Appcues vs Pendo: Which Is Best For Your SaaS?
Thinking about whether to go for Appcues vs Pendo? Choosing the right user onboarding software is critical for SaaS companies these days.
This article is going to dive into the Appcues vs Pendo debate and try to answer a key question.
Which is the better tool for user onboarding, as well as other use cases? Which one offers the best value for money, and will be most appropriate for a company of your size, with your resources?
Let’s find out! In the post below, we’ve covered all the common use cases and done an in-depth analysis of the key features of Appcues and Pendo – as well as compared it to an alternative solution that may be better in some situations.
- Appcues and Pendo are both onboarding tools that have similar functionalities: user onboarding, user analytics, user feedback, etc.
- With Appcues, you get access to easy-to-use UI, checklists, segments, and usage tracking.
- Pendo offers guides for developing in-app guidance that enhances user onboarding for both online and mobile apps. However, they come with limitations and are not completely code-free.
- You can use Userpilot as an alternative. The code-free tool allows you to create in-app flows, and onboarding checklists, tag NPS responses, segment your audience, trigger in-app experiences, and much more.
- Appcues user analytics is focused on tracking user engagement and grouping users based on their main stage in the user journey. The pre-defined user segments in Appcues (Evaluators, Beginners, Regulars, Champions) are very limiting if you want to access proper user analytics.
- Pendo’s analytics are “out of the box” and need very little setup. However, the in-app experience builder does not let you utilize in-app events as triggers for in-app experiences, making Pendo’s analytics not actionable.
- You’ll get an extensive range of functionality with Userpilot’s features (and through various integrations), which includes: understanding user behavior and building user segments, an effective engagement layer, unpacking growth insights with advanced analytics features, launching NPS surveys, and more.
- Appcues is great for tracking your NPS score over time and collecting user feedback with short micro surveys. But to analyze the feedback data in-depth, you’ll have to use other tools.
- Through their user guides, Pendo provides polls—also known as micro surveys on Userpilot—that gather user feedback and assess sentiment at various stages throughout the user journey. The free plan offers polls, which have minimal functionality. However, if you want to utilize NPS surveys to gather user opinions, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan, which is quite expensive.
- With Userpilot you can build different in-app surveys, collect and tag NPS responses, build and trigger in-app micro surveys, and, most importantly, use the answers to segment your users accordingly.
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Appcues vs Pendo – similarities and differences
Appcues and Pendo are both applications for user onboarding, 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.
Appcues vs Pendo for user onboarding – differences
In this section of the article, we’re really going to dig into the nitty-gritty of each area of product functionality. That way, we’ll be able to figure out which tool – Appcues or Pendo – is the best option depending on your use case.
Appcues for user onboarding
Appcues used to provide onboarding templates, which made it easy to use the tool. However, it provided a predefined way of thinking about onboarding all while having a higher price tag than other onboarding software. As of the time of writing (end of 2022), Appcues has removed its onboarding templates – without really replacing them with another solution.
Appcues allows you to design flows that make onboarding processes a breeze. These flows are what you use to create product tours and other in-app communication with users.
Here’s what you’ll get when you start using Appcues:
- Access to an easy-to-use UI that anyone on the team can handle for building in-app flows without coding.
- Building a product tour in Appcues is relatively easy. You just need to open their chrome extension on top of your application and start building your in-app experiences with a WYSIWYG editor. You simply select a UI pattern and customize it ‘live’, or point to the elements you want to e.g. append your tooltips to.
- Previously it was even easier – you chose one of its templates, they would basically create the product tour for you, and you just needed to customize each step. This limited the options for customizing but it was useful for beginners. We don’t know if Appcues plans to bring their templates back.
- You can also create checklists with Appcues (NOT available on the Essentials plan) and prompt users to take action. These are ok but have limited functionality (can’t trigger JS functions, or add gamification elements) compared to alternatives, such as Userpilot.
- Track UI engagement with Events explorer which allows you to tag elements without coding.
- Build custom user segments (up to 5 on the Essentials plan) based on user properties, flows, interactions, or events you set up in the events explorer.
Pendo for user onboarding
When it comes to user onboarding, Pendo offers guides for building in-app guidance that improves user onboarding across the web and mobile apps. But how much do they cost, and are there better alternatives on the market?
Here’s what to expect from Pendo guides:
- 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.
- 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 product guidance for mobile works across Android and iOS mobile apps, so if you’re looking to support your mobile customers through their onboarding, Pendo might be for you (be aware that Pendo for mobile guides is not included on the free plan).
Guides or product tours are essential tools for user onboarding, and it will be difficult for new users to find their way around your app without them. The absence of these UX designs will lead to friction, naturally resulting in increased churn.
But do you need Pendo for this?
The answer is you don’t have to use Pendo in particular. There are other product adoption tools that give you more value for your money, so it’s always good to check the available options before settling for one.
Better alternative for user onboarding – Userpilot
Userpilot was built specifically for SaaS product teams that want to improve their user onboarding experience and boost user activation.
You can build a huge variety of user onboarding experiences and in-app guidance flows without needing to code.
Get the best value for money and drive growth at every stage of the user journey.
Here’s what you’ll get when you start using Userpilot:
- Build in-app flows using the largest range of UI patterns (modals, slideouts, tooltips, hotspots, banners) and in-app onboarding experiences (checklists, micro surveys, NPS surveys, in-app resource center)
- Get access to a built-in NPS tool for collecting and analyzing user sentiment so you can improve your onboarding process based on real data.
- Create and track combinations of in-app events like clicks, hovers and form fills, and then analyze all these interactions under your own custom events, which can be built without code or API calls.
- Use advanced product analytics and in-app flows analytics to identify where users need help and create granular user segments to trigger in-app experiences contextually (segment based on user identification data, in-app engagement, custom events, clicks, hovers, form fills, user feedback responses, NPS scores and more)
- Enhance the onboarding experience with in-app help by launching a Resource Center directly inside your app. Add in-app guides, and video tutorials, and give users access to search the knowledge base or reach out to support. Self-service has never been easier.
The best user onboarding is contextual and it happens right where the users need it, inside your app. There isn’t a better user onboarding tool out there that offers more value for the money than Userpilot.
Schedule a demo with our team and get ready to build the best onboarding experiences your users have seen.
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Appcues vs Pendo for user analytics – similarities and differences
In this section of the article, we’re really going to dig into the nitty-gritty of each area of product functionality for user analytics. That way, we’ll be able to figure out which tool – Appcues or Pendo – is the best option depending on your use case.
Appcues for user analytics
Appcues user analytics is focused on the Event Explorer functionality and user segments that allow you to track user engagement and group users based on their main stage in the user journey.
Let’s look at each of these functionalities and how they can help. First, let’s explore their Event Explorer:
- Events Explorer makes it easy to view, validate, and visualize events in one place.
- Appcues defines events as user interaction with your features or flows inside your product’s UI and you can set these up with a few clicks.
- The Essential plan includes only 10 events. If you need more, you’ll have to upgrade to the Growth plan ($879/mo annually).
- This can be a little limited when you are trying to analyze product usage.
Now, let’s quickly see how Appcues segmentation can help. Appcues only gives you five user segments included in their Essentials plan, which isn’t a lot. It won’t be long before you need to upgrade the plan for more user segments.
The pre-defined user segments in Appcues (Evaluators, Beginners, Regulars, Champions) are very limiting if you want to access proper user analytics. Even building segments has its own limitations. You can create segments based on:
- User properties (when a survey was completed or when they’ve seen in-app flows)
- Flows interaction (has been completed or not?)
- Checklists (in progress, skipped, completed, not seen)
- Event (based on the ones you set up using event explorer)
- One of the predefined segments (Evaluators, Beginners, Regulars, Champions)
Pendo for user analytics
Many SaaS businesses rate Pendo analytics among the best in the industry. There’s certainly a lot of buzz about their analytics in the onboarding world at the moment.
Pendo’s analytics are coming “out of the box” – with very little setup required. They are supposed to be easier to set up than proper analytics tools like Mixpanel, Heap or Amplitude.
The question is: do the analytics features offered by Pendo live up to the hype? And are they really worth the $50,000 price tag most companies will be expected to pay for their yearly Pendo analytics subscription?
Here’s what Pendo analytics will get you:
- Pendo’s analytics center around three main features: Paths, Funnels, and Cohorts.
- Paths show you all the actions taken by users before or after a specific event. You can only compare 2 paths at a time in Pendo.
- Funnels show you how many users completed each stage of a specific funnel that you predetermined. Userpilot’s Goals feature is comparable, but shows a higher number of goals at once and requires fewer clicks to do so.
- Reports allow you to track page views, clicks, events, or guide views related to whichever feature you want. Compared to Pendo’s other analytics features, this feels like vanity data.
- Retention shows you the percentage of customers who stick around relative to the first time they used your product. The graph is visually impressive but lacks a qualitative explanation about why users are retained.
- Product engagement score (PES) is a single number calculated by Pendo that uses core events and account data to calculate percentile scores for feature adoption, user stickiness, and user growth and combines them into a single score (of 100). PES score can only be found in Pendo although other product analytics tools offer similar types of engagement data.
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).
Better alternative for user analytics: Userpilot
How would you know what needs to be improved?
When it comes to proper user onboarding that drives long-term product adoption, Userpilot has the right analytics to help you succeed.
Let me explain.
You need all of these for a proper picture of how healthy your product is. And then you need to be able to act on those insights.
That’s where proper user segmentation capabilities come in. And Userpilot has you covered here.
Userpilot has really improved in terms of its analytics functionality in recent years, and now offers the most robust functionality from all the product adoption platforms (including Pendo, which has always taken prime in user analytics.)
In short, Userpilot analytics allows you to:
- Track all of your user interactions with your app – without coding- with the powerful feature tagging functionality, you can simply tag your users’ actions (clicks, hovers, form fills) with a no-code, point-and-tag editor on top of your product.
- See all your user clicks, activity trends, etc. in an easy-to-use dashboard – Userpilot also allows you to drill down into feature usage, down to the individual user level, as well as company level.
- Analyze your user paths from up to 4 pages at a time, at a glance.
- Create ‘user funnels’ made up of feature tags and tracked events, and see where your users are dropping out of the funnel – and act on these drop-off points instantly with in-app experiences.
- Track feature usage by user segments with heatmaps, directly on the different pages of your product.
- Create and track combinations of in-app events like clicks, hovers and form fills, and then analyze all these interactions under your own custom events, which you can build without code or API calls.
- Create custom events that consist of feature tags as well – or combinations of tracked events you’ve passed through the Userpilot track script with features you have tagged with the Chrome Extension.
- The powerful trends overview allows you to filter your events and feature tags’ usage by segments, time period, and even company. This allows you to track and analyze event usage trends and even drill down to the individual users (or companies) who engaged with specific custom events and show them the right in-app experience.
- Apart from product usage data, Userpilot also has built-in analytics for in-app engagement with in-app flows and experiences.
- Analyze how users engage with your checklists or resource center modules, identify trends and A/B test different approaches to improve engagement.
- Last but not least, Userpilot allows you to use all that data to build highly granular user segments and reach users with the right engagement flows at the right time.
- You can even create user segments based on survey responses or NPS scores.
Now, with so much power on your hands – what are you going to do with all this data?
Try Userpilot – the best user analytics solution for SaaS
Appcues vs Pendo for user feedback – similarities and differences
Finally, most SaaS companies considering Appcues vs Pendo want to look at their functionality for user feedback. Let’s dive into it in more detail.
Appcues for user feedback
Can you use Appcues to collect user feedback? Of course.
Collecting data is not hard, analyzing and acting on it is where it gets tricky. What’s the purpose of having data if you can’t act on it?
If you want to track your NPS score over time and collect user feedback with short micro surveys, you can do that with Appcues. But to analyze the feedback data in-depth, you’ll have to use other tools.
In a nutshell, Appcues allows you to:
- Build and trigger NPS surveys in-app without coding.
- Edit the NPS survey questions.
- Target the survey at a specific user segment (or choose one of the predefined segments) and adjust the survey display frequency.
- Collect user feedback with short surveys built on top of modals: add numerical scale, open-ended questions, or radio button questions.
- On the flip side: you can’t tag your NPS/survey responses in-app and use these tags to segment your audience by them.
- You can’t analyze the responses in-app. You can only download a CSV report to start analyzing your data – and we all know how time-consuming that is.
Based on the above, when it comes to user feedback, Appcues is not the ideal tool, as it lacks the ability to segment users based on survey responses.
Pendo for user feedback
Polls come with basic functionality and are available on the free plan. However, if you want to collect user sentiment with NPS surveys, you’ll need a paid plan that doesn’t come cheap at all.
Here’s how you can collect user sentiment feedback with Pendo:
- Add short polls on your guides and UI patterns built with Pendo.
- You can use only text polls, yes/no polls, numbered scales, or multi-choice polls and add them as building blocks when building the guides.
- There’s not a lot of customization, like themes or emojis available, but it’s enough to collect data in-app.
- If you are willing to pay for the Growth plan, you get access to Pendo’s NPS feature too.
The downside of using Pendo for collecting user feedback is that you can’t use the insights to personalize the user experience. For example, you can’t create user segments based on NPS scores or specific answers you collect with your polls. Considering the price you have to pay for Pendo, you’d expect more from it.
If you want to both collect and act on user feedback, you should use a better tool. And, with the risk of sounding biased, Userpilot gives you more value for money here. You can build micro surveys, embed Typeform long surveys, collect and analyze NPS responses, and segment users based on scores and responses so you can trigger more personalized experiences.
Get a Userpilot demo here.
Better alternative for user feedback – Userpilot
There are two types of feedback you should be focusing on collecting to better understand the health of your product and users.
First, you have user sentiment which looks at user satisfaction and effort scores or loyalty (using NPS surveys). Then you may also want to collect feedback on the functionality of the product or specific features.
You can do all these with Userpilot. In short, you can:
- Collect and track (NPS) in-app with a built-in NPS widget that allows you to fully customize the survey look and feel, and set the trigger frequency and specific targeting.
- Analyze NPS scores, tag responses, and use the data to create specific user segments.
- Build and trigger in-app micro surveys like the classic PMF survey, or similar ones and mix multi-choice and open-ended types of questions to collect specific insights.
- Be in charge of who gets which survey type and when with advanced segmentation capabilities, and of course, you can use the answers to segment your audience.
The advantage of using Userpilot for collecting feedback over other survey tools is that you can better control who sees the surveys but also you can instantly use the data collected to segment your user base and trigger the right experience for them.
For instance, if your users give you a low NPS score because they think you’re missing a critical feature (that you actually have already), you can push an interactive walkthrough guiding them to find and explore this feature.
Conclusion – which tool is better for your SaaS, Appcues or Pendo?
Hopefully, this post helped you decide whether Pendo or Appcues is more appropriate for your company. As you can see – both have many upsides and downsides.
Undeniably, Userpilot provides a better value for money and is a better choice for a mid-market SaaS, especially when it comes to user onboarding and user feedback.
If you’re interested in finding more book a demo with our team here!
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