The Ultimate Guide To New Feature Announcement In SaaS
After you’ve worked on and launched a new product feature, the next step is to get your users to actually use it, right? This is where a new feature announcement comes in.
New feature announcements are a must if you want your users to know what updates or new releases exist within your product. This is crucial as it helps drive them to quicker feature adoption.
But how do you do these announcements properly to ensure they’re seen at the right time and by the right customer? In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about new feature announcements in your app.
Let’s dive deep in!
- A new feature announcement helps you communicate news about your product updates and a new release to either active customers, churned ones, or to attract new customers.
- Doing this has several benefits because it helps drive product and feature discovery. This, in turn, increases your adoption rate and reduces churn. It could also help attract a new customer to your company.
- There are several best practices to follow when working on this. For example, your product team must have a specific goal to achieve with each announcement, plan for multiple channels (app notifications, a blog post, etc). Apart from these, you should also segment your audience to make sure that announcements go out to only those who actually need them without disturbing other audiences.
- A good feature announcement clearly shows the benefit to the reader, has a clear CTA, and uses various forms of content like gifs and videos.
- There are several channels to send out these messages. While in-app notifications are the most common, others like social media, emails, press releases, etc can also be great methods depending on the goal you hope to achieve with your feature/product launch.
- By including these feature announcement channels as part of your marketing strategy, you ensure that your hard work pays off and building/launching a feature doesn’t go unnoticed.
What is a new feature announcement?
A new feature announcement is how you alert both new and existing customers about changes in your product. These changes could be either completely new features or updates to previous ones, and they can be in the form of both short messages like in-app notifications, or longer messages like release notes or blog posts.
Why are new feature announcements important?
Developing a new product feature is only a part of the job. If you create it, your users (and prospects) won’t just find and use it. You have to let them know that such solutions exist and how they can use them too.
New feature announcements help you increase your feature discovery and adoption rates by letting users quickly find features most useful to them. This lets them reach their “aha” moments quickly which significantly reduces churn rate because the quicker people can get value from your product, the lesser their chance of churning.
A new feature announcement can also be a good source of attracting new users to your product. As these announcements aren’t only in-app, they can also help increase your user base by alerting prospects of how your solution may be a good fit for them. These public feature announcements encourage prospects to give your product a try.
Lastly, new feature announcements are important in reactivating churned users who may have left your product because a feature was missing.
However, to get the best results from your feature announcements, you need to know when to send them and how. Depending on your goal with each announcement, there’s a right way to do it. Let’s see what they are!
How do you announce new features the right way?
Announce new features best practice #1: Set a goal
The first thing to do is to set what goal you want to achieve with this announcement. Do you want your users to discover and adopt features? Do you want to attract a new segment of the market to your product? Do you want to reactivate previous users who have churned because you lacked certain features?
By outlining the desired goal, you’ll be able to decide on the best format and time to show your new feature announcement.
For example, if you want to announce a feature that existing users have been requesting for a long time, and if it’s something that could distinguish you from your competitors, it makes the most sense to use a mix of channels for your feature announcement. A public announcement on social media attracts potential users to your product, while an in-app or email announcement helps you reach your existing users.
Announce new features best practice #2: Segment your existing customers
Your product likely serves multiple target audiences and can be used for several cases. By segmenting your users you’ll be sending out the right message to the right audience, rather than overwhelming all of them with messages that they may not find useful. This is a best practice when sending in-app messages.
Announce new features best practice #3: Re-engage with churned customers
New feature announcements are also helpful in getting churned customers to resubscribe to your product. Create churn surveys that will help you gather feedback on why users are leaving your product. Out of this survey, you can build a list of users who churned because you lacked a certain feature so once it’s built you can reach out to them via email.
Make sure to include a message in your survey, asking users to grant permission to be alerted when the feature is built.
Announce new features best practice #4: Plan for multiple channels
As we mentioned earlier, your goal will determine the channel used for your new feature announcement. In-app messages are the most common and most used type but other channels such as emails, social media, blog articles, etc should also be considered depending on the importance of the feature.
We’ll take a deep dive into this a bit later.
Announce new features best practice #5: A/B test and optimize
Always test each part of your new feature announcement (CTAs, placements, etc), as well as the time it was sent, and the channel used.
Testing helps you see which announcement type brings you the most value for your goals.
With Userpilot, you can run A/B tests on your in-app announcements by selecting that option when setting up your flow and connecting it to your goal.
How do you write an exciting announcement that drives feature adoption?
When it comes to writing your new feature/product announcement copy, there are several best practices to include to ensure your message is clear and instantly shows benefit to the user.
Some copywriting best practices to use are the following:
- Showcase benefits of the new feature and how it helps the user get the job done
- Adjust message based on the different audience segments
- Add a CTA to tell the user what to do next. Focus on one action you expect them to do: this is usually ‘’Try it out’’ or ”Learn more”
- Use images, icons, gifs, or micro-videos to make the announcement more appealing
- Make sure to stay aligned with your brand design so your message is easily recognizable
How should you announce new features: types and channels
Earlier on we mentioned that there are various channels you can use to make your new feature announcement. These are the different types:
- In-product announcements to existing users
- Email announcements to bring back churned users
- Own channels announcements: blog article, email, social media
- External channels announcements: press release, new product release to potential users
In product announcements examples
In-app announcements are the most common channel for sharing product updates. Regardless of whatever other channels you choose to use, in-product messaging is a compulsory channel.
Let’s take a look at the most popular ways to do this.
New feature launch release notes
You can use a slide-out to raise awareness of new features in your app. This works well by also giving the user immediate access to test it out.
One tip would be to segment your customers according to those who either requested a feature or who will get the most value from it. This way each feature release is only going out to the right customer.
See how Postfity does this
New product launch release notes
Let’s take Miro as an example, as they have two ways of integrating their release notes into the product.
There’s an update modal that shows when you log in. From here an existing customer can see new features, product updates, and read the full release note when they click on the CTA ‘open changelog’.
However, no one wants to read a full release note in-app. Moreover, they don’t constantly check your release page. This is why it’s important to use in-app messaging to make sure users don’t miss what’s important to them.
Feature announcement in-app using UI modals
UI modals are great for multiple types of announcements and they work pretty well to introduce existing users to the new feature. Since modals are usually perceived as intrusive, it makes sense to use this once and mix it with other in-app messages to make sure relevant users discover and adopt the feature.
Here’s an example from Figma; a great image that showcases how the new features work plus their CTA leads to the release note or prompts users to engage on the spot.
In-app messaging to prompt feature discovery
Modals are one type of in-app messaging, but there are other ways too that are less intrusive and worth using since customers engage with different types.
Small but mighty. These are less intrusive and allow you to share just the right amount of information.
In this example, Slack uses a gif to illustrate the feature and the text below supports it.
This could be in the form of a static banner at the top of your screen which doesn’t disappear until the user clicks ’Exit”. See how Ahrefs does.
Or you could choose a less intrusive route by using the notification center in-app and displaying the well-known red dot that signals updates.
The red gift icon will lead to the notification center.
In-app guide feature announcement
We’ve seen how Postfity used a slideout to announce their Instagram integration, but you shouldn’t stop at that. Add your announcement to your in-app guide (Postfity uses Userpilot to build theirs) and launch an interactive walkthrough to guide users to discover and adopt it.
Interactive walkthrough to drive product adoption
Mixing channels is one thing, but you can also mix different types of announcements using the same channel.
For example, use a modal to announce the new feature or add it to your in-app guides then launch an interactive walkthrough to guide customers to engage with it. By doing this you will save time that’s needed to learn its full functionality.
See Kommunicate’s example
Email announcements to bring back churned users example
Email announcements are good for more than reaching out to existing customers. They can be used to re-engage churned users who left because you lacked certain features.
Use churn surveys to get feedback from such users on why they left. You can also ask them to share more in-depth details explaining the features they want but you currently lack. From this, you can build a list of people who want a specific feature and then determine if it’s something worth building. Don’t forget to also ask their permission to receive a feature announcement email if you build it.
Check out Leadpages example below that tells the customers that the feature might be already there and prompts them to start a chat with their support.
Re-engage with lost customers using email feature release announcements
This helps you attract the users who dropped off because your product was buggy or slow. Send email updates to such users informing them that the problem is already fixed.
See how Asana does this:
Own channels announcements examples
Consider reaching out to existing and new users through secondary platforms outside of your product. This includes your company blog, social media pages, or email lists.
Feature announcement blog post
Blog posts are a great way to not just announce new features, but to also tell the story behind them. You could cover the inspiration for the feature, the users, or use cases who’ll benefit more from it, educate users on how it works, and even include case studies that show how important that new feature is to users’ journey.
Launch these types of blog posts once new features have been adopted to make sure it works and is needed. You can then use the blog as a channel to attract new customers.
Here’s an example, not exactly a new feature, but an important update catered to enterprises for which security is important. We wanted to make sure the message gets to a larger audience by including potential customers not just existing ones.
Email feature announcements to existing customers
It’s common practice to send out product messaging and feature announcement emails to your existing users. The pair complement each other by alerting users who either don’t log in to the app frequently or who may miss such essential information in their email.
An example of this is this email from Storychief on their collaboration with Grammarly. The email is short, clear on how both will be working together to the benefit of users, and includes a CTA to add the Grammarly Chrome extension to their browser.
Announce new feature releases on social media
Social media is another secondary channel that’s useful for reaching members of your target audience (outside your active customers).
Try to focus on sharing important feature releases instead of constantly updating the audience with minor updates.
Social Media is a great channel because it allows you to experiment with different content formats. You can use videos, gifs, popular memes, etc to announce new features.
For example, Asana used video on LinkedIn to announce a new feature. Videos are a good way to highlight how the feature works and get users to try it out.
External channels announcement examples
There are several external channels to help you announce your latest feature or give product updates to not just your current customers, but also to prospects.
These channels are:
- Online communities: usually on Slack or social media. if you have yours or belong to communities with your target audience, this could be a platform to announce a new big release.
- Ads: paid announcements either on the web or social media help you reach a larger audience of your prospects.
- Press releases: this is done when launching a new product.
- Webinars: for introducing existing users to your product’s new functionality and attracting new users
- Product Hunt: for acquisition purposes when you either present a new product or a major launch.
New product release on Product Hunt
Product Hunt is a large platform for product sharing and discovery. It helps people outside of your user base find your product or new features and can increase your chances of product adoption and acquisition.
It’s mostly used for new product announcements or for a major product release that could drive new eyes to your brand.
Here’s an example from Poptin that lists new features and improvements to their 2.0 product release
If churn is the enemy of SaaS companies, then adoption is the solution. But product adoption and feature adoption don’t just happen, the intended audience needs to find them and use them. That’s why a new feature/product announcement plan can’t be ignored by your product team.