Why Product Marketing Managers Can Run More Growth Experiments with In-App Messaging


When we were doing early customer development at Appcues, I sat down with a friend who was a product marketing manager. We suspected that product marketing managers could be users of our product, so I wanted to learn what his typical day looked like. 

One of the most illuminating aspects of that experience was when I listened to him do a 1:1 with his manager. 

During that conversation, Ty, who is now our marketing leader at Appcues, listed off 15 different things he wanted to do in the coming week. His manager, Diego, said to him, “Ty, you know that’s so much. Pick two or three.”

Ty’s approach to figuring out which things to take on was to prioritize the items by impact and ease.


That’s something we thought about a lot at Appcues. We wanted to make our product easy to use and deliver high, observable value, so that it would have been an easy decision for PMMs like Ty to move the needle with in app messages.

Historically hard to implement with ambiguous impact

In app messaging has historically required high effort from PMMs. They need to work with the designer to scope the look and feel of the message. They need to write the content that is going into that message. They need to get a product manager to approve the engineering time to have that message built. They need to get that message live on launch day, along with blog posts, social media pushes, and emails.

And when in app messages are built in-house by developers, PMMs are unable to measure the success of messages in the long-term. They may have checked all the boxes and got everything done in time, but they never really know how impactful those in app messages were in driving feature adoption.

All they know for sure is that they went through a difficult, time-consuming process.

In-app messaging is moving towards high impact and high ease

Impact: 20% of users complete a goal from in app messages

In app messaging has been so far from PMMs’ control for so long that many of them don’t know how high leverage it can be.

But that’s changing with tools like Appcues.

Peter Clark, Head of Growth at AdRoll, uses Appcues to get users to turn on new features, prompt new users to schedule time with an onboarding expert, and collect referrals from active users.

“On average, 20% of people that see our Appcues modals go on and complete the goal no matter the nature of it, which is an insanely high completion rate,” said Peter.

Here’s one of the in app messages Peter used to achieve that 20% adoption rate.

adroll mailchimp integration announcement modal appcues

We’ve heard similar figures from other Appcues customers. Tom Rains, Implementation Consultant at CMAPestimates that about 20% of his customers turn on new features thanks to in app feature announcements. (Previously, less than 5% of customers adopted features from email announcements alone.)

Put that into perspective to a feature launch. If you want 20% of users to adopt a new feature through emails and blog posts, imagine how many opens and pageviews you’d need.

In app messaging has become one of the highest leverage tools you have to drive usage to anything you want your user to do in the product.

Effort: “Easier to set up than a blog post or email”

With Appcues, in app messaging also becomes low effort because you don’t need to go through a designer or a developer.

All you have to do is spend 20 to 40 minutes to drag and drop copy and images—which you probably already have on hand from other marketing collateral—into flows, and publish your in app message.


Alicia Shiu, Product Marketing Manager at Amplitude, used to avoid in app messages because it was difficult to wrangle engineering time. After discovering Appcues, she has used in app messages to educate new users in a self-service demo app, collect NPS, and launch Amplitude 2.0.

“It’s easier to set up a flow—it took less time—than to set up an email or a blog post,” said Alicia.  

Compared to email and blog posts, in app messages can provide a better return on PMMs’ time and focus.

A growing area for PMMs to experiment

Product marketing managers have traditionally focused their growth experiments on landing pages and email campaigns. Sophisticated blogging and email software has made it easier and easier to publish great content without technical skills.

Tools like Appcues are doing the same for in app messaging. What used to be hard to do and carry unknown value is 

In a few minutes, you can publish beautiful in app messages to your users. Since Appcues integrates with several product analytics tools, you’ll be able to measure the impact of your in app messages and improve quickly.

If you’re a product marketing manager, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn about the power you have at leveraging in app messaging and impacting users at the most important parts of their journey. To learn more, give Appcues a try today.

John loves sales, tech, product and people. So he sells tech to product-people.

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