5 Top Appcues Alternatives and Competitors [In-Depth Comparison]

What are the Appcues alternatives you should compare before choosing a digital adoption platform for user onboarding?

There are many digital adoption platforms out there but you should really only be looking into these five if you need an alternative to Appcues:

  • Userpilot – all-in-one digital adoption, user analytics and feedback platform for driving user adoption ( more value for money compared to Appcues.
  • Chameleon- more advanced feedback options compared to Appcues at a cheaper price.
  • Pendo – alternative for mobile app adoption and more in-depth analytics.
  • UserGuiding – a cheap alternative to Appcues ( limited functionality).
  • Userflow – better pricing and easy customization compared to Appcues.


What is Appcues?

Appcues helps you drive user onboarding and product adoption through interactive user onboarding experiences.

If you’re a more advanced user who wants to build more sophisticated flows while still enjoying the freedom and flexibility of a code-free tool, Appcues will leave you wanting.

Its simple interface and templates “force” you into a predefined approach to onboarding, coupled with enterprise software with a high price tag and some enterprise-level integrations make Appcues positioning confusing:

Is it a simple tool (as its UI suggests) for startups?

Are the price tag and Salesforce integration indicators of an enterprise tool?

We will analyze Appcues’ features, benefits, pros, and cons and see how it compared to its top competitors in the user onboarding space: Userpilot, Chameleon, Pendo, UserGuiding, and Userflow.

Here’s a quick overview if you don’t have time to read the full article.

Before we begin, let’s see why Appcues is such a popular tool!

Appcues PROs

Let’s start with what’s good about Appcues.

  • Really good UX and UIAppcues UI looks really polished, and their experiences are easy to build and work mostly as you’d expect them to.

appcues dashboard user interface

  • Variety of UI elements – Besides walkthroughs and product tours, Appcues has a big variety of different UI elements you can use inside your user onboarding. You can create checklists, modals, slideouts, tooltips, hotspots, and many more. But there’s a catch – some of them, like the user onboarding checklists, are not available in the lower pricing plans.
  • Can create a variety of user flows and also link them – Users often take a non-linear journey through your product, exploring it on their own. Your user experiences should follow users wherever they go. Appcues, lets you trigger a subsequent flow once a user completes a flow and take that user through a new experience (even if the subsequent flow’s targeting was not matched by the user)
  • A robust digital adoption platform for user experiences – You can track entire user journeys and create different user onboarding processes for different segments of user personas.
  • Comes with some pre-defined user segments – If you’re new to customer onboarding and really have no clue where to start – having some pre-defined scaffolding may help. But it can also drive you into a groove that will prevent you from building more sophisticated user segments that a right for your company. This may bias you to see what you want to see, rather than what is really happening.
  • Great education – Appcues provides an inexhaustible source of information for SaaS and Cloud-based companies. It has a great blog with a lot of educational material.

Appcues CONs

There’s no denying that Appcues is a great tool but let’s recap some of the cons too.

  • It’s a bit hard to navigate through – Since Appcues is a robust platform, it can be very hard to navigate through the application. For example, if you want to create a new experience, you need to close the builder mode, change to navigate, pick up the element, and go again to the builder mode. But what happens if you want to build and navigate at the same time? It’s a little bit confusing, right?
  • The element detection algorithm is poor – With Appcues, you can create different in-app experiences without any code. Sometimes, however, Appcues has trouble detecting in-app elements. If, for example, you want to create a tooltip for an option inside the dropdown menu, Appcues can’t always recognize that option.
  • Inflexible customization and styling – There is only basic customization inside the application. For example, you can only change the text height, color, padding, or position of the element. For anything more advanced, you will need to work with CSS code. This is very annoying and potentially difficult if you bought a tool in order to “not code anything”.
  • Unlike some of its competitors, Appcues doesn’t offer a resource center – with all help docs and knowledge base articles, YT videos, and in-app experiences accessible from one “help hub” inside your app, searchable on demand.

If you want a little bit more freedom to build truly interactive walkthroughs, perhaps Appcues is not the best option for you.


Appcues Pricing

Appcues is also one of the most expensive user onboarding tools.

Appcues pricing 2021

If your product has 2,500 active users, the costs for different plans are:

  • Essentials: $249/month (Up to 3 user licenses)
  • Growth: $879/month (Up to 10 user licenses)
  • Enterprise: Custom (Unlimited user licenses)

Appcues’s pricing is based not only on Monthly Active Users but also on feature usage. Some features are NOT available in the lowest “Essentials” plan altogether.

If you choose the Essentials plan, you will find yourself limited to:

❌ only 5 user segments

❌ only up to 10 custom events and 10 custom goals

❌ no user onboarding checklists

❌ no custom CSS, meaning your customization options will be very limited.

❌ no localization


Is Appcues the right tool for you?

Appcues is a great product for mid-market companies that look just for user onboarding solutions.

  • If you’re a smaller company and think $879 is too expensive, you may want to go with one of Appcues’ alternatives and competitors that offer a better value for money.
  • If you’re looking for a fully-fledged product analytics platform for less than $1000 per month, Appcues may not be the best option either as it limits your features in the Essentials plan to the point that makes it useless for in-depth user analytics.
  • If you want to customize your experiences, you won’t be able to do it in the basic plan either.
  • Appcues is not right for you if you run your app in multiple languages.

In short, if you want more freedom, complex customer onboarding flows, more customization, and greater control, Appcues might not be the solution you’re looking for.

Now that we know Appcues’s biggest advantages and disadvantages, let’s see which of these Appcues alternatives is the best fit for you.

Appcues alternative #1: Userpilot

Userpilot is a great Appcues alternative if you’re looking for a complete Product Adoption Platform – including, but not only, user onboarding.

Customers are achieving great results using Userpilot, just like Albacross did when it improved its activation rate by more than 33% in 14 days.

With Userpilot you can show the right messages, at the right time, to the right people.

Not only that, we’ve made Userpilot easier to use, it’s designed for teams that want to create simple and complex user onboarding with more freedom, control, and customization.


Userpilot functionality

Userpilot offers a great range of features for your user onboarding adoption needs.

  • Forget about coding in-app experiences: Userpilot is a no-code solution and only requires your dev to install a line of javascript inside your app and for you to download a chrome extension that opens up the visual builder.

  • Get access to a built-in NPS tool for collecting and analyzing user feedback so you can improve your onboarding process based on real data.
  • Create a help center within your app, and add native tooltips to selected features (a less intrusive way to point your user to a specific functionality than modals).

  • Get in-depth analytics without the need for an external analytics tool: track product usage with feature tags, custom events, or goal tracking, and also understand how users engage with the in-app content that you built (checklist, flows, guides). Path, funnels, and other exciting product analytics features coming soon. Check all Userpilot analytics features here.userpilot analytics dashboard

Userpilot vs Appcues – How is it different?

There are a few main reasons Userpilot is considered a great Appcues alternative:

  • Better element detection – Our own algorithm called fluidity precisely recognizes every in-app element. No more struggles or frustrations.
  • Full in-app customization is available (seriously – no coding at all) – You can design your elements however you want. You can change the beacon type, color of the element, position, margin, padding, and dozens of other things inside the application. You will need hours to fully customize your elements inside CSS.
  • Driven actions – This is the feature that no one else has. Honestly. Driven actions enable you to create cross-URL user experiences. That means that you can lead your users through different URLs of your application and show them different in-app experiences. It makes your customer onboarding more interactive.
  • Supports multiple flows running together – This is one of the biggest advantages of Userpilot over other Appcues. In Userpilot, separate experiences can run together and play smoothly with each other. You can build your flows however you want. Our engine will optimize the best experiences to show. Unlike Appcues, the user doesn’t need to finish the first experience in order to unlock the second one.
  • Not excluding important functionalities on basic plans- With Userpilot you get access to what you need to build successful user onboarding processes without having to upgrade (until your SaaS grows).
  • Supports only web solutions – Unfortunately, Userpilot supports only web solutions. It doesn’t support mobile applications. On the other hand, this means Userpilot is specialized in SaaS products. We do not support mobile or on-premise solutions yet.
  • Great NPS and user survey suite- you can tag NPS responses and identify trends but also use them as segmentation criteria (not available in Appcues).

  • Localization into dozens of languages is available in all plans!
  • On-Demand Help & Reactive Customer Onboarding – Sometimes, users want to learn about the software themselves, and you’d want to be where they are by showing them the right features with on-demand help widget & native tooltips, and Appcues does not provide that.
  • Whether you are a small or big company, using the smallest or biggest packages, you will have the same support as any other customer when you choose Userpilot instead of Appcues.


Userpilot pricing

Userpilot offers great value for money compared to other similar tools on the market. Even its entry-level plan (Traction) provides all the necessary features without any usage limit.

The price-to-feature ratio is the best for Userpilot. Other cheaper tools in the market would definitely not fulfill your needs, and others like Pendo would be out of budget. Userpilot sits in that sweet spot. – Saurav S.

The pricing differentiation happens mostly on the service level (e.g. custom domain hosting, dedicated Customer Success Manager dedicated customer support call, SLA) and is based on the number of Monthly Active Users (MAUs) your company has.

Here’s the detailed Userpilot pricing:

  • Traction: For up to 2500 users, this plan is $249/ mo.
  • Growth: For up to 10,000 users, this plan is $499/ mo.
  • Enterprise: For large-scale businesses, these plans begin from $1000/ mo.


Appcues Alternatives #2: Chameleon

Chameleon enables you to choose from a large variety of different UI elements and in-app experiences. In fact, Chameleon offers a greater selection of UI elements than any of the Appcues alternatives.

Chameleon’s main functionality

  • Create modals, slideouts, tooltips, hotspots, and checklists and launchers.
  • Launchers are where Chameleon is different compared to its competitors. These are in-app widgets that can open checklists, small help widgets, or notification centers. The downside is that you can’t have one launcher with multiple types of content.
  • You can either build different user segments inside the product, or you can integrate your Chameleon account with other tools and import your data.
  • You can customize only basic things. For anything more advanced, you will need to put in a lot of time to code in CSS. It’s hard to customize UI elements and you don’t have too much freedom.

Chameleon enables you to create user onboarding campaigns – different sequences of product tours shown over time. It’s really important to distinguish Chameleon’s campaigns and Userpilot’s onboarding flows:

  • Chameleon’s campaigns are sets of different user onboarding experiences which are shown in a timeline. For example, experience A is shown in the first week of the user journey, experience B in the second, and experience C in the third week.
  • You still can’t run multiple in-app experiences (user onboarding flows) at the same time as you can in Userpilot.


In short, here are the biggest differences between Appcues and Chameleon

Chameleon vs Appcues – How is it different?

Chameleon positioned itself as a great Appcues alternative for several reasons:

  • You have more in-app and UI elements to choose from
  • Chameleon supports employee onboarding
  • In-depth personalization and user behavior segmentation

Chameleon’s shortcoming is that it is built only for single-page apps. That means you can’t build experiences that are running over multiple URLs.

Appcues Alternatives

Chameleon pricing

Chameleon’s pricing is split primarily by the number of monthly active users, but you should keep in mind that the Startup plan also has limited features and might not be enough for interactive user onboarding and adoption for SaaS products:

  • 0 – 2500 MAUs: Startup plan from $349/mo, Growth plan from $899/mo
  • 2000 – 3000MAUs: Startup plan from $419/mo, Growth from $899/mo.
  • 3000 – 5000 MAUs: Startup plan from $489/mo, Growth from $899/mo.
  • 5000 – 10,000 MAUs: Startup plan from $517/mo, Growth from $999/mo

Disclaimer: with the Startup plan you only get 5 microsurveys and 1 launcher, no A/B testing, no Goals, and no localization.


Appcues Alternative #3: Pendo

Appcues and Pendo are both applications for building contextual user onboarding flows, user analytics, and user feedback with several areas of overlap. Both Appcues and Pendo are popular SaaS tools used mostly for user onboarding in SaaS companies. Both products have several similar features.

However, there are several details about the way these particular features are “executed” in both products that may make a substantial difference for the buyer.

They also have very different pricing plans. Let’s look at the details.

Pendo’s functionality

  • You can build guides using templates, and there’s also a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) visual design studio editor for creating new designs from scratch.
  • You can use Pendo’s free version to create user onboarding guides, but you’ll only get access to limited features and basic analytics.
  • Types of guides you can create using Pendo include Lightbox, Banner, Tooltips, Polls, and Walkthroughs. The drawback with them is that they are quite basic and don’t allow much customization without coding. Even Pendo’s own onboarding guide is a series of purple tooltips.
  • Add short polls on your guides and UI patterns built with Pendo.
  • You can also build checklists with Pendo but not as standalone UI elements as users can only access them from the resource center (if they know they exit). This makes it hard and not intuitive for users to access guidance and overall defeats the purpose of using checklists.
  • Pendo’s analytics center around three main features: Paths, Funnels, and Cohorts.

The downside? Pendo’s analytics are not actionable – the in-app experience builder doesn’t allow you to use in-app events as triggers for in-app experiences.

There is also a 1-hour delay in Pendo user analytics display on their dashboard. This makes Pendo’s user analytics feature less actionable than those of tools that offer real-time user analytics (e.g. Userpilot).


Appcues vs Pendo – How is it different?

Appcues and Pendo both work for web and mobile applications and offer similar features. Here are the main differences:

  • Pendo supports 3rd party apps too, for employee onboarding.
  • Appcues analytics are not as advanced as Pendo’s which also includes customer health scores.
  • Appcues has a more friendly UI and is better for building no-code user onboarding experiences with more personalization.
  • Appcues doesn’t support employee training.
  • Pendo is more expensive than Appcues but offers a Free plan and a startup plan that comes close to Appcues pricing.

Pendo’s Pricing

The tricky part when it comes to Pendo’s pricing is that you get to pay separately for different modules:

  • Pendo Free: up to 500 MAU, single-app, and basic functionality and analytics.
  • Pendo Starter: 2,000 MAU limit, single-app, and access to premium features.
  • Pendo Growth: Custom MAU, single-app, NPS and PES, Resource Center, and access to support compared to lower plans.
  • Pendo Portfolio: Custom MAU, multi-app, cross-journey reports, experimentation, and 1 free integration included.
  • Pendo Premium: Custom MAU, multi-app, everything in other plans plus custom roles and permissions and advanced security.
  • Pendo Feedback: collecting feature requests is a separate module with custom pricing.
  • Pendo Adopt: employee onboarding is a separate module with custom pricing.

Appcues Alternatives #4: UserGuiding

UserGuiding is a lower-cost, entry-level user onboarding software offering a range of features to help companies and customer success managers onboard new customers and boost product adoption.

UserGuiding’s functionality

  • For small startups or independent businesses, the price is an attractive element to consider.
  • Create interactive product walkthroughs without disturbing your developers as it’s completely code-free.
  • You can add different types of onboarding elements to your flows. This includes modals, tooltips, hotspots, and checklists to repeatedly engage users and help them adopt the product.§
  • Build onboarding checklists and drive customers to the activation point by eliminating the guesswork on what the next step should be.
  • For a budget tool, UserGuiding still offers integrations with other applications, such as Mixpanel, Hubspot, Woopra, Slack, Webhook, etc.


Appcues vs UserGuiding – How is it different?

  • Userguiding has limited functionality, particularly on the basic plan. There you only have a small range of features available – all with the UserGuiding watermark/branding.
  • Unlike Appcues, you can choose to add a Resource Center (a bonus for self-service support).
  • Userguiding is way cheaper if you are just starting out and are ok with limited features.

UserGuiding pricing

UserGuiding’s pricing model is far simpler than others on our list. There are three tiers, each one charging a set amount for access to certain tools.

Here are its packages:

  • Basic: Starting at $99/mo (i.e. just 1 Team Member, a limit of 20 guides, and 2 checklists, UserGuiding branding on all UI patterns).
  • Professional: Starting at $399/mo ( unlimited guides, hotspots, and checklists).
  • Corporate: Starting at $699/mo (access to everything plus personalized coaching).

Appcues Alternatives #5: Userflow

Userflow is a digital adoption platform that offers several benefits for building product tours in a visual way. Compared to the other tools discussed, Userflow lets you build flows in the dashboard and visualize the entire journey at once.

  1. Easy to use (well…for some): Userflow’s drag-and-drop interface allows you to build the flows in the dashboard and see an overview of the whole flow (all steps) at once.  Some people really like using the visual way of building the whole flow on a dashboard rather than inside your app. This has some limitations too, which we’ll discuss in the next section though.
  2. Customizable: Using Userflow, product tours can be customized with branding elements, visual design, and interactivity.
  3. Data-driven: Userflow provides simple user behavior analytics and feedback tools, enabling product teams to track user engagement and make data-driven improvements to user onboarding over time.

Userflow’s functionality

  • Easy to use (well…for some): Userflow’s drag-and-drop interface allows you to build the flows in the dashboard and see an overview of the whole flow (all steps) at once.  Some people really like using the visual way of building the whole flow on a dashboard rather than inside your app. This has some limitations too, which we’ll discuss in the next section though.
  • Customizable: Using Userflow, product tours can be customized with branding elements, visual design, and interactivity.
  • Data-driven: Userflow provides simple user behavior analytics and feedback tools, enabling product teams to track user engagement and make data-driven improvements to user onboarding over time.

Appcues vs Userflow– How is it different?

  • While Userflow is designed to be user-friendly, there may be a learning curve for some users as they get used to the interface and features. For instance, you don’t build your product tour on top of your own interface – you have to build it in the dashboard.
  • Userflow is meant for web apps compared to Appcues which supports mobile customer onboarding too.
  • If you’re on a budget, Userflow is more affordable if you are ok with feature limitations.


Userflow Pricing

Userflow has 3  pricing plans:

  • Startup – starting from $200 for 3,000 MAUs, billed annually – this plan also heavily limits the features available: to only 1 checklist and 10 launchers (flows), no NPS surveys, no no-code event tracking, no localization etc.
  • Pro $600 billed annually, so $7200 per year – this plan includes all the features
  • Enterprise – only on-demand pricing – this plan includes all in Pro + custom limits, SSO and custom contract.

What’s the best Appcues alternative?

If you’re frustrated when using Appcues and you are looking for an alternative that is entirely focused on creating amazing user onboarding flows without coding at all, that offers you more freedom, control, and better UX features, then Userpilot is the best solution for you. You can create proactive & reactive in-app experiences with flows, widgets, checklists, and native tooltips.

Schedule a Userpilot demo and one of our dedicated product experts will help you create the best user experiences for your users.

Please note feature information is correct as of March 2023. Userpilot has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided on this website. However, the information is provided “as is” without a warranty of any kind. Userpilot does not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained on this website.

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