Appcues vs Stonly vs Userpilot: Which is Best for Your Saas?
Deciding between Appcues, Stonly, and Userpilot?
We know that choosing the best product adoption platform for your SaaS is difficult. So we decided to write a more in-depth comparison of the three tools – going into more detail about the tools’ features, use cases, pros, and cons – than what you’ll find on review sites.
Whether you’re looking mainly to improve your user onboarding or product analytics, collect user feedback or NPS – you’ll find out how Appcues performs vs Stonly vs Userpilot – and which one is the best choice for you!
Let’s dig in!
- Appcues is another no-code user onboarding platform that helps non-technical teams track and analyze product usage. You can publish in-app onboarding tours, announcements, and launch surveys. Unlike Userpilot, the functionality is limited if you are using the basic plans.
- Stonly positions itself as a budget-friendly alternative to its more expensive competitors, but in fact – it’s more of a CS tool for building knowledge bases than a product adoption tool for onboarding. Stonly’s tour builder feels like a makeshift add-on to the Knowledge Bases rather than a fully-fledged product (compared to its competitors like Userpilot or Appcues).
- Userpilot is a comprehensive digital adoption platform (DAP). It enables product teams to track product usage and user behavior to guide product development and optimize the user experience. In addition, it allows them to gather user feedback and design personalized onboarding experiences to drive product adoption. All of this is possible without coding. Book a demo to learn more!
Comparing Appcues vs Stonly vs Userpilot? Try the best one!
What is Appcues?
Appcues is another no-code user onboarding platform that helps non-technical teams track and analyze product usage. You can publish in-app onboarding tours, announcements, and launch surveys.
Unlike Userpilot, the functionality is limited if you are using the basic plans.
What is Appcues best for?
Typically, SaaS Product Managers consider Appcues for the following reasons: they want to improve their user onboarding, they need product adoption, and would also be able to measure their user feedback. How does Appcues perform when it comes to these top-three use cases?
Let’s examine it all, and then compare it to the other tools we’re discussing in this post.
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.
Appcues for product adoption
When it comes to driving product adoption, Appcues offers the main functionality as its competitors but highly restricts it when using its lower plan. This makes it quite pricey if you need checklists for example, which are quite an essential tool for getting users to engage and adopt your product.
Here’s how Appcues can help drive adoption:
- Building a product tour in Appcues is relatively easy. You can choose from a range of UI patterns and use a friendly Chrome extension builder. If you want to style the modals or tooltips in your tour to match your native UI, you might need to resort to CSS.
- Welcome screens are an integral part of Appcues product tour templates. You can mostly customize them as you please by adding or removing elements, micro surveys, etc.
- The flows option offers 4 main onboarding elements (modal group, tooltip group, slideout group, and hotspot group) and only 1 action – navigating to a different page.
- You can get access to building checklists but only on the more expensive plans.
- Unlike its alternatives, Appcues doesn’t offer the possibility of building an in-app resource center.
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.
There is a better tool for your SaaS than Appcues!
What is Stonly?
Stonly positions itself as a budget-friendly alternative to its more expensive competitors, but in fact – it’s more of a CS tool for building knowledge bases than a product adoption tool for onboarding. Stonly’s tour builder feels like a makeshift add-on to the Knowledge Bases rather than a fully-fledged product (compared to its competitors like Userpilot or Appcues).
So it may be good for startups and small businesses with few users and a per-view pricing model (which may become super-expensive once you have more users!) and that want a tool primarily for the Knowledge Base use case.
What is Stonly best for?
Stonly is typically considered for user onboarding, and analytics. Let’s examine Stonly for these use cases before we compare it to Userpilot.
Stonly for user onboarding
Stonly’s product tours are not the most intuitive (and require quite a bit of coding), and they come with limited integrations. In fact – its setup and builder are extremely confusing: you can build the tours both in the Stonly dashboard and on top of your app, but then you need to go back to the dashboard to edit the content of the steps you’ve just built in the Chrome Extension? This doesn’t make much sense…
Stonly for user analytics
Stonly’s analytics are limited to basic product tour insights. The so-called “guide Insights” allow you to track the performance of a guide over time. You can use them to see how many people viewed a guide, how much time they spent in it, what path they took through the steps, and how they responded to interactive elements like inputs, checklists, and surveys. Apart from that, Stonly doesn’t offer any insights into user behavior.
Try a better tool for your SaaS than Stonly!
What is Userpilot?
Userpilot is a comprehensive digital adoption platform (DAP). It enables product teams to track product usage and user behavior to guide product development and optimize the user experience.
In addition, it allows them to gather user feedback and design personalized onboarding experiences to drive product adoption. All of this is possible without coding.
What is Userpilot best for?
Userpilot is used for similar use cases as Stonly and Appcues. Let’s see how Userpilot compares to the tools we discussed before it comes to user onboarding, product adoption, and user feedback.
Userpilot for user onboarding
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.
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 accurate 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.
Userpilot for product adoption
Product adoption describes the process of getting users to the point where they are experiencing value from your product.
Userpilot is a powerful product adoption platform that enables you to quickly build personalized and contextual in-app experiences targeted to different user experiences – all without writing a line of code.
It’s an excellent option for enterprise users too since it’s SOC 2 Type II certified and offers robust features for large-scale usage.
Here are some of Userpilot’s product adoption features that you may find helpful:
- A broad range of UI patterns to build fully customizable, contextual, and interactive in-app flows: modals, slideouts, tooltips, hotspots, driven actions, banners, and more. And – most importantly – you are not limited by plan when it comes to how many UI patterns or designs you can build.
- Advanced in-app checklists with built-in gamification elements like progress bars or ”automatically marked complete” tasks: checklists also come with analytics so you can track who is interacting with them and how.
- Fully interactive walkthroughs walk users through engaging and adopting specific features of your app.
- The self-service in-app resource center lets users search your knowledge base directly inside the app, access chat, and support but also launch guides and tutorials when they get stuck.
- User feedback tools allow you to collect insights to improve the product and the user experience, thus leading to a higher product adoption rate. You can also collect NPS data and tag responses to uncover patterns into what makes users stick, or build micro surveys for more granular data. Then you can use all the feedback collected to build user segments based on the answers and personalize the path to higher product adoption for each segment.
Want to see Userpilot in action? Get a demo and improve product adoption with contextual and personalized in-app flows that actually help users.
Userpilot for user feedback
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.
Tired of bad digital adoption tools? Try Userpilot for your SaaS!
So Which tool should you choose?
As you can see, Appcues, Stonly, and Userpilot cater to most of the use cases Product Managers typically look for in their SaaS companies.
There are some differences between the tools when it comes to how those use cases are executed in each, of course. So if you’re still on the fence – there are two more factors that can make a difference for you – the tools’ pricing, and its reviews. Let’s have a look at both below!
All things considered, Appcues does not offer the best value for money compared to some Appcues alternatives – at $249 per month. 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)
Stonly pricing starts at $199/month for small businesses. However, the “Small Business” package comes with limitations such as no SSO, no attached customer success, no auto-translation on guides and many others that you can check on their pricing page.
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 mainly on the service level (e.g. custom domain hosting, dedicated Customer Success Manager, SLA) and is based on the number of Monthly Active Users (MAUs) your company has.
Here’s the detailed Userpilot pricing:
What do users say about Appcues, Stonly & Userpilot
Pros & Cons of Appcues, Stonly and Userpilot
Let’s look at some key advantages of Appcues:
- It makes it easy to build product tours with a user-friendly UI and predefined templates that can save you time.
- Can be used on web apps and mobile apps too.
- It integrates with most user analytics tools: Heap, Segment, Amplitude, and Mixpanel. This compensates a bit for the lack of in-depth analytics but means you need multiple subscriptions.
- You can use predefined flows or build your own using a good range of UI patterns.
- Allows basic segmentation and event-based flow triggering.
- It’s easy to build in-app surveys using modals or the integrated NPS tool.
But as any tool, Appcues is not without its flaws – and at this price point, we think you may really want to consider some options that offer the same or more advanced functionality, but at a lower price tag:
- Appcues lacks certain transition actions like driven actions, scroll position, or page change, which would make product tours more interactive.
- It heavily limits the functionality available in the lowest (Essentials) plan. If you need checklists, more than 10 events, or more than 5 user segments, you’ll need to upgrade to the Growth plan (starting at $879/mo payable annually, which means you need to fork out more than $10,500 to start using Appcues for more use cases.
- Appcues doesn’t have a resource center feature, meaning you can’t use it to offer self-service support to your users.
Stonly has a number of advantages:
The ability to support multiple languages.
Small companies with fewer initial views will benefit from this pricing model.
Front, Zendesk, Freshdesk, and Segment integrations.
Knowledge base functionality included.
There are also several considerable downsides to using Stonly though:
- Extremely confusing builder.
- Pretty code-heavy product tour setup for a “no-code tool”.
- Confusing installation: it’s impossible to install it for a non-technical user.
- Requires some knowledge of CSS to customize – the customization options are worse than the market standard.
- Doesn’t allow you to add content to your product guides (text) directly in the Chrome Extension.
There is a lack of certain popular product tour features, such as progress bars and checklists.
Userpilot has a number of advantages, especially for mid-market SaaS companies looking for a robust but at the same time very easy-to-use, no-code tool for user onboarding, product adoption, and simplified product analytics. Let’s have a look at the pros of using Userpilot:
- No-code builder – Userpilot comes with an easy-to-use Chrome Extension builder.
- Multiple UI patterns – choose from a range of options to build customized flows: modals, slideouts, banners, tooltips, hotspots, and checklists are all at your disposal.
- UI patterns are not limited by plan – you get access to all of them on every single plan, meaning you get value even with the Traction plan (this is the entry-level one).
- Engaging walkthroughs and onboarding flows- build interactive walkthroughs targeted to distinct user segments.
- In-app help – build a resource center offering self-service support to your users, customize it with your branding, and select from a range of help options to boost user satisfaction (i.e. videos, in-app flows, chat, and more).
- Experimentation – built-in A/B testing for flows lets you explore and quickly iterate based on direct user behavior.
- Powerful feedback options- integrated NPS surveys with analytics and response tagging unlock insight into how your users feel.
- Advanced analytics and segmentation- analyze product usage and in-app flow engagement and build user segments using the data.
- Event tracking and feature tags- tag UI engagement (clicks, form fills, hovers) and group them into one custom event to track what really matters.
- More value with integrations- unlock value faster with built-in integrations with popular tools like Segment, Amplitude, Mixpanel, Kissmetrics, Intercom, Heap, and more.
There are, however, some downsides to Userpilot as well:
- Browser/web app only – Userpilot won’t run on mobile devices/applications.
- Doesn’t support employee onboarding- The tool is better suited for customer onboarding than for employee onboarding as you can’t build in-app guides on third-party tools.
- Missing integrations – doesn’t have built-in integrations with some tools, but it has webhooks, and Hubspot and Zapier are coming soon.
- Not appropriate for small startups on a shoestring budget (<$100)- Userpilot is a powerful, mid-market to enterprise-level tool. So $249 a month might be too expensive for really small startups.
Try the best tool for user onboarding today!
In this post, we’ve discussed how Appcues, Stonly, and Userpilot compare when it comes to user onboarding, product adoption, and user feedback. We’ve discussed their features for each use case, pricing, and reviews, as well as the pros and cons.
Hopefully, you’ve found these detailed descriptions helpful. Obviously, we’re a little biased, but we think that Userpilot offers the best value for money, and is unrivalled especially when it comes to user onboarding.
Hopefully, you’d like to give Userpilot a chance – see you in the free trial soon!