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6 Ways to Personalize App User Onboarding Experience

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Suneeta Munjuluri
Suneeta Munjuluri
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By now, you already know that personalized user experiences lead to more successful, engaging and stickier apps. In fact, research by Brandon Hall Group found that a personalized onboarding experience can improve retention rates by 82%. But the question is, how do you personalize your app’s onboarding experience? What does a good personalized onboarding look like? 

Remember, customizing experience goes beyond simply adding your user’s first name in the emails. It entails understanding each app user’s individual journey towards reaching their goals. UX personalization is about designing an onboarding experience that keeps the user and their problems at the center, to create clear paths through the product and avoid friction points during onboarding. 

We’ve compiled a list of 6 strategies successful apps use to personalize their user onboarding. 

How to create a personalized user onboarding experience for your app? 

  • Leverage user data throughout the onboarding process 
  • Segment users based on behavior or use cases 
  • Use personalization to reduce onboarding friction 
  • Personalize the messaging using emails 
  • Create contextual walkthroughs with nudges
  • Add dynamically generated personalized text in onboarding screens

#1. Leverage user data throughout the onboarding process 

One quick way to customize the onboarding experience is by creating a welcome page that greets users by their first name. You can combine “Welcome <first name>” with the value they’re about to experience. 

Going a step further, using tools like Clearbit you can collect additional data to tailor and simplify the onboarding experience for the individual user. 

Media monitoring app, Mention, uses Clearbit API to automatically populate the signup form fields. Once the user provides their email, Mention simply populates the other fields using data from the API, including name, job role, company size, and company location. Users simply need to click submit which makes it a lot more user friendly.

https://clearbit.com/blog/customized-saas-on-boarding-actions-person-role-referring-link

If you are wondering how to personalize your app onboarding, use data to personally welcome users and simplify the onboarding. It helps in making users feel like your app is specifically designed for them. 

#2. Segment users based on behavior or use cases 

If your app caters to users with different pain points, a great tactic to customize personalization is by sending users on a path specifically tailored for their needs. This can be done by using the data collected during the onboarding process to refine the rest of the onboarding funnel. This sprints a new user to the ‘aha moment’ and reduces early abandonment. 

Airtable’s welcome screen aims to segment users department-wise. The options they list show you the many possible use cases Airtable has. It makes segmentation at the initial stage critical.

Airtable welcome screen

#3. Use personalization to reduce the onboarding friction 

If your app helps users reach a formidable goal, the goal of your user onboarding experience is to not just convey the product value but also to boost the user’s confidence and make the overarching goal seem feasible. 

Wealthfront app uses personalized onboarding to reduce friction and keep users motivated during the app onboarding. Early on, users can choose a limited number of financial goals. Based on their selection, a personalized UX copy builds trust and reminds users of the goal they’re trying to achieve. 

Duolingo is another good example of personalized onboarding. Upon onboarding, they ask what language you’d want to learn, why they want to learn and the time you’d be able to commit - to customize the app to each user.

Duolingo onboarading - 1

Notice how the progress bar at the top of the page sets the user’s expectations and decreases the drop-off rates for new users in the onboarding process. User’s lessons are personalized based on the current proficiency. 

Duolingo onboarding - 2

Personalized onboarding makes the onboarding tasks feel achievable for users with different levels of experience and confidence. 

#4. Personalized messaging using emails 

As per Experian, personalized emails generate 6 times higher engagement rates. Along with having one of the highest open rates, welcome emails increase engagement by 33% with the brand. 

Onboarding emails should be timely, contextual and trigger-based as per the events a user performs in your app. 

The three types of personalized onboarding emails are: 

  • A welcome email 
  • A re-engagement email (or a series) 
  • A follow-up email 

Here’s a welcome email by Harvest with personalized key account details. The user is encouraged to take the next step - start using the time-tracking software. 

Harvest welcome email

Netflix is a great example of personalized product recommendations as a part of reengagement emails that are sent after viewers finish watching a series. Agreeably, you may not have a collection of films or TV series, but you could use recommendations from your brand’s blog or knowledge base. 

Netflix personalized email

The reactivation email by Noom has a discount code with personalized course recommendations based on the user’s past history with the app. 

#5. Create contextual walkthrough with nudges

User onboarding can be chaotic when you try to bombard them with too many feature announcements on the screen. They might not want to try all the features you want to show. A smart solution in these cases is to onboard users to a feature when they use it on their own. This keeps them on their natural course and you get to assist them when they need it. This is where contextual walkthroughs with nudges are useful.

By identifying what your retained users have done, you can create personalized journey maps based on user persona and behavior. This can be done screenwise, eventwise, or by time spent on the screen. These nudges open a wide range of personalization and equip you to give a brand new experience not just on the first time to the user, but also on his nth visit.

Contextutal walktrough for gaming app

Apxor is a digital nudging platform for apps that helps you deploy subtle, non-intrusive, contextual and personalized digital nudges. Digital nudges have a direct impact on app user activation and retention. 

#6. Add dynamically generated personalized text in onboarding screens

Make your users feel that your app is understanding their presence. Personalize text and elements in the orboarding screens to make the users feel special.

Dream11 adds the player information the user is currently viewing in their onboarding to make the onboarding completely tailored for that user.

Dynamic text in Dream11 onboarding screens - Apxor
Player names are dynamically populated in Dream11 onboarding screens

Leverage the unique capabilities of Apxor to add dynamically personalized text in onboarding screens.

Personalized onboarding is a well-known strategy to level up your app’s success 

In summary, personalized app onboarding requires you to understand the needs of your users and help them be more successful, early on. By tailoring the UX personalization to individual needs, you can increase retention and product activation and reduce the time to value. 

The answer to the question of how to personalize your app lies in making your users feel like the app is built exclusively for them.

More Related Reads

Onboarding Checklist: 9 Must-Haves For The Best User Onboarding Experience

A powerful onboarding checklist with 9 elements that enable you to create the most seamless and the best onboarding experience for your new users. 

How Top Companies like Amazon, Slack and more, are Using Digital Nudges

Top companies like Amazon, Slack, Youtube and more are using Digital Nudges to improve user experience and increase customer satisfaction. Digital Nudges are a must have. Use or Perish.

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6 Ways to Personalize App User Onboarding Experience

Personalizing onboarding experience leads to higher activation and retention. Here are 5 ways with examples.

Suneeta Munjuluri

By now, you already know that personalized user experiences lead to more successful, engaging and stickier apps. In fact, research by Brandon Hall Group found that a personalized onboarding experience can improve retention rates by 82%. But the question is, how do you personalize your app’s onboarding experience? What does a good personalized onboarding look like? 

Remember, customizing experience goes beyond simply adding your user’s first name in the emails. It entails understanding each app user’s individual journey towards reaching their goals. UX personalization is about designing an onboarding experience that keeps the user and their problems at the center, to create clear paths through the product and avoid friction points during onboarding. 

We’ve compiled a list of 6 strategies successful apps use to personalize their user onboarding. 

How to create a personalized user onboarding experience for your app? 

  • Leverage user data throughout the onboarding process 
  • Segment users based on behavior or use cases 
  • Use personalization to reduce onboarding friction 
  • Personalize the messaging using emails 
  • Create contextual walkthroughs with nudges
  • Add dynamically generated personalized text in onboarding screens

#1. Leverage user data throughout the onboarding process 

One quick way to customize the onboarding experience is by creating a welcome page that greets users by their first name. You can combine “Welcome <first name>” with the value they’re about to experience. 

Going a step further, using tools like Clearbit you can collect additional data to tailor and simplify the onboarding experience for the individual user. 

Media monitoring app, Mention, uses Clearbit API to automatically populate the signup form fields. Once the user provides their email, Mention simply populates the other fields using data from the API, including name, job role, company size, and company location. Users simply need to click submit which makes it a lot more user friendly.

https://clearbit.com/blog/customized-saas-on-boarding-actions-person-role-referring-link

If you are wondering how to personalize your app onboarding, use data to personally welcome users and simplify the onboarding. It helps in making users feel like your app is specifically designed for them. 

#2. Segment users based on behavior or use cases 

If your app caters to users with different pain points, a great tactic to customize personalization is by sending users on a path specifically tailored for their needs. This can be done by using the data collected during the onboarding process to refine the rest of the onboarding funnel. This sprints a new user to the ‘aha moment’ and reduces early abandonment. 

Airtable’s welcome screen aims to segment users department-wise. The options they list show you the many possible use cases Airtable has. It makes segmentation at the initial stage critical.

Airtable welcome screen

#3. Use personalization to reduce the onboarding friction 

If your app helps users reach a formidable goal, the goal of your user onboarding experience is to not just convey the product value but also to boost the user’s confidence and make the overarching goal seem feasible. 

Wealthfront app uses personalized onboarding to reduce friction and keep users motivated during the app onboarding. Early on, users can choose a limited number of financial goals. Based on their selection, a personalized UX copy builds trust and reminds users of the goal they’re trying to achieve. 

Duolingo is another good example of personalized onboarding. Upon onboarding, they ask what language you’d want to learn, why they want to learn and the time you’d be able to commit - to customize the app to each user.

Duolingo onboarading - 1

Notice how the progress bar at the top of the page sets the user’s expectations and decreases the drop-off rates for new users in the onboarding process. User’s lessons are personalized based on the current proficiency. 

Duolingo onboarding - 2

Personalized onboarding makes the onboarding tasks feel achievable for users with different levels of experience and confidence. 

#4. Personalized messaging using emails 

As per Experian, personalized emails generate 6 times higher engagement rates. Along with having one of the highest open rates, welcome emails increase engagement by 33% with the brand. 

Onboarding emails should be timely, contextual and trigger-based as per the events a user performs in your app. 

The three types of personalized onboarding emails are: 

  • A welcome email 
  • A re-engagement email (or a series) 
  • A follow-up email 

Here’s a welcome email by Harvest with personalized key account details. The user is encouraged to take the next step - start using the time-tracking software. 

Harvest welcome email

Netflix is a great example of personalized product recommendations as a part of reengagement emails that are sent after viewers finish watching a series. Agreeably, you may not have a collection of films or TV series, but you could use recommendations from your brand’s blog or knowledge base. 

Netflix personalized email

The reactivation email by Noom has a discount code with personalized course recommendations based on the user’s past history with the app. 

#5. Create contextual walkthrough with nudges

User onboarding can be chaotic when you try to bombard them with too many feature announcements on the screen. They might not want to try all the features you want to show. A smart solution in these cases is to onboard users to a feature when they use it on their own. This keeps them on their natural course and you get to assist them when they need it. This is where contextual walkthroughs with nudges are useful.

By identifying what your retained users have done, you can create personalized journey maps based on user persona and behavior. This can be done screenwise, eventwise, or by time spent on the screen. These nudges open a wide range of personalization and equip you to give a brand new experience not just on the first time to the user, but also on his nth visit.

Contextutal walktrough for gaming app

Apxor is a digital nudging platform for apps that helps you deploy subtle, non-intrusive, contextual and personalized digital nudges. Digital nudges have a direct impact on app user activation and retention. 

#6. Add dynamically generated personalized text in onboarding screens

Make your users feel that your app is understanding their presence. Personalize text and elements in the orboarding screens to make the users feel special.

Dream11 adds the player information the user is currently viewing in their onboarding to make the onboarding completely tailored for that user.

Dynamic text in Dream11 onboarding screens - Apxor
Player names are dynamically populated in Dream11 onboarding screens

Leverage the unique capabilities of Apxor to add dynamically personalized text in onboarding screens.

Personalized onboarding is a well-known strategy to level up your app’s success 

In summary, personalized app onboarding requires you to understand the needs of your users and help them be more successful, early on. By tailoring the UX personalization to individual needs, you can increase retention and product activation and reduce the time to value. 

The answer to the question of how to personalize your app lies in making your users feel like the app is built exclusively for them.

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