The Top 5 Pendo Competitors In 2021 – Which One Is Right For You?

pendo competitors

If you’re looking for the best Pendo competitors to better suit your needs, then you’ve come to the right place. We dive into the pros and cons of each Pendo alternative here and discuss the kind of use case they’re suited for.

The 5 Pendo competitors we looked at were:

To start, let’s take a look at Pendo’s strengths and weaknesses…

 

The big question: Pen-do or Pen-don’t?

pendo-competitors

Pendo is a comprehensive solution for improving product experience, user onboarding, analytics, and in-app feedback. 

Pendo’s main product offering is their Product Cloud. This aims to bring user feedback, product analytics, and user onboarding together in one package.

The company has grown rapidly among larger Companies, but since its inception, a few Pendo alternatives have emerged with better and more affordable solutions. Companies like Userpilot or Appcues offer the same quality without the $15,000 price tag. 

We reached out to one of the Pendo customers for the review and here’s what they told us:

After extensive due-diligence research we settled on Pendo. Although not cheap, it’s the most complete product on the market that ticked all the boxes for us. Especially the union of data with research (surveys, NPS, etc.) is a huge advantage, allowing you to target specific users who did (or did not) use specific features or screens of your product. Let me know if you need any other input, happy to assist.

Vincent van Scherpenseel from ContentKing

 

Here’s what Pendo gets right…

+ In-depth Analytics

Pendo prides itself on providing you with in-depth analytics. You can find out exactly what your users think about your product, and how they use it. It enables you to track your users’ journeys through your product. You can then use this data to make improvements where necessary.

+ User Segmentation

As part of the analytics, Pendo enables you to segment your users in a variety of ways. This means you can see how different groups of users interact differently with your product. You can use segmentation to provide relevant onboarding to different sets of users.

+ Big Names

Some very successful SaaS companies, such as Marketo and Insightly, use Pendo to improve their product. The fact that so many big companies use Pendo means it must be good at what it does.

Those strengths show that Pendo has a great product, and you shouldn’t write it off completely. That being said, Pendo isn’t necessarily the best fit for your SaaS product.

 

Here are some areas where Pendo falls short…

– Limited Onboarding Elements

When it comes to creating a great onboarding experience, you need to use a mixture of different elements. These include tooltips, checklists, slideouts, and modals. Pendo offers limited onboarding elements, which means you can’t always create the best experience for your users.

– Basic Styling Options

It’s important to ensure your onboarding matches the look and feel of your product. Any clashes will decrease engagement. Pendo’s onboarding elements can’t be fully customized unless you use CSS. For those wanting to create onboarding experiences with no code, this could be a problem.

– It’s Confusing

Pendo does a lot of things. While that can be considered a strength, it also means that it’s a fairly confusing product. Pendo’s mixture of analytics, user feedback, and onboarding may be more than you need.

Pendo’s pricing is only available to you if you ask for a quote. But bearing in mind that they aim their product at Enterprise companies, it’s safe to say it’s on the expensive side – we’ve heard of 3-year $15,000 per annum contracts. 

For smaller companies and startups, it might not be the best possible solution.

So, let’s take a look at the top Pendo competitors to see which is the best fit for you.

Pendo Competitor #1: Userpilot — For Contextual Onboarding

We couldn’t produce a list of Pendo competitors without throwing our own hat into the ring.

We built Userpilot for SaaS companies, helping them to provide a great onboarding experience for their users, as well as user analytics and in-app feedback tools – including microsurveys and NPS.

Userpilot features

The USP behind Userpilot’s platform is that it offers contextual onboarding. In other words, you can show the right message to the right user at the right moment. 

This means you can tailor your onboarding to each individual user, triggering onboarding elements as and when they need them – based on user behaviour in-app: 

INTERACTIVE walkthrough Userpilot

Userpilot also offers complete control over the styling of your onboarding elements. There’s absolutely NO coding required. This enables you to achieve exactly the look you need and keep your branding consistent.

onboarding checklist userpilot

Userpilot’s analytics is currently not as sophisticated as Pendo’s, but this is changing rapidly. Currently, Userpilot caters to the needs of SaaS companies who want to focus on building a great onboarding experience for their users based on how their users engage with different elements of their app: 

user analytics userpilot

 In Userpilot, to see what your users do inside your app, you can either pass custom events, user attributes and event attributes, or “tag” certain UI elements on the frontend using a simple UI selector and mark them as “features” whose usage you want to track:

feature tagging in userpilot

 

All this makes Userpilot’s analytics easy to set up and use. Userpilot is one of the few Pendo alternatives that also offers in-app feedback options: NPS surveys: 

Best NPS Feedback Software to Use in 2021 [+ What to Do After Sending Your NPS Survey]

and embeddable microsurveys: 

 

microsurvey userpilot pendo competitor

 

Finally – Userpilot is the only Pendo alternative that offers a Resource Center – a self-serve help hub where the user can search in-app experiences, onboarding videos, help docs and knowledge base articles in-app, on demand: 
resource-center-gif-in-app-support-customer-engagement

Do you like what you’ve seen so far? Jump on a free consultation with us!

Userpilot pricing 

Good news: Userpilot won’t cost you even half as much as Pendo. For 2500 monthly active users or less, Userpilot only charges you $249 per month. The pricing is based only based on MAUs, with all features included in all plans without any limits, regardless of how much you are paying. 

All Userpilot pricing plans include: 

– all features without any limitations

– free on demand live chat support (average response time: 8 minutes!) 

– 3 onboarding calls with Customer Success team 

– Access to user Live Webinars 

Userpilot Installation 

Userpilot is a no-code solution and the installation takes minutes.

All you need to do it to install the chrome extension and put one snippet of JavaScript code inside your application (you may need the help of your developer for this + passing some custom events so you can target your audience by in-app events). 

Creating user onboarding flows is even easier. You create in-app digital adoption experiences with a simple visual drag and drop editor resembling Canva: 

Welcome screen survey

It takes minutes to build onboarding flows with Userpilot’s builder – no tech skills required. 

Summary

Userpilot is a great choice for SaaS companies wanting to focus on providing the best possible onboarding experience. The contextual onboarding, and code-free styling, ensure that your users engage with your product.

If in-depth analytics aren’t your top-priority, it’s far more cost-effective to choose a Pendo competitor like Userpilot.

 

Pendo Competitor #2: WalkMe — For Enterprise Companies

pendo-competitors-walkme

WalkMe was one of the first onboarding products on the scene. It’s been providing companies with onboarding tools for years now.

Walkme features

As you can probably tell from the name, WalkMe was a pioneer when it comes to product walkthroughs. These days, WalkMe focuses more on the employee onboarding and third-party app (e.g. Salesforce) adoption for enterprises, rather than on employee onboarding for 

The fact that WalkMe has been around so long means that it’s a great alternative for Enterprise companies who want to be sure they’re in good hands. WalkMe boasts impressive customers, such as Microsoft and Paypal, so it’s a great choice for large organizations.

Like Pendo, WalkMe also offers analytics, so you can use data to back up your decisions, and see which areas of your onboarding need improvement.

However, with WalkMe limits you when it comes to onboarding elements. If you want something other than a product walkthrough, then you’ll need to look at the other Pendo competitors. 

Walkme also lacks other features that products geared to SaaS offer: e.g. NPS, Resource Center or Native Tooltips. 

Walkme Pricing

Also, due to the fact WalkMe targets Enterprise companies, it can be very expensive ($ 9,000 – $50,000 per year!). It’s also worth noting that it’s on-premise software and so can be difficult to install, and requires developer support whenever you need to make any changes to your UI: 

WalkMe has been an amazing tool for delivering training to our staff and our clients at an expedited pace – letting us tailor parts of our software as needed in a way that can be delivered on demand. Our staff can now experience training tailored to their individual roles and our clients can receive guided help round the clock! – Vicky K

Summary

WalkMe is among the best Pendo competitors if all you need is third-party app walkthroughs for employee onboarding. The WalkMe team practically invented them, so you know their software works. It also rivals Pendo’s analytics.

However, it can cost you as much as Pendo, if not more, and so is one of the more expensive Pendo competitors. It’s also on-premise, so if you’re looking for the ease of a SaaS product, then WalkMe isn’t the best fit for you.

[Incidentally, we compared some WalkMe competitors here.]

Pendo Competitor #3: Appcues — For A Wide Range Of Onboarding Elements

pendo-competitors-appcues

Appcues revolutionized the world of onboarding. Before Appcues, companies would use complex, on-prem products like WalkMe to build simple product walkthroughs.

Appcues introduced the world to a wide range of new onboarding elements. Tooltips, checklists, and slideouts, to name but a few.

appcues building an experience step 2

If Pendo’s limited selection of onboarding elements has you looking for a competitor, then Appcues might be the best fit for you.

You’re able to craft the exact onboarding experience you want by combining their range of different elements.

Saying that, Appcues has been around since 2013 and its growth and innovativeness have stagnated a bit. Compared to the newer and more affordable Userpilot, Appcues offers fewer UI elements and only 1 action, while Userpilot offers 4: 

Userpilot UI patterns and actions

Also, like a lot of Pendo competitors (and Pendo itself), the only way to completely style your onboarding elements is through CSS. In-app styling customization is limited.

The fact that Appcues has been around for so long, and developed their product so much, is also reflected in their pricing. Companies with less money to spend may have to look at the other Pendo competitors.

The team at Appcues is super smart and very responsive. They have some of the best content in the business. Oh, and their product is killer. Super easy to use on both the admin and the flow builder side. We have gottena ton of great feedback from our users on our new onboarding flows. Excited to get more sophisticated with our in-app communication and guidance strategy. – Evan Lewis

Appcues pricing 

Appcues is defo a more affordable Pendo alternative, but here’s the trick: while the cheapest plan up to 2,500 MAUs costs the same as Userpilot’s lowest price point ($249), Appcues limits the functionality in its ‘Essentias’ plan so much that if you need to build more onboarding flows or use more than 5 audience segments, you will soon need to upgrade to the Growth Plan, which costs $879 per month. 

Summary

Appcues offers a wide range of onboarding elements, helping you to create the exact product experience you want. It’s one of the leaders in onboarding software, and their library of resources and useful content is unparalleled.

Despite this, the product can be confusing at times, and doesn’t always work how you want it to. It’s also fairly costly. For Enterprise companies, this could be a great alternative to Pendo. For smaller companies and startups, probably not.

[We actually compared some Appcues competitors here.]

Pendo Competitor #4: Gainsight PX – For Customer Success

pendo-competitors-gainsight

Gainsight are well-revered in the world of Customer Success. Their primary product offering enables you to track customer health scores and product usage.

Gainsight, however, recently made their move into onboarding software, with Gainsight PX. This provides you with the ability to create in-app onboarding experiences for your users.

Gainsight product suite provide a potent mix of data, analytics, and onboarding tools. This ensures you’re always making the right decisions when it comes to improving your product experience.

You can also use Gainsight PX to send out automated emails to users that help to drive product adoption and engagement.

However, if you want to make the most out of Gainsight PX, then you also need Gainsight. This can be relatively costly for smaller companies.

Not only that, but you install Gainsight via Salesforce. This isn’t a problem if you already you it. If you don’t use it, then you’ll need to create a Salesforce account too. Again, for smaller companies, this could prove to cost a lot of time, effort, and money.

GPX flips this market on its head, in my opinion. Many of in-app engagement solutions do not also offer analytics – or they offer analytics about the engagements only, not the actual product. GPX flips that paradigm by basing the engagements off of the product analytics. Rather than shooting off engagements into the dark, you can ensure that what users see is timely and relevant to them. – Julie P

Summary

Gainsight PX is one of the best Pendo competitors, in that it offers the in-depth analytics and product insights. You can then use the data to improve your product experience. If you’re looking at onboarding from a Customer Success point of view, then Gainsight PX should be your choice.

If you’re in a smaller company, however, there are a couple of drawbacks to Gainsight PX. Firstly, you need to also purchase Gainsight to make the most of PX. This can be costly. Secondly, you integrate Gainsight PX via Salesforce, so you’ll need a Salesforce account if you don’t have one already.

Pendo Competitor #5: Mixpanel — For In-depth Product Analytics

pendo-competitors-mixpanel

When it comes to learning how and why your users are engaging with your product, then it’s hard to find a better tool than Mixpanel.

Thousands of top companies, such as Samsung and Expedia, have used Mixpanel for its in-depth analytics.

Mixpanel uses data science techniques, such as “look-alike modelling”. These provide you with insights into your users’ behavior. Combined with big data analytics, this will give you all you need to know about how your users behave. 

These invaluable insights are what makes Mixpanel one of the most useful Pendo competitors. If you wanted to use Pendo for its analytical tools, then Mixpanel is the alternative for you.

When it comes to acting on the insights you gather, however, Mixpanel falls short. It doesn’t offer any onboarding tools. If you want to better onboard your customers, you’ll have to combine Mixpanel with one of the other Pendo competitors.

If you’re a smaller company, then you might not need the level of detail that Mixpanel provides. Smaller companies might also struggle to justify purchasing two products.

“We use Mixpanel to keep track of our funnel and make sure we’ve got nailed each element (acquisition, activation, retention). With Mixpanel, you can follow different cohorts of users and create funnels to see where your users fall off; this helps you identify your bottlenecks and fix them quickly. Being able to send your customers messages from the tool is also a huge plus!” – Cherie Foo, Content Team at UpLead

Summary

Mixpanel is undisputably the best software when it comes to tracking product usage. It lets you understand why your users behave the way they do. It surpasses Pendo’s analytics, and the insights you collect could transform your product for the better.

However, Mixpanel doesn’t offer much in the way of acting on those insights. Chances are, you’ll need to combine Mixpanel with one of the other Pendo competitors to create the best product experience for your users.

Which of These Pendo Competitors is Best for You?

It’s safe to say each and every SaaS company will have different needs and requirements. The products we covered in this article are among the best Pendo competitors, but it’s more important you choose the best fit for your needs.

The table below shows a quick overview of how each product compares…

So, here are some final thoughts on the Pendo competitorsal

Userpilot:

Userpilot’s contextual onboarding means you can adapt onboarding flows to each individual user. You can trigger elements as and when they’re needed. This provides the best possible product experience for your users.

WalkMe:

WalkMe is the grandfather of onboarding software, and so it’s trusted by the biggest Enterprise companies. If you’re a large company then you know you’re in safe hands.

Appcues:

Appcues practically invented the onboarding elements we know and love today. They offer a wide range of elements, including tooltips, hotspots, and slideouts. This enables you to craft the exact onboarding experience you require.

Gainsight PX:

Gainsight are mainly known for their Customer Success product. Their new product, Gainsight PX, is very effective when used with their primary product. For Customer Success managers, this is invaluable.

Mixpanel:

You can’t beat Mixpanel when it comes to product analytics. The insights that Mixpanel provides will help you understand not only how your users engage with your product, but why. This information is like gold dust when it comes to creating a better product experience.

We hope this guide has helped you understand the key differences between the top Pendo competitors. Now you should have a better idea of which is right for your company.

If you’ve decided that Userpilot’s contextual onboarding is right for you, then why not book a demo today and get started.

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Joe is a UX and content writer, with several years of experience working with SaaS startups. He's been working with SaaS startups that are focused towards product management and customer success for the past couple of years.