April 24, 2024

How to Improve App Onboarding with In-App Messages

Find out how to optimize onboarding with impactful in-app messages to boost user activation and retention rates.

Ananya Vairavarajan

Great onboarding ensures that the first-time user experience is highly tailored to the user's context and directs them toward key "aha" moments right from the start. One way to achieve this goal is by using highly relevant and contextual in-app messages.

What are in-app messages?

In-app messages are informative guides or non-intrusive directions for a user, that are relevant to the user’s context and that appear inside the app. They can be displayed as tooltips, spotlights, coachmarks, in-app videos, stories, animations, etc, and can be used for providing information or requesting user action while the user is actively using the app.

in-app messages

How to use in-app messages for app onboarding?

To ensure a seamless onboarding experience for new users, one effective strategy is to utilize in-app messages. When implemented effectively, users will gain confidence in navigating your product, paving the way for successful adoption and engagement.

In-app messages can be used in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Highlighting core features of the app
  • Taking users on a guided tour across the app
  • Educating users on feature usage

The objective is to eliminate any confusion or uncertainty users may feel upon downloading your app, making it crystal clear which steps they need to follow in order to start using your app to its fullest potential.

Examples of app onboarding with in-app messages

EazyDiner uses carousel screens for onboarding

The carousel screen works to reinforce EazyDiner's core value proposition immediately after a user downloads the app, setting and maintaining their expectations while providing motivation to further explore the app's offerings.

EazyDiner uses carousel screens for onboarding

Product Hunt educates new users about key features

Onboarding tooltips in the Product Hunt app help activate its users by providing guidance and education about the app's features and functionality. By providing tooltips at the right moments, it simplifies complex functionality and guides users through the learning process.

Product Hunt educates new users about the features

Gmail uses tooltips to highlight core features

Gmail uses tooltips to effectively emphasize and showcase its core features, enabling users to easily discover and utilize the full range of functionalities offered by the platform.

Gmail uses tooltips to highlight the core features

Binance employs a guided tour to educate new users

Binance uses a guided tour to educate new users and help them on their way to make their first trade. This leads to rise in activation rates and over time improves retention and LTV.

Binance employs a guided tour to educate new users

Flipkart uses coachmarks to onboard new users

New users of Flipkart are introduced to the core functionality of the app while they make their first purchase. The coachmarks serve the purpose of highlighting key features, ultimately driving quick activation and long-term retention.

Flipkart uses coachmarks to onboard new users

Challenges of building in-app messages for onboarding in-house

Engineering bandwidth is limited

The demands on engineering teams are high, as they are typically responsible for core product development, bug fixes, infrastructure maintenance, and other critical tasks.

This scarcity of engineering bandwidth can hinder implementation of contextual nudges, slowing down progress.

Experimenting with multiple flows is a challenge

Testing different contextual nudges to determine their impact on key metrics is crucial. But building capabilities to quickly experiment with different flows can be time consuming and slow time to impact.

Build an extraordinary mobile app onboarding with Plotline

Plotline enables you to build best-in-class onboarding experiences with in-app messages, without engineering effort.

With Plotline, product and growth teams can effortlessly create and publish targeted in-app messages, such as tooltips, coachmarks, stories, in-app videos, animations and more.

If you'd like to explore further, start your free trial with us.

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