Feature Adoption and How it Drives Growth

Akhila Nageswaram
Akhila Nageswaram

What is feature adoption? How does it affect your growth?

Mobile apps are always launching new and exciting features to their users. Maybe the features were requested by the users, or enhance the product experience or add functionality seen in rival products. There could be multiple reasons for the launch of new features. But ensuring Feature adoption is where it gets tricky.

Most apps do not monitor how the new feature is being consumed. It entails the following factors:

  • Number of users who discovered the feature
  • Number of users who have activated with the feature
  • Time taken to discover the feature
  • Time taken to activate with the feature
  • Repeat consumption of the feature

Feature adoption is the introduction of a feature to a user such that he discovers a feature in the right context and uses it repeatedly. When a feature is introduced to a user the right way, it becomes easier to consume, understand and use as intended. This aids in making the user a power user.

This in turn ensures the growth of the app by getting more users to latch on to the app. Growth occurs naturally when users get acclimated into the app such that ensures feature adoption.

Why is feature adoption important?

Rolling out new features is indispensable for products in today’s day and age. But it is estimated that only 20% of app users use the app fully. Here lies the opportunity to showcase the app’s features to the remaining 80% users who are lying dormant. This can only be done by measuring and improving feature adoption.

On the flipside, creation and launch of new features heavily taxes multiple teams. If a new feature isn’t being adopted by the users, it delivers a severe blow to the product development cycle.

Hence, it is critical to understand the ROI of any app feature. This lets the product owner know if the feature is working well or is being grossly underutilised. Feature adoption plays a crucial role here in prioritising or deciding to sunset a feature from the user’s app experience.

This is where contextual behavioural cues come into the picture. Plug and play tools like Apxor Behavioural Cues let you implement them on the fly.

New to feature adoption? Picture this.

A feature can be introduced to a user via multiple channels. App marketing teams follow an omnichannel approach in announcing new features. Users can be notified via an email newsletter, an app push notification or SMS announcements.

Once a user gets to know a new feature and launches the app, there is scope for in-app feature announcements.

Depending on the kind of feature, the means of feature adoption can change.

For example, take the case of a feature that is one time use like Privacy settings, Night mode setting etc. You can use a tooltip or a coachmark to direct the user to that particular screen to select.

For larger features like Bill payment, Referrals etc, a contextual and personalised tutorial can be showcased. This is done via a cascading view of behavioural cues like coachmarks, tooltips, passive nudges or pop ups. This ensures feature adoption in the right context while the user is in the app.

Coachmark for new feature adoption

The road to getting a feature adopted.

There are multiple contexts in which a feature needs to be showcased to a user. And for different contexts, different types of methods can be used. Here are a few of them,


A feature tutorial helps new users or repeat uses of a feature that has been changed up.

If the app has very simple flows leading to the new feature, tutorials can be hard coded into the app. Typical hard coded tutorials tend to skim over the feature in a cookie cutter template. Thus is not ideal for complicated user flows or contexts. They usually take a lot of developer effort to build, may ignore user context or showcase way too much information at once. This overwhelms the user and must be used as per the product owner’s discretion.

Another way to showcase feature tutorials is by using in-app messaging tools that work on the fly. Such tutorials can be dynamic and flexible, often incorporating user interaction patterns, time spent and user behaviour and adjusting accordingly to make them contextual. This method enhances your app’s user experience immensely.

Take a look at this case study of how the Samosa app used Apxor’s behavioural cues to contextually showcase a tutorial of their dub feature to their users.

When implemented right, a contextual tutorial increases feature adoption by upto 10x.

Contextual discovery

Showcasing a feature to your users right when they need it really elevates their app experience. For example, based on the usage patterns of users who chose the night mode while reading a news article, it can be contextually recommended to users who are showcasing similar behaviours.

The same can be applied to necessary, but often hard to find, features. This lets you reach out to your users right when they need help and address their concerns in real time.

Here’s a case study of how Glynk, a social networking app, launched a contextual walkthrough using Apxor to showcase the Privacy Settings to their female users. This was launched only when they rejected new friend requests and did not engage with any post on their news feed. This contextual walkthrough not only got these users to discover the Privacy settings but also had a ripple effect on retention, boosting it by 37%.

Check out this video which shows how the female users were nudged contextually.

Passive nudges for soft launches

Passive nudges allow you to subtly showcase a feature to users without disturbing their app experience. This is especially useful when you have soft-launched a feature and want to understand how users gravitate towards it. As an added advantage, the ability to launch such passive nudges on the fly lets you be very experimental in getting your feature adopted.

Passive Nudge for Soft Launch

What tools do you need to create behavioural cues?

Behavioural cues can be created by hard coding them in the app during release or by using third party messaging tools that help you create behavioural cues on the fly.

Creating behavioural cues entails the following steps:

Detailing the use case

Here, the product team ideates the scenario in which a particular behavioural cue needs to be shown to the users. This helps narrow down what needs to be communicated, to whom and under what conditions. Additionally, sets the expectations and goals for the action.

Setting the display conditions

The display conditions nail down the conditions in which the behavioural cue should be displayed by broadly setting the ‘when’. This includes the time period for the campaign to be live, repeating the behavioural cue during the user’s journey in the app or even down to auto dismissing it after it is displayed.

Targeting the audience

Choosing the audience to target lets you direct the historic behaviour of the users and any properties they must conform to.

This is easiest understood with this example. In a video content app, you can only choose to show the behavioural cue to users in Delhi on 4G network (User and session properties) who liked at least 4 videos in the Travel category (Event and its attribute).

Setting real time behaviour conditions

The next step would be fixing the live behaviour of the users. These conditions would be evaluated in real time, based on which the in behavioural cues would be displayed to the user.

For example in an e-commerce app, if the user viewed 3 products and is spending an idle time of 20 seconds on the search results screen.

Creating a seamless design

The design of high quality behavioural cues is supposed to feel immersive, intuitive and should gel well with the existing theme of the app. Details like the colours, button configuration and even actions on clicks should be set here. Usually, the product and design team collaborate in creating a design that works best for your users in a particular context.

Testing the behavioural cues

The created behavioural cues must be tested on multiple types of devices that have different resolutions, in multiple environments. Beta user test groups can be utilised here as well. Once thoroughly tested, it is good to go live.

Once these crucial steps are complete, you can launch the behavioural cues to all your users.

How does feature adoption work in improving your KPIs?

Getting your users to adopt your new feature impacts multiple KPIs, here’s how:

User Activation

Crafting a personalised and contextual onboarding can set a tone for your users in getting introduced to the app. In a similar way, introducing the user to your features the right way lets them experience an AHA moment with your hero features making sure that they get activated in the app. This ensures that your users have understood the feature and have reached their first milestone towards having a long term journey within your app.


Activating a user or getting a user to use a feature for the first time matters a lot. But getting these users to remember said feature right when they need it or use the feature repeatedly proves to be quite the challenge. So when feature adoption walkthroughs are created for contextually nudging your users for repeat usage, they can start to make the feature a habit. Along with tracking the feature’s adoption, you can also monitor how the feature is effectively becoming a habit for your users.


A tutorial of a feature when it is being first introduced to a user needs to give the user the information they need to get started without making them feel overwhelmed. A good feature tutorial is contextual, personalised and easy to understand. This would lead to improved user engagement with the feature. If the feature requires time to be spent while using it, user engagement can be measured with feature engagement metrics (time), else its repeat consumption can be used to track how engaging the feature is for the user.

Benefits of contextual feature adoption.

Highly contextual and targeted behavioural cues on the fly will truly enhance the way you get your users to adopt app features.

The context can get as specific as if a user spends an idle time of 30 seconds on a particular screen and does a particular event while being on Wifi, then a behavioural cue can be shown.

Behavioural cues for feature adoption gets all the more effortless with Apxor. Drop us a mail at contact@apxor.com for a quick demo.