evaluation playbook
activation playbook
adoption playbook

Measuring the impact of user onboarding using retention curves

How does your user onboarding stand up? The number of users who stick around is a good indication. Learn how to use retention curves to evaluate your onboarding in this playbook.

What you’ll learn: 

  • How to understand the significance of user onboarding.
  • What key metrics play a role in assessing the impact of your onboarding process.
  • Which techniques are best for collecting and analyzing user data related to onboarding.
  • How to derive actionable insights from data to optimize your onboarding process.

What you’ll need: 

  • A map of your user journey.
  • Access to user and product engagement data.
  • A strategy to act on the insights obtained from your analysis.

Suggested playbooks to check out before starting this one:

5 steps to measuring the impact of user onboarding:

Step 1: Define onboarding success.

  • Determine what a successful onboarding process looks like for your product and your users.
  • The definition of success can vary depending on the nature of your product, its complexity, and the needs of your users. Success might look like users reaching a particular point in the product, achieving an aha moment, or simply returning to the product after their initial session.
  • Your definition of onboarding success will be central to setting your KPIs and evaluating the effectiveness of your onboarding process.

Step 2: Define key performance indicators (KPIs)

  • Determine the specific metrics that will indicate the success of your onboarding process.
  • These KPIs might include user engagement levels, user retention rates, product adoption rates, time to first key action, and user satisfaction scores, among others.
  • Remember, these KPIs will vary based on your product type, user base, and business objectives.

Step 3: Collect user data.

  • Use your analytics tool to collect data related to user interactions with your product during the onboarding process.
  • Ensure you track these activation KPIs on a weekly basis to see positive or negative trends that might require your team’s attention.
  • Keep an eye on user drop-off points, as they can indicate areas of improvement in your onboarding flow.
  • You can use our Activation KPI Dashboard as a template to create your own dashboard.
Appcues Activation KPI Dashboard Template

Step 4: Analyze your onboarding data.

  • Use the collected data to analyze the effectiveness of your onboarding process.
  • Determine if users are successfully completing onboarding, how long it takes, and whether they're reaching the key actions or value moments in your product.
  • Assess user engagement and retention rates before and after onboarding to understand its impact on the process.
How do your activation KPIs measure up with other companies? We’ve surveyed over 250 of our customers and shared product engagement benchmarks. See how your KPIs stack up in our Product Engagement Benchmark Report.
Appcues Product Engagement Benchmark Report

Step 5: Use insights to optimize onboarding.

  • Use your analysis to derive insights about your onboarding process's strengths and weaknesses.
  • Look for patterns in user behavior that indicate which aspects of onboarding are most effective and which areas need improvement.
  • Continuously use these insights to make data-driven decisions to optimize your onboarding process and improve overall user experience.
Looking for more Playbooks? Go back to the Product-Led Growth Flywheel →