User Onboarding

Top 5 User Onboarding Metrics & KPIs to Guarantee Your Success

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    Home / User Onboarding / Top 5 User Onboarding Metrics & KPIs to Guarantee Your Success

    Imagine that you have worked endlessly on your product and got so close to providing users excellent value through a perfect user onboarding experience. 

    How would you then know if your onboarding process is successful or not?

    It is a must that you prove the success of your onboarding!

    Because you may think for yourself that your user onboarding process is effective for any user; however, if you cannot prove this, you will only watch your users churn for your competitors.

    To make sure that your product’s onboarding is on point, you need to track some metrics and KPIs.

    Let’s elaborate on what user onboarding is and why you should track the success of your onboarding process, and then move on to talking about the metrics that will help you to do so.

    What exactly is the user onboarding process?

    User onboarding is the ongoing process of helping users with making their way through your product. It starts with users’ first interaction with your product and ever goes on from that moment on. In short, it is the practice of helping users thoroughly understand how they can find value in your product in the most effective way.

    what is user onboarding process

    Unlike the popular misconception, user onboarding doesn’t start after users sign-up for your product, and it doesn’t end with a product tour.

    It starts way before, and the sign-up process should also be included in the onboarding flow. That is to say; you should make it easy for users to sign-up and guide them through the process.

    When it comes to when user onboarding starts, I can say that the first piece of content that users come across is also a part of the onboarding. 


    Because through that piece of content, you should be able to give users an overall idea about what your product does and how it can solve their problems.

    Why should you measure the performance of your User Onboarding?

    measuring the performance of your user onboarding

    As mentioned above, if your user onboarding is not successful, then it is pretty much equal to not having a quality product. When users cannot understand how they can benefit from your product, they will not waste their valuable time and simply look for other options.

    Considering this, you need to provide an excellent onboarding experience and measure its performance to leave no space for dissatisfaction. 

    Measuring the performance of your user onboarding, you can identify your weaknesses and strengths and improve on them.

    5 Metrics to Track the Performance of Your User Onboarding Process

    For SaaS products, product data is like a treasure trove of valuable insights into how well you are doing with your user onboarding.

    For some of the metrics below, product data will help you understand what is going well and what is not; for others, such as collecting feedback, you will need to put in some extra work to better track the performance of your onboarding.

    1- Free to Paid Version Conversion Rate

    Freemiums and free trials are great for helping users discover the value of your product and allowing you to understand how well your onboarding performs.

    Low freemium or free trial conversion rates imply that you fail to help users figure out how they can use your product to meet their needs and expectations.

    Here is how you can calculate your free trial or freemium conversion rate:

    Freemium or Free Trial conversion rate = Free trials or freemium users that are converted in a specific period of time / the number of free users in that particular period of time * 100.

    Let’s say your product has 100 of your free trial or freemium users who convert from the total number of 200 free users. In such a situation, your free to paid conversion rate is:

    100/200 * 100= 50%

    2- Time-to-value (TTV)

    Time-to-value (TTV) refers to the amount of time that users spend finding the value of your product. The shorter the time-to-value, the more successful your user onboarding is.

    Like I said before, users’ time is precious, and you should not waste their time in any way.

    Here is an excellent example of time-to-value from Bitly:

    time-to-value example for user onboarding

    Bitly provides value to users right away.

    You can see that it only takes a tiny amount of time for users to shorten their links through Bitly. If you fail to help users benefit from your product quickly, you will not have a successful user onboarding and, therefore, will not be able to retain those users.

    3- User Engagement

    One of the strongest indicators of the success of your onboarding process is a high user engagement rate.

    Here are a few user engagement metrics and KPIs that you can track for the success of your user onboarding:

    • Percentage of Daily/Monthly Active Users (DAU/MAU)

    This metric shows that users keep finding value in your product consistently.

    The better the onboarding, the more daily/monthly active users you will have.  The effectiveness of your user onboarding will increase the number of daily and monthly active users.

    Calculation: Total number of users / daily/monthly active users.

    The high stickiness rate of your product suggests that your user onboarding is effective in helping users solve their problems, and once they figure out how to do it, they can’t get enough of it.

    Here is how you can calculate your products stickiness:

    stickiness calculation for user onboarding
    • The number of sessions

    The number of sessions shows you how frequently your users interact with your product.

    the number of sessions for user onboarding

    Tracking the early number of sessions and comparing it to later ones, you can better understand how your user onboarding gives users the necessary elements in their path to coming up with their needs.

    If there is a decrease in your number of sessions over time, then you need to reconsider what is going wrong with your onboarding at that specific moment.

    • Average Session Durations

    Alongside the number of sessions, tracking the average session duration is also crucial in deciding whether you perform well with your onboarding experience.

    number of session for user onboarding

    What is essential here is to decide whether longer or shorter sessions show the success of your product. That is to say, if your product is a food delivery app, then you wouldn’t want longer session durations because this would suggest that your users are having a hard time trying to find what they are looking for.

    On the other hand, if you have, let’s say, a social media app, then you would want longer session durations. 

    Accordingly, you need to adjust your user onboarding to either create longer or shorter average session durations.

    4- Churn Rate

    Churn rate refers to the rate at which your users stop using your product. 

    Compared to the other metrics desired at a high rate, a high churn rate points out the failure in your user onboarding. 

    Tracking the churn rate early from the first week/ first month, you will see whether you have a short time-to-value, and you can help users meet their expectations or needs.

    Here is how you can calculate your churn rate:

    churn rate calculation for user onboarding

    5- User Feedback

    User feedback is where you need to put some dedicated effort to further prove that your onboarding is successful.

    It is one of the most vital and harder-to-get indicators that you need to track your user onboarding success. 

    If you don’t know how to collect feedback, then you will not get the desired results for understanding what you may be doing wrong in your onboarding process. In other words, if you are asking for too much information in the most unrelated points in users’ journey, you will not get healthy answers.

    If you want to collect feedback successfully:

    • (for a feature of your product) then you should ask for feedback after users complete using that feature. 
    • You should encourage users to give feedback (with rewards, a good explanation that the feedback will be used for their benefit, and time indicators that show that the process will only take a short amount of time).
    • NPS surveys will allow you to learn about the overall success of your onboarding and product.
    • You should not ask for too much information (only the necessary information at a related moment).

    Final Thoughts

    An excellent user onboarding process is nothing but a necessity for the success of your product and business. 

    It is not enough to have a quality product that YOU THINK will provide value to people, you also need to guide users in benefitting from it, and you need to be able to prove to yourself that you are good at doing this.

    It is then equally important to constantly track these metrics to not miss out on anything that may prevent you from providing an excellent user onboarding.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is an effective onboarding?

    An effective onboarding is an ever-ongoing process that helps users find out how they can benefit from your product and make the most out of it.

    How do you measure the success of an onboarding?

    One of the most efficient ways to measure the success of onboarding is to collect feedback from users. Apart from collecting feedback, there are some metrics and KPIs that you can track in order to understand whether you are successful with your onboarding or not.

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