Adding a platform like Pendo to your tech stack can unlock plenty of opportunities for the growth of your product.
It can help you understand your users and their actions, analyze product usage and feature adoption, and guide users to success.
But, the tool to do all these efficiently is probably not Pendo, at least for your business.
And if you’re searching for an alternative, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I will:
- Elaborate on what is Pendo used for and what makes Pendo different,
- List why you might need an alternative to Pendo,
- Compare the top alternatives to Pendo and its products, based on my own experience and online reviews from verified users,
- Answer the frequently asked questions about Pendo and Pendo competitors.
- Pendo is a popular tool that brings digital adoption, user engagement, and advanced analytics together.
- Although the tool’s functions are great, the price you have to pay for it, and the time you have to spend on it make people second guess whether the tool is worth it or not.
- People who churn from Pendo revealed that Pendo made them pay 60K for one year with a 6k MAU limit. Whew…
- There are other tools, such as UserGuiding, that deliver a similar value for one-tenth the price they charge.
- For user and customer onboarding, UserGuiding can be a more affordable alternative to Pendo, with more variety and capability regarding onboarding content.
- For behavior analytics and product insights, Amplitude significantly outperforms Pendo with a similar pricing and technical investment.
- WalkMe brings a more capable platform that comes with slightly increased pricing, with very similar features to Pendo.
- Appcues offers a more user onboarding-focused platform with simpler analytics features, while Gainsight PX offers a more analytics-focused platform with simpler user onboarding capabilities.
- And if you swing more towards employee training/engagement, Whatfix can bring a line of products that can help you streamline digital experience and adoption.
First, we should probably take a look at the features, advantages, and disadvantages of Pendo; and set a base for comparisons.
You can also go directly to the first alternative by clicking here ⬅
What is Pendo used for?
Pendo is a robust product analytics, and user engagement platform businesses use to build better products.
Founded by the software entrepreneur Todd Olson, Pendo is based in North Carolina, US.
It is a very popular solution with thousands of customers, including big names such as Verizon, Zendesk, and Salesforce.
The platform has two core functions that users can benefit from behavior analytics and user onboarding.
Pendo’s product analytics features can help businesses track user behavior and product insights across the web and mobile devices.
Once integrated, you can see every user activity, which allows you to create different reports that can later be combined in custom dashboards that fuel your business decisions and help you find actionable insights.
Especially data-focused product managers use Pendo to understand what users are doing inside their product, what functions/features are being more utilized, how product changes affect business metrics, and more.
User/Employee Onboarding and Guidance
Additionally, Pendo has a “Guides” feature, using which you can create different in-app elements to boost user experience and guide and engage with your users.
You can create interactive product tours, tooltips, announcement modals, and resource centers using Pendo; to set up a customer journey that sets users up for success.
Once combined with the analytics part of Pendo, in-app guides, and other elements can help your teams onboard users and employees with higher engagement.
Additionally, Pendo provides its users with a variety of in-app feedback collection elements that are extremely valuable when used correcty.
Pendo has a free plan called “Pendo Free“. Pendo free allows up to 1,000 monthly active users for one web and one mobile app. Although Pendo claims it can be used to test the waters and see the software’s value, I’ll have to say you can only see if the platform works with your product or not with only a thousand users.
Also, Pendo recently released a fixed-pricing plan called the “starter plan” which costs $7000/year, but includes only a very limited set of features and no customer support.
For bigger plans, Pendo doesn’t have a set pricing.
Instead, you can get a custom plan for your business by contacting their sales team.
However, there are various Pendo users that revealed the details of Pendo’s pricing. One user claimed that they are a medium-sized business that pays $12,000/year for the standard package of Pendo while another user upped this number to $20,000. Additionally, there is a Pendo customer that claims to pay $2000/year just for the “Guides” feature of the product; so, you get the picture.
Pendo’s pricing is feature and usage-based, and it possibly scales with how many users you have like other analytics tools.
Pendo for Startups
Pendo runs a special discount program for the product teams of startup companies, and here are the requirements to qualify for it:
▶ Having a web or mobile application
▶ Having no more than two products
▶ Having less than 100 employees
Since Pendo’s yearly costs can be astronomical for smaller businesses, getting the discount can surely help if you qualify for it.
But to be frank, as a startup, you have better options with more value that probably cost much less than Pendo’s discounted plans.
For example, a combination of Mixpanel and UserGuiding can provide an early-stage company with more capable in-app guidance and analytics features for a much more affordable price range. So, in short, you get more bang for your buck.
“Been using Pendo for 2 years. It’s a great tool specifically for guides and capturing user feedback. There are some limitations to what you can do with guides but all in all, it’s easy and pretty flexible.”
“Agree with everyone else commenting that the set up is painful… So is the overall management. If you make changes to your site frequently, you will have to change tags to match your updates, keep in mind that is pretty much standard with most applications like this.”
5 Reasons Why You Might Need a Pendo Alternative
With its different features, Pendo can be the solution that many businesses use to level up their product experience.
But for many other businesses, it might just not cut it.
Here are five reasons product people should look for an alternative to Pendo:
1- Fairly Expensive Pricing 💰
It makes sense for a robust platform like Pendo not to be as cheap as you’d like.
But, compared to some other products, its price is not completely justifiable. With 5-figure yearly packages, it might be challenging for small to medium-sized businesses to afford Pendo.
2- Difficult Setup, More Difficult Maintenance 🛠
The integration and maintenance of Pendo is a full-time job for at least one technical person, especially during the initial setup.
More and more businesses complain that the setup of Pendo is a tough one to get right, and you might need to change the structure of your product significantly. Additionally, many users have complained that even the slightest change in your product can result in Pendo errors that take hours to fix.
3- Steep Learning Curve 📚
Pendo has a steep learning curve, and it applies to everybody that has the intention to use it.
The UI isn’t the most self-explanatory, and different people from different teams in your business will have to invest serious time to understand the basic functions.
4- Limited Analytics Capabilities 📉
Pendo’s product analytics are powerful, don’t get me wrong.
But compared to some other product analytics platforms that can easily flex on Pendo, the tool’s features can feel a bit limited.
If your focus is all on analytics, you might be better off using a tool that has the same priorities you do.
5- Limited User Onboarding and Guide Capabilities 🚢
The same argument applies here too.
Pendo’s Guides feature allows you to create beautiful guides that can boost product engagement, but compared to platforms that solely focus on user onboarding, it’s limited.
There are numerous different reasons to skip on Pendo and numerous alternatives you can pick up instead. Let’s see the best among them:
Top Alternatives and Competitors of Pendo
- Gainsight PX
So, you’ve decided on using another tool than Pendo to meet your user onboarding and product analytics needs. Alright, let’s start with the first tool on our list:
1- UserGuiding vs Pendo – Easier and more extensive user onboarding
UserGuiding is a no-code product adoption platform that doubles down on customer experience and user onboarding with powerful in-app experience elements.
It works with a Chrome browser extension that lets you create various user onboarding elements directly on your website.
Compared to Pendo, UserGuiding’s user onboarding features are much more extensive and significantly more affordable while its analytics functions are limited.
But, this lack of product analytics can easily be covered with product analytics software (that’s more capable than Pendo) such as Mixpanel or Amplitude, which are easily integrated with UserGuiding.
Doing so can help you get more bang for your buck, with a combination of the best software to replace the two core functions of Pendo.
There are three main upsides of using UserGuiding for user onboarding instead of Pendo:
💡 Has all the user onboarding elements essential for success
In the user onboarding department, UserGuiding doesn’t lack anything.
It has all the features to create a complete user onboarding experience.
In addition to product tours, tooltips, and in-app surveys like Pendo’s, UserGuiding has:
✅ onboarding checklists,
✅ resource centers that integrate with your knowledge base,
which are all essential to get the most engagement from your users.
🚀 Quicker setup
The setup of Pendo takes a serious amount of time and effort to get right.
But with UserGuiding, you can easily get started as the product is simple to use, and set it up with only a few steps that take less than 15 minutes.
💸 Affordable for all
Compared to Pendo’s 5-figure packages for the core product and the $2000 cost of just the “Guides” feature alone, UserGuiding’s starting price of $828/year or $69/month is much more affordable for all businesses.
Especially since the product is easy to set up too, your costs of deployment are very low with its fair pricing.
- 14-day free trial (no credit card required)
- Basic Plan: $69/month when billed annually for up to 2500 MAU
- Professional Plan: $299/month when billed annually for up to 20000 MAU with unlimited guides
- Custom Quotation Available for Larger Companies
“The Predefined templates and texts that we could already publish without changing a thing. Undying help from the Support team and how they give insights into what works best and share best practices.”
“Having to monitor ourselves if something is breaking. (Wish we could add alerts or notifications if a certain guide breaks after it’s live. This possibly is in the roadmap).”
Pendo vs UserGuiding Comparison Table
|In-App Resource Center||✅||✅|
|Avg. Deployment Time||≈ 1 Week||15 Minutes|
|User Activity Feed||✅||❌|
|Knowledge Base Integration||❌||✅|
|Learning Curve||😟 Steep||🙂 Smooth|
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- Pendo vs Amplitude – More advanced analytics solution
Amplitude offers one of the most capable product analytics platforms that meets virtually every data need of product and growth teams. When directly compared to Pendo, Amplitude might seem to miss a feature or two, but it makes up for the lack of in-app content creation tools with advanced functions in analytics.
With Amplitude, you can track product usage in most platforms without losing value, including mobile, desktop, and web platforms. Once set up, Amplitude can be used by every member of every team to measure and track various metrics and KPIs that Pendo might fall short for.
Especially if you have a product with a heavy mobile focus and a need for getting the most out of your raw data, Amplitude can be a better choice than Pendo.
Amplitude doesn’t have the edge versus Pendo in terms of pricing. Both products offer similar prices, but based on claims by its users (and my own experience), Amplitude seems to be a bit pricier than Pendo. Plans can go from $10K/year for small startups to $100K/year for larger companies.
“This is my go-to when I have a question about user behaviors. It is incredibly easy to use. It is simple to get charts set up. We can set up dashboards so our team can keep an eye on key metrics.”
“The pricing is quite expensive even for a mid-sized company. To gain several important features we need to add in extra cash to unlock it. Their cohort function also still needs to have more improvement.”
Other Worthy Mentions for Better Analytics
Amplitude isn’t the only platform that can replace Pendo with a 100% analytics focus, so here are a few worthy mentions:
With its retroactive data storage, Heap can offer more advanced data analytics for your team.
Mixpanel is one other of Pendo and Amplitude’s competitors, possibly a much more affordable solution than Amplitude and Pendo for product analytics. In the Mixpanel vs. Pendo comparison, it is easy to say that Mixpanel provides all the analytics capabilities a PM would need.
Google Analytics 4
Depending on your business’s and stakeholders’ needs, you might not even need a pricy platform such as Pendo or Amplitude to analyze product usage and behavioral data; Google Analytics might do it for free.
With a little help from your developers and a thorough setup process, GA can be an effective product analytics solution too. Here are some common questions regarding Google Analytics vs Pendo, and their answers:
Is Pendo like Google Analytics?
The core principle of Pendo is similar to Google Analytics, as they’re both analytics platforms. But, they’re highly unlike in the customer life stage their features focus on.
How is Pendo different from Google Analytics?
Although both Pendo and Google Analytics can be used for web analytics, Pendo’s features lean more towards analyzing product/feature usage and customer retention metrics while Google Analytics focuses on website traffic and user acquisition.
3- Pendo vs WalkMe – Similar features with more enterprise capabilities
WalkMe seems to be a product experience platform enterprise businesses can’t live without.
And they might be right.
Compared to Pendo, WalkMe is an enterprise-focused and pricy digital adoption platform for user analytics and product experience.
Although both products have very similar key features, the way these features (such as product tours, analytics, and event tracking) are setup in each product differs a ton.
If you’re more interested in using a DAP for instilling the adoption of digital products through organizations and teams, WalkMe should be your go-to. The setup takes more time, it’s not as easily operated as Pendo, but it gets the job done for those who need to get other people to get the job done.
WalkMe doesn’t have public pricing, but most of its users agree on pricing plans that vastly change in the 5-figure range. The average pricing for the small teams seem to be around $10,000/year, but since WalkMe is an enterprise solution that specializes as a DAP for large organizations, you might have to multiply the alleged numbers.
“WalkMe is a platform that empowers Users to get the most from their enterprise applications. Whether its step by step guide, link to frequently used resource, smarttips with GIFs, etc. WalkMe provides relevant guidance, at the right place and right time.”
“WalkMe can be challenging at times, mainly because its alive and living in the environment. With that being said, if any development or changes are made to the environment, WalkMe is at risk of no longer working. It requires a stable environment for optimal performance, working closely with the system’s dev team helps keep things in order.”
4- Pendo vs Appcues – Less analytics, more onboarding
Appcues, as one of the first user onboarding tools on the market, offers much more comprehensive user onboarding features compared to Pendo.
The tool is beautifully designed for non-technical people to create and track in-app elements they use for their onboarding flows. With various features and in-depth customization complemented with ready-to-use templates, the tool has everything you need to create power users.
Although the pricing of Appcues matches the price of Pendo’s “only product tours” plans, if you have to choose between the two for user onboarding features, Appcues wins by a landslide.
- The Essentials Package of Appcues starts at $249/month when billed annually with 2500 MAU.
- The Growth Package of Appcues starts at $879/month when billed annually, again at 2500 MAU.
- The Enterprise Package of Appcues doesn’t have public pricing, so you need to get a custom quotation.
“Appcues makes our work much easier and helps us connect in a better way with our users. I highly recommend working with Appcues.”
5- Pendo vs Gainsight PX – More analytics, less onboarding
It was hard to find a product experience platform with fewer onboarding features than Pendo, but I’ve done it.
Gainsight’s PX platform is a product analytics and engagement solution that focuses on providing businesses with a more actionable and better performing toolkit than Pendo.
Especially in terms of product analytics, Gainsight PX is much more customizable, with more options in user identification, customer segmentation, and predictive analytics. However, Gainsight PX’s in-app guidance features are more basic than Pendo’s, which is something to keep in mind when evaluating the two solutions.
Gainsight PX Pricing
There is no public information regarding Gainsight’s pricing plans for its Product Experience platform.
“A great tool to extract info from customers that will lead to data-driven decisions.”
“It does have some limitations when it comes to implementation and compatibility”
6- Pendo vs Whatfix – Simpler analytics, capable employee training
Whatfix, similar to WalkMe, can be the solution you’re looking for if you’re more interested in organization-wide digital adoption rather than product analytics.
Its analytics side lacks a ton compared to Pendo, but Whatfix can be a powerful solution for employee onboarding and training. It has a variety of options for creating on-screen guidance for end-users.
Whatfix’s analytics features are focused on tracking the on-screen content you create with it and the effects of this content on core product metrics.
With a more affordable pricing range, Whatfix can be a better DAP solution for small-medium-sized companies than Pendo, maybe even WalkMe.
Whatfix also doesn’t have public pricing that you can go through, but according to its users, it’s not as steep as Pendo.
According to reviews, plans for smaller businesses can go as low as $1000/year with access to all features, and it won’t get to five figures unless you’re a really large corporation with a ton of users/employees.
“Best value I found when researching for a product like this. Also the service can not be beat.”
“Setting up analytics is a little difficult and an added step to check.”
7- Pendo vs Shepherd – Free Open Source for fewer capabilities
It claims to be highly customizable in its design, and easy to create and implement. Yet it requires a high amount of technical background and coding knowledge to maintain.
Shepherd also only has a single feature, which is a product tour. A decent onboarding needs much more elements than that. So if you are looking to create a full onboarding experience for your users, Shepherd might not be a good solution for you.
Shepherd.js is 100% free of charge!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best alternatives to Pendo’s product analytics?
If you want to go all out on product analytics when switching from Pendo, you’ll need Amplitude or Mixpanel, the exact choice depending on your price range. However, if you still want to be able to create some in-product modals and elements, you can switch to Gainsight PX for better analytics and arguably worse onboarding elements.
And what are the best alternatives to Pendo’s product tours feature?
Compared to Pendo’s user onboarding features, UserGuiding and Appcues are much more capable solutions with a wide variety of advanced elements/functions. UserGuiding is much more affordable and easy to use while Appcues is still a bit technical with a higher pricing.
Are there any free/open-source Pendo alternatives?
Although no open-source tools can efficiently replace Pendo, there are a few free (or at least free-to-start) competitors: Google Analytics, Amplitude, Gainsight PX, UserGuiding.
What is Pendo Free
“Pendo Free” is Pendo’s free-of-charge plan. Pendo free allows up to 1,000 monthly active users for one web and one mobile app. Although Pendo claims it can be used to test the waters and see the software’s value, I’ll have to say you can only see if the platform works with your product or not with only a thousand users.
What tools have Pendo integrations?
Pendo has more than 40 integrations with tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, WordPress, Calendly, Figma, Drift, Intercom, Slack, Zendesk, and WebHooks.