Everybody Hates Product Tours – Why You Should Hate Them Too
Product tours are widely disliked, and it’s difficult to find anyone who actually enjoys them.
The reason why they are so unpopular is that they can be overwhelming for some and condescending for others. Product tours often force users to learn things that they may not be able to apply in real-life situations, which can be frustrating and disengaging.
Despite these issues, companies continue to use product tours as a way to introduce users to their products. However, this approach can be ineffective and may even turn users off from the product altogether.
In this article, we will explore the reasons why product tours are ineffective and what to use instead to drive product adoption.
Why you should hate product tours
Here are 6 reasons why you should hate product tours too (if you don’t already):
- Product tours violate the human psychology of learning.
- They showcase too much too soon.
- Product tours have notoriously low completion rates.
- Product tours go against the continuous education loop of psychology.
- Tours result in lower activation, customer engagement, and retention rates.
- Product tours don’t allow you to personalize your user’s journey.
Let’s explore these reasons in more detail.
1. Product tours violate the human psychology of learning
The first reason why you should consider staying away from product tours in your SaaS is that they simply won’t let you achieve the goal you want to achieve with them: teaching your users how to use your product.
Because they violate the way humans learn. Your users will only learn about your website or product through first-hand experience with interactive guides. Take the features out of context and people won’t learn.
Front-loading knowledge about all your functionalities in a few tooltips and dragging the user around your product on a boring tour is a surefire way to overwhelm and bore them.
To teach the users about your product, you need to get them to engage with the functionality you want them to adopt. In other words – you need to get them to use it themselves in real-time.
2. Product tours showcase too much too soon
The goal of your new user onboarding (or as we like to call it: primary onboarding) should be to get your user to adopt only the 2-3 key features that are responsible for getting them to the first ‘AHA! Moment’ – realizing the value of your product for the first time.
Hence, the goal of your primary onboarding should be to get your users to adopt (start using) only the key features that are absolute must-haves to use and understand your product.
Product tours showcase the whole product without prompting action and letting the user experience the key features.
3. Product tours have notoriously low completion rates.
The boring and inefficient nature of product tours is the exact reason why so few people complete them in the first place.
Almost 80% of your users will skip your product tour if it consists of more than 5 steps.
And if you remove the ‘close’ [X] button – you will only infuriate your users. Hence, if only about 20% of the most patient people complete the tours – what’s the ROI on this at all?
4. Product tours go against the continuous education loop of psychology
Now, if you’re still not convinced product tours should go, here’s another reason:
Product tours epitomize the ‘get done & get over it’ mindset – and when it comes to onboarding, this is plain wrong.
Onboarding is a continuous education loop – meaning, there’s no end to it.
Once you’ve created your primary onboarding flow for new users, you still need to create your secondary onboarding flow for activated users and tertiary onboarding flow for power users to keep pushing your users down the user journey.
And then as users progress through their journey, you keep monitoring the engagement and feature adoption and optimizing your experiences through experimentation.
With Userpilot, you can easily set up A/B testing and compare how two variations of the same experience flow affect the adoption rates of different features.
5. Product tours result in lower activation, customer engagement, and retention rates
As a product manager, you’re probably responsible for certain metrics, such as new user activation, product adoption, new feature engagement, and retention.
And yet – product tours do not allow you to directly measure their impact on those metrics, let alone optimize them for specific ones.
This means – if you want to be really data-driven, product tours will disappoint you.
Instead, you can trigger interactive product walkthroughs once your user interacts with a specific feature to encourage users and make sure the guidance is contextual and will lead to feature adoption.
6. Product tours don’t allow you to personalize your user’s journey
You may have heard that ‘personalization is king’ and ‘let them choose their own journey’ – which is another reason why you shouldn’t use product tours.
Product tours are generic by design because they funnel your user down the same path – regardless of what they really need and what they are trying to accomplish with your product.
Instead, you can ask some questions on the welcome screen (e.g. about the role or use case) – and create an interactive product tour based on the answers. This will help you showcase only the features that your users (or different user segments) need to complete their JTBDs with your product.
Product tour alternative? Try interactive walkthroughs
The most viable alternative solution to product tours is the interactive walkthrough.
In a nutshell: walkthroughs are interactive in-app experiences that nudge your users to take action and use important features in your software product that will help them reach the desired milestones in their user journey.
Instead of boring consecutive tooltips, you can use a range of UI elements such as checklists, modals, driven actions, and native tooltips to create a successful product walkthrough.
How to create interactive walkthroughs to drive user activation
The best way to illustrate this is through an example. Let’s take another of our clients, Kontentino:
Collect customer data with a welcome survey
Kontentino starts its interactive walkthrough with a micro survey, to be able to segment its users by use case and personalize the subsequent experiences accordingly.
Personalize the welcome screen
As we know personalization in SaaS companies is essential for a high engagement rate. The personal touches shine through their communication: Hana from Kontentino welcomes new users personally.
Nudge the users to the activation points
After pressing ‘Let’s start’ – the new user is nudged towards the two key activation points for a social media scheduler:
1) linking accounts
2) scheduling their first post
Not more, not less.
These two steps are enough for the user to experience the AHA! moment. Kontentino guides them through a skillful combination of tooltips and driven actions.
Then there’s the funny GIF to celebrate the user’s success:
And the next step – scheduling the first post – is equally easy:
Wanna have a look at more examples of good interactive walkthroughs in SaaS? Check out our earlier post here.
Create interactive walkthroughs code-free with Userpilot
It’s super easy to build product walkthroughs with Userpilot. And you won’t need any code to do it! Here’s what Userpilot’s functionality offers.
Collect data with in-app surveys
With Userpilot, you can also trigger in-app surveys once new users complete their interactive walkthrough and experience the aha moment to see how they feel about your product.
Segment customers to personalize the product walkthroughs
Any successful walkthrough begins with working out which user segment the new customer belongs to, and personalizing it to have specific features that match their JTBDs.
- User attributes (plan, ID, email, signup date, web sessions, etc).
- Custom events and event attributes.
- NPS score.
- Individual vs company account.
- Location and app language.
- Whether or not a user has interacted with a UI element or experience flow, or a specific feature (using feature tags).
Create your interactive product tours with different UI elements
Where Userpilot really excels is through the level of personalization it allows in creating your walkthroughs.
Whatever UI element you want to build, whether it’s a tooltip, a slider, a modal, or anything else, Userpilot will let you do it in just a few clicks.
All of these elements are interactive, and help you guide users through the customer journey. You can even combine them in branched sequences as well.
It’s very easy to customize the look and color of these elements to your brand too.
Even if you spent some time setting up your product tour, it may be worth it to reconsider your options now that you know how ineffective it is.
Because whatever contributes to your users’ getting more value from your product – keeps them longer, and happier.
Learn how to create interactive walkthroughs code-free with Userpilot by booking a demo.
Create interactive walkthroughs with Userpilot!