April 24, 2024

Mobile App Tooltips: Everything You Need to Know

In this comprehensive blog post, we delve into mobile app tooltips and uncover their use cases.

Ananya Vairavarajan

Given the growing complexity of mobile apps, tooltips (a form of in-app nudge) have emerged as essential tools to enhance onboarding, improve discoverability, and provide assistance without overwhelming the user.

What is a mobile app tooltip?

Tooltips are compact in-app messages that are linked to a particular UI element (button, banner, etc) on the app screen. A tooltip is used to deliver important information that will aid users in understanding how a feature works or how to take the next step in their journey.

Why are tooltips important?

Outlined below are five common use cases for tooltips.

  1. Improve user experience: They provide contextual information and guidance, enhancing user understanding and navigation.
  2. Increase feature discovery: They highlight important app features which the user may not have interacted with yet.
  3. Provide onboarding assistance: Tooltips help new users familiarize themselves with core actions in the app.
  4. Deliver important updates: They notify users about new updates and changes within the app.
  5. Reinforce call-to-actions: They reinforce the importance or benefits of specific actions within the app, encouraging users to take desired actions.

Examples of mobile apps using tooltips

Binance uses a guided tour to educate new users

Binance recognizes that new users need some help and education to get started. They deliver this education with the help of a guided tour to assist new users in their trade journey. This educational approach significantly improves activation rates of new users.

Binance uses a guided tour to educate new users

Google Pay guides new users to aha moments

Google Pay provides an excellent example of this strategy by incorporating tooltips that educate new users on how to its critical features. By doing so, Google Pay ensures that users are aware of these features leading to quick activation.

Google Pay guides new users to aha moments

Duolingo suggests users to view their progress

Duolingo nudges its users to view their course progress using a tooltip during their learning session. This helps users understand whether they have to increase or decrease their pace of learning.

Duolingo suggests users to view their progress

Calm highlights personalized content for new users

Calm nudges its users with a tooltip to try out curated content based on the user's input. This helps users start quickly with their first meditation session, resulting in quick aha moments.

Tooltips for highlighting the personalised content in Calm

CashBook prompts users to keep a check on their balance

CashBook prompts users to regularly monitor their funds after each entry for better financial management. This proactive approach to financial management empowers users to make informed decisions and stay in control of their money.

CashBook's tooltip prompts users to keep a check on their balance

Challenges faced while creating tooltips in mobile apps

Developers need to build the core mobile app. They don't really have the time to keep adding and changing tooltips (text, designs, targeting, etc).

On top of that, every new experiment with a tooltip takes 2 weeks to build, another 2 weeks to make the app release, and another month or so to analyse results meticulously to understand whether your tooltip achieved the desired result.

Plotline helps you create tooltips and other in-app nudges without developer effort

Plotline helps product and marketing teams in high-growth consumer companies create and deploy tooltips (alongside other nudges like spotlights, in-app videos, stories, coachmarks, animations, etc) that match your design theme.

From onboarding new users, driving conversions to encouraging feature adoption, Plotline has got you covered.

In case you want to deploy tooltips in your mobile app, check us out for a free trial.


  1. Can tooltips be customized for different user segments, and if so, how does this personalization impact user experience?

Ans: Personalized tooltips based on user behavior or preferences can significantly improve the user experience, making it more intuitive and relevant. However, the specifics of such it depends on the app's design and user data analytics capabilities.

  1. What are the best practices for the timing and frequency of tooltips to avoid overwhelming or annoying the user?

Ans: It typically revolves around not overwhelming users. They should be strategically placed so as not to interrupt the user flow, appearing at relevant moments and not too frequently to avoid annoyance.

  1. How do users generally respond to tooltips in mobile apps?

Ans: User responses to tooltips in mobile apps vary, but they can enhance user experience if designed well. Overall, tooltips can increase app usability by guiding users effectively.

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