May 3, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to In-App Nudges in 2024

A deep dive into what makes nudging successful, why it's all the more important in 2024 and how you can implement nudges in your own app.

Aditya Bhattacharyya

Push notifications and emails are done by every single app out there, to the point that a user automatically dismisses new notifications from an app. You need to engage with your users when they’re using your app, with the right context and with the right information.

Enter in-app nudges.

Different in-app nudges

What are in-app nudges?

In-app nudges are subtle, non-intrusive directions or assistance for a user, relevant to the user’s context at all times. These nudges highlight important app features, make them discoverable, and spur meaningful engagement on the app. It is important to ensure that nudges are delivered with the right content to the right user at the right time.

Users are guided to make the right choices with the help of well-placed tooltips, coachmarks, spotlights, stories, PiP videos, or bottomsheets. These nudges can drive growth since they can dynamically shape users’ behaviour inside the app to carry out certain desired actions.

What makes these nudges powerful is the ability to target the right user based on either app events or user attributes and at the right time (within 100 ms of an event being triggered).

Different kinds of in-app nudges


In essence, a tooltip nudge is used to deliver important information or instructions that will aid users in understanding how a feature works or how to take the next steps, with the nudge particularly pointing to the feature under consideration.

Tooltips are position-based nudges, i.e you need to specify the element (button) location, page, etc

Google Pay uses tooltips as an in-app nudge to guide users to aha moments


Animations capture your user's attention without disrupting their journey. For example, the growth team at Jar is responsible for improving the number of users who "save" in the app, hence they show an animation highlighting the "Save now" button, driving more users to complete this action.

Jar uses Blinkers to highlight Save now


Stories, first introduced by Snapchat, are now seen frequently in mobile apps across industries. They work well to drive home key messages or share special offers because they are short, simple, and easy to consume.

Stories in Stable Money app


A Spotlight UI can be used to highlight or introduce new features. They also offer a CTA which can be directly used to redirect the user to another page. Here's an example of how Jar uses Spotlights to introduce users to their newly launched feature, GoldX.

Jar uses Spotlight nudge to introduce GoldX

Picture-in-Picture videos

A PiP video is a way to engage your users without being intrusive to their experience. It works because:

  1. It is non-intrusive: You can move it around, go about your order on the side and it can continue playing in the background
  2. It's an engaging format: Video by default proves to be one of the more interesting mediums of communication, if done well.

Here's how Blinkit showcases new deals to their users with PiP videos.

Blinkit showcases new deals to their users with PiP videos


A coachmark draws the user's attention and directs them to a certain feature or section, typically pointing towards the corner of the app. Coachmarks are also position-based nudges. In the example below, Flipkart uses a Coachmark introduces new users to its key features with guided onboarding.

Flipkart uses a Coachmark

Why are in-app nudges used?

Feature adoption

Over time, apps tend to add many features, sections, etc. Users who might be familiar with a certain flow don’t automatically explore other portions of the app.

Why does feature adoption become a challenge?

  • Discovery: Your users cannot use a feature without first discovering it. Example: The new referral feature you launched won’t result in explosive growth unless your users first discover it and then interact with it.
  • Lack of education: Even after your users have discovered a new feature, they might not use it just because they lack the know-how and understanding of how it can benefit them or how to use it.

“The failure of adopting features comes at the cost of $24,000,” estimates Michael Peach, Head of Product Marketing at Pendo, “if these were built across a 2-week sprint by a team of 6 developers”.

Subtle nudges can help users get educated or guide them to newly launched features.

User activation

As Julian Shapiro best put it - people don’t have short attention spans. They have short consideration spans.

In a 3-day timeframe, about 80% of users leave an app never to come back because they don't fully get how it operates. Retention rates on mobile apps are terrible.

To reduce this drop-off, product teams build onboarding flows for new users which guide them to “aha moments”.

Nudges can help in this regard by educating users on how to use the app, and guiding them to the right sections and paths that are proven to activate users at a higher rate.

For example, giving social proof can encourage more new users to continue on their journey.

Increase conversions

There are several reasons why users can drop off from an app right before converting. Finding the root cause and contextually nudging your users just before they go can reveal a sizeable, untapped opportunity to increase conversion rates.

Let’s say you’re an e-commerce store. Your visitors have added items to the cart, proceeded to the checkout and returned back to the homepage without placing an order. In this case, a subtle tooltip nudge to draw attention to checkout can help increase conversion rates. You can even immediately display a coupon code with a specific offer to nudge your users to checkout.

Checkout nudge

The challenge in building in-app nudges today

Engineering bandwidth is scarce

No surprises here. Your developer teams are swamped with feature requests and building your core product as they should be.

Asking them to incorporate nudges when you don’t know if you’re building the best nudge for your audience can easily lead to a waste of engineering hours.

Engineering bandwidth meme

Experimenting with multiple flows is a challenge.

The key here is that you need to experiment with multiple nudges and flows to identify which nudges significantly impact your key metrics.

For example, you might hypothesise that using the “Search” feature leads to quicker time to value. You can test this hypothesis by building a subtle nudge to educate new users about this feature. If your metrics don’t improve, your hypothesis might be wrong, or you’re not using the right nudge. In both cases, being able to experiment quickly is key.

Plotline helps growth and marketing teams build in-app nudges in a no-code manner

Plotline's no-code in-app engagement platform enables you to deploy in-app nudges without writing a single line of code within 15 minutes. It can help satisfy multiple use cases and deliver amazing user experiences. We provide powerful event-based targeting and user segmentation to help the right user take the right action at the right time.

If you're interested in learning more about how in-app nudges can help you drive activation, adoption, retention, and monetization metrics, check us out for a free trial.

Happy Nudging!

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