So you want to create product tours and walkthroughs to enhance your user onboarding. But which tool is right for the job?
Two of the big hitters out there are Pendo and Walkme. Today we’re going to put them head-to-head to see which comes out to be the strongest digital adoption platform.
So let’s dig in and see which product is best suited to your onboarding needs!
- Pendo and WalkMe are both digital adoption platforms that help you create user guides for onboarding customers or employees to your software.
- While their features for in-app guides, in-app messages, and user analytics are similar in many ways, WalkMe focuses on employee onboarding for enterprise-level businesses, while Pendo helps create walkthroughs for customer onboarding as well.
- Pendo comes out stronger than WalkMe for developing user onboarding experiences and collecting in-depth analytics.
- WalkMe works on a custom pricing plan only that requires you to request a quote from their sales team (could be spending from $9000 to $50000 a year).
- Pendo offers a very limited free plan, a starter package starting at $7000/year, and custom pricing plans for its more advanced packages, including an employee onboarding one.
- Neither Pendo nor WalkMe is particularly easy to use, but Pendo generally requires less coding and technical background for a user onboarding tool.
- If you’re looking for Pendo and WalkMe alternatives, Userpilot is a strong, affordable solution that combines code-free ease of use with customizable onboarding flows and in-depth analytics. It also doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg to get access to advanced analytics and customer engagement features: Userpilot’s accessible pricing plans start at $249/ month.
Pros and Cons of both tools
Pendo and WalkMe do some similar things, but they are definitely not equivalent. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.
Pendo pros and cons
Despite the price and its steep learning curve, Pendo does have a few pros compared to its competitors.
- Pendo is known for its good and easy-to-use analytics tools like Paths, Retention, and Funnels. (As of Q2 2023, Userpilot will have the same analytics features, with more robust functionality).
- Pendo has a shareable product-planning tool to organize customer feedback and prioritize high-value features. It helps keep teams aligned with the shared feature-planning guide.
- It works on web apps and mobile apps so if you need both, this might be a good choice for you.
Surprisingly for a product engagement tool that claims to be “all in one” you can’t act directly on the user analytics from Pendo in Pendo.
That’s because Pendo doesn’t allow you to target users segmented by in-app events with the in-app guides you’ve built with it.
Here’s a short list of Pendo’s cons:
- It doesn’t allow you to trigger experiences based on in-app events either. This is probably because of tech debt – but makes Pendo’s analytics pretty much NOT actionable.
- Pendo offers limited onboarding elements, which means you can’t always create the best experience for your users. If you want checklists these can only be accessed from the Resource Center which defeats the purpose of having them in the first place.
- User behavior data is displayed with a 1-hour delay. As a result, you can’t trigger contextual in-app messages or guidance in response to what users do.
If you’re looking for a tool that shows you user analytics in real-time and allows you to trigger in-app experiences based on in-app events and user behavior in real-time – Userpilot offers these features (and at a lower price tag too).
WalkMe pros and cons
WalkMe was one of the first on the scene for digital adoption. It has many of the same key features as Pendo, but while it does offer tools for customer-facing experiences, its larger focus is on employee onboarding.
WalkMe has its fair share of advantages that make it a solid tool. So what are WalkMe’s pros?
Here are our top three:
- Offers a high level of customization and works on both your own tool and 3rd party tools.
- Allows you to create in-app quizzes to test user or employee knowledge after completing a flow.
- Get access to a vast list of integrations that simply enhance your data collection or allow you to connect multiple tools in your stack.
- Its primary focus is on employee onboarding so the features offered are mostly in that area.
- There’s a steep learning curve and a fair amount of technical knowledge required to create WalkMe user guides and get them implemented the way they’re intended.
- WalkMe is designed for enterprise organizations, and its pricing reflects that.
- You could end up spending anything from $9000 to $50000 a year on WalkMe. That’s a lot of money for startups and SMEs.
Pendo vs WalkMe for user onboarding
Both Pendo and WalkMe have a strong presence when it comes to user onboarding. There’s also a good bit of overlap in terms of their core features.
However, the different use case of each tool means there are key differences in the features they offer.
User segmentation feature comparison
One of the biggest differences hinges on user segmentation, and this is critical for SaaS businesses.
Pendo, for example, offers easy-to-use tools for segmenting your users and creating tailored onboarding experiences for each segment.
WalkMe’s personalization and segmentation features are limited compared with Pendo’s. Since they’ve shifted to employee onboarding, WalkMe’s need for user segmentation just isn’t as great.
UI elements comparison
Pendo gives you some basic UI elements like tooltips, modals, or checklists to support your product tours. However, there’re highly limited on the free or starter plan.
WalkMe’s UI is quite customizable – it’s just not easy to do.
Customizing and stylizing your onboarding flow requires significant coding and technical knowledge, and more likely than not you’ll have to enlist the help of a certified WalkMe expert.
Pendo vs WalkMe: Product Usage Analytics
Product usage analytics are important because they allow your product managers to determine whether your onboarding flow is achieving the desired results, and if not, how to improve it.
Both Pendo and WalkMe give you access to product usage and onboarding analytics, but not to quite the same extent.
As we mentioned earlier, Pendo provides easy-to-use segmentation tools with the capacity to tailor onboarding experiences according to each segment. This also means that you can access and compare usage analytics between segments, generating stronger insights as to how your onboarding process may (or may not) be supporting greater activation and product adoption.
Pendo lets you view analytics on data like user clicks and time on guide. Plus, it offers path, funnel, and customer retention reports that show patterns in user behavior and how these patterns may link to retention or churn.
While WalkMe’s product usage analytics dashboard also gives you a powerful, in-depth look at how users interact with the onboarding flow, the lack of strong segmentation tools severely limits its usefulness for SaaS.
Customers with different use cases who experience the same onboarding flow are likely to experience different levels of value from it. In a context where all the users are employees with similar use cases, this isn’t a problem.
However, if you have a SaaS business with customers who have varying use cases and personas, then lumping all those product usage analytics together is going to obscure where your onboarding is working or causing friction.
Pendo vs WalkMe pricing comparison
Comparing prices between Pendo and WalkMe is tricky since WalkMe doesn’t make its pricing information publicly available.
What we can say, though, is that neither option is cheap. Especially not for startups and SMEs.
WalkMe’s pricing varies depending on customer needs but generally ranges from $9,000 to $50,000 per year (you’ll have to ask for a custom quote). This doesn’t include the cost of a certified WalkMe expert, which you’ll probably need to get more sophisticated custom elements working.
Again, WalkMe is aimed at large enterprises, and their pricing reflects this.
Pendo doesn’t list pricing on its site for its higher tiers. However, some reviews say they have prices starting at $20,000-$25,000 per year for a single product, and around $50,000 per year for the mid-tier package.
The tricky part when it comes to Pendo’s pricing is that you get to pay separately for different modules:
- Pendo Free: up to 500 MAU, single-app, and basic functionality and analytics.
- Pendo Starter $7000/year: 2,000 MAU limit, multi-app, and access to premium features like NPS but it doesn’t include advanced analytics or integrations
- Pendo Growth: Custom MAU, single-app, NPS and PES, resource center, and access to support compared to lower plans
- Pendo Portfolio: Custom MAU, multi-app, cross-journey reports, experimentation, and 1 free integration included.
- Pendo Feedback: collecting feature requests is a separate module with custom pricing.
- Pendo Adopt: employee onboarding is a separate module with custom pricing
Pendo vs WalkMe ease of use comparison
Now, before diving into this section it’s worthwhile to point out that the question we’ll answer isn’t really “Which is easier to use?”. Both tools are not that user-friendly.
Rather, it’s more like, “Which is less difficult?”.
We’ve already touched on this a bit, so let’s start with setup.
Setup and implementation comparison
WalkMe is on-premise software, meaning you’ll need to install it locally. This is not as easy as double-clicking an executable file, and actually takes quite a bit of time, work, and technical knowledge.
WalkMe’s certified technicians can help you with this, but don’t imagine that you’ll sign up for WalkMe and start building custom product walkthroughs all at once.
Pendo is simpler and faster to set up than WalkMe but still requires some relatively advanced technical ability.
Using the product
WalkMe offers highly customizable and sophisticated product walkthroughs – that is, provided you have the coding and technical skills necessary to get them working.
You can also pay for a certified expert to help with the technical aspects, but this just makes an already pricey product even more expensive.
Pendo, on the other hand, offers its Visual Design Studio as a way to reduce the need for coding. Unfortunately, this comes with two major downsides.
First, using the studio limits your ability to customize walkthroughs and UI elements. To do that, you’ll need to be able to write some CSS.
Second, the Visual Design Studio can be a bit clunky to use. You can preview your walkthroughs in the studio dashboard, but that’s separate from the web app where you actually create them.
This means that you have to constantly switch between applications just to get a sense of how your edits are taking effect. Further, you can’t test your walkthrough until the code has been installed via API.
Is Pendo better than WalkMe? The final verdict
If you’ve been keeping score, it’s pretty clear by now that Pendo has won in most categories.
To summarize, Pendo comes out ahead because of:
- More control over user segmentation and user analytics.
- Is simpler to implement and use.
- Supports customer-facing onboarding in startups and SMEs – not just large enterprises doing employee onboarding.
- Is probably cheaper. However, this is unclear without getting a quote from the company.
At this point, you might be thinking that these products seem useful, but don’t quite meet the needs of your SaaS business or customer success goals.
If only there was a third option that’s easier to use, more focused on SaaS growth goals, and less expensive.
Fortunately, such an option does exist! Allow me to introduce a third contender: Userpilot.
Better alternatives to Pendo or WalkMe
If you’re a mid-market SaaS company with a product team, Userpilot might be just the digital adoption platform you need. It allows you to improve your user onboarding process by building in-app messages, and triggering them contextually to drive customer engagement and ultimately product adoption.
Let’s run through some of Userpilot’s key features and see how they compare.
Userpilot for user onboarding
Userpilot was built specifically for SaaS product teams that want to improve their user onboarding experience and boost user activation.
You can build a huge variety of user onboarding flows and in-app messages without needing to code. This makes Userpilot the perfect onboarding tool for non-technical people.
Here’s what you’ll get when you start using Userpilot:
- Build in-app flows using the largest range of UI patterns (modals, slideouts, tooltips, hotspots, banners) and in-app onboarding experiences (checklists, microsurveys, NPS surveys, in-app resource center).
- Get access to a built-in NPS tool for collecting and analyzing user feedback so you can improve your onboarding process based on real data.
- Create and track combinations of in-app events like clicks, hovers, and form fills, and then analyze all these interactions under your own custom events, which can be built without code or API calls.
- Use advanced product analytics and in-app flows analytics to identify where users need help and create granular user segments to trigger in-app experiences contextually (segment based on user identification data, in-app engagement, custom events, clicks, hovers, form fills, user feedback responses, NPS scores and more).
- Enhance the onboarding experience with in-app help by launching a Resource Center directly inside your app. Add in-app guides, and video tutorials, and give users access to search the knowledge base or reach out to support. Self-service has never been easier.
- Userpilot is also designed to work with your product, but not third-party apps. This makes it great for SaaS user onboarding, but not so much for employee onboarding.
Schedule a demo with our team and get ready to build the best onboarding experiences your users have seen.
Userpilot product analytics features
Userpilot has really improved in terms of its analytics functionality in recent years, and now offers the most robust functionality from all the product adoption platforms (including Pendo, which has always taken prime in user analytics.)
In short, Userpilot analytics allows you to:
- Track all of your user interactions with your app – without coding- with the powerful feature tagging functionality, you can simply tag your users’ actions (clicks, hovers, form fills) with a no-code, point-and-tag editor on top of your product.
- Create ‘user funnels’ made up of feature tags and tracked events, and see where your users are dropping out of the funnel – and act on these drop-off points instantly with in-app experiences.
- Track feature usage by user segments with heatmaps, directly on the different pages of your product.
- Create custom events that consist of feature tags as well – or combinations of tracked events you’ve passed through the Userpilot track script with features you have tagged with the Chrome Extension.
- The powerful trends overview allows you to filter your events and feature tags’ usage by segments, time period, and even company. This allows you to track and analyze event usage trends and even drill down to the individual users (or companies) who engaged with specific custom events and show them the right in-app experience.
- Analyze how users engage with your checklists or resource center modules, identify trends and A/B test different approaches to improve engagement.
- Last but not least, Userpilot allows you to use all that data to build highly granular user segments and reach users with the right engagement flows at the right time.
- You can even create user segments based on survey responses or NPS scores.
Userpilot’s ease of use
Beyond the single line at installation, there is no coding necessary to access, implement, or test all the tools, features, and resources Userpilot offers.
Userpilot offers great value for money compared to Pendo or WalkMe. Even its entry-level plan (Traction) provides all the necessary features without any usage limit.
The pricing differentiation happens mostly on the service level (e.g. custom domain hosting, dedicated Customer Success Manager, SLA) and is based on the number of Monthly Active Users (MAUs) your company has.
Here are the detailed pricing plans:
- Traction: For up to 2500 users, this plan is $249/ mo.
- Growth: For up to 10,000 users, this plan is $499/ mo.
- Enterprise: For large-scale businesses, these plans begin from $1000/ mo.
For a small- or medium-sized SaaS business, it’s hard to argue with Userpilot’s value for money when compared with the other tools in its class.
Pendo vs WalkMe: Which is the best digital adoption platform?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to give a definitive recommendation for which tool is “best” overall. Pendo tends to beat WalkMe for most SaaS use cases, and Userpilot is a fantastic, affordable option for SaaS startups and SMEs.
To help with your decision, here’s a brief rundown of each product’s suitability:
- WalkMe is suitable for enterprise-level businesses looking to do employee onboarding and that have vast amounts of money and technical resources.
- Pendo offers somewhat better accessibility and customer-facing SaaS onboarding solutions but at a high price tag.
- Usepilot is perfect for SaaS startups and SMEs looking for affordable, top-quality, easy-to-use onboarding tools.
Does flexible, code-free onboarding software sound like a good fit for your company? If so, check out a Userpilot demo and get started today!