How to Personalize App User Onboarding Experience

In the quest for a more engaging and successful app, personalization is key, especially during onboarding. An impressive 82% increase in retention rates can be achieved with a personalized onboarding experience, according to research by Brandon Hall Group. But how can you tailor your app’s onboarding to each user? What does effective personalization look like?

It’s more than just using a user’s first name in emails; it’s about understanding their unique journey and goals. In this article, we’ll explore six strategies used by successful apps to personalize their user onboarding, keeping the user’s needs at the heart of the experience.

Personalize App User Onboarding Experience

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

1. Leverage User Data Throughout the Onboarding Process

Collecting and analyzing user data can provide valuable insights into user behavior and preferences. This data can be used to tailor the onboarding process to meet the specific needs of each user. For example, if a user signs up for a fitness app and indicates that they are interested in weight loss, the app can personalize the onboarding process by highlighting features related to diet tracking and calorie counting.

Personalizing your app’s onboarding can be as simple as greeting users by their first name on a welcome page. Tools like Clearbit can help gather more data to further tailor the experience.

For instance, Mention, a media monitoring app, uses Clearbit to auto-fill signup form fields like name, job role, and company details, making the process user-friendly. By using data to personalize onboarding, users feel the app is designed specifically for them.

2. Segment Users Based on Behavior or Use Cases

User segmentation involves categorizing users based on their behavior or specific use cases. For instance, in a music streaming app, users can be segmented based on their music preferences. Those who listen to pop music might be introduced to popular pop playlists during onboarding, while classical music fans might be shown classical music stations.

If your app serves users with varying needs, personalizing their journey can be beneficial. By using onboarding data, you can tailor the experience to each user’s specific needs, speeding them towards their ‘aha moment’ and reducing early drop-offs.

3. Use Personalization to Reduce Onboarding Friction

Personalization can help reduce friction during the onboarding process by making it more relevant and intuitive for the user. For example, a language learning app could ask users about their proficiency level and language goals during onboarding. This information can be used to customize the learning path for each user, making the app easier to use and more engaging.

If your app aims to help users achieve a significant goal, your onboarding should not only highlight the product’s value but also boost user confidence. For instance, Wealthfront uses personalized onboarding to reduce friction and keep users motivated by reminding them of their financial goals.

Similarly, Duolingo personalizes its onboarding by asking users their desired language, their reasons for learning, and their available time, tailoring the app to each user’s needs.

4. Personalize the Messaging Using Emails

Emails can be a powerful tool for personalizing the onboarding experience. Welcome emails can be tailored based on the information users provide during sign-up. For example, a travel booking app could send personalized emails highlighting destinations or deals based on the user’s travel preferences.

Personalized emails, according to Experian, boost engagement rates sixfold. Timely and context-specific onboarding emails, triggered by user actions, can increase brand engagement by 33%. These emails can be welcome messages, re-engagement notes, or follow-up emails. For instance, Harvest sends a welcome email with personalized account details, encouraging users to start using their time-tracking software.

Similarly, Netflix sends personalized emails based on user viewing habits, suggesting new shows and movies they might enjoy.

5. Create Contextual Walkthroughs with Nudges

Contextual walkthroughs guide users through the app’s features in a real-world context. Nudges, or subtle prompts, can be used to guide users through these walkthroughs. For example, a project management app could use nudges to guide a new user in creating their first project or task.

Overloading users with too many features during onboarding can be overwhelming. Instead, guide users through features as they encounter them, maintaining their natural flow and offering assistance when needed. This is where contextual walkthroughs with nudges come in handy.

By studying the behavior of retained users, you can create personalized journey maps based on user persona and actions. These can be tailored to specific screens, events, or time spent on a screen, offering a unique experience not just on the first visit, but every time the user interacts with the app.

6. Add Dynamically Generated Personalized Text in Onboarding Screens

Dynamically generated text can make the onboarding screens feel more personal and engaging. This could be as simple as using the user’s name or as complex as tailoring the onboarding content based on the user’s preferences. For example, a news app could personalize the onboarding screens by highlighting news categories based on the user’s interests.

In conclusion, personalizing the user onboarding experience involves understanding your users, leveraging data, and tailoring the onboarding process to meet their specific needs and preferences. By doing so, you can create a more engaging and effective onboarding experience that can lead to higher user retention.

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