Interactive Walkthrough vs Product Tour: Main Differences, Use Cases & Tools

Interactive Walkthrough vs Product Tour: Main Differences, Use Cases & Tools cover

What is the best method of guiding users through your product; an interactive walkthrough vs a product tour?

Both aim to deliver information to a user, but both do this in different ways and in different situations.

This article will show you what an interactive walkthrough and product tour is, the perfect situations to use them, and some best practices that can help you achieve success. All of which can help your product growth.


What is an interactive walkthrough?

Interactive walkthroughs are step-by-step guides that help to educate your customers and walk customers through user onboarding.

The main goal of an interactive walkthrough is to educate users on the features of your product so you can get them to the activation point faster. They are used to prompt users to action, increasing product adoption.

A animation of an interactive walkthrough of Rocketbots
An interactive walkthrough example from Rocketbots.

What is a product tour?

A product tour is one of the most common forms of user onboarding. They are typically longer than interactive walkthroughs because they are mostly used to explain more complex products.

Product tours can use educational videos or a demo environment to teach about the product’s features.

Due to the common formats of product tours, they are mostly passive and don’t prompt users to take immediate action.

A animation showing a product tour example from getanewsletter
A product tour example from getanewsletter.

The benefits of interactive product walkthroughs and interactive product tours

Interactive product tours and interactive walkthroughs significantly impact your product’s adoption metrics.

Learning to use a new product takes time (especially if yours is complex). With product tours and product walkthroughs, you can aid the user in getting through the user onboarding more efficiently rather than letting them figure out the product features on their own.

With additional aid, you can educate customers on the value that they can get from your product. Getting to this stage of enlightenment for the users will increase the chance of user activation and drive user adoption.

Interactive product tours and product walkthroughs also help with user retention. New users will know how to get the most out of your product and will stay loyal.

What is the difference between a product tour and an interactive walkthrough?

Product tours are a set of modals and tooltips that walkthrough users through the product. Product tours are usually quite long and dump lots of information in one go.

They are typically used for more complex products and can be guilty of overwhelming users with ALL of the product features in one go. Product tours are very linear and go through the same order each time without personalizing the walkthrough for different segments.

Interactive walkthroughs are interactive in-app guidance that shows on-screen tutorials to help users learn about your product and discover new features. They are generally shorter than product tours, and prompt user action, making them much more active than a product tour.

They can also be customized depending on audience segments, so rather than having a linear experience every time, walkthroughs can be personalized to meet the needs of your user base.

Interactive walkthroughs vs product tours for SaaS.

When to use interactive product tours?

Interactive product tours can be helpful for several reasons in your product. They are ideal for complex training, introducing new features or UI updates, or upselling any premium features. Let’s explore each case in more detail:

When you have a complex SaaS product that requires additional training

If you have a product that can be hard to learn, you can use a product tour during the user onboarding to educate users on how to use your product.

After the tour, you can follow up with different tooltip prompts to further deepen the user’s education. Adding an engaging message can help to make the product tour interactive.

Using a product tour will help to reduce the load on customer success teams because you can create a product tour containing all the details a user needs to learn about your product. And if it’s a video, users can refer back to it when needed.

Find out how Platformly increased their user onboarding completion flow to 40% even though they have a complex product.

A screenshot of a product tour example
Product tour modal example.

When introducing new features or UI updates

When you have new features in your product, sending emails and updating change logs can sometimes not be enough for existing users to discover and adopt them.

Instead, create a product tour to increase the visibility of any new feature.

If you’re a start-up, your product will change over time—especially your UI. People don’t like change, so if you have a massive overhaul of your UI, you need to help users not get lost. A product tour is perfect for assisting them in learning what’s changed and preventing them from getting frustrated.

A animation fo Abode showcase new features via a product tour
An example from Abobe of a product tour showcasing an update.

To upsell your premium features

An interactive product tour can help showcase your premium features to your customers in order to upsell them.

You can use tours to create excitement on how those features can add value and highlight what users could get with a higher plan.

A screenshot of Asana demostrating a product tour for upselling
A product tour example from Asana to upsell premium features.

When to use interactive walkthroughs?

You can use interactive walkthroughs in your product to help onboard new users, drive feature adoption, or announce new features.

When onboarding new users

An interactive product walkthrough can be helpful for the user onboarding process. They can help to guide and encourage users to get the most out of your product.

With the main goal of the onboarding being user activation of new customers, a product walkthrough can help you get to these much faster.

Progressive tooltips used as an interactive product tour in Canva

Progressive tooltips used as an interactive product tour in Canva

It’s best to decide what core events are the main key activation drivers and create interactive walkthroughs to help guide users through these events.

To drive feature adoption

It always pays to take the time to look through your product usage analytics data. Within there, you can find out how your customers interact with your product.

Some users won’t be using your product to the full effect because they don’t know how to use it properly or there are features they don’t even know exist.

Using product usage data can help you segment your users and trigger a product walkthrough to help uncover these unused or underused features.

Doing so will help increase user retention and customer loyalty as you’re helping them discover more ways to get value from your product.

A screenshot of driving feature adoption using interactive walkthrough vs product tour
Postify helps users uncover features with an interactive walkthrough.

To announce new features

Nothing’s worse than launching a new feature that doesn’t get your desired adoption. A product walkthrough can help you announce new features by prompting a tooltip at a contextually appropriate moment and showing the user how it works.

A screenshot of calendly showing new feature using a interactive walkthrough vs product tour
An example of a tooltip highlighting new features.

Best practices for creating product walkthroughs

Product walkthroughs are favored over product tours because they drive users to action. The following are some of the best practices when you’re creating them.

Segment users to tailor your product walkthrough

Not every user’s needs are the same. Each of them can be using your product for different jobs to be done.

An effective way of approaching your walkthroughs is to group your customers based on different personas with different jobs to be done. Then for each user persona, create a personalized walkthrough that educates exactly on the value they want to get from your product.

A screenshot of Userpilot and how you can segment users
Userpilot’s user segmentation feature.

Collect customer feedback to improve interactive tours

Once you have your tours or walkthroughs up and running, you want to be able to improve them to make their experience as good as possible.

In-app surveys are great to pop up after a user has gone through a walkthrough or a tour, asking them for feedback. You can then use that to direct you on what you might need to improve.

A screenshot of a simple in-app survey created with Userpilot
An example of an in-app survey created with Userpilot.

Trigger tours and walkthroughs contextually

It’s not ideal for users to have lots of information dumped on them through tours and walkthroughs without context. Timing is king when it comes to helping your users. It’s far better to trigger your tours and walkthroughs contextually.

Setting custom events controls when your tours and walkthroughs are triggered so a user views them when it makes the most sense.

A screenshot of custom events in Userpilot
Userpilot’s custom events.

Create interactive walkthroughs and product tours with Userpilot

Userpilot is a great product tour software that makes building interactive product tours and walkthroughs easy. You can build them without a single line of code, perform A/B testing to find a winner, and collect user feedback to make improvements.

Create interactive product tours code-free

It can be rewarding to know that you can build your own interactive product tours without any technical knowledge.

Userpilot lets you create your own interactive product tours and walkthroughs with its user-friendly, code-free solution. You can select from a wide range of UI patterns, including tooltips, modals, slideouts, and drive action.

A screenshot some of the interactive walkthroughs vs product tour features
Userpilot’s UI patterns.

A/B test your interactive guides

Userpilot can help you with experimentation with your product. If you have a high traffic volume, it is definitely worth A/B testing. You have a range of different options to help statistically prove a winner between a pair of interactive guides.

A/B testing with Userpilot.

Benefit from Userpilot’s user feedback features

Userpilot can let you collect user feedback through microsurveys to help you find out how to improve your walkthroughs.

You can implement customer feedback without having to write any code. And have a range of UI patterns and ready-made templates that let you fully customize how you want them to look.

A screenshot of Userpilot's user feedback features
Userpilot’s user feedback feature.


Both product tours and interactive walkthroughs are great for your product and user onboarding. They can help increase user activation and user adoption, and Userpilot can help you get started without coding knowledge.

Want to build product experiences code-free? Book a demo call with our team and get started!

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