People say a lot of things about love: It’s blind, it’s fate, it’s a biochemical reaction in our brains. As a product manager, you know love isn’t any of those things (well, maybe that last one). PMs make users fall in love with their products every day—not because it was preordained, but because they put effort into making their products unforgettable.
One of the most powerful ways to get people to love your product is by going with a product adoption software platform (also called a digital adoption or software adoption platform). These platforms give you the tools and analytics you need to educate your users and hook them with second-to-none UX and UI. This list of the 11 best product adoption software platforms will introduce you to the best of the best—sharing their strengths and weaknesses, so you can find the perfect platform for your product.
What is a software adoption platform?
A software adoption or digital adoption platform (DAP) is a kind of software designed to improve product adoption through helpful flows that encourage and teach new users or employees how to use a product. A DAP allows PMs to:
- Create guided tours, introducing users to important features and functions they might not figure out on their own
- Craft better onboarding and feature adoption experiences
- Add tooltips, modals, and hotspots
- Collect and analyze user analytics like click data, flow completion metrics, and more
Using these features in your adoption strategy can drastically impact software adoption rates, user satisfaction, customer retention rate, churn, and engagement.
The impact of DAPs and software adoption
Product adoption platforms are the easiest and most effective way to improve the user adoption rates of your product. Instead of wasting valuable work hours developing in-house UI patterns and analytics systems, a DAP can do it for you right out of the box.
Using these convenient tools, PMs should focus on creating the best possible user experience for their customers. By doing so, PMs can boost their software adoption and retention rates, which means big bucks in the long run—something our customers know a lot about.
- Litmus used Appcues to run UX and UI experiments and managed to increase feature adoption rates from 2% to 62% in three months. That’s 22x more people who have another reason to stick with Litmus longer, increasing each customer’s average lifetime value (LTV).
- GetResponse used Appcues to find their product’s best activation events and then designed an onboarding process that encouraged users to get to that point. The result was a resounding 16% increase in activation events in a matter of days.
Software adoption platforms also help you convince more people to commit to your product in the first place by getting them to critical aha moments right away.
11 best product adoption software platforms
There are plenty of product adoption software platforms out there, but these are the 11 best. We’ll break down what makes each unique so you can find the one that’s perfect for you.
Appcues is a product adoption platform that makes experimentation an accessible and regular part of your team's development process. Previously, running flow experiments would require time to get the coding done and the analytics set up. However, teams can build flows with Appcues' no-code builder and immediately get access to user data. This way, the whole team can constantly find new and unique ways to give users a better product experience.
Unlike many other programs, PMs don’t have to give up customization for a simpler product and UI with Appcues. PMs can spruce up their flows with a number of UI patterns like tooltips, modals, slideouts, hotspots, and NPS surveys. And when it comes to analytics, customization is the name of the game. PMs can set custom events to track how well new flows encourage key KPIs like completions, signups, or feature adoption.
- Straightforward and easy-to-use interface
- Native mobile app support
- Tons of options for product tours, messages, surveys, checklists, and other product experiences
- No-code event tracking
- Powerful analytics and reporting alongside integrations to dedicated analytics tools like Heap, Segment, Amplitude, and Mixpanel
- Some features require developer support during onboarding
- No scheduling tool
We’re not the only ones who love Appcues. Here’s what our customers have to say about the Appcues experience.
Appcues pricing starts at $249 and goes up based on the number of active users on your app and user licenses for your team.
If your product has 2,500 active users, the costs for different packages are:
- Essentials: $249/month (Up to 3 user licenses)
- Growth: $879/month (Up to 10 user licenses)
- Enterprise: Custom (Unlimited user licenses)
Learn more on the Appcues pricing page.
Pendo is a product adoption platform that provides analytics, in-app guides, and opportunities to elicit product feedback from users. Where this product truly shines is its analytics. Pendo gives PMs granular data about different user segments, including stickiness ratios for different features and overall adoption rates across web and mobile applications.
Although analytics on Pendo requires a bit of a learning curve, once you know how to use this platform, there’s little you can’t learn about your user base.
- Detailed analytics and reporting
- Granular segmentation and targeting options
- Tracks users on web, mobile, and internal apps
- Fewer in-app messaging features and settings compared to other DAPs
- Developer support is typically required for the best results
- More expensive than other options
Pendo has three different paid plans, two of which require a talk with their sales team to get a custom price quote. What separates these plans is integrations and the number of apps you can use their product on. For instance, the Starter plan comes with limited analytics and no integrations or API access, while the Growth plan gives you API access but no integrations.
Pendo also has a free option. Their free plan comes with one web app key and one mobile key, plus access to analytics. This plan remains free for up to 500 monthly active users, after which you’ll need to upgrade to one of their paid plans.
- Starter: $7000/year
- Growth: Custom price
- Portfolio: Custom price
Whatfix is one of the top DAPs around and a driver of innovation in this space. Whatfix offers a well-made product that allows you to create user flows, knowledge bases, and task lists to get new users engaged and learning. On top of this, their analytics platform is easy to understand and helps you keep track of behavior analytics, guidance analytics, and user feedback all in one place.
- Easy to create flows, even for non-technical team members
- Allows you to develop knowledge bases for self-help solutions
- Ideal for both customer and employee onboarding
- User experience issues, including bugs and sometimes spotty customer service
- Fewer analytical features and views than you might like
Whatfix doesn’t have any outlined pricing plans on its website. Instead, you’ll need to speak with one of their team members to get a custom quote tailored for your needs and organization. Otherwise, you can request a free trial to see if Whatfix works for you.
Learn more on the Whatfix pricing page.
Apty’s DAP aims to make the software adoption process a snap with engaging onboarding workflows and product tours. It does this with a mix of on-screen guidance, interactive walkthroughs, and in-app messaging. This platform is great for engaging users on your platform to increase feature adoption and conversions.
Where Apty falls down is in software implementation. The UI takes some getting used to, and it lacks a lot of common integrations you’d expect to see in this kind of product.
- Easy to create onboarding flows and product tours
- Has all the tools you’d expect, from analytics to segmentation
- Takes some time to get it up and running
- Not the friendliest UI
Apty has no present plans to choose from, so if you want a quote, you’ll need to contact their sales team. If you aren’t quite ready to commit, you can try their Evaluation plan. With the Evaluation plan, you get 45 days of use, up to 3 flows, and access to basic tools. It’s not enough to do much with, but you should be able to get a sense of whether you like their product.
- Evaluation: Free
- Plan: Custom
Learn more on the Apty pricing page.
Spekit focuses on employee onboarding, not user onboarding, unlike other DAPs on the list. Their platform is ideal for getting new employees up to speed on internal tools through targeted feature adoption workflows.
Spekit also differentiates itself with its robust internal database system. Employees and managers can easily add to, update, and search for information, so everyone is aware of internal best practices. This database can also help new employees ramp up quickly; they can check the database instead of bugging other employees when they have questions.
- A great all-in-one tool for onboarding employees
- Knowledge sharing tool is perfect for creating in-depth internal databases
- Convenient integrations with Salesforce and Slack
- It’s not set up for user onboarding
- The Chrome extension can get in the way when you don’t need it
Spekit requires you to reach out and chat about the best options for you and your team, as there are no pricing details outlined on their website. Alternatively, you can schedule a demo.
Learn more on the Spekit pricing page.
Like Spekit, WalkMe provides digital adoption solutions for both employee onboarding and user onboarding. WalkMe excels at giving businesses the customizations and analytics they need to learn about their employees and users. This includes user session playbacks, customizable events and funnels, and an in-depth reporting system.
WalkMe’s greatest strengths, however, are also its biggest drawback. WalkMe requires quite a lot of time and technical knowledge to get it set up—something smaller companies may not be able to do or afford.
- Offers a high level of customization
- Allows you to create in-app quizzes to test user or employee knowledge after completing a flow
- Session playback allows you to see the path users took through your app
- Need technical experience to get the most out of their features
- Pricier than other options on this list
WalkMe primarily works on a custom pricing plan that requires a sales call for both their employee experience and customer experience DAPs.
Learn more on the WalkMe pricing page.
Userlane simplifies software adoption to a point where anyone could pick it up, build a flow, and understand how the changes affect adoption KPIs. Simplicity is also the name of the game when it comes to analytics. The Userlane analytics UI has a beautiful minimalist look that makes it easy to understand how your lanes are performing at just a single glance.
More advanced users may find that Userlane has sacrificed customization for ease of use. For instance, Userlane only integrates with four other products (SharePoint, Confluence, Zendesk, and KnowledgeOwl). This would make Userlane hard to integrate into the larger, more sophisticated tech ecosystem that most larger products rely on today.
- Lanes are easy to set up and implement
- Easy to add gamification elements to your onboarding
- Includes real-time analytics
- Only integrates with SharePoint, Confluence, Zendesk, and KnowledgeOwl
- Some of the UI patterns, like hotspots and tooltips, aren’t as functional as users might like
Userlane’s pricing is based on two things: the number of guided users and the product features you want access to. To get a quote based on your circumstances, you’ll need to talk to their team.
Learn more on the Userlane pricing page.
UserIQ is usable as a product adoption platform, but at its heart, it’s a customer success platform. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re hoping to get two platforms for the price of one, you may be disappointed.
On the plus side, UserIQ has sophisticated and intuitive customer health analytics your product can benefit from. It also has an impressive 1,000+ integrations to truly get a rounded view of each of your customers. However, their flow-building product often feels half-baked, with minimal options for making the most out of your product tour. If UserIQ was to add more in-app experiences and segmentation options, this could be a true contender in the product adoption sphere.
- Easy to create micro surveys
- Customer Health score helps counter customer churn
- Fewer in-app product experience options
- Limited audience segmentation and targeting capabilities
Prices for UserIQ are based on your monthly active customers, and you have unlimited user seats. If you’re interested in UserIQ, you can schedule a demo with their sales team and get a quote for your company.
Learn more on the UserIQ pricing page.
Userpilot is a product growth platform that aims to provide an all-in-one platform for product adoption and growth. It folds flow builder, analytics, and user feedback into one compelling package.
One Achilles’ heel of Userpilot is its integrations. They include some of the basics like Google Analytics and Segment, but there’s not much past that. It also lacks the level of analytics many PMs have come to expect and rely on to get the results they crave.
- UI is fairly simple and easy to use, even for novices
- Includes a convenient Chrome extension
- Includes flow builder, analytics, and user feedback in one platform
- Fewer stack integration options
- Can be difficult to set up for more complicated flows
Userpilot has three product plans: Traction, Growth, and Enterprise. They all have a base cost that depends on the number of monthly active users your product has—the more monthly active users, the more you pay per month. As you move up the pricing plans, you get more features to play with. For instance, the Growth plan gives you access to custom domain hosting and content throttling.
Userpilot also offers a free demo of their Traction plan, which you can get access to through a call with their team.
- Traction: Starting at $249/month with 0-2,500 monthly users (Up to 10 team members)
- Growth: Starting at $499/month with 2,500-10,000 monthly users (Up to 20 team members)
- Enterprise: Starting from $1,000/month with up to 10,000 monthly users (Unlimited team members)
Learn more on the Userpilot pricing page.
10. Gainsight PX
Gainsight PX is a powerful DAP, perfect for big products that want in-depth analysis. It provides PMs with a single place to build flows and analyze how those flows impact overall product adoption.
If you’ve tried other products and found you needed more data and analytics customization, this might be the best bet for you. Gainsight PX combines product adoption analytics and customer experience metrics to give you a complete picture of the efficacy of your flows and the health of your clients.
The largest wrinkle for Gainsight PX is that with all of that complexity comes, well... complexity. Smaller teams or non-devs will struggle to harness Gainsight to its fullest potential. Some businesses may also feel they’re paying for features they don’t use on a regular basis.
- Great analytics options, including cohort data and retention analysis
- Uses a holistic approach to product adoption that considers user and account data
- Steep learning curve for finding the data you need or integrating your tech stack
- UI is not intuitive
Gainsight PX has three pricing plans for you to choose from: Customer Success, Product Experience, and Insided. Each plan represents a different use case. There are no stated prices on these plans. You’ll need to speak with a Gainsight PX representative to get a specific quote for your business.
There is a free trial available for you to test out with the Product Experience plan. You can find access to that here.
Learn more on the Gainsight PX pricing page.
UserGuiding excels at building simple onboarding experiences for users. It includes a no-code builder, segmentation options, and easily added UI patterns like hotspots, tooltips, and modals.
Although it also has some other goodies like a resource center and analytics, the meat of this product is its onboarding flow builder. If all you’re looking for is a relatively easy way to build simple onboarding flows, this could be a great choice for you. However, people looking for more analytics, customization, or complicated integrations should probably look elsewhere.
- No-code flow builder that makes it easy to add hotspots, tooltips, and checklists
- Ability to create a resource center is a nice value add that other products lack
- Technical knowledge is required to get everything out of this product
- Design options for UI patterns could be improved
The UserGuiding pricing model is far simpler than others on our list. There are three tiers, each one charging a set amount for access to certain tools. Basic will give you access to only the most essential onboarding tools. Professional adds in unlimited guides, hotspots, and checklists, while Corporate gives you access to everything plus personalized coaching. If you aren’t sure, you can always try their free trial.
- Basic: $69/month billed yearly (2,500 monthly user limit)
- Professional: $299/month billed yearly (20,000 monthly user limit)
- Corporate: $499/month billed yearly(Custom monthly user limit)
Learn more on the UserGuiding PX pricing page.
The markers of successful software adoption
Hopefully, you’ll walk away from this article with a better sense of which new technology or new software you need for your software adoption strategy. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that a DAP is only as strong as how you use it. An adoption strategy needs to be constantly monitored and adjusted—and if you aren’t using the right features of your new tool, how do you know what to adjust and where?
So, what KPIs should you measure so you can monitor the difference before and after implementing your new DAP? These are just a few that we consider most important for SaaS products:
- Time to value (minutes, days, clicks, etc.)
- End-user usage frequency
- Churn rate
- Average session duration
- Net promoter score (NPS)
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
- Conversion rate
- Software adoption rate
If these metrics look better post-software implementation, you’ve probably picked the right DAP for you and you’re using it the right way. Don’t stop there!
Improve user adoption with the right strategies, metrics, and KPIs
Product adoption platforms give you the tools to create amazing product experiences for users and customers. However, the best product will never reach its true potential without the right strategies, metrics, and KPIs. If you want to learn how to do more with your product adoption platform, here are some resources to teach you the best practices you need to know:
- What we learned about new product adoption from 5 successful companies: Get product adoption insights from industry leaders like Ahrefs, LastPass, and Reclaim.
- 5 product management KPIs that tell you more than NPS: Learn about how measurements like time-to-value and the number of active users are the best indicators for product adoption.
- The 4 stages of product adoption for product-led growth: Understand every stage of product adoption so you can optimize your users’ paths to adoption and beyond.