Feature Adoption

What is Feature Adoption?

Feature adoption in short refers to the usage and consumption of a designated feature by the users of an app, web product, or software.

A product has many features that has various functions, sometimes completely different from each other. A user can start using a product for a specific feature or the value a few features offer combined. In either case, some features will be used more frequently than the others and others will be forgotten.

Feature adoption is used to separate features that are frequently used and the ones that are not.

Measuring a specific feature’s adoption correctly includes much more than answering the question “How many users have used this feature?”. A thorough analysis should be conducted to learn about the adoption of the feature, which starts by answering these questions:

  • Breadth: What percentage of all users are using this feature?
  • Depth: How much are these users accomplishing with this feature? Are they effectively completing tasks using it?
  • Frequency: How often are users using the specific feature?
  • Time-to-adopt: How much time does it take users to achieve value with the said feature?

Using simple analytics tools can help find answers to these questions. With the answers at hand, a deeper look into features and their usage and adoption will be available, offering opportunities to increase feature adoption.

How to increase the adoption of a new feature?

Eliminating pain points and frictions that users experience when they use a specific feature and making it as user-friendly as possible are the simplest ways to improve feature adoption.

For existing features that are not as popular as they are wanted to be and brand new features both, there are several common points to check:

  • Making sure that users are aware of its existence: sending in-app messages and emails about the feature that is not popular will make it get noticed by users.
  • Making sure that the experience provided is enjoyable: ensuring that the feature has a good UX that users enjoy and getting rid of any pain points of frictions will make users adopt the feature faster.
  • Making sure that the value provided is actually valuable: is the feature that is up and running solving a real problem effectively? Answering this question and taking the necessary steps based on the answer will ensure that the feature is a valuable asset to users.

Also, there are 2 points that only apply to new features:

  • Making sure the launch is effective: for new features, the period between the week before launch and a few weeks after is the most crucial part. This period determines a feature’s overall success. Starting promotion campaigns before launch, communicating with intended audiences to make them aware of the new feature are important before launch. After launch, ensuring that every user that uses that logs in to the product gets notified and taking them through a short tutorial regarding the feature are a must.
  • Making sure it is integrated into the onboarding experience: New features are often overlooked and not included into the new user onboarding process. Where the new feature belongs in the overall product experience should be analyzed, then the tutorial of the new feature must be smoothly placed into the new user onboarding, making it blend in with the overall experience.

Why is feature adoption important?

As users utilize a product and its different features in their daily lives, they will be more likely to keep using the product and improvement will be seen in metrics such as user engagement, activation, churn rate, retention rate, and revenue.

Starting with engagement and activation, the more value a user gets from a product, the more they will be likely to use it. As each feature offers different type of value, if users adopt different features at once, they will come back to the product more often, and will be constantly engaging with it.

Each well-designed feature will offer a different type of value to the user as it was mentioned above, and each type of value will be a reason for a user to keep using the product and not churn. The decrease in the churn rate and the increase in retention rate is possible through feature adoption.

Selman Gokce

Selman Gokce is the Senior Inbound Marketer of UserGuiding. He is highly invested in user onboarding and digital adoption, especially for SaaS, and he writes on these topics for the UserGuiding blog. When he's not writing, you can find him either listening to LOTR soundtracks while cooking or getting angry because he lost in a video game.

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