Product Tours Guide for SaaS Companies: Types, Best Practices, and Tools

Product Tours Guide for SaaS Companies: Types, Best Practices, and Tools cover

Product tours are very common in SaaS products. However, not all product tours are created equal: many companies fail to realize their full potential.

Worry not, though, as our in-depth guide explores the best practices for designing this popular type of onboarding experience. We also show you a few good product tour software tools.

Ready to dive in?


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What are product tours?

Product tours are interactive guides that help users understand and navigate a SaaS product.

They normally consist of a sequence of in-app UI patterns, like modals or tooltips, which appear on the screen and offer users guidance on how to use product features.

Product tours can be used for primary onboarding, when users first log into the product, or secondary onboarding when they explore new or more advanced functionality.

Why is creating product tours important?

Product tours play an important role in the user onboarding process.

How exactly? Let’s have a look at a few main ways.

Drive users toward the Aha! Moment

One of the main goals of product tours is to lead users to the Aha! Moment. That’s when they experience the product value.

This is essential for the product-led growth model where monetization can happen only when users see the product value. If you can’t show them what the product can do for them, they won’t subscribe to the paid plan.

Encourage users to adopt a product’s key features

The role of product tours doesn’t end at the Aha! Moment. They are also critical for product and feature adoption.

Adoption is the stage when users start using the product as the go-to solution to their problems.

To adopt a feature or a product, the user needs to use it repeatedly until it becomes a habit. A product tour can accelerate it by prompting regular user interactions with the feature.

Increase customer engagement and satisfaction

By prompting users to interact with the app, product tours don’t let users forget about features. Keeping them constantly engaged is essential for their retention.

More importantly, the guidance they provide enables customers to fully use the product’s capabilities and achieve their personal and professional objectives, which translates into greater user satisfaction.

Reduce the load on the customer support team

Talking of guidance, product tours are essential for sustainable customer support.

They won’t make your customer support team redundant, but they can massively reduce their workload.

This means you need fewer support agents to support the growing user base, and they can focus on the most difficult cases or the most valuable customers.

Types of product tours for user onboarding

‘Product tour’ is an umbrella term for a few different in-app experiences.

Here’s an overview of a few of the main ones.


Modals are UI patterns that pop up in the center of the screen, either on their own or as a part of the sequences.

You can use them to:

A modal used as a welcome screen initiating the product tour
A modal used as a welcome screen initiating the product tour.

Interactive walkthroughs

Interactive walkthroughs are step-by-step guides, usually made up of tooltips, which help users reach the activation stage or master new features.

Why are they called interactive?

Because they normally prompt users to take action.

Moreover, users can skip different stages of the walkthrough, for example, if they seem irrelevant at a particular moment, and come back to them when the time is right. This distinguishes them from traditional linear product tours.

Kommunicate interactive walkthrough designed with Userpilot
Kommunicate interactive walkthrough designed with Userpilot.


Tooltips are small square UI patterns that appear when you hover over or click on a feature.

Teams can use them individually, for example, to provide contextual guidance or prompt engagement with a feature, or as a part of a walkthrough.

Tooltips often include CTA buttons that trigger interactive tours or lead users to additional resources.

A tooltip created in Userpilot
A tooltip created in Userpilot.


Hotspots are visual cues, like highlights, pulsing dots, or arrows, that draw user attention to a specific feature inside the product.

Their main strength? They are unobtrusive and yet difficult to miss.

Better yet, hotspots can be interactive and provide additional information about the feature when you click on them or hover over them. As such, they are a valuable onboarding tool.

A hotspot created in Userpilot
A hotspot created in Userpilot.

Explainer videos

Explainer videos can be embedded in a modal and triggered to provide users with step-by-step instructions on how to use a feature or complete a task.

They are particularly effective for dealing with complex features or processes that are difficult to figure out from text or screenshots. They also take less time – both to create and digest – and appeal to users who prefer learning by watching and listening.

An explained video embedded in a product tour
An explained video embedded in a product tour.


Checklists are a very structured type of interactive product tour.

As the name suggests, they consist of a list of tasks that users have to complete to achieve a goal. For example, they are commonly used to activate users.

Checklists are very effective at driving the desired behaviors because they rely on a powerful psychological process called the Zeigarnik effect. Basically, humans tend to feel very anxious until they complete a planned task.

This is often reinforced by elements of gamification like the progress bar which shows users how far in the process they are and how many more steps they need to complete.

Onboarding checklist created in Userpilot
Onboarding checklist created in Userpilot.

Best practices for creating interactive product tours

As we’ve covered the main types of product tours and UI patterns used to create them, we can now look at how to create interactive product tours that promote required user behaviors.

Personalize the product tour for different user segments

Obvious as it might sound, different user personas use the product differently. After all, they have different use cases and different goals.

This means that a one-size-fits-all product tour will not necessarily be relevant. Worse, it can confuse and overwhelm users with unnecessary details to the point when they start wondering if the product is what they need.

The solution?


Instead of one generic product tour, design a few, one for each of the main user segments. Next, use a welcome survey to segment users when they sign up for the product, and use the data to trigger a relevant tour.

Userpilot’s segmentation enables teams to personalize their product tours for different user personas
Userpilot’s segmentation enables teams to personalize their product tours for different user personas.

Keep the product tour short and straight-forward

The Kiss! principle applies to product tours like nothing else.

By keeping your product tour simple and focusing only on the actions and features that directly lead to your objective, you increase the chances that users complete the tour and achieve the goal.

How do you find the shortest and most direct route to value?

Run path analysis to identify the actions of the most successful users who reach the destination. Some analytics tools, like Userpilot, allow you to filter the most common path that users take, which simplifies the analysis dramatically.

Userpilot’s Top path visualization helps find the optimal path to a goal
Userpilot’s Top Path visualization helps find the optimal path to a goal.

Allow users to skip your own product tour

A product tour is like a meal. It may be absolutely delicious, but your guests may not feel hungry, so it’s poor form to shove it down your users’ throats.

Many companies don’t recognize that users might prefer to explore the product on their own or are already competent enough to use the product without the tour and don’t let them skip the product tour.

Don’t be like them; include the ‘skip’ button.

To avoid annoying users, always allow them users to dismiss product tours.
To avoid annoying users, always allow them to dismiss product tours.

Improve the product tour’s microcopy with AI

Writing microcopy for product tours is challenging because the real estate available is limited and you have a lot of information to communicate.

It isn’t a problem for a decent copywriter but they might be busy doing other stuff, like writing ads for a new marketing campaign or the landing page copy.

If that’s the case, consider using an AI-writing assistant. Many tools, including Userpilot, support such functionality to empower product and customer success teams to create quality microcopy independently and in no time.

AI is particularly useful for tweaking existing copy that you know doesn’t sound right but aren’t exactly sure how to improve it.

Userpilot’s AI writing assistant helps teams refine their microcopy
Userpilot’s AI writing assistant helps teams refine their microcopy.

Gamify the experience for new users

I’ve already mentioned gamification in the context of progress bars and checklists but that’s not the only way to include it in product tours.

Have a look at the modal below: it congratulates users on reaching a milestone and rewards them with access to premium features.

Such a message sends a dopamine shot up their bloodstream and reinforces the desired behavior.

How else can you gamify product tours?


  • Setting up challenges and quests.
  • Introducing a point system that rewards users for completing tasks.
  • Adding quizzes to review what they’ve learned.
  • Incorporating a narrative or storyline that unfolds as users progress through the product tour.
A celebratory modal created in Userpilot to gamify a product tour
A celebratory modal created in Userpilot to gamify a product tour.

Offer additional support after the product tour ends

No matter how good your microcopy is, your product tours can contain only limited information or guidance. This may not be sufficient for users to fully discover the functionality or learn how to use it.

To help them overcome potential obstacles to feature or product adoption, create product tours with links to relevant resource center modules.

This serves another purpose.

It not only helps users master a particular feature but also shows them when they can find additional resources. Thanks to that, they will be able to troubleshoot their future issues independently without contacting the customer support team.

Userpilot resource centers provide in-depth guidance on topics introduced in product tours
Userpilot resource centers provide in-depth guidance on topics introduced in product tours.

Collect user feedback regarding the onboarding process

So you’ve put a massive effort into creating the product tour. Does it work, though?

There are two ways to find out.

One is by tracking the key metrics, like activation or adoption, to see if they have the intended impact.

The other is by collecting qualitative user feedback. Such feedback can give you actionable ideas on how to improve the product tour. How can you collect such feedback?

Use in-app surveys triggered contextually when the user reaches a certain stage in the product tour.

For example, the survey could appear at the moment when they close the final UI pattern.

In-app survey created in Userpilot
In-app surveys created in Userpilot.

Identify and remove friction points from the user journey

Sometimes your users may not know they’re experiencing an issue with user onboarding or cannot put their finger down on it. And yet the metrics show that the user journey isn’t as smooth as it should be.

If that’s the case, drill down on the data to find the exact cause of the problem.

Start by conducting funnel analysis to identify the stage in the journey where users face friction. Next, do a path analysis to gain insights into how exactly they behave at the stage. If you need more granular data, conduct a heatmap or session recording analysis.

Once you find the root cause, tweak the product tour to remove the roadblocks.

Funnel analysis in Userpilot
Funnel analysis in Userpilot.

Use A/B testing to create successful product tours

Before you roll out the reviewed version of the product tour, run experiments to test its effectiveness.

In A/B tests, you enable 2 versions of the same tour to half of the selected user sample and watch which of them performs better.

If there are lots of tweaks to make, this can take a lot of time.

Fortunately, you can speed up the experimentation process with multivariate tests. They work in a similar way to the A/B test, but you can manipulate more variables at the same time.

A/B test results in Userpilot
A/B test results in Userpilot.

Examples of companies with a successful product tour

Want to see how companies implement the best practices in their product tours? Here are a few examples.


Groupize is a meetings management platform you can use to coordinate group and corporate business travel and events.

When designing their onboarding, the company decided to gamify the experience and created an interactive assistant called Groupsize Guide, or G.G. for friends.

G.G. uses a range of tools to guide users, including the resource center, checklists, and live chat. And of course, product tours that guide users through individual pages.

How did they manage to achieve such a comprehensive and yet fun onboarding experience?

They used Userpilot.

Groupize interactive assistant G.G. uses product tours to guide users
Groupize interactive assistant G.G. uses product tours to guide users.


Userpilot is a product growth platform that helps companies build in-app experiences to onboard users and provide guidance.

The company eats its own dog food. If the solution is good enough to sell to customers, it must be good for their own goals.

Its onboarding flow is based on a checklist. The checklist includes 4 different tasks needed for user activation.

If you look carefully you will see that the first of them is ‘Create Your Account’. Including a task that the user has already completed gives users an extra motivational boost: they haven’t started yet and they’ve already completed 25% of the checklist. Winning!

Userpilot also provides an estimate of the time needed to complete each task so that users know what to expect, and a progress bar to track progress.

At the bottom, there’s an option to dismiss the checklist.

Userpilot onboarding checklist
Userpilot onboarding checklist.

Attention Insight

Attention Insight is another Userpilot customer.

What does Attention Insight do?

The clue is in the name. The platform uses AI to create attention heatmaps of websites, ads, and other designs without running usability tests with real users.

Sounds complicated, but the process is simple. To activate, users need to complete just two actions.

And yet, when the company first launched, it struggled with low activation rates.

To solve the issue, they used an onboarding checklist covering all actions users need to activate and interactive walkthroughs that helped users complete individual actions.

To make the interactive walkthroughs more engaging, the team gamified them by including congratulatory messages triggered when the user creates the first heatmap successfully.

Users also have access to the resource center with product documentation, guides, and tutorials.

How effective are the onboarding flows?

User activation increased by 47% within 6 months of their implementation.

Not too shabby at all.

Attention Insight product tour
Attention Insight product tour.

Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics needs no introductions: it’s probably the most popular analytics platform out there, enabling companies to track and analyze user behavior on websites and inside apps.

GA4 is a fairly complex tool and new users may struggle to understand what’s where and how to start.

To help them overcome the block, GA has created a user-friendly product tour.

It consists of 8 modals and tooltips, which introduce the main reports and showcase their key features. The UI patterns are minimalistic and clear, and the microcopy is easy to understand.

More advanced or adventurous users have the option to dismiss the product tour and get down to work right away.

Google Analytics product tour
Google Analytics product tour.


Loom is a video messaging application that has revolutionized how teams communicate. As it allows you to record your screen, voice, and video at the same time, it’s perfect for creating tutorials and demonstrations. Instead of trying to explain something to a colleague, you can send them a link to a Loom video and job done.

Loom is a very intuitive and user-friendly solution. However, some of its features may not be obvious right away.

To improve their adoption and flatten the learning curve, Loom uses a short 4-step product tour. Each of the tooltips briefly explains what each feature does and its benefits.

Should the information be irrelevant, users have the option to skip the tour.

Loom product tour
Loom product tour.

The best product tour software in the market

The days when you had to code every UI pattern for your product tours are long gone. Product, marketing, and customer success teams now have access to brilliant tools for creating stunning interactive in-app experiences without any coding whatsoever.

The best part is that many of them offer analytics and feedback functionalities for a comprehensive growth solution.

If you aren’t using one yet, here are 3 solid options.

Userpilot – best product tour tool for SaaS

As mentioned, Userpilot is a digital adoption platform (DAP) you can use to onboard and support users at all stages of the user journey.

Its engagement layer allows you to create:

There’s also a resource center functionality for self-service support, an AI writing assistant, and automatic localization.

For onboarding personalization, you can target different user segments with different flows.

The in-app experiences can be triggered contextually, exactly when the user needs them.

For example?

Say you’ve just added the scheduling feature to your social media management app. You could trigger an interactive tour introducing the functionality when the user is about to publish a post because that’s when it’s most relevant.

Product tour software: Userpilot UI patterns
Product tour software: Userpilot UI patterns.

Targetted and contextual triggering is possible thanks to Userpilot analytics, which are second to none.

You can use them to analyze user behavior at different touchpoints and track key product metrics, which is essential if you’re serious about creating a frictionless user experience.

The analytics features include:

You can visualize the data in individual reports or one of the 4 ready-made analytics dashboards.

Product tour software: Userpilot analytics dashboard
Product tour software: Userpilot analytics dashboard.

Finally, Userpilot supports in-app surveys so that you can collect user feedback. Again, they can be triggered contextually and sent to specific user segments.

Appcues – recommend product tour tool for mobile apps

Appcues is another product growth platform that is similarly priced to Userpilot (at the bottom tier).

It offers all the features that you may need to create product tours:

  • UI patterns – tooltips, modals, slideouts, pins, and banners.
  • Checklists.

There’s no resource center, though, its UI isn’t as intuitive and the analytics features are limited to event tracking and flow analytics.

However, Appcues has one advantage over Userpilot: it supports mobile apps.

Product tour software: Appcues
Product tour software: Appcues.

UserGuiding – affordable product tour software

UserGuiding is the most affordable of the 3 solutions, targeting smaller SaaS companies.

The tool allows you to create:

  • Product tours.
  • Onboarding checklists.
  • UI patterns – tooltips, modals, and hotspots.

It also offers a resource center and its analytics are good enough to support personalized flows.

If you don’t need advanced analytics and are satisfied with branded in-app experiences, this might be the tool for you.

Product tour software: UserGuiding
Product tour software: UserGuiding.


Product tours are a staple of user onboarding. However, there are different ways to serve the dish, some more effective than others.

Successful product tours are interactive and personalized, leading users to value in the simplest and most direct way. Most importantly, they’re based on data from product analytics, experiments, and customer feedback.

If you’d like to see how Userpilot can help you analyze user behavior, collect feedback, and use the insights to design product tours, book the demo!

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