UserGuiding vs Userflow vs Stonly for In-App Messaging
Looking for a good in-app messaging tool and wondering which one of UserGuiding, Userflow, and Stonly is the best option for your SaaS company? Let’s compare them!
There are plenty of tools for in-app messaging on review sites, but they don’t make the choice any easier.
The crux of the issue is – to make the right choice, you need to account for your priorities: your different jobs to be done, budget, and the size of your company. But don’t worry – we’re coming to help!
In this post, we’ll discuss exactly that – which tool is best for in-app messaging depending on the different criteria that different SaaS companies may have.
Let’s dive in!
- In-app messaging is an effective way to engage with users while they are actively using your product, rather than relying on external communication channels.In-app messaging can take many forms, such as pop-up messages, banners, tooltips, etc. And the content of the message can vary depending on the intended purpose, such as informing users about new features or updates, promoting products or services, providing support or assistance, or requesting feedback.In-app messaging can also be used to personalize the user experience, by delivering targeted messages or content based on user behavior or preferences.
Let’s explore how UserGuiding, Userflow, and Stonly compare when it comes to in-app messaging.
- UserGuiding is a no-code product adoption tool that lets users create in-app walkthroughs, guides, and checklists. The solution makes it possible for teams to onboard, engage, and retain users without needing coding skills to create these in-app experiences.
- Userflow is a user onboarding solution centered around building in-app flows and guides quickly and seamlessly. It helps product teams onboard new users, creates guides/checklists, and surveys customers to gather valuable feedback.
- Stonly positions itself as a cheaper alternative to some of the pricier product adoption solutions on the market. In reality, it’s more of a customer service tool that can be used to build knowledge bases rather than an actual onboarding or analytics platform.
- Userpilot is a product growth platform that drives user activation, feature adoption, and expansion revenue. It also helps product teams collect user feedback, streamline onboarding, and gather actionable insights from analytics.
- If you’re looking for a better option for in-app messaging, Userpilot exceeds both functionality and value for money compared to other tools on the list. Get a Userpilot demo for in-app messaging and drive your product growth code-free.
There is a better tool for your SaaS than UserGuiding!
What is in-app messaging
In-app messaging is an effective way to engage with users while they are actively using your product, rather than relying on external communication channels.
In-app messaging can take many forms, such as pop-up messages, banners, tooltips, etc. And the content of the message can vary depending on the intended purpose, such as informing users about new features or updates, promoting products or services, providing support or assistance, or requesting feedback.
In-app messaging can also be used to personalize the user experience, by delivering targeted messages or content based on user behavior or preferences.
UserGuiding for in-app messaging
UserGuiding isn’t a support solution so it doesn’t have much in the way of native support capabilities. However, various features could be used to bolster your in-app support infrastructure such as:
- Resource centers. UserGuiding’s resource centers are the closest thing the tool has to dedicated support features while also doubling as a valuable customer education channel (but you’ll need to upgrade to Professional or higher to create more than one resource center).
- Chat integrations. UserGuiding has live chat software integrations that can help it interlink with the rest of your customer support tool stack.
- Knowledge base integrations. If the native resource center feature on UserGuiding isn’t sufficient for your use case then you could look at compatible knowledge base integrations to get more out of the tool.
UserGuiding has quite a few benefits as a product adoption solution, particularly for early-stage SaaS companies that need an easy-to-use starter tool for their small (but growing) team of product developers or marketers. Let’s look at some of the pros that UserGuiding has to offer:
- Chrome extension – UserGuiding utilizes a no-code Chrome extension.
- Survey template gallery – UserGuiding lets you choose from six survey templates or create your own survey from scratch.
- Analytics dashboard – users can see their monthly active users (MAUs) for the month, monitor the number of views their guides are getting, and see how many interactions checklists or resource centers have had in the past week from the UserGuiding homepage.
- Custom themes – granular theme customization and color selection.
- Easy onboarding – onboarding checklist walks you through key steps, such as how to get the UserGuiding Chrome extension and create your first guide.
While there are quite a few benefits to using UserGuiding, there are three significant drawbacks to note:
- Dashboard customization – you can’t edit your home dashboard or choose which analytics you want to see.
- Pricing jumps – upgrading from Basic (2,500 MAUs) to Professional (20,000 MAUs) increases your subscription cost by more than 4x.
- Manual localization – UserGuiding doesn’t have AI-powered localization, so you’ll need to manually download, translate, and upload every CSV when attempting to localize content for your product.
- HubSpot integration – the UserGuiding-HubSpot integration is only a one-way integration which limits its functionality and prevents you from setting up two-way data synchronization between both platforms.
- Limited analytics – the analytics dashboard only shows you data for onboarding materials created with UserGuiding and even those analytics are quite limited as surveys only show you total responses rather than letting you select a date range.
- Survey limit – you can only have one active survey on the Basic plan which is disappointing considering UserGuiding costs over $1,000 annually (whereas Userpilot lets you create unlimited surveys and collect up to 250 responses per month on the cheapest plan).
UserGuiding has three plans to choose from, targeted towards a range of business sizes from startup to enterprise.
Here are UserGuiding’s specific pricing details:
- Basic: Costing $129/month, the Basic plan is targeted towards startups and SMBs. The Basic plan is quite limited as it caps your account at one active survey, two active checklists, and no more than 2,500 MAUs. Features include:
- Access to user identification features.
- Integrations with Google Analytics, HubSpot, Intercom, and more.
- Email and chat support.
- Customizable theme (only one).
- Professional: The Professional plan costs almost 4x as much as the Basic tier at $499/month. That said, it significantly increases capacity to 20,000 MAUs and improves the quality of customer support you’ll receive. Features include:
- Removal of UserGuiding branding.
- Language localization.
- Full customer support access.
- Five team member seats.
- Five customizable themes.
- Unlimited guides and checklists.
- Corporate: Subscriptions on the Corporate plan start at $999/month. Of course, this higher price does come with its fair share of enterprise perks. Features include:
- Service Level Agreement (SLA) + Data Processing Agreement (DPA).
- Up to 10 active surveys.
- Custom MAU capacity based on your needs.
- Unlimited team member seats.
- Unlimited customizable themes.
All monthly plans are marked down by 30% when customers choose to bill annually.
Userflow for in-app messaging
In-app support provides assistance within the product so customers are left satisfied. Userflow is not positioned as a support tool but it does have resource centers, AI chatbots, and third-party integrations that can improve in-app support:
- Resource centers: Userflow resource centers can be segmented so they only show up to users who meet certain conditions. They can also be styled using custom header text, launcher buttons, or dark mode themes. You can also add blocks for actions, messages, sub-pages, flows, and AI chatbots.
- AI assistants: Userflow’s AI assistants can be used to answer questions for customers while they wait for your human representatives. Do note that you’re limited to 100 messages per month and if you go over, you’ll be charged an additional $100/month for 500 message credits.
- Third-party integrations: Userflow has integrations with support tools like Intercom, Zendesk, and Freshchat. You can use these integrations to embed live chats in your resource centers or let your users search through external knowledge bases in-app.
Userflow has multiple benefits but the most notable is how easy it is to create and edit flows within the software. Userflow’s ease-of-use makes it an attractive solution for product teams, marketers, and even solopreneurs.
Here are the pros of using Userflow:
- Flow builder: Userflow’s intuitive drag-and-drop flow builder makes it easy to add new steps, create links between steps, and reorder steps by moving them around. Speech bubbles, tooltips, and modals are the three primary UI elements that you can use when creating steps.
- AI assistant: Userflow lets you create in-app AI assistants that can respond to customers in their native language (but will default to English if unsure which language the customer is speaking). Do note that you’ll need to pay an additional $100/month if you exceed 100 monthly messages.
- Integrations: Userflow integrates with tools like Amplitude, Mixpanel, Segment, Salesforce, Heap, HubSpot, and more — which makes it easy to integrate Userflow with your existing tech stack so you can sync data between platforms.
Of course, there are some limitations to Userflow since it’s one of the newer onboarding solutions on the market. Let’s take a look at some of the downsides of choosing Userflow as your onboarding tool:
- Analytics: This is undoubtedly Userflow’s biggest weakness. It doesn’t have a home dashboard for analytics which means you’ll need to manually go into every flow, checklist, launcher, or resource center to view the analytics for it.
Note: Competitors like Userpilot and Pendo include native analytics dashboards on their entry-level plans.
- Reordering: While reordering steps in a flow can be done in a drag-and-drop fashion, the links between steps aren’t automatically severed. This means you’ll need to manually remove cross-step links and reconnect the steps whenever you change their order which can be a hassle.
- Limitations: Userflow’s entry-level plan has restrictive limitations like only being able to include two questions in NPS surveys and needing to pay extra if you want to add more than three team members (while competitors on the market like Userpilot usually offer five seats or more).
Userflow has three paid plans — Startup, Pro, and Enterprise — that start at $240 and increase in price as your MAUs grow. For example, the Startup plan costs over $1,000/month once you reach 50,000 MAUs which could make it difficult for products with thousands of freemium users to scale.
Here’s a closer look at each of Userflow’s plans:
- Startup: Userflow’s entry-level Startup plan starts at $240/month for 3,000 MAUs. Due to the survey and team size limitations of the Starter plan, you’ll likely need to upgrade to Pro at some point or purchase additional seats for $20/month each.
- Pro: Userflow’s Pro plan costs almost three times as much at $680/month for 10,000 MAUs. It contains essential features like localization, advanced integrations, event tracking, and unlimited surveys so you’ll probably need to upgrade to this tier eventually to continue growing.
- Enterprise: Userflow’s Enterprise tier is priced on a quote basis and can accommodate a custom number of MAUs. It comes with benefits like concierge support, security questionnaires, custom contracts, and single sign-on (SSO) features.
Stonly for in-app messaging
In-app support is where Stonly shines since the platform is essentially a knowledge base builder with a few extra onboarding and adoption features added on. Its in-app support features include multiple builder views to choose from, content localization, and AI-generated answers:
- Builder Views: Stonly’s knowledge base builder lets you toggle between multiple editor views using the sidebar. These include views for editing the content of a knowledge base, adjusting its layout, adjusting its design, and tweaking other settings.
- Content Localization: Clicking on the language button of your knowledge base editor will show you all its versions or let you add more languages by selecting the “Manage languages” option. Header/footer text will automatically be translated but guides need to be translated separately.
- AI-Generated Answers: Stonly’s AI-generated answers can use existing guide content to address a user’s search queries directly. Unfortunately, the AI Answers feature is only available for Enterprise customers, and even then it’s an add-on rather than part of the base subscription.
While Stonly isn’t as capable as full-on digital adoption solutions like Userpilot, Pendo, or Appcues, it does have a few benefits:
- Self-Service Support: Because building knowledge bases is the primary use case for Stonly (and arguably its core product), it has advanced self-service support features that could outperform other adoption solutions, such as abundant live chat integrations.
- Analytics Dashboard: Stonly has a unified analytics dashboard that can show you global insights across all your guides. This makes it easier to track content engagement and monitor your key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Guide Builder: While other Stonly features such as event tracking, user targeting, data streaming, and styling require coding, the guide builder uses an intuitively designed visual interface to let you add, edit, or delete steps.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few drawbacks to using Stonly that stem from its lopsided features, no-code capabilities (or lack thereof), and view-based pricing model:
- Feature Set: Seeing as Stonly is a knowledge base builder first and onboarding/adoption solution second, it has quite a few features that are missing, too basic, or difficult to use. If user onboarding and product adoption are your main use cases, consider alternatives.
- Coding Requirements: Unlike most of its competitors, Stonly doesn’t advertise itself as a no-code onboarding/adoption platform. This means you’ll need coding knowledge to track events, target users, stream data, and style your content.
- Pay-as-You-Go Pricing: Stonly’s pricing charges additional fees based on the number of views that guides get. Customers who don’t exceed 4,000 guide views per month won’t be charged extra, but those who do will pay an additional $250 to $500 monthly depending on volume.
Stonly offers two paid plans. In addition to the base subscription cost, customers will also be charged additional fees if their guides get more than 4,000 views per month.
Here’s an overview of Stonly’s three subscription tiers:
- Small Business: Stonly’s Business tier is the entry-level paid plan that starts at $249/month but offers a 20% discount if you bill annually. It includes five team seats, unlimited guides, multi-language support, guide variables, and integrations. You’ll be billed extra if you exceed 4,000 guide views.
- Enterprise: The Enterprise version of Stonly uses quote-based pricing and includes all the features of the Business tier. It has additional features like surveys, automatic guide translation, advanced permissions, additional integrations, priority support, and single sign-on (SSO).
Better alternative to UserGuiding, Userflow, and Stonly
We have discussed UserGuiding, Userflow, and Stonly for in-app messaging with their pros, cons, and pricing. Let’s take a look at a better alternative – Userpilot.
Userpilot for in-app messaging
In-app support can increase customer satisfaction and retention rates. Userpilot has native in-app support features like resource centers and native tooltips as well as third-party integrations with popular support tools like Intercom to help you cover all your bases.
Here’s an overview of Userpilot’s in-app support capabilities:
- Resource center: Userpilot in-app resource centers let you add flows, checklists, external links, tutorial videos, external knowledge bases, and chatbots. You’ll also be able to view resource center analytics so you can check its performance.
- Native tooltips: In-app support must be proactive — which is why you should insert tooltips that guide users before they even think to open the resource center. Userpilot lets you add native tooltips that appear whenever users hover over an element or click on the info badge.
- Contextual flows: Userpilot’s trigger settings let you create contextual flows that automatically appear when a user reaches a certain page or performs a specific action. This can be used to offer in-app guidance and support whenever users try out a feature for the first time.
- Intercom integration: While Intercom is famous for its live chat embeds, you can do more than that by integrating it with Userpilot. You’ll see which events a user has done within Userpilot and whether or not they’ve completed onboarding to personalize support accordingly.
As a full-suite digital adoption platform, Userpilot has all the features you need to onboard users, track analytics, and gather feedback from customers without writing a single line of code. Here are a few pros of using Userpilot as your product growth solution:
- No-code builder: Userpilot’s Chrome extension lets you build flows, add UI elements, and tag features without writing a single line of code.
- UI patterns: There are plenty of UI patterns to choose from when using Userpilot, such as hotspots, tooltips, banners, slideouts, modals, and more!
- Startup-friendly: Userpilot’s entry-level plan gives you access to all available UI patterns so you can hit the ground running.
- Walkthroughs and flows: Build engaging interactive walkthroughs and personalized onboarding flows that target specific segments of your user base.
- Self-service support: Build an in-app resource center to help users solve problems, customize its appearance to align it with your brand, and insert various types of content (videos, flows, or chatbots) to keep your customers satisfied.
- A/B testing: Userpilot’s built-in A/B testing capabilities will help you split-test flows, iterate on the best-performing variants, and continually optimize based on user behavior.
- Feedback collection: Userpilot has built-in NPS surveys with its own unified analytics dashboard and response tagging to help you retarget users. There are other survey types to choose from and you can even create your own custom survey.
- Survey templates: There are 14 survey templates to choose from so you can gather feedback on specific features or run customer satisfaction benchmarking surveys like CSAT and CES.
- Advanced analytics: Userpilot lets you analyze product usage data, monitor engagement on all in-app flows, and use the data to create user segments that are based on behaviors instead of demographics.
- Event tracking: Userpilot’s no-code event tracking lets you tag UI interactions (hovers, clicks, or form fills) and group them into a custom event that reflects feature usage.
- Third-party integrations: Userpilot has built-in integrations with tools like Amplitude, Mixpanel, Kissmetrics, Segment, Heap, HubSpot, Intercom, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager so you can share data between all the solutions in your tech stack.
Of course, no tool is perfect and there are a few cons to consider before choosing Userpilot as your user onboarding or product growth solution:
- Employee onboarding: Currently, Userpilot only supports in-app customer onboarding.
- Mobile apps: Userpilot doesn’t have any mobile compatibility which could make it difficult for developers with cross-platform applications to create a consistent user experience for both versions of their product.
- Freemium plan: There’s no freemium Userpilot plan so those bootstrapping their startup and need sub-$100 solutions should consider more affordable onboarding platforms like UserGuiding or Product Fruits.
Userpilot’s transparent pricing ranges from $249/month on the entry-level end to an Enterprise tier for larger companies.
Furthermore, Userpilot’s entry-level plan includes access to all UI patterns and should include everything that most mid-market SaaS businesses need to get started.
Userpilot has three paid plans to choose from:
- Starter: The entry-level Starter plan starts at $249/month and includes features like segmentation, product analytics, reporting, user engagement, user feedback, and customization.
- Growth: The Growth plan starts at $499/month and includes features like resource centers, advanced event-based triggers, unlimited feature tagging, AI-powered content localization, EU hosting options, and a dedicated customer success manager.
- Enterprise: The Enterprise plan uses custom pricing and includes all the features from Starter + Growth plus custom roles/permissions, access to premium integrations, priority support, custom contract, SLA, SAML SSO, activity logs, security audit and compliance (SOC 2/GDPR).
In conclusion, as we’ve explored UserGuiding, Userflow, and Stonly for in-app messaging, it becomes evident that there is a diverse landscape of solutions available to cater to your specific needs. Each of these tools brings its own set of features, advantages, and unique capabilities to the table. Whether you’re seeking enhanced functionality, cost-effectiveness, or a different approach to tackling your tasks, our guide has showcased a range of options.
Ultimately, the choice of the best alternative depends on your individual requirements and preferences. We hope that our exploration of these tools has provided you with valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.