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Product Tours - Everything You Need To Know About Software Product Walkthroughs


What Are Product Tours and What Are Their Benefits?

Picture this. You've been developing a new piece of software or app for months. It's almost ready for launch. The only problem? No one knows how to use it yet.

Product Tours are an interactive way of giving users and new customers a guide to using the product. They can also be employed to guide users on new features. Not all users will be tech-savvy, so to improve onboarding, guidance can make a big difference.

The modern product tour has a level of complexity and sophistication that was lacking in the past. When used correctly, they are far more than just pop-ups that direct user action.

Now, product tours can provide different UI patterns to create a mix of materials that guide users through their first impression of your products or digital solutions. They can teach users how to use tools and get the most from a site or platform.

As the digital marketplace has become more competitive, the importance of user onboarding is evident. A product tour that guides users to their aha moment can make or break the user experience. But product walkthroughs aren't limited to just onboarding new users.

Facebook introduced its new design in 2020 using an interactive product tour
Facebook introduced its new design in 2020 using an interactive product tour

Here are four main user groups that you can create interactive product tours for. These tours can help with onboarding, user retention, promoting new features, etc.

1) An interactive product tour for new users. These can provide key info and show users how to achieve specific actions that demonstrate product value.

2) A tour that helps introduce an exciting new feature to existing users.

3) Walkthroughs for users that have been using the product for a while but haven't advanced beyond the basic features.

4) Walkthroughs for users who haven't interacted with the software for a specific amount of time.

The big takeaway here is that you need to demonstrate your product's value.

The perfect product will be so intuitive that people would "get it" right away. However, some product functions (or users) need a little help.

This is where a product tour becomes an integral part of connecting your audience to your product. You should use them in the leanest way possible to show them how your product can solve their pain point.

Benefits of Product Walkthrough

Product tours offer several benefits to developers depending on the different contexts that you use them in.


There has been a considerable shift in how people learn and engage. Instead of offering a manual or a video, you can engage users in interactive tours. Interactive learning has gathered a lot of steam in the educational communities over the years as an excellent and effective learning tool.

Google Analytics created an interactive product walkthrough to introduce recent changes
Google Analytics created an interactive product walkthrough to introduce recent changes

Boost Product Adoption

An excellent way for developers to boost product adoption is by demonstrating clearly why a product is valuable to a user. A product tour can help this by showing exactly how and why a product solves a problem the user has. The quicker a user begins to get value from a product, the less likely they are to abandon it.

Performance Data

A big plus of using product tours is that it allows you to capture user performance data.

You can use advanced analytics to pull information from interactive walkthroughs and pinpoint where users are becoming disengaged or what is causing user churn. Figuring this out can be a huge boost to user retention.

Make User Onboarding More Efficient

Creating an excellent product tour means user onboarding can become more cost-effective and more efficient. It helps user adoption and user retention by highlighting valuable aspects of the product that are being underused.

User Activation

User activation is a crucial KPI that determines the health of your app or product. Briefly defined, user activation is the percentage of users who complete a specific task or milestone within the product. This KPI is often an action that signifies the user will become an engaged customer.

Good guidance can help ensure that all users can sign up or become active through tips, reminders, and more.

Self Service

At the heart of a great product tour is the idea of self-service. People love discovering a product for themselves. Users demand self-serve options now and often choose automated support options over custom support interaction with humans. An additional bonus is that a well-done product tour reduces the costs involved in online support.

During the Facebook redesign, an introductory product tour was used to let users choose between the light and dark modes
During the Facebook redesign, an introductory product tour was used to let users choose between the light and dark modes

Feature Adoption

While one aspect of your product might grab a user's attention, the more features they adopt, the more likely they are to stick around. Developers can drive feature adoption through well-placed product tours that explain tools and features.

Why Is It Important To Have Interactive Product Tours in Your Digital Product?

Do you need an interactive product tour?

Effective product tours streamline user onboarding. It teaches users about key tools, functions, and UI elements in a way that is used to drive engagement and help them learn quickly. The guidance that these tours offer can lead to moments of connection that drive long-term engagement with the product.

Remember, not all customers will understand the value of an app or product immediately. Not all users will be able to discover why this solution solves their problem. If you create a product tour, you give your app or product a better chance.

The process is all about demonstrating value quickly and efficiently. A product tour does this.

How To Deliver Great User Onboarding Experience With Product Tours?

Each product tour needs to be considered on its own terms. However, there are some basic principles that developers should understand to make great product tours.


Try to segment users. This allows you to make an interactive product tour that is more relevant, and therefore, more effective. If new users declare what aspects of the app or product they are interested in, a personalized tour can help them hit their aha moment quickly.

Use Contextual Triggers

Consider using user behavior to trigger your product tour. While it's suitable for some product tours to start when the product is opened, some of the most effective tours can be triggered when a user tries to complete an action.

Mailchimp targets customers that upgraded from the free version and aim to use the Reporting functionality with new capabilities new available for them
Mailchimp targets customers that upgraded from the free version and aim to use the Reporting functionality with new capabilities new available for them

Ask Users if They Want a Tour

A great product tour isn't invasive. There needs to be a clear exit route for users who like to learn on their own. Consider asking users to opt-in to tours either.

Use Less-Invasive Step Design

An interesting example is whether to consider using the whole screen for the product tour. This option is best kept for when you need to force a user through a tour. Otherwise, try and keep it stripped back.

Instead of using the modal window over the entire page, Google introduces changes contextually
Instead of using the modal window over the entire page, Google introduces changes contextually

Keep Product Tours Short and Sweet

Product tours should be short, punchy, and to the point. They should help users reach a next step or access a key function. Remember, you want to establish how your product will help them. Show them quickly.

Keep Design Consistent

Keeping the user in the flow of your product is vital. So make sure your product tours have a consistency of UI elements and colors. Don't pull the user out of the experience.

Updates Based on Feedback

A great way to test your product tours is through product tour software that allows performance data to be analyzed. Taking a complete review of the process provides access to a wide variety of user insights. Using this data means you can refine your product tour so that it's very effective.

Always Have a Specific Action in Mind

Each product tour should be related to a user's goal. Keep your tours concise, direct, and helpful. The onboarding process is your time to show users exactly what your product can do. Don’t waste it.

7 Biggest Product Tour Mistakes

#1. Onboarding as an Afterthought

Too often, the user onboarding process is only thought about after development. This can give the product tour an incoherent feel. Remember, product tours are part of the user's first interaction with your product. This is a crucial time where you need to create a great first impression.

#2. Failure to Segment Users

If your product does several things that are relevant to different audience segments, overly general interactive product tours can hurt adoption. You need to capture user attention quickly and use product tours that are relevant to them.

One efficient method you can apply is to give your users an option about what they need your product for. This will divide them into segments. From here, you can use interactive product tours that are relevant to their use and not overly general.

#3. A Lack of Holistic Vision

There is an old cliche of "too many cooks spoil the broth.” This can be true with interactive product tours. If different elements within your product require highlighting to enhance digital adoption, they will often be designed by different teams.

If each team does their own part of the product tour, it can make for incoherent messaging, overlapping information, or missing data.

Ideally, the product manager should take responsibility for designing product tours. They understand the user, and it will be more likely to make more sense.

Salesforce CRM onboarding users on two features at the same time
Salesforce CRM onboarding users on two features at the same time

#4. Using Time-Based Reminders

If you have a product tour for feature adoption or an entirely new product, it's wise to use an onboarding messaging campaign. These campaigns can contact users to nudge them to try specific features or re-engage them. However, time isn't always the best way to judge this.

If your onboarding messaging campaign triggers emails based on days, it lacks the dynamism to be truly helpful. It should be focused on engagement or usage.

#5. Optimizing For a Single User

If your product is focused on connecting organizations or a large number of users, some element of connectivity should be built into the product walkthrough. This could be achieved with invites or an opt-in message that sends messages to their contacts with a link to the product.

#6. Over-Focus on the First Time Visit

Because the first-time visit is so important, many developers fail to think past it. While there are some products that can hook a user on the first visit, other products take a little longer to click. So, make sure your product tours consider that it takes time.

Quora uses an onboarding checklist to ensure that returning users can seamlessly continue in the onboarding process
Quora uses an onboarding checklist to ensure that returning users can seamlessly continue in the onboarding process

Find out more about the User Onboarding Checklist by Usetiful

#7. Failure to Dynamically Adjust to User Churn

You know there is a flow for users to discover your value proposition. You have a map or set of steps that a user will take that will bring them to the aha moment. From there, they will understand why they need your product in their life.

Frequently, during a product tour, the user doesn't take these steps. The user has gone off the map. So, what should we do? You have some choices.

a) Forget about them

b) Come up with a backup plan

How can you get them back on those steps to discovery? Perhaps an email that nudges them back towards that path?

Firstly, you need to be ready to continue where the user left off when they return. Making them restart the whole process will aggravate some users. However, the option to start fresh will be welcome by some users.

Additionally, a good idea to win back users who have abandoned the product tour steps is to combine a “come back, we miss you” type email with product tours. Make it so they can jump right back in via a link in the email, or perhaps offer them a different tour that is tailored towards them.

When Is It Better To Use Tooltips?

Of course, sometimes, an interactive walkthrough or video is not always necessary. Tooltips are great for when you have lots of tiny chunks of information. If we take input forms as an example, there are lots of small pieces of information that can help users fill out the empty boxes. It could be to do with password format, naming conventions, telephone number formats and so on. A small, unobtrusive text is perfect in this spot.

A video that listed and detailed them all could be monotonous and irrelevant to some users. Therefore, you should use tooltips for specific features.

Once again, this is all about keeping users in the flow of the product. The best tooltips are the ones that work almost subconsciously. Tooltips can be great to highlight new or overlooked features in a discreet, less-invasive way.

A good rule of thumb is to use a product tour for multi-step actions. Similarly, try to code tooltips for small UI elements.

Find out more about Smart Tips by Usetiful

What UI Elements Should Be Used For a Product Tour?

One of the best parts of using a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) is how it helps you build and design various elements that help drive user retention and user acquisition. Some DAPs have specific product tour software that you can use to make interactive walkthroughs. Here are the five key UI patterns that you can use to create great product tours.

Interactive Walkthroughs

Interactive walkthroughs provide step-by-step instructions for key-value features. They help new users learn how to orientate around specific aspects of the product.


Pop-ups have a place in user onboarding. Again, keeping them lean is best. You can overlay them on the screen or via modal windows to provide your tour or other information to customers.


Beacons are another example of UI tools that can help explain a feature or focus a customer on updates or specific elements. Beacons allow the customer to stay in control of the process. This is one of the fundamentals of self-service.


Tooltips create small UI text that unobtrusively communicates crucial information.


Instead of using UI patterns alone, developers can use videos to create effective product tours. Again, these videos should be short, sharp, and sweet. They should focus on the value and key tools of a product or app.

Why Usetiful Is a Great Choice for You?

Usetiful is a powerful digital adoption platform that is all about engaging and retaining users.

The platform comes with a product tour software that helps your users overcome the learning curve with new products or features. It enables you to build a software layer on top of your app or product so that you can guide your users with key actions.

While you can code tours yourself, using product tour software is typically the most cost-effective and time-effective option.

Ease of Use

Usetiful is simple to set up. In short, it "gets the job done fast". It’s an intuitive and flexible self-service solution that you can start implementing straight away.

Some of our competitor's software requires training or consultation. We aim to make products easy for your users and for you.

GDPR Compliant

Usetiful is built around principles of zero-knowledge design, building our features in a way that reduces the need to collect, process, or store personal user information. We track only information that you explicitly set during the setup.

Located within the EU, with all service data stored in an EU-based data center, we are GDPR compliant by default. This makes adoption simpler for any customer residing in the EU or processing data of EU residents.

Support for Dynamic Pages

Many products do not change URLs when changing screens, while many solutions still rely on this. Usetiful offers out-of-the-box support for Single Page Applications or Data Dashboards. As many SaaS platforms are moving to these formats, it's best to build a product tour that is compatible with these elements.

Our Free-Forever Option

Usetiful offers a free-forever tier for smaller adoptions. Additionally, it's the most affordable option for mid-sized or large clients.

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