Founded in 2013, Pendo is one of the most comprehensive products in the digital adoption space. Their longevity in the market also means they've had the most time to evolve their product to match their users' needs. Of course, that doesn’t mean they're perfect.
Just because they're not the newest kids on the block doesn't mean that there aren't market alternatives with the same offerings and even better services. So, it’s not enough to choose Pendo based on their wide-ranging suite of products or age alone. The real question you should ask yourself is: what are Pendo’s key features and services, and how do they stack up to some of the alternatives on the market today?
Pendo positions itself as the only truly complete solution in the space—offering a combination of product analytics, customer sentiment analysis, in-app messaging, and user guidance.
Pendo’s in-app guides and messaging help you highlight features you want users to adopt, give them context about the UI elements on their screen, and nudge them toward any in-app activity you want. For insight into user activity within your app, Pendo analytics and customer sentiment analysis show you which of your users are most active and what features your users love the most. You can also use their analytics to facilitate comparisons of engagement between users with different attributes. For example, you can see who’s more active on your app: VP-level executives or junior-to-mid-level customers.
Pendo’s pricing isn’t listed on their website, but according to reviewers on the web, it can be anywhere from $2,000 a year for “just the tour functionality” to $12,000 a year for a startup package.
3 Reasons a Pendo alternative might be better for you
Pendo has a lot of great things going for it—and given the right circumstance, the features they offer can be supremely helpful. But it’s not perfect—nor is it the right solution for everyone. With such a hefty price tag, you don’t want to end up spending more than you have to for features you'll never use. If you're evaluating Pendo, you'll want to take these 3 things into consideration to determine if it's the right solution for you.
1. You don't need their entire product suite
Pendo's "complete solution" offering means it's probably coming with more than you need. Because it has such wide functionality, some features are released before they're mature and ready for public use—which means you can end up paying for an experimental solution that doesn’t do what you need. Sure, Pendo offers a la carte pricing, but then you're still on the hook for paying a high price for limited functionality.
2. You're non-technical
Pendo has oodles of features, which could make it difficult to get acquainted with the platform and use it effectively. To get up to speed, you'll need to spend a lot of time with their support team and engineering teams to get your instance dialed in for your specific use cases.
Even after you've deployed the application and customized it to your liking, you’ll likely need to reach out to support for additional help. That back and forth takes away valuable time from your team compared to other alternatives.
3. You have budget constraints
As good as their features are, there’s no doubt: Pendo is expensive compared to similar products on the market. If you're working on a tight budget, a Pendo alternative will be a better fit, especially if you have several products in your portfolio. One G2 reviewer said:
"Pendo is expensive and the larger you become, the more expensive the solution is for your organization."
When you sink so much time into setting up the product, it's going to take a while before you see that value pay off. If you have budgetary constraints (in this economy, who doesn't?), you can't afford to wait too long to see ROI on your investment. In this case, a Pendo alternative might provide better value.
5 Best Pendo alternatives
Where money isn’t a problem, Pendo’s all-in-one solution may be the best fit for some businesses. However, if Pendo doesn’t meet your needs or you’re just shopping around for Pendo alternatives, these are the best options in the market:
Appcues is built on the premise that a superior product experience should be as simple as possible. It currently enables over 1,500 SaaS companies to effortlessly onboard, engage, and target the right users without any need for developer support. From our inception, Appcues has been about improving product adoption and enhancing the SaaS onboarding experience. But beyond just our product, we take a lot of pride in our approach to market education and resources. Our Product Adoption Academy offers free, high-value courses and certifications in user onboarding, product launches, and more—and our Behind the Experience show and Product-Led Growth Collective feature insights from the foremost experts on product experience design and product-led growth strategy.
Appcues offers a wide variety of features:
- Use Appcues' hotspots, tooltips, slideouts, and other UI patterns to give in-app guidance and help users quickly discover features they haven't tried. These UI patterns are customizable to fit natively into your app.
- Segment and target users by different attributes like persona, pricing tier, or role to ensure your guides reach the right people.
- Create custom goals and track a personalized combination of user behaviors to see how each segment of your audience responds to in-app guidance.
- Appcues' reports combine code-free event tracking with data visualizations of different user actions in your product. You can gather different types of product usage data and visualize them into your preferred views for a better understanding of user behavior.
- Choose from a vast collection of NPS templates to collect users' opinions, preferences, and general feedback with custom surveys and NPS prompts.
Appcues has a free trial that lasts for two weeks or until you've shown users your first 50 flows. Paid plans have three pricing tiers:
The Essentials plan
- Starts at $249 a month (paid annually) for up to 2,500 MAUs
- Standard in-app pattern library plus pins and NPS surveys
- Full access to its built-in analytics engine, Appcues Insights
- 10 click-to-track events
- Ability to send data to external analytics tools
- Email support
- 3 user licenses
The Growth plan
- Starts at $879 a month (paid annually) for up to 2,500 MAUs
- Includes everything in the Essentials plan
- Advanced in-app pattern library, including checklists and Launchpad content
- Unlimited integrations
- Advanced user targeting features
- Unlimited click-to-track events
- 10 user licenses
The Enterprise plan
- Quote available on request
- Advanced SSO and security
- Premium customer support and service
- Account administration, including roles and permissions
- Localization support
- Unlimited user licenses
Why you’ll love Appcues
Appcues is purpose-built for product adoption. Every feature is specifically designed to help you offer better in-app experiences to your users. It makes life easier for your team by being incredibly easy to use—offering robust reporting, and delivering exceptional customer support.
Ease of use
Appcues is easier to use than Pendo. You won't spend weeks or months setting it up or learning about the platform before deployment. So, you'll get a faster time to value and not worry about any back-and-forth with the support team.
Additionally, you don't need to contact your engineering team for advanced applications because setting up and using Appcues doesn't require any HTML or CSS knowledge. This allows you to focus on deployment instead of whether or not your setup is right.
Pendo's analytics features earn it comparisons with popular analytics tools. But as users have found, you can't easily integrate another analytics solution to get better or varied insights if Pendo’s analytics aren’t quite right for you.
Appcues shines here. Even though it offers robust analytics, it still allows you to integrate with existing analytics tools you already have to get a deeper understanding of your users' behaviors. Its "Data In" integrations include Google Analytics, Heap, Segment, Amplitude, Mixpanel, and many others. You're not obligated to rely solely on Appcues intelligence to make decisions about your product or calculate SaaS metrics like conversion rate and churn rate.
Pendo's steep learning curve often means that users have to pay extra for their training on how to use the product. Appcues offers expert, responsive customer onboarding at no extra cost to you. The support staff is ever-ready to assist you wherever and whenever you experience any challenges.
Appcues' also has an extensive resource of product-led growth best practices, videos, and tutorials to help you make the right decisions at every stage of your journey. These come at no additional cost to you, no matter your plan.
Chameleon offers products to help you increase user engagement and reduce churn. It has features for onboarding new users, launching new features, and getting user feedback on your products. Unlike Pendo, Chameleon is primarily focused on product adoption through in-app guidance.
Chameleon helps you build an exceptional user onboarding experience through tooltips, micro surveys, and launchers.
- Chameleon's tooltips help you show users new and unused features in your product. Advanced customization options enable you to design tooltips that natively fit with your UI and look like a part of your product.
- Chameleon's micro survey feature is what you need to get user feedback on your product, its features, and your users' onboarding experiences. You can target people based on predefined attributes like their pricing plan or job role.
- You can use Chameleon's in-app launchers as help menus or checklists to help your users find the support resources they need and improve feature adoption, a feature Pendo doesn't have.
Chameleon has three plans:
- Startup: 14-day free trial, then $279 monthly for 2,000 users. Grows to $825 a month for 20,000 monthly users.
- Growth: $999 a month for 19,000 users. Speak to sales for more than 20,000 users.
- Enterprise: Contact sales for a quote.
Pendo vs. Chameleon
UserGuiding calls itself a "product walkthrough and user onboarding software." It helps you use interactive guides to show users the power of your products. UserGuiding is a more extensive and affordable product adoption platform than Pendo, and its advanced UI patterns for user onboarding and engagement are more robust than what Pendo offers.
Since it's primarily a digital product adoption tool, UserGuiding has features to help you quickly onboard new users. These include:
- UserGuiding's hotspots enable you to create fixed boxes with tips about a product element users might otherwise miss.
- Onboarding checklists enable users to track the progress they're making by checking off each completed onboarding step.
- The goal-tracking feature allows you to set user targets as they advance with feature adoption and general onboarding. This helps them track their progress and their journey with your product.
- You can incorporate rich media like emojis, GIFS, images, and videos into your onboarding UI and create designs that match your existing interface.
UserGuiding has three pricing tiers:
- 14-day free trial, then $69 a month billed annually for up to 2,500 monthly users. You'll pay $99 if you choose to pay monthly.
- A professional plan that's $299 a month billed yearly or $399 billed monthly for up to 20,000 users.
- Corporate plan at $499 a month annually or $699 if you're paying monthly. You’ll pay more depending on your needs and the number of products you currently have.
Pendo vs. UserGuiding
WalkMe is designed to improve both the customer and employee onboarding experience. It focuses on guided walk-throughs and product tours to improve the customer’s experience and handles employee learning, development, and productivity to help your newest employees. However, WalkMe's analytics integrations are limited compared to the first three alternatives.
WalkMe's features to boost digital adoption of your products include:
- WalkMe's launchers appear as buttons on your UI that users can click for more information. When users click them, what they see will depend on what you preset, such as links to helpful resources or a video for further information.
- Insights show you in-app user behavior and real-time analytics to help you understand sticky features in your product and how users are exploring them.
- Smart walkthroughs empower you to create information balloons on any part of your app's UI to give users the guidance they need to complete their tasks.
- WalkMe Surveys help you collect user feedback about a product feature, the onboarding experience, or changes you've made to your product.
In 2014, someone said WalkMe quoted them $12,000 for "100 users and a couple dozen walkthroughs in response to a pricing inquiry." WalkMe still doesn't have fixed pricing options anywhere on their site, so you'll have to contact them on their pricing page for a quote.
Pendo vs. WalkMe
Whatfix is a digital adoption platform created to help businesses successfully onboard new users and employees with interactive guides in multiple media formats. Whatfix is neither the easiest tool to learn on this list nor the cheapest, but its features for customer digital adoption are truly exceptional.
Whatfix has several UI patterns you can use to engage, onboard, and train your users.
- Whatfix's smart tips show contextual clues about certain UI elements. You can also use it to validate user input in your forms’ fields. For example, you can use it to confirm that a user is submitting their company’s email address instead of a generic email address.
- You can use Whatfix's multipurpose pop-ups to welcome new users with an overview of the information they need to use your product's features successfully. Pop-ups also prompt users to complete your survey or act as an interface for congratulatory messages.
- Explore Whatfix's beacons if you want to nudge users' eyes to specific elements of your app. You can add links in a beacon to direct users to content in your knowledge base, a blog post, or anywhere else.
- Dig into Whatfix's analytics to gain insights into users' engagement rate, content improvements you should implement, and task completion rate.
Whatfix has no plans on display on their site. Regardless of your needs, you must fill out a form to request a pricing quote and gain access to Whatfix’s packages. On the plus side, you can sign up for a free trial to see what you'll pay for firsthand.
Pendo vs. Whatfix
The best Pendo competitors and alternatives
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for digital adoption. The best platform for you will depend on your needs and goals. But if you’re considering Pendo alternatives, Appcues is a comparable solution. While both digital adoption platforms have many of the same features, Appcues’ integrations, ease of use, and support make it an outstanding choice for the majority of use cases.