles. These tips will entice users to revisit your platform and explore its features further, fostering ongoing adoption among new and existing users and teams.
- Make the latest features prominent
Update your user interface to make new features more noticeable, like adding a clickable button. You can also move them to a more prominent position.
A NNGroup study showed people spend 80% of their time on the left side of a page.
Another tactic is including notifications to inform users about the latest features. Invite them to provide feedback or test updated features. And offer rewards.
Optimize for product adoption
Product adoption isn't instant; it requires continuous effort. The more your product integrates into their routine, the more they will stick around.
Test, test, test. That's the most common advice for product owners and managers. Run experiments to see how easy it is to use your product. For example, sign up to see if your checklist's progress bar works properly. You can also check if the tooltips got triggered at the right time and what the results were.
Keep reminding users about the value of your product, because you can bet your competitors are doing the same. Send out emails or use in-app pop-ups to share content that gets customers thinking about your product in fresh ways.
Remember, it's not about telling your customers to adopt; it's about creating an environment that makes it a no-brainer.