App Onboarding

What is mobile app onboarding?

App onboarding is the process of helping new users quickly engage with your app’s content and high-value features from day one. It can involve in-app welcome guides, help buttons, and tooltips to make the app’s setup and functionality seem seamless.

This is often automated, but it could also be done with more personal outreach. Great onboarding ensures app use longevity and solidifies the user relationship. If it’s done unsuccessfully, more users will quit using and delete the app.

Given that one in four mobile apps are abandoned after a single use, and within 30 days the average app loses around 58% of its users — app onboarding is a critical phase in the user’s experience.

Three common types of onboarding
  • Progressive: Progressive onboarding gradually introduces users to the app’s features and functionality over time. This type of onboarding is designed to prevent users from feeling overwhelmed with too much information at once. It involves presenting users with new information as it becomes relevant to the user’s needs and usage patterns.
  • Functional or Interactive Onboarding: Functional, or interactive, onboarding engages the users in hands-on learning experiences. It involves showing users how to use the app’s features by having them directly interact with the app. This type of onboarding can include guided tutorials, pop-up tips, and interactive demos.
  • Benefits: Benefits onboarding focuses on showing the user the app’s value. This type of onboarding can include the use of deep links, which bring new users immediately from an advertisement elsewhere on mobile to a product or promotion. This is a great way to drive a benefits-oriented onboarding process.
Tips for app onboarding

Keep it simple: Users should be able to quickly understand the value proposition of the app and how to use its core features. Avoid overwhelming users with too much information at once.

Highlight the benefits: Focus on the benefits of using the app rather than just its features. Explain how the app can help users solve a problem, achieve a goal, or find and purchase a product.

Use visuals: Use images, icons, and animations to make the onboarding experience more engaging and easy to understand for new users.

Provide context and support: Explain how each feature or function fits the overall app experience and why it’s important. In addition, make sure you provide ways for users to access help and support materials within the app if and when they need it further down the line.

Allow for exploration and skipping: At the same time, it’s important to allow users to work with and explore an app at their own pace. Don’t bog down users who are ready to dive into your app with forced interactions and tutorials.

Make it interactive: Encourage users to interact with the app during the onboarding process to reinforce learning and build confidence.

Personalize the experience: Use information about the user’s preferences or behavior to tailor the onboarding experience to their needs.

Data transparency: Mobile users are becoming increasingly wary of how brands collect and use their data. The best way to make app users feel comfortable using your app is being transparent throughout onboarding about what data you need and what it will be used for.