Product Tours: A Guide to Onboard and Activate New Users Effectively

Product Tours: A Guide to Onboard and Activate New Users Effectively

Well implemented, product tours will show users how to maximize your tool, opening doors to better engagement and increased retention. 

This article is your go-to guide for everything you need to know about creating tours that resonate. We covered: 

  • The types of product tours (plus how to choose what suits your product and audience).
  • Product tour elements that help you reduce the time to value and boost adoption.
  • Step-by-step guide and best practices for creating successful product tours.
  • Product tour examples to help you create engaging and interactive walkthroughs.


  • A product or feature tour is an in-app tutorial that guides new users through a product’s key features, aiming to drive fast adoption. 

Effective product tours help to: 

Types of product tours and examples of software for creating them: 

  1. Linear product tour—you can use Pendo or Intercom product tours for this.
  2. Interactive product tour—digital adoption tools like Userpilot and Appcues work best here.
  3. Video walkthrough live demo—use Tolstoy to create video-based interactive walkthroughs.
  • Key elements of a user-friendly product tour: Welcome modals, slideouts, and tooltips (you can add more UI elements as desired—but avoid overdoing it or you risk annoying users). 

Follow this step-by-step guide to create product tours that turn new customers into active users: 

  • Build a user journey map.
  • Choose what type of product tour you will be creating.
  • Trigger UI patterns to prompt action and help users understand your key features.
  • Personalize the product tours for different user segments (e.g., segment users into different use cases and job roles, groups that prefer web vs. mobile apps,  etc.).
  • Measure performance with your product analytics tool and spot ways to create more engaging tours.

Best practices for creating a successful product tour:

  • Keep your product tours interactive.
  • Trigger your product tours from a user onboarding checklist.
  • Use AI to improve your microcopy and provide better in-app guidance.
  • Use A/B testing to improve your product tour.
  • Collect user feedback to find gaps in the user experience.
  • Contextual guidance aside, implement self-service support to supplement your product walkthrough, providing on-demand assistance to users and reducing the load on your product manager.

Examples to inspire you when creating your product tour (details in the article): 

  1. Salesforce’s pop-up modals.
  2. Kommunicate’s interactive walkthrough. 
  3. Sked Social’s user onboarding checklist.
  4. Tolstoy’s video library of product tours.
  • As one of the best product tour software on the market, Userpilot helps product teams (product managers and marketers) create interactive walkthroughs, track onboarding performance with different in-app analytics tools, collect user feedback, and trigger personalized in-app flows to boost the overall customer experience. Book a demo now to start building your own product tour without needing coding knowledge.

Try Userpilot and Take Your User Onboarding to the Next Level

What is a product tour?

A product tour is an in-app tutorial that guides new users through the key features and functionalities of a digital product. 

Companies typically trigger tours immediately after a user signs up or attempts to interact with new features for the first time. 

Why is it important to create product tours?

Product tours are an essential tool in the user onboarding process, serving as a bridge between initial user interest and deep, sustained product engagement

Below are the primary benefits:

  • Lower time to value: Successful product tours eliminate confusion, helping new customers know exactly how to use your tool. This shortens the time to value and increases activation rates. 
  • Minimize the learning curve and improve customer engagement: Complex interfaces and functionalities can be daunting to new users. Product tours simplify the onboarding process by breaking down features into digestible steps, reducing frustration and enhancing engagement. This guided learning encourages users to explore the product more deeply and use it more effectively.
  • Increase product adoption and feature adoption: Left alone, not all users will explore every feature and maximize your tool. This is where tours come in—they highlight valuable functionalities your new and existing users might miss, encouraging wider adoption.
  • Drive customer success: By enabling users to understand and leverage your product more efficiently, product tours lay the groundwork for user success. Educated users are better equipped to achieve their goals, leading to higher satisfaction and positive outcomes.
  • Improve customer retention and product-led growth: We’ve established that tours set users on the path to success. Sticking with your product becomes a no-brainer when customers can consistently see positive returns on their investments. Also, satisfied users will gladly share the word about your tool in their offices and through social media

Types of product tours

Different types of product tours cater to various learning preferences and user engagement levels. Here’s a brief breakdown: 

Linear product tours

Linear tours guide users through a predetermined sequence of steps or features within the product. 

This type of tour is highly structured, leading the user from one point to the next without deviation or branching paths. Linear tours are particularly useful for simple apps or when there’s a specific workflow that new users must learn. 

While linear product tours ensure users receive a comprehensive introduction to the product, they offer far less flexibility than other types of tours.

Linear feature tour example from Getanewsletter. 

Linear feature tour example from Getanewsletter.

Interactive product tour

Interactive product tours take users step-by-step and ensure each user onboarding task is completed before moving to the next. 

One good thing about this type of tour is that it can adapt to user actions, offering personalized guidance based on the features or functions users engage with during the tour.

Interactive guides are best suited for more complex products or when it’s essential to cater to different user personas with varying needs and interests.

interactive product tour

Create interactive product tours code-free with Userpilot.

Video walkthroughs

Video walkthroughs add a human element to the walkthrough to make it more engaging for new users. 

They typically involve someone from the success team welcoming users and showing them how to use the tool. 

This tour type is versatile, and you can use it in a wide range of scenarios. They are particularly useful for explaining complex processes, providing a real-world context, or showcasing the product’s look and feel in a way that static images and text cannot. 

Create engaging in-app guides to help new and active users interact with your product more efficiently.

Create engaging in-app guides to help new and active users interact with your product more efficiently.

Different elements in a product tour

Product tours incorporate various elements or UI patterns to guide users through the product. These elements help to facilitate better understanding and engagement in different contexts: 

Welcome modals

This is a pop-up window that appears prominently upon a user’s first interaction with the product, typically covering the main screen

Welcome modals serve as an initial greeting and provide a brief introduction or overview of what the user can expect from the product. You can also use them to quickly collect customer data and deliver personalized user onboarding experiences. 

Build modals like this code-free. 

Build modals like this code-free.


Slideouts are panels that ‘slide out’ from the side, top, or bottom of a screen, providing additional information or options without taking the user away from their current context. Unlike modals, slideouts are less intrusive as they don’t cover the entire screen. 

Product teams use this UI element to offer help or to encourage users to take specific actions.

Build slide-outs like this for contextual guidance—it's all code-free!

Build slide-outs like this for contextual guidance—it’s all code-free!


Tooltips are small, descriptive text boxes that appear when a user hovers over or clicks on an element within the application (e.g., icons, buttons, links). 

They provide brief explanations or additional information about key features, making product walkthroughs more educative and engaging. 

Start creating tooltips for your product walkthroughs. 

Start creating tooltips for your product walkthroughs.  

Step-by-step guide for creating product tours

Ready to start creating product tours for new and existing customers? Follow these steps: 

Create a user journey map

It doesn’t matter if you’re using the best product tour software on the planet; your product walkthroughs will struggle to communicate real value if you don’t understand the user journey and trigger guides contextually

Your journey map should clearly outline the various stages users go through when interacting with your product, from initial awareness to becoming a loyal customer. 

Once you have the map, aim to identify key touchpoints, user goals, and pain points at each stage of their journey. Then, create interactive product tours for those areas, ensuring a smooth user onboarding process.

Example of a user journey map. 

Example of a user journey map.

Choose what type of product tour you will be creating

Based on the insights from your customer journey map, decide on the type of product tour that best suits your users’ needs.

Let’s go over the types again: 

  • Linear product tour: A step-by-step guide that users follow in a set sequence. Best for simple products or when introducing essential, foundational features that every user needs to know. Product managers use tools like Pendo and Intercom to create linear product walkthroughs.
  • Interactive product tour: A more extensive product tour that allows users to interact with key features, often adapting to the choices they make. Ideal for complex products or when you want to cater to different user preferences and learning styles, encouraging exploration and learning by doing. For interactive walkthroughs, use digital adoption tools like Userpilot or Appcues. Pendo or Intercom product tours are less effective here.
  • Video walkthrough live demo: An interactive demonstration where you have a presenter show how to use the product or its specific features in real-time. Perfect for in-depth exploration of complex products and when there’s value in real-time interaction, such as answering specific questions or showcasing use cases tailored to the audience’s needs. Tolstoy is one of the few tools that shine when it comes to creating video-based interactive walkthroughs.

Create UI patterns to demonstrate key features for getting started

Design UI patterns such as welcome modals, slideouts, and tooltips to highlight and explain the key features of your product. 

These elements should guide users through the essential tasks they need to accomplish to get started, ensuring the interface is intuitive and user-friendly.

Personalize product tours for different user segments

Not all product tours should be shown generically. Your users have varying needs. For example, some users prefer using mobile apps vs web apps (if your tool allows that). Also, if you’re anything like the average SaaS, your tool is likely complex enough to have varying use cases. 

So, segment users based on their goals and jobs-to-be-done and trigger personalized tours tailored to each group. This approach ensures your tours are super relevant to each user, increasing onboarding completion rates and product adoption. 

User segmentation and personalization is a walk in the park when you use a product tour tool like Userpilot:

Segment customers easily with Userpilot.  

Segment customers easily with Userpilot.  

Run a funnel analysis to measure product tour performance

After implementing your product walkthrough, use funnel analysis to track how users engage with it. 

Analyze where they drop off, complete the tour, or skip steps. Make targeted changes to your product tours based on the insights from the analysis. For example, this might mean optimizing your UI elements or adding new ones to provide better guidance on where users are dropping off

Conduct funnel analysis with Userpilot. 

Conduct funnel analysis with Userpilot

Best practices for creating a successful product tour

Here’s how to craft captivating tours that boost engagement and user satisfaction:

Keep your product tours interactive

Interactive tours provide simple walkthroughs that proceed after users carry out the explained action. 

By involving users in the onboarding process through actions like clicking, dragging, and performing specific tasks, you help solidify their understanding and retention of information. You also prevent information overload, improving the overall user experience

Create interactive guides with Userpilot (no coding knowledge required). 

Create interactive guides with Userpilot (no coding knowledge required). 

Trigger your product tours from an onboarding checklist

Onboarding checklists guide users through essential onboarding tasks, each item triggering a relevant tour or part of a tour.  

Seeing the list of key onboarding tasks and being able to cross them off helps to maintain user motivation. The user can always return to the checklist and know how many steps they’ve completed and what’s left. This is better than leaving users in the dark, not knowing if the onboarding flow is long or short. 

Build user onboarding checklists code-free. 

Build user onboarding checklists code-free. 

Use AI to improve the microcopy in your product tours

The right microcopy wording reduces ambiguity and makes instructions simple to follow. 

However, it’s not always easy to create something clear, concise, and devoid of product jargon. How about some AI help? 

With tools like Userpilot’s AI-powered assistant, you can create and edit microcopy in minutes. 

Generally, your copy should be: 

  • Easy to read and understand.
  • Consistent with language and tone (for example, don’t use different terminologies to refer to the same thing. It can confuse users).
  • Contextual—provide relevant information and guidance at the right moment. 
  • Focused on user needs and action-oriented.
Try writing your microcopy with Userpilot. 

Try writing your microcopy with Userpilot

Use A/B testing to improve your product tour

Test different variations of your product tours. Play around with various UI elements, content structure, tour lengths, and so on. 

Analyze the results to see what performs better and optimize accordingly. Aside from A/B tests (experimenting with two different ideas—’A’ and ‘B’), you can also conduct multivariate testing to compare more than two variables and see what drives better engagement. 

Example of a multivariate experiment: Test different triggers for starting your product walkthrough, such as upon first login, after completing an onboarding checklist, or when a user visits a specific feature for the first time. Find the trigger with the highest tour start and completion rate and stick with it. 

Conduct A/B and multivariate tests easily with Userpilot.

Conduct A/B and multivariate tests easily with Userpilot.

Collect user feedback to find gaps in the user experience

Trigger automatic feedback surveys for users who complete your product tours. 

Aim to discover points of confusion or friction and areas of your tour that they love. By gathering and analyzing these insights, you can spot gaps in the user experience and implement solutions to boost your tour completion rates. 

When surveying, trigger a quick quantitative survey like the one below, then follow up with an optional qualitative question asking users to share their thoughts about the tour and what can be improved. 

Create feedback surveys with a few mouse clicks. 

Create feedback surveys with a few mouse clicks. 

Product tour examples to help you create engaging walkthroughs

Need some inspiration? Here’s how these SaaS companies are crushing product tours and driving engagement: 

Salesforce’s pop-up modals 

Salesforce is a cloud-based CRM solution that helps businesses manage customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. 

The company utilizes a modal and several tooltips to guide users through the product’s key features. Notice how the tour is interactive, engaging, and focused on helping users understand the platform’s value quickly.

Salesforce's user onboarding. 

Salesforce’s user onboarding.

Kommunicate’s interactive walkthrough 

Kommunicate helps companies build AI-powered chatbots for customer service automation. 

The platform uses an interactive walkthrough to guide users through customizing a chat widget. 

Interactive tours like this encourage new users to immediately interact with the tool, leading to a deeper understanding of the product’s capabilities.  

Kommunicate's interactive walkthrough

Kommunicate’s interactive walkthrough.

Sked Social’s onboarding checklist

Sked Social is a comprehensive social media management tool that helps with content planning, publishing, and performance analysis. 

Part of its onboarding flow includes an onboarding checklist with four key tasks users need to perform and get activated. The first task is automatically crossed off, giving users extra motivation to complete the list (the thinking goes, ‘It’s just three items; I can get them done quickly’). 

Checklists help new users feel accomplished as they complete each step and provide a structured approach that can lead to higher user engagement and faster product adoption. By combining direct action items with support resources (check the top right corner of the image below), Sked Social enhances the onboarding experience, making it more likely that new users will successfully integrate the platform into their workflow.

Sked Social's onboarding checklist.

Sked Social’s onboarding checklist.

Tolstoy’s video library of product tours

Tolstoy is an interactive video platform that enables businesses to create engaging, personalized video experiences. These videos can be used for various purposes, including onboarding, customer service, and sales, to increase engagement and conversion rates.

Tolstoy’s video library of product tours is a classic SaaS example of being your guinea pig—using your product to show users that your value prop works. 

Organizing its tutorials under the “Recommended for you” section suggests onboarding personalization. The user will be more ready to engage because they feel the content was tailored for their use case and journey stage.  

Tolstoy's uses a video library to drive digital adoption.

Tolstoy’s uses a video library to drive digital adoption.

Userpilot: The best software tool for creating interactive product tours

Userpilot is a user growth and digital adoption platform built for SaaS companies. It has product tour features to enable you to create custom onboarding flows that drive good engagement rates

But that’s not all. Userpilot also has advanced analytics and feedback widgets to let you analyze your product tours and make important changes. 

Let’s dig further into Userpilot features relevant to onboarding and adoption. 

  • In-app flows: Craft multi-step interactive tours that trigger based on user behavior, segment, or specific events. Tailor the flow to specific user needs, gently nudging them towards key actions and Aha! moments. Userpilot also allows you to create branched flows, guiding users down personalized paths based on their choices and actions within the flow. This ensures each user receives relevant information and avoids unnecessary steps.
  • Multiple UI patterns: From tooltips to banners, slide-outs, and modals, Userpilot provides a rich library of UI patterns to engage users in different ways and cater to diverse preferences.
  • Funnel analysis: This functionality provides insights into where users drop off during the onboarding process or while using specific premium features. Understanding how users interact with your product helps you identify areas of the tool that may be confusing or less engaging, allowing for targeted improvements. You can also pair funnel analysis with other Userpilot analytics tools to get richer insights into user engagement over time. 
  • A/B testing: This is one feature you should be looking out for in a good product tour software. Creating in-app guides that work, often requires a good balance of experimentation and advanced analytics. Userpilot provides both. As earlier mentioned, you can conduct A/B or multivariate tests and statistically compare the performance of different variations. This ensures you implement changes that genuinely improve product adoption and engagement.
  • Feedback widgets: Embed feedback widgets directly within your product to capture user sentiment and identify areas for improvement. For better effectiveness, you can set your in-app surveys to trigger based on specific user actions or events. For example, you could roll out a CSAT or CES survey immediately after a user completes your product tour to understand the challenges they encountered. With several survey templates and easy survey analytics, Userpilot’s feedback feature is one of the best you can find. 
Build your first or next survey with Userpilot. 

Build your first or next survey with Userpilot

  • Analytics dashboard: Track key metrics related to product tours, product adoption, feature usage, and overall user engagement in a single, intuitive dashboard. Userpilot also allows you to analyze data by user segment, product feature, or specific in-app elements to gain deeper insights into user behavior.


No matter how creative you get with your tours, try to ensure they’re interactive. 

Interactive product tours are engaging and easy to understand—the user will almost always end the tour knowing how to maximize your core features. 

Ready to start building and analyzing the performance of your product tours? Userpilot can help. Book a demo now to get started.

Try Userpilot and Take Your User Onboarding to the Next Level

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