The Best Userpilot Alternatives – By Use Case and Persona

Best Userpilot Alternatives in 2021 - By Use Case and Persona

You may be wondering: “Why is Userpilot writing about Userpilot Alternatives?!”

Well, that’s because there are plenty of all these blogs “15 alternatives to {Brand Name} that are equally good” that are…plain wrong.

Written by content writers who have never used any of those tools, and frankly – have no clue what they are talking about.

And these posts are literally not helping anyone.

They are not helping you – the potential user; they are not helping our smaller competitors, who find themselves juxtaposed with enterprise software for a completely different user persona, and it’s not helping us – when we get leads that want something we can’t offer anyway. Because we’re just a different kind of onboarding tool! 🤷‍♀️

Look – why not just be honest? It’s gonna save everyone’s time. Hey, we don’t want to waste your time if Userpilot is something you’re not looking for!

So we’ve classified the different alternative onboarding tools by a) user persona b) JTBD (Job-To-Be-Done – in other words, what you want to use the tool for).

That way you’ll see there aren’t in fact 15 Userpilot alternatives. There are two.

And we’re writing honestly about them. Because still – there are some differentiators that may affect your choice.

And we want you to make that informed decision *before* you buy.

TL;DR

  • There are no one-size-fits-all tools – don’t trust the reviews!
  • Considering target persona, price, and use case (JTBD) – Userpilot has only two contendents to the title “Userpilot alternatives” – Pendo and Appcues.
  • Userpilot is the best choice for mid-market companies – offering the best value-for-money starting at $249 with unlimited feature usage, completely interactive product walkthroughs, NPS, microsurveys, resource center and user analytics.
  • Appcues comes second, with really nice UX and UI. However, it limits its pricing by feature usage – so you’ll need to upgrade to nearly $900 per month if you need e.g. more than 5 segments. It also offers fewer UI patterns and only 1 action – compared to 4 in Userpilot.
  • It also doesn’t offer a resource center.
  • Choose Userpilot over Appcues unless you need Salesforce/Hubspot integrations.
  • Pendo offers very robust analytics, but it comes at a high price. It’s also more difficult to use for user onboarding, doesn’t offer checklists or resource center.
  • Choose Pendo if you need mobile app onboarding. Userpilot doesn’t offer that.
  • If you’re an early-stage startup on a very tight budget (under $100 per month) the options for you include: Intercom, Userguiding and Product Fruits.
  • Intercom offers literally just the simplest linear product tour + emails. It doesn’t offer any other product growth features Userpilot has.
  • Userguiding and Product Fruits offer more features, but have very clonky and buggy UX and UI, which makes them feel ‘half-baked’ and offers a poor user experience.
  • Walkme is an enterprise onboarding tool that nowadays caters more to the employee onboarding use case. Best for large enterprises.

Why being honest about the best Userpilot alternatives is good for all of us…

Have you ever tried cutting a birthday cake with a plastic knife?

Doable, but makes you suddenly appreciate the value of a proper stainless steel kitchen knife & you wouldn’t do it at home?

What about a hair trimmer? Impossible right?

Then imagine cutting it with a chainsaw… 😱 🤣

You see – all these tools were made for cutting. But not all of them were made for cutting cake.

Same with SaaS user onboarding tools.

There are different onboarding tools are just for different personas, and different #JobsToBeDone.

Onboarding Tool Classification – by User Persona

A bootstrapped SaaS startup with 3 employees and $10,000 in MRR does not have the same needs as a big enterprise.

That seems obvious, right?

And yet, most “alternatives” posts miss the mark completely and don’t classify the tools by user persona.

So here we are:

User Onboarding Tools for Small SaaS (0-10 employees, up to $10 k MRR)/ Bootstrapped Startups

As a really small SaaS, there are two things you should care about most in a user onboarding tool:

  • price
  • ease of use

As your team of 4 is trying to make it (and not break it!), you won’t have the opportunity to use all the sophisticated features a more mid-market tool has to offer. You have neither the time, nor money to waste on developing product tours from scratch, nor on using complex adoption platforms.

Once your startup grows and “graduates” from using these simple and affordable tools, it will be time to upgrade to something more sophisticated.

But right now?

Don’t think about it.

Focus on what matters – Building your product and putting money on the table through acquiring new users. Slap that shameless product tour there. You’ll fix it later.

User Onboarding Tools for Mid-Market SaaS companies (10-100 employees, $1 – 10 million ARR)

When you’re on the growth path, suddenly other things begin to matter more. You’ve hired a product team and your Product Growth Manager/ Product Marketing Manager wants to improve user activation, product adoption, and retention.

You need to give them the right tools to do that – ideally without much involvement from your dev team. One that would allow them to build sophisticated in-app experiences such as branched interactive walkthroughs with steps triggered by custom events, welcome screens, tooltips or microsurveys to collect user feedback and NPS.

And most importantly – one that would allow them to analyze their results, A/B test different versions and copy, and pick the best solutions to improve their product metrics.

Price is still important to you and while you certainly wouldn’t want to spend half of your MRR on an onboarding tool (and those enterprise ones can set you back up to $50,000 per year!), but saving $20 is not a deciding factor anymore.

You’re also starting to pay attention to security and integrations.

User Onboarding Tools for Enterprise SaaS companies (100+ employees,$10+ million ARR)

As a large enterprise, often the main factors that determine your choice of an onboarding tool is:

  • whether the tools can integrate with your existing toolstack
  • whether the company offers the required quality and security standards, often backed by certifications such as SOC 2 Type II.

Onboarding Tool Classification – by Job-To-Be-Done

But are you looking for user onboarding tools at all?

Or are you looking for an employee onboarding tool?

Are you going to use it for a mobile app or a web app?

Will you run it on your product, or on a third-party product such as Salesforce or Hubspot?

Again, these are mission-critical questions that are often gracefully overlooked by the authors of “Userpilot alternatives”-like blogs.

What job are you “hiring” the tool for? Will it fit your use case?

We’ll explore that in the sections below.

No, there’s not 15 Userpilot alternatives.

Having considered all of the questions above: comparing all the different onboarding tools that cater to different types of users and use cases, and have a completely different price tag – is like comparing apples to oranges, to pears, to plums, to cherries…

A 4-step out-of-the-box linear product tour without any personalization is not an alternative for a proper event-based product walkthrough.

$ 50,000 enterprise software is not an alternative for a $50 tool for a startup.

So no, Userpilot does not have 15 alternatives. And neither do Pendo, Appcues, or Product Fruits.

In this post, we’ll explore the different groups of onboarding tools, and the real Userpilot alternatives you may want to take into considerations if we don’t meet your needs.

But first – What is Userpilot?

Before we dive into Userpilot alternatives, we need to discuss the product we will be comparing other products to 🙂

Userpilot is a Product Growth Platform that helps SaaS businesses to build new user onboarding, secondary onboarding, contextual hints, onboarding checklists, without writing a line of code.

It also offers integrated user analytics and a user sentiment suite – with in-app surveys to collect feedback, and NPS surveys to gauge user satisfaction.

All this helps you to improve user experience and engagement, lead more users to activation, help them adopt secondary features, and even push for upgrades and get more expansion revenue.

User persona Userpilot’s most suitable for:

✅ mid-market SaaS companies with a product team – Userpilot is robust enough to meet your needs, and at $249 per month – affordable enough not to break the bank.

✅ (❌) enterprises – thanks to being SOC 2 Type II certified and offering SSO and multi-user accounts, as well as offering bespoke Service Level Agreements, Userpilot is also suitable for enterprise clients. However – if you’re looking for some enterprise-level integrations, e.g. with Salesforce and Hubspot – you may want to wait or go for one of the Userpilot alternatives.

❌ Really small startups – if $249 per month sounds like a small fortune, and you don’t have anyone on your team to work on your onboarding and product adoption experiences – you may find that you’re not really making the most out of your Userpilot account. In that case – a simpler and cheaper tool will be better for you, as you won’t be using all of the Userpilot’s features anyway.

Jobs-to-be-done/ Use cases:

✅ New user onboarding for your SaaS – Userpilot’s branched walkthroughs are fully interactive and can be personalized to each user segment

interactive walkthrough Userpilot

✅ Secondary/ Continuous onboarding – pushing users to adopt more secondary features

✅ Onboarding checklists

Userpilot onboarding checklist

❌ Employee onboarding – Userpilot works only on your own product, not third party apps

❌ Mobile onboarding – Userpilot works only on responsive web apps

✅ Embedded in-app microsurveys for collecting user feedback and user segmentation:

welcome screen microsurvey Userpilot

✅ NPS Surveys – for collecting Net Promoter Score

✅ User analytics – you can see how your users engage with the features of your product, and your in-app experiences – how many of them complete certain goals you’ve set for them over a period of time, where they drop out in the funnels etc.

Userpilot analytics

✅ User segmentation – build unlimited customer segments using demographic data, survey responses, in-app behavior, custom events, user and event attributes and a lot more!

✅ Resource Center – a Help Center inside your app with all in-app guidance, help docs, knowledge base articles, video tutorials, onboarding checklists, and chatbots in one place:

Userpilot resource center

❌ email onboarding – Userpilot does not offer email onboarding at the moment

Set up & Ease of Use

Userpilot can be set up in minutes by downloading a Chrome extension and pasting one line of java script code into your app.

You may need to pass some custom events and user attributes, which requires development help, however – creating experiences and launching them is 100% code free – you do it with a simple visual editor:

Userpilot editor

Price and Value for Money

Userpilot offers the best value for money from the tools in its class – it starts from only $249 per month, and that includes unlimited feature use, unlimited segments and up to 2,500 MAUs.

Userpilot’s price is based only on the number of MAUs – and increases only when you go over the user limit. All the features are unlimited regardless of how much you pay.

Try Userpilot for free now!

These are the 2 best Userpilot Alternatives for SaaS User Onboarding

Two – and just two – if you consider the use cases and user persona Userpilot is most suitable for. Enter Appcues and Pendo.

Best Userpilot Alternative – Appcues

Appcues is one of the earliest players on the onboarding scene and offers a really solid user onboarding tool for mid-market SaaS. It lacks certain features, UI patterns, and actions that Userpilot has to offer, and comes with a much higher price tag if you need to use more than a few segments, custom events, and goals – but on the other hand, offers a wider selection of integrations and a nicer UI.

So again, it all depends on what is your top priority!

Here’s a short summary of Appcues’ upsides and shortcomings, and the differences between Userpilot and Appcues.

✅ a great choice for mid-market to enterprise customers – easy to use user onboarding

❌ too expensive for entry-level SaaS companies and startups

✅ a lot of enterprise integrations, including Salesforce and Hubspot

❌ some of them are available in the premium plans only

✅ User-friend UX and UI

✅ User analytics comparable to Userpilot’s

✅ Supports branched interactive walkthroughs, checklists, and NPS

❌ does not have as many UI patterns or actions as Userpilot:

Userpilot’s UI patterns
Appcues UI patterns

❌ no native tooltips, driven actions, scroll position, page change or time delay

❌ no resource center

❌ pricing limited by feature usage – if you want to use more than 5 user segments, you will pay $879

Price and Value for Money

appcues pricing

Appcues pricing starts at the same rate as Userpilot’s – $249 for 2,500 MAUs. However – there’s a catch. The ‘Essentials’ plan limits your feature use, i.e. to 5 user segments, 10 goals, and 10 custom events. So if you want to use any analytics or personalize your onboarding through segmentation, you will need to upgrade to the growth plan very quickly.

We wrote more about Appcues in our previous post -on Appcues alternatives.

2nd Best Userpilot Alternative – Pendo

Pendo offers a comprehensive solution for user onboarding, analytics, and in-app feedback. Let’s see its strengths, weaknesses and differences from Userpilot.

❌ full version is not suitable for mid-market SaaS companies and startups (although Pendo has recently released a *free* version up to 1,000 MAUs with limited features).

✅ It is geared more towards enterprise users

✅ Offers the most granular user analytics from all the tools listed here

✅ Offers onboarding product tours (guides) and NPS

❌ does not offer checklists

✅ Resource center

❌ the guides’ UX makes it difficult to build product tours in it

❌ it doesn’t offer monthly pricing plans and is very expensive – from $9000 to $50,000 per year.

✅ mobile app onboarding

We wrote more about Pendo in our previous post – on Pendo alternatives.

Price and Value for Money

Pendo does not publish its pricing on its website – but according to our sources, it offers only annual pricing ranging between $ 9,000 and $ 50,000 per year.

These are *not* really Userpilot alternatives

…but can be a good option for small, bootstrapped Startups (up to $100 per month)

Simple and cheap – if that’s what you’re looking for, and don’t mind lacking key product adoption features like:

  • interactive, branched product walkthroughs rather than just linear product tours
  • any user analytics
  • microsurveys

these products may be for you!

Intercom Product Tours

Intercom product tours

What is it missing compared to Userpilot?

✅ suitable for really small startups who want to build a very basic onboarding tour (above) without coding

❌ not suitable for mid-market and enterprise SaaS who want to do any Product Adoption

❌ no interactive product walkthroughs. You can only build a bunch of linear modals slapped across your screen that move to the next one after pressing ‘next’, regardless of whether the user has taken the first step or not.

✅ supports email integrations

✅ pricing starts at $49 per month, just be ready for a sharp increase after crossing the 500 MAUs threshold.

❌ no tooltips or native tooltips

❌ no resource center

❌ no NPS or microsurveys

❌ practically no analytics

❌ no checklists

We wrote more about Intercom Product Tours here.

Userguiding

Userguiding

Userguiding is misleadingly similar to Userpilot in terms of UI, but in terms of UX and reliability – it’s like a lot of cheaper copies of the original – often unreliable and buggy.

It allows to build some simple product tours, collect some user feedback and launch an NPS – so more than Intercom in that sense. But it’s not a fully-fledged product growth platform.

✅ the best choice for startups and really small SaaS businesses – with plans starting from $82, it offers better user onboarding options than Intercom for a similar price

❌ onboarding flows are difficult to build and unreliable

❌ poor UX

❌ no interactive walkthroughs – only linear product tours – it doesn’t even use it in its own onboarding 🤷‍♀️

❌ no event triggering

✅ a lot of nice modal templates

❌ limited UI patterns and actions

✅ checklists, tooltips and NPS

Product Fruits

✅ Pricing from $59 for 1,500 MAUs

❌ only basic, linear product tours

❌ making me go through a 9-step product tour (one of many!) as their user onboarding, speaking of best practices…

❌ Ugly UI and clunky UX – feels rather half-baked and is difficult to use…

✅ ❌ some form of a basic resource center and checklists

❌ No NPS

These are also *not* Userpilot Alternatives – Enterprise level tools

For employee and enterprise level onboarding

A once popular choice for enterprise users, Walkme is catering more and more to employee onboarding use case.

❌ user onboarding – difficult integration and hard-to-use, old-fashioned interface

❌ not suitable for small and mid-market businesses

❌ expensive

✅ great for employee onboarding on third-party tools

✅ Great product tours and walkthrough processes in enterprises using tools like Salesforce, Hubspot etc.

✅ Powerful data and analytics – Using WalkMe’s dashboard, you can easily see all your user onboarding data and analytics.

We wrote more about Walkme in our post ‘Walkme alternatives’.

Conclusion

Well, as you might have expected from the title of this talk – there is no one-size-fits-all. The best onboarding tool for you depends on your company size and use case. If you need any help we are always happy to jump on a call with you!

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