Appcues is a solid user onboarding platform, and actually the pioneer of no-code user onboarding.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the right platform for you.
There are various different ways to onboard users, and your budget or technical background might have pushed you to look for an alternative to Appcues.
In this article, we’ll go over 7 Appcues alternatives; we’ve included both free and paid alternatives that could be used for email, in-product, and video onboarding.
We’ll go over each alternative in detail, their use cases, pricing, and differentiation. But first, let’s start with what Appcues is, and why it might be a poor choice for you.
Click here to go straight to the first alternative.
- Appcues is one of the first “no-code user onboarding” tools, and it used to be the best.
- In time, Appcues lost track of what no-code is, and turned into a hard-to-use tool with a bloated price and steep learning curve.
- UserGuiding is the best alternative to Appcues due to its ease of use and range of use cases.
- UserGuiding allows you to do everything that Appcues does for half the price, better support, and friendlier UI.
- Other alternatives to Appcues include WalkMe, Pendo, Intercom, Intro.js, Shepherd, And Wyzowl.
What is Appcues?
Appcues is a user onboarding platform that helps you create interactive user onboarding experiences, and is a company that’s one of the first to do it.
Before Appcues’ foundation, high technical knowledge was a requirement for building an ordinary onboarding guide. It has broken the rules by offering a no-code onboarding product to the world.
They also presented various new onboarding elements to the world that everyone loves today, such as user onboarding checklists and tooltips. They’ve been in the game for a long time, and they currently have thousands of users using their platform.
Appcues’ customers usually find the platform capable and valuable, but users generally complain that the product is too expensive, or the implementation and the UI are too complex for non-technical people.
But we’ll get to those in a second…
Appcues has 3 pricing plans:
- The Essentials Package starts at $249/month when billed annually with 2500 MAU.
- The Growth Package starts at $879/month when billed annually, again at 2500 MAU.
- The Enterprise Package doesn’t have a set pricing, you need to get a custom quotation.
“The main benefit of Appcues is its flexibility. You can embed custom code into tooltips to change their appearance, run scripts, embed an iframe, or insert buttons that do custom actions.“
“Beware of pricing hikes. They sent an email announcing an almost 300% increase from $129/mo to $299/mo. I get pricing adjustments but this is unreal and just seems plain shady.”
Why you need an Appcues Alternative
Appcues might be the OG of no-code user onboarding, with capable features, but it’s not perfect.
Here are a few reasons that an alternative to Appcues might be more suitable for you:
Steep Learning Curve – Technical Background Required
It takes a while for a user to completely adopt Appcues, and it gets worse for non-technical people.
The setup is too complex for non tech-savvy users to pull-off, so getting started with Appcues is a bumpy road that takes a while.
Higher Pricing for the Same Value
There is no denying that Appcues is much more expensive than most of its competitors.
Appcues’ starting price is 2.5 times more expensive for the same MAU and features than it’s closes competitor, UserGuiding. Also, the MAU is limited to 2500 in both Essentials and Growth packages so you’ll need to pay extra if you have more active users.
The main reason Appcues is usually considered too complex is actually the comprehensiveness of the features and the settings.
This is actually called feature bloat, where a company makes a bunch of features that are too detailed for the average user to master the product. Best Appcues alternatives offer simple features that get you the results with minimum effort, in the vertical of user onboarding.
Insufficient Customer Support
Appcues doesn’t have the best history when it comes to their customer support.
It is a known fact that enterprises and larger companies get the priority in Appcues’ support, and the small and medium-sized businesses are sometimes required to wait for a response for more than a day.
Top Alternatives to Appcues
- Intercom Product Tours
Without further ado, let’s start with the #1 alternative to Appcues:
#1 UserGuiding – No-code and Affordable Appcues Alternative
UserGuiding is one of many user onboarding tools that you can create capable in-app experiences with. But it is the easiest one to use for non-developers.
With UserGuiding, you can create:
- Interactive product walkthroughs,
- User onboarding checklists,
- Self-serve and interactive resource centers,
The three very significant facts that make this tool preferable are its simplicity, invaluable customer support, and innovative approach to the product.
Customer support is always there for you, collecting and sending feedback to the product team so that they can act on it to improve.
The tool is also extremely simple, no technical knowledge is required to create guides and implement them to your web product. And the pricing is much more affordable than any other 3rd-party alternative to Appcues, which makes UserGuiding the #1 alternative to Appcues.
UserGuiding has 3 different plans:
- 14-day free trial (no credit card required)
- Basic Plan: $89/month when billed annually for up to 2500 MAU
- Professional Plan: $389/month when billed annually for up to 20000 MAU with unlimited guides
- Custom Quotation Available for Larger Companies
“The tool is helpful and easy to use! No code is required to implement the features. Would recommend!”
“UserGuiding lacks in in-depth analytics and there are some more integrations we need.”
UserGuiding vs Appcues Comparison Table
|In-App Resource Center||❌||✅|
|Avg. Deployment Time||2-3 Hours||15 Minutes|
|Knowledge Base Integration||❌||✅|
|Learning Curve||😟 Steep||🙂 Smooth|
Should you go with Appcues or UserGuiding? Try for yourself, or let us help you choose:
UserGuiding also offers free migration services for your in-app content created using other software to minimize your switching costs.
Schedule a demo with one of our experts or start your free trial now:
#2 WalkMe – Powerful Features for Enterprise Digital Adoption
WalkMe is a DAP (digital adoption platform) that has powerful features for employee and customer onboarding.
WalkMe has been on the market for over 10 years; and with a great reputation serving enterprises, the company is well known in the employee and customer onboarding market.
They work with powerhouses such as Cisco, RBC Royal Bank, Microsoft, and Paypal.
WalkMe is a truly powerful solution that offers in-depth analytics and numerous features that help especially with digital adoption and change management. The platform is primarily focused around, you’ve guessed it, enterprises with high number of employees that want to level up their onboarding and training.
If you’re a medium/small sized company looking for a simple, budget-friendly solution, WalkMe is not a great choice because:
- The pricing is much higher than any other alternative,
- It’s not really a no-code solution and a bunch of technical knowledge is required.
WalkMe doesn’t have a fixed pricing, but allegedly, their packages are pricey (packages can range from $9-50k).
“In theory, the idea of the product is wonderful. And they are responsive and stay on top of your project. The product is feature-rich and for what they do, they do it well.”
“The problem is that you have to sign an annual agreement before you really use the product, and you’re locked into that agreement no matter what happens. And the cost depends on what you *think* your user base will be over the course of the next 12 months.”
Appcues vs WalkMe
When you compare Appcues and WalkMe, you’ll notice that they focus on different markets.
WalkMe aims at the big enterprises, with a sales-oriented customer journey and higher starting prices (yes, it goes higher than Appcues). The tool is obviously comprehensive and complex at the same time, so it requires a bunch of developer hours to set up right.
Appcues on the other hand is focused on medium/large companies, with above-average but fixed pricing and a self-serve free-trial option. Even though Appcues has its complexities too, compared to WalkMe, it can be called simple.
Both Appcues and WalkMe customers have complained about insufficient support and ease of use.
#3 Pendo – Basic User Onboarding and Feedback Surveys
Pendo offers you a way to improve your overall user experience, with both basic onboarding elements and feedback surveys as well as customer journey mapping.
User onboarding, in-app training, user surveys and analytics; Pendo has it all.
Their strong suit is definitely their surveys and in-depth analytics, as well as their user journey and behavior analysis features. You can create funnels to understand how your users are overcoming challenges, and use their widget templates to gain insights into your product usage.
Unfortunately, their in-app UX elements are not as good as the other tools on this list, since compared to their analytics and user behavior functionalities, they are at best basic. They lack progress bars and user onboarding checklists, which are crucial for a complete user onboarding experience.
Pendo offers custom plans for each customer, so to get a price for your business you’ll need to contact Pendo.
“Like all in-app messaging / insight services, the ability to easily deploy messaging and understand user behavior is super valuable. Overall a purpose-built solution like Pendo is way more capable than building an in-house alternative.”
“I’m acutely aware of all its shortcomings of which there are many. Namely, a truly awful/confusing UI. It takes 2-3x as long to do anything in this app due to unnecessarily cumbersome interfaces. Secondly, all the custom targeting components are a bit cumbersome for non-developers like me. Everything is more complicated than it needs to be.”
Appcues vs Pendo
When it comes to comparing Pendo to Appcues, the biggest difference is obviously their areas of focus as products.
Appcues primarily focuses on web onboarding, providing capable features for onboarding users and helping them succeed.
Pendo on the other hand is much more capable in analytics and provides solutions for both mobile and web products. With Pendo, you can gain a deep understanding of your users’ journeys and act on the insights you receive, but with limited onboarding and UX elements.
If you don’t already have an in-depth analytics solution, and a basic user onboarding is more than enough for you, Pendo should be your go-to.
If you are in it for the user onboarding part, however, Appcues, or alternatives to Appcues such as UserGuiding should be at the top of your preferences.
#4 Intercom – Email Onboarding and Basic Product Tours
Intercom is world’s #1 customer service solution, that has also stepped into the user onboarding space with basic product tours.
It is no secret that Intercom offers arguably the best customer service solution in the world, with chatbots, live chat, email support, and even email onboarding, Intercom is a great way to communicate with your customers.
Their recent add-on, Intercom Product Tours, can be used to create basic product tours that can act as a user onboarding flow for simpler products. With the new add-on, they’ve created a complete platform for customer service/customer success.
However, this unity comes at a price, literally and figuritavely.
You’ll have to pay extra to your Intercom package to unlock the Product Tours add-on, and fun fact; the add-on alone costs more than UserGuiding.
Also, as we’ve said, the product tours are basic with limited customization and even more limited features. So, it’s not going to help you create the complete user onboarding experience that you need.
If you want to use Intercom with Product Tours add-on:
- Start Plan: $74/month for Intercom subscription (2 seats) plus $199/month for Product Tours add-on = $273/month Total
- Support Package: Custom quote on request
“I liked how easy Intercom was to install, without needing Engineering help beyond the time it took to insert the widget. I can update the user experience to A/B test all through the application.”
`Missing more in-depth analytics and editing an existing tour could be easier.”
Intercom vs Appcues
Intercom, when compared to Appcues, is a completely different product focused on customer service that has a single simple feature to replace the might of Appcues’ all different features.
If you’re looking for a complete user onboarding experience, you need to choose a user onboarding software like Appcues and UserGuiding.
However, if you’re looking to gather every data and task in Intercom, the Product Tours add-on might be worth checking out.
#5 Wyzowl – Explainer Videos and Video Walkthroughs
Wyzowl can help you approach user onboarding in a different way, with the power of animated videos.
So you’re asking, how can videos be better than in-app interactive user onboarding experiences?
Usually a product needs doing instead of showing, for a user to learn what it does and how it does it.
But in the cases of “showing instead of doing”, Wyzowl can aid you.
If you’re looking to create an onboarding video to effectively onboard users, or just to top your existing user onboarding content with a visual feast; Wyzowl can create customized animated videos for you.
#6 Intro.js – Open-source & Low Cost Product Tours
Intro.js is an open-source user onboarding solution that is used by companies such as Amazon and Nestle.
It is one of the most popular open-source tools on GitHub with over 19k stars.
The library allows you to create product tours and feature highlights with limited available customization options.
Since it’s an open-source solution, Intro.js might be a good option for you if you:
- have a spare developer,
- running on a very low budget,
- and only need a simple product tour.
As we’ve said, the customization is very limited, and, segmentation and targeting are nearly non-existent.
It is a solid library for the simple tasks, but for a decent onboarding with a wide variety of elements, you’ll need something else.
Intro.js is completely free until you use it for a commercial product, which then requires a license. The licenses and their prices are:
- Starter pack without any official support for $9.99,
- Business pack with a month of official support and code review for $49.99,
- Premium package with a year of official support, code review, and unlimited projects for $299.99.
“I really like the Intro.js plugin because documentation is straightforward and easy to understand. Very good onboarding tool for basic use cases.”
“The library is definitely open source and free software, but at the same time if I want to use it for commercial use it seems I need to pay a license fee. Why is this required if the code is open source?”
#7 Shepherd.js – Free & Open-source Product Tours
Just like Intro.js, Shepherd is an open-source product tour and feature highlight library that is, unlike Intro.js, completely free for everyone.
Compared to Intro.js, Shepherd is much more customizable with additional coding, so it requires more technical knowledge but offers much more native product tours.
It’s a perfect fit for small companies and bootstrap startups that are looking to get a simple product tour without paying anything.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should use Appcues?
Product managers and customer success managers should use Appcues to improve their user onboarding.
How much does Appcues cost?
Appcues Essentials Plan starts at $249/month while its Growth Plan is $879/month.
What are the top alternatives to Appcues?
The top 7 Appcues alternatives are UserGuiding, Walkme, Pendo, Intercom, Intro.js, Wyzowl, and Shepherd.