The Top 8 Appcues Competitors of 2021 [In-Depth Guide]

appcues competitors

Appcues is a good product when it comes to user onboarding, but is it the right fit for your company? The answer isn’t always obvious.

Today we’re taking a look at the top Appcues competitors.

The five products we looked at were:

  • Userpilot
  • Intercom’s Product Tours
  • UserIQ
  • Inline Manual
  • Chameleon
  • Pendo
  • Userguiding
  • Walkme

These tools all offer a range of user onboarding elements, UI customization and are designed to help improve your product experience.

However, each of these Appcues alternatives also has its own unique use case. These different use cases will suit some companies more than others. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have learned which is the best fit for you.

We have years of experience in SaaS, UX, and product adoption here at Userpilot. For this breakdown, we took every factor, including price, customer service, and usability, into account!

Before we delve into each of the competitors, let’s take a look at Appcues itself.

About Appcues

One of the first companies to help revolutionize user onboarding was WalkMe. They focused on product tours and walkthroughs and helped improve a lot of product experiences.

[Related: you can check out our list of top WalkMe competitors here.]

Then, in 2013, Appcues came along and changed everything. They realized that walkthroughs could only get you so far. As a result, they pioneered the “product experience layer”.

This was a whole new way of onboarding users. They introduced tooltips, checklists, slide-outs and more. No doubt you’ll have experienced these for yourself in products you’ve used in the past.

It’s safe to say Appcues paved the way for the competitors we discuss in this article, including ourselves, and with good reason.

Here’s a list of what Appcues does well:

+ Different UI Elements

Appcues flow UI patterns

As we mentioned, Appcues offers a range of different UI elements. These include tooltips, modals, hotspots, and practically any UI element you can think of. This means you can craft the perfect onboarding experience, combining the various elements into one user experience.

+ Tried and Trusted

Appcues has been around for a while, so you know you can trust them. Thousands of companies use Appcues to build better user experiences, so there’s no doubt you can too.

+ They Know Their Stuff

Appcues practically provides a library of informative content for SaaS companies. They can teach you everything there is to know about onboarding. We always think a good blog is a sign of a good company.

It seems Appcues is clearly tried and tested when it comes to user onboarding. Having said that, it isn’t perfect.

There are some reasons why it might not be the right fit for you…

– A Little Bit Confusing

Appcues isn’t the easiest product to use. Years of adding new features has left it a little bloated. Something as simple as creating a new experience requires a lot of fiddling round. You have to close “Builder”, switch to “Navigate”, pick up the element, and switch back to “Builder”. Confused? You and us both.

– Questionable Element Detection

Part of what makes Appcues great is that you can add different onboarding features without coding. Unfortunately, Appcues doesn’t always detect all of the elements within your app. If, for example, you wanted to place a tooltip on a dropdown item, Appcues might not realize the item is there. This means you can’t always achieve the exact experience you want.

– Limited Element Styling

If you want to create a truly great onboarding experience, the elements you use need to match the look of your app. While Appcues offers some customizability, a lot of design changes require CSS coding. If you don’t want to do any coding you might find it difficult to use Appcues.

Okay so there are the pros and cons. Let’s dive into the competitors list!

Appcues Competitor #1 – Userpilot: For contextual onboarding & on-demand help

But the thing is, Userpilot is by far the best and closest alternative to Appcues. It offers a very similar User Experience and features, a wider range of UI patterns and actions to build truly interactive experiences, better support, and a better value for money. Where’s the catch then? Userpilot does not offer as many integrations as Appcues does. 

The biggest difference between Userpilot and Appcues (and most other competitors) is that Userpilot focuses on contextual onboarding. 

This means that you can place triggers in your app that appear as and when your user needs them.

To put it as simply as possible: We make sure the right user sees the right message at the right time.

Moreover, you’ll get all features in one package, and no limits based on plans. You only pay more as you grow – per number of MAUs. In Appcues – you pay both for the MAUs and for access to more features:

Appcues Essentials plan – $249 monthly (billed annually), up to 2,500 MAUs, and up to 5 user segments, 10 in-app events and 10 goals. It also offers no onboarding checklists or launchpads (triggering the experiences from in-app notification center)

Userpilot’s basic plan – $249 monthly (billed annually), up to 2,500 MAUs, and unlimited user segments, in-app events, and goals. This includes checklists and a launchpad equivalent.

Limited user segmentation in the basic Appcues plan makes it pretty useless when you want to seriously work on user adoption. So Appcues will quickly force you to upgrade to their Growth plan, which costs $879 (!) per month, billed annually! So essentially – you will need to fork up $ 10,548 upfront if you want to go down the Appcues path. 

Userpilot offers more functionality than Appcues

Unlike Appcues, Userpilot also has native tooltips and on-demand help widget (Resource Center) that can power your reactive onboarding.

Contextual onboarding works really well. It essentially personalizes the onboarding flow for each individual user, ensuring it works for them.

Don’t believe us? Well, see how Albacross were able to improve their activation rate by over 33% in only 14 days by using contextual onboarding.

Why Userpilot may be the best Appcues alternative

Due to the contextual onboarding it offers, Userpilot is one of the best Appcues alternatives. Not only that, but it offers full element customization with ZERO coding knowledge, it recognizes EVERY single in-app element, oh, and it’s also built exclusively for SaaS products.

Sure, it might not have been around as long as Appcues, but Userpilot is well worth your time. Book a demo with us by clicking the banner below and we’ll show you!

What Appcues does better than Userpilot 

As of summer 2021, Appcues still offers more integrations than Userpilot: i.a. with Hubspot and Salesforce. These integrations, however, are also available only in higher plans. So unless you absolutely can’t do without them and can afford spending $10,000 + on your onboarding solution, don’t go with Appcues.

Appcues Competitor #2 – Chameleon: For employee onboarding

Chameleon is very much in the same vein as the other Appcues alternatives. It enables you to create amazing user onboarding experiences, offers basic customization options, and provides a wide range of UI elements to work with.

In fact, it offers more elements than any of the other Appcues alternatives. You can choose from modals, slide-outs, checklists, and their unique launchers. Launchers are in-app widgets that prompt a user to act. An example would be a message announcing a new feature and asking the user to try it out.

Where Chameleon really shines, however, is its employee onboarding. This enables you to teach your new employees everything they need to know about your product.

This is especially useful for customer-facing teams who will need to thoroughly understand your product in order to do their job.

Summary

In terms of user onboarding, Chameleon offers a wide selection of UI elements, but it’s a little lacking when it comes to customization. If it’s employee onboarding that you’re after, however, then Chameleon would be a great choice.

Appcues Competitor #3 – Intercom’s Product Tours: For customer support capabilities

Intercom are primarily recognized as being one of the most popular customer messaging platforms. Recently, however, they launched their “Product Tours” feature.

Intercom’s Product Tours enables you to drive adoption and onboard new users by creating walkthroughs and tours inside your product.

As it isn’t Intercom’s main focus, Product Tours is lacking when it comes to UI elements. You don’t have much choice, meaning you can’t use checklists, modals, or any other key UI element.

If, on the other hand, you’re equally interested in Intercom’s messaging widget, then Product Tours is a great choice. If you’re already using Intercom’s messaging, then it’s really simple to add Product Tours on.

It’s also very simple and easy to use, and so is particularly suited to early-stage startups.

Summary

As far as Appcues alternatives go, Intercom’s Product Tours isn’t the strongest and most developed. It has limited functionality when it comes to user onboarding.

Product Tour GAN Intercom linear

That being said, Intercom shines when it comes to their customer messaging platform. If you’re wanting to use that, then Product Tours may be the easiest solution so you can kill two birds with one stone.

Appcues Competitor #4 – UserIQ: For in-depth analytics

UserIQ has established itself as one of the best Appcues alternatives, mostly because of the in-depth analytics it offers.

Much like Pendo (which we cover here), UserIQ prides itself on providing key insights with the data you collect. It enables you to track how your users are engaging with your product, and measures customer health scores. This provides you with the information you need to improve your UX.

This data also provides another useful ability. It enables you to segment your users and then create different onboarding flows for each segment. This provides greater control and personalization over your onboarding.

It’s also worth pointing out that UserIQ works very well with mobile apps, not just SaaS products.

Summary

Out of all the Appcues competitors we’ve covered in this article, UserIQ has the most in-depth analytics. If that’s what you need, then it’s a great choice.

The user segmentation is an extremely useful feature, but be aware that the onboarding tools it offers are relatively limited compared to other Appcues alternatives we’ve covered.

Appcues Competitor #5 – Inline Manual: For internationalization

If you have a product that is used in countries all around the world, then chances are that internationalization is high on your list of priorities.

Your user onboarding needs to support the same languages that your product does, and that’s where Inline Manual comes in. In fact, they claim to support every possible language. (We aren’t sure whether that includes Dothraki…)

Inline Manual contains the same detailed analytics as UserIQ, including health scores and user tracking. It also has a wealth of UI elements to choose from.

They also claim to have the best customer service, providing even the lowest paying customers with high-touch support.

Summary

Inline Manual has a lot going for it in terms of UI elements and analytics. However, the support for every language in the world is what sets it apart from the other Appcues competitors.

It’s a little more pricey than some of the other products, and if you’re only wanting user onboarding functionality then others do it better. For multilingual support, however, this should be your choice.

Which of These Appcues Alternatives is best for you?

Each and every business has its own requirements when it comes to user onboarding. Rather than trying to decide which of these Appcues competitors is the best, you should focus on which is the best fit for you.

In other words, which product helps solve the issues you’re facing?

The summary below gives you a quick overview to help you decide.

And here are some final conclusions for each of the Appcues competitors…

Userpilot:

Userpilot should be your choice if you’re interested in contextual onboarding. This means your onboarding is personalized to every individual user. This improves the user activation rate far better than your standard product walkthroughs can.

Chameleon:

Chameleon is a fantastic choice if you want to onboard your employees as well as your users. This is particularly important when it comes to training customer-facing teams, who will need to have complete mastery of your product before they interact with your users.

Intercom’s Product Tours:

Intercom’s Product Tours is your go-to if you want to use Intercom’s top of the range messaging platform. It’s easy to use both aspects of Intercom in conjunction in order to provide a cohesive product experience for your customers.

UserIQ:

UserIQ is a fantastic pick if you want more in-depth analytics than what the other Appcues alternatives provide. It enables you to delve into your customer health scores and track product engagement so that you can work on delivering a product your users love.

Inline Manual:

Inline Manual should be your number one choice if you have a product which is used in many different languages around the world. They support every language, meaning you can provide the same great product experience no matter where your users are.

Appcues Competitor #6 – Pendo 

Pendo dashboard

Pendo is a pretty comprehensive user onboarding tool, especially if you’re looking for mobile app onboarding, which is something Appcues doesn’t do.

Pendo cloud offers built-in user analytics, which is more sophisticated than Appcues’ analytics.

We’ve tried Pendo’s product tours (or guides, as they call them) and found the experience pretty buggy and confusing – definitely not as user-friendly as Appcues.

Similarly to Appcues and a number of their alternatives listed here, Pendo offers NPS and a resource center, so it seems it offers the functionality of both Appcues and Userpilot.

Pendo costs an arm and a leg though – even though their pricing is custom, they charge from $9000 to $50,000 per year.

On the other hand- Pendo has recently released a  limited *free* version up to 1,000 MAUs with limited features.

Appcues Competitor #7 – Userguiding

Userguiding

Userguiding’s UI is very similar to Appcues, so it may seem like a neat and *much* cheaper Appcues alternative (it starts from only $82 per month!) but beware – if something is too good to be true, it usually…is.

Userguiding is nowhere close to Appcues when it comes to UX.  It’s also not very reliable and buggy.

Userguiding’s product tours are quite difficult to build, even if the experience was intended to be similar. It offers user feedback options and NPS.

If you’re a very early stage startup and can’t afford other tools like Userpilot – Userguiding may be an Appcues alternative for you.

Appcues Competitor #8 – Walkme

Last but not least – there is Walkme – the pioneer of digital adoption tools.  WalkMe is a cloud-based platform that alls you to create product tours not only for your own web app, but also for third party products.

This is also why Walktme has been recently focusing on third-party tool employee onboarding for enterprise clients.

And since WalkMe’s walkthroughs aren’t exactly the easiest to build and use for SaaS – I wouldn’t say it’s a good alternative to Appcues, even if you hear the name ‘Walkme’ a lot in the context of digital adoption.

Walkme

Conclusion

We hope that this article has helped explain the difference between some of the major Appcues competitors and that you now have an idea of which is the best fit for your company.

If you’ve decided that Userpilot is the right choice for you, then why not book a free demo with us and start improving your product experience today! Click on the banner below to get started!

 

previous post next post

Leave a comment

Joe is a UX and content writer, with several years of experience working with SaaS startups. He's been working with SaaS startups that are focused towards product management and customer success for the past couple of years.