What is user onboarding, and why is it important?

Some people define the onboarding process as the identifying of the epiphany moment – the “wow!” or “aha!” moment. But when described as such, we soon realize that defining a “wow!” or “aha!” moment is not that simple. 

This is not a definition we can easily use to align an entire company on how to state that a user is onboarded or not, or how many users onboarded on a specific day.

We use a different approach; an approach that can get the whole company aligned quickly and effectively:

User onboarding is the process that takes a user from creating an account, to the user witnessing the promise of your product for the first time.

This promise is the value that your product or app can deliver to him or her. It is what convinced the user to create an account in the first place.

The promise is also non-negotiable. The promise is very clear in order to align the entire company on what action or set of actions will define the moment of the promise being reached.

If you are a service like Mailchimp, that moment is the user sending their first email campaign. If you are a service like Slack, that moment is the first communication between two different users. If you are a CRM, that moment is the first lead that gets updated from one stage to another.

How many users created an account and are now onboarded?

Innertrends offers an out-of-the-box, dedicated report that informs you of how many users experienced the promise of your product for the first time.

Report preview:

TIP 1: The calendar selection (which defines the cohort we’ll analyse) refers to the moment when someone created their account. The moment of finishing the onboarding process does not have to be within the selected period

TIP 2: The onboarding status of an account is constantly updated. If an account created on 01 Jan appeared as “not onboarded” as of yesterday, but the account finished the onboarding process today, it will now be marked as onboarded.  

How is my app’s onboarding process defined?

The onboarding process of your app is based on the Customer Journey Metrics your company defined when your InnerTrends account was set up.
If you want to see the exact definition of the onboarding metrics, check the onboarding section from your Customer Journey Metrics.

Check out this article on how to best define the moment of reaching your promise, which is the last step of your onboarding process.

Why is onboarding so important?

The onboarded users are the users that you can count on for growth. The following questions state this very clearly:

Would a person that never experienced the promise of your app have any reason to use your product?

Also, would it make sense for a person who didn't experience the promise of your app to start paying for it and use it on a long-term basis?

What are the chances of a person that didn't experience the promise of your product referring it to his or her peers, or giving you a positive review?

Onboarded users are those who are on the right path, heading towards generating a high and stable retention rate, will pay for your product and will be good referrals.

Those who don’t onboard will most likely never reach these goals.

Onboarding steps versus goals

Regardless of your business goals, you can only advocate for them or try to convince your users to reach these goals after they experience the promise of your product for the first time.

Until then, any action that you consider important will not represent a goal but represent an onboarding step. 

In case you have already set up a goal that mostly takes place during the onboarding process, InnerTrends will highlight this automatically and suggest that you reconsider the approach.

What's next?

Now that you know the conversion rate and the trend of the users that finished the onboarding process, it’s time to gain a deeper understanding of what exactly happened.

Let’s go into another ready-to-use report and find out how users are converting during the onboarding process, and where you are losing the most users.

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