How & Why To Boost Your User Adoption Rate

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Are you wondering how to boost your product adoption rate and scale your SaaS business?

Developing new features and functionalities is only part of the work. What comes next can make or break the adoption rate – improving your product goes hand in hand with feature announcement and user onboarding. 

This week, we’ll explore the different types of user adoption rates, how they’re measured, and why they matter. We’ve also included key strategies you can implement to boost adoption rate and therefore business growth. Let’s dive right in.

Firstly, What is User Adoption Rate?

User adoption rate is the measure of how many people are using your product regularly. Product adoption is a prerequisite for every performance metric that matters in the long run for your business’s growth: customer retention, user engagement, and revenue.

The Four Main Types of User Adoption

Separating your user adoption rates into types based on user segments is a good way to get comprehensive data on how different users deal with existing and new features. It also gives you actionable insights to boost your adoption rate within these segments. 

Best practice: regularly establish which are your most- and least- adopted features, and see if these lists match your expectations. Validating your assumptions with data is important for accurate benchmarking.

  1. Routine adoption: when your existing users adopt existing features. Low routine adoption rates could indicate that your features are difficult to use and that better onboarding is required.
  1. Existing user (internal) adoption: when your existing users adopt new features. For example, when Instagram brought out its Reels feature in 2020, its internal adoption rate would be the percentage of its users to adopt this feature within a set time period.

In theory, if your current users are accustomed to and like your SaaS, your internal adoption rate should be high after a successful product release. So, if the adoption rate suffers among your existing users, this could preempt wider problems amongst your new user base.

  1. New user (external) adoption: when new users adopt existing features. For example, the number of new users that update their profile bio on your SaaS platform within the first week of opening their account. 
  1. New user adoption: when new users adopt new features. This is often denoted by flags: users are green flagged if they successfully adopt a product, and red-flagged if they encounter difficulties. Adoption flags give you actionable insights to deliver better value for your users.

How is Adoption Rate Measured?

Put simply, adoption rate = total number of adopted users within a time period    x 100

                total number of users at the end of the time period

So, if you have 500 total users at the start of January, and by the end of the month 150 of them have adopted your new feature, you have an adoption rate of 30%.

However, to use this formula, you need to define what an “adopted user” is in the specific case of your SaaS product. This could mean the number of:

  • Daily/weekly/monthly active users: users who have logged into your software a certain number of times over a set time period
  • Users who have signed up or paid for your service in a set time period
  • Users who have performed an action you care about in a given time period e.g.: filling out their profile or adding team members to their account
  • Users who have completed a particular onboarding flow. Nickelled’s reporting feature provides you with this data automatically, working out the onboarding guide completion rate relative to its number of unique views. Plus, it includes user satisfaction rate, based on the results of a simple yes/no product feedback box:

Best practices:

  • You should always calculate adoption rate with respect to a specific time period. 
  • Adoption rate can be calculated on a daily, monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis.

Other Useful User Adoption Rates to Consider

Across both existing and new user adoption, it is also useful to monitor time-to-first [performing key action]. That is to say, the average time it takes a new user to try an existing feature, or an existing user to try a new feature for the first time. 

Leverage data about the properties and paths taken by those users who are quicker to adopt your products to improve the experiences of slower product adopters. If the majority of your users are slow to adopt, this suggests a wider problem in your UX and a lack of awareness about their features.

Why Does Product Adoption Rate Matter?

Measuring your adoption rate is essential because it provides unbiased feedback on your product. At the end of the day, if users see its value and understand how to use it, they will. Successful adoption rate fosters:

  • Higher customer retention rate, and therefore lower cost-per-acquisition (CPA): retaining existing users is up to 9x cheaper than acquiring new ones
  • Greater engagement, higher conversion rate, and therefore consistent income
  • Increased customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • Boosted marketing ROI

For a complete overview of how users feel about your product, you should combine quantitative data like your adoption rate with qualitative user feedback. That’s why Nickelled includes user satisfaction surveys at the end of each of our onboarding guides, so the people who know the UX the best can tell us what they think about it:

Nickelled’s user satisfaction surveys on Gumtree’s FAQ pages.

Creating Strategy to Increase Adoption Rate

So, now you know how important adoption rate is, what can you do to optimize this metric and boost your business?

Persuading your users – even loyal ones – to adapt and start using a new feature or product is not an easy process. In order to get traction for your new feature, you need to persuade your users to change their habits by convincing them of its value.

Strategizing to create awareness, segment your user base and leverage your qualitative and quantitative user data should be part of your product launch plan from the very beginning. Implement the following best practices to avoid your new feature ending up as wasted development time that adds a layer of complexity for your users:

Create Awareness of Your New Feature

Effective & Continuous Onboarding

Your customer’s first experience sets the tone for every experience that comes after. Your job is to demonstrate the usefulness of your product as quickly as possible and help your user achieve their goal.

Nickelled’s interactive product tours implement a mixture of welcome messages, in-app tutorials, and tooltips to create a clear path to value—no matter how complex the product is. In doing so, we define the core value proposition of the SaaS and streamline their onboarding flow to get users to realize that value as early in their experience as possible.

Another key to successful onboarding is tailoring the flow to the user and their actions. Segmenting users according to experience level, job title, goals, etc. allows you to deliver more personalized and therefore relevant first-time experiences that will resonate with an individual user’s needs. This, in turn, will foster better engagement and a higher product adoption rate.

Make Mini Product Launches

From your most loyal customers to your newest users, all will be inexperienced when it comes to adopting a new feature. Their engagement and likelihood of adopting the product depend on you highlighting and building excitement around its launch, in addition to effective onboarding.

Your users want to feel that you are adapting to fit their needs and that their feedback has been heard. Create content for a mini product launch: new use cases, social media and email announcements (like the below newsletter from Readdle), and help documents to generate user interest and engagement.

What’s more, studies have shown that repetition reinforces habits. By consistently reminding users of your new product and its value, whether through email campaigns or website banners, you’ll be encouraging product adoption.

Create Blog Content To Raise Awareness

Highlight the elements that make your SaaS product or service better than others using product comparison blog posts, like this one analyzing different software for creating product tours.

Such a blog post allows your consumers to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of two or three similar products and clearly highlights the valuable ways your SaaS stands out from others in the same field.

You can also use blog posts to target specific user issues and show how your features solve these problems. This is a great way to reduce support tickets around your new product.

Segment Your User Base 

You’re most probably already familiar with the different use cases of your SaaS product from designing your onboarding flows, as mentioned above. Segmenting your users according to their goals, their job role, their subscription level to your service, whether they’re a new or existing user, etc., allows you to target your onboarding processes, marketing campaigns, and data reporting more effectively. 

For example, Nickelled’s Launchers are on-site widgets that can announce new product features (like the example below), suggest onboarding guides, or offer support to users based on their ID, properties, page location, and more custom data. They allow you to promote your new feature to those users who are more likely to be interested in using it, thereby boosting your adoption rate.

Leverage Your Quantitative and Qualitative User Data

What’s the point in measuring adoption rate if you’re not going to use that data to improve your product and service? One of the keys to boosting product adoption is knowing where users are struggling so that you can fix it. 

  • Assess aggregated user data to give insight into macro-level issues: adoption rate, churn rate, and the number of active users can indicate larger problems in your product.
  • Analyze user behavior to find micro-level issues: discover which of your features aren’t being used to the same extent as others. Explore how adopted users have ended up using a target feature and look for opportunities to direct other users along this path and increase engagement along the way.
  • Correlate qualitative and quantitative data: get a comprehensive insight into how you can improve your product and processes. Follow our templates for collecting honest product feedback to ask your users key questions, then combine this information with metrics like adoption rate.

Boost Your Adoption Rate with Nickelled’s Onboarding Tools

Product adoption rate is one of the most important ways of measuring success as a SaaS business. It’s crucial to many other key performance metrics, including user retention, engagement, and revenue. With that said, our key takeaways from this article are:

  • Measuring adoption rate is simple but does depend on what “adoption” means in terms of your product.
  • Effective, repeatable, and targeted onboarding and feature announcement are the two key ways to boost your adoption rate.
  • Carrying out continued analysis of adoption rate and user feedback and leveraging this data is the best way to ensure your product meets your users’ varying needs and optimize its success.

Design interactive onboarding flows and trigger targeted product announcements using Nickelled’s simple and effective tools and join companies like Gengo in boosting your adoption rate and user retention.

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