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Aha moment in User Onboarding


The aha moment is the precise point when users realize the value of a product. Understanding how to help your users reach their aha moment is a vital aspect of user onboarding that can reduce user churn dramatically.

What is an Aha Moment?

Aha moment meaning is ' an emotional human experience that happens when a user suddenly realizes the potential of a product'. Another Aha moment synonym is Eureka Effect, it describes the move from incomprehension to understanding. Or, simply, the moment when you say, "aha."

The term, Eureka Effect, comes from a story in ancient Greece. It's said that the polymath, Archimedes, was meditating on the problem of  measuring the density of an object as he got into the bath. Then, he noticed that the volume of displaced water in the tub was equal to his weight.

Excited by this discovery, he jumped from the bath and ran naked down the street, shouting, "I have found it!" or Eureka.

Most of us can relate to this reaction. We've all had a moment with a SaaS product or app where we suddenly understand the possibilities it holds and how it can solve a particular problem we have.

How Aha Moments Relate to Saas Products

While most aha moments won't result in users running down the street without any clothes, they can be deeply meaningful experiences. In the context of user onboarding examples, these moments can help users develop an emotional connection to a product, causing them to stick around and become regular users. It is considered an' insightful synonym'

Reducing customer churn should be a priority for any SaaS company. So, finding a way to guide customers to the point where they understand that a product solves their pain point is essential.

Why are Aha Moments Important?

Users seek out a product because they have a particular problem or pain point. However, even motivated users have a limited attention span. If your product's value isn't clear to users, they will move on to a competitor's solution.

Effective user onboarding process is essential. When a user first engages with a product, you need to show them how your product will help them achieve their goals in a quick and near-instant way. 

Once they know how your product will provide value, you also need to demonstrate how the extra secondary features can help them. Revealing this will give them a reason to return to your app repeatedly.

This guide will concentrate on the critical user onboarding aha moment: the first one after sign-up. However, it's essential to remember that there are many aha moments during the customer journey. As the user learns more about and engages more deeply with your product, it's vital to drive them to find additional and constant value.

How to use Eureka effect? Aha Moments and Retention Rates

The moment when a product clicks for the user is vital in several ways. The most important aspect for SaaS businesses is that these users turn into people who will come back to the product. The SaaS marketplace is crowded, and users have lots of choices. Competition has driven user acquisition costs up to high levels.

This fact has led many SaaS companies to realize that reducing user churn is just as important a metric as gaining new users. After all, you can attract new users through advertising and marketing and throw them at your product. However, if very few of them stick around, you'll still be hemorrhaging users in an unsustainable manner.

So, what happens when users sign-up for your product but don't reach an aha moment? Generally, they don't stick around. Without a compelling reason to stay, you can't really blame them. And so, they'll continue on the journey of finding a solution to their pain point and try one of your competitors.

This process can be seen with many new apps that come to the market. With advertising, marketing, and other forms of promotion, new apps can attract lots of new users eager to see if this app will provide them with a solution. But, statistics suggest that around 95% of new users who sign up for Android apps don't stick around for longer than three months.

SaaS services don't fare all that much better in user retention. Statistics suggest somewhere between 40% - 60% of users who sign up for a free SaaS trial use the product once and never open it again

When you think about it, these are users motivated to try a service for a particular reason. They go through the trouble of signing up for a free trial because they hope it will solve their problem. But, when they use the product, approximately half of them decide it can't help them on first use!

Now, of course, some products don't deliver on their promise. They say they are the solution to XYZ but don't really come close to solving the issue. However, if you have a decent product, it can still fall by the wayside because you haven't made it clear to the user how your product can help them.

Each user that trials your product represents an opportunity. They could sign up for the product and become paying customers or, in the best case, become advocates for your app or service. But if your app isn't optimized to help them realize value quickly, they won't return.

And if they don't come back, you'll be wasting a lot of money on marketing and advertising. User retention will turn into a money pit that brings a poor ROI. 

So, how can SaaS developers make sure that people come back?

What Makes SaaS Users Return to a Product?

In an ideal world, user retention works like this: 

A user has a problem or pain point. Their current service is too expensive, too limited, or too slow. They start casting around for SaaS solutions. They hear about one solution, sign-up for it, and try it. It solves their problem and they become a lifetime user.

That's the theory.

Yet, things don't work out that way most of the time. And the primary reason for that is that it's not apparent to the user how the product solves their problem. All of this comes back to the aha moment. 

The aha moment happens when users find meaningful value. That's what keeps them coming back for more. At the heart of this matter is their frustration with current solutions. 
It could be something as small as being frustrated with keeping track of expenses. They may be doing this manually and find they frequently miss out on some receipts or resent the time it takes to input them one by one.

Whatever the issue actually is, finding a solution to that problem alleviates existing stress or pain. If your product does this, they'll be thankful. They may even be overjoyed. You have removed an obstacle for them and made their life easier. 

We've all had this feeling about a product or service. A small wave of joy washes over us as we realize a path has been cleared, and our life is that bit easier.

If a product saves you time, money, or effort, it has tangible value. And the reaction we have to it is the aha moment. When we get this right, it gives us a positive emotional relationship with the product. From here, loyalty and a lifetime relationship can grow.

What Does an Aha Moment Feel Like? & Aha Moment Examples

There are three main categories of feelings that users have when they experience an aha moment.

1) They understand how the product can help them (save money, time, effort, etc.)

2) They experience the product's core value

3) They perform a task or achieve a goal that was previously very difficult or time-consuming

Here are some aha moment examples from well-known software you may have experienced.


Canva is a freemium, browser-based design tool. Users with little or no graphic design experience can make slick, professional-looking designs in minutes, thanks to their intuitive, drag-and-drop interface.

Pain point: The user needs to make a blog header, graphic, invitation, etc.

Aha moment: They realize a task that was previously beyond them, or took a lot of time and money, can now be completed in a few minutes at a low cost.


Slack is a messaging app that allows teams and organizations to communicate internally via dedicated channels. They suggest that teams reach their aha moment with the product once they send 2000 messages.

Pain point: Many companies were using various chat tools or email to discuss and collaborate. 

Aha moment: When chat and collaboration are centralized, and users have sent 2000 messages, they realize that having one tool is better than several disparate, unconnected solutions.

Live Agent

Live Agent is a help desk and customer support that integrates hundreds of communication channels like phone, email, social media, website chat, etc.

Pain point: Customers use various channels to communicate with businesses. Keeping the customer satisfied requires being all over multiple channels, making things difficult for customer success. Additionally, information is spread across different channels.

Aha moment: When users realize that Live Agent's software helps their service improve its productivity, response time, or conversion rates. 

How to Identify Your Aha Moment

Before you start to optimize your user onboarding towards your aha moment, you'll need to understand what it is. Something vague or overly general isn't going to cut it. You need to know precisely what your aha moment is to start onboarding your users in an effective way.

Here are the steps you can take to define the moment users keep coming back. It takes lots of work and research, but its impact on user retention is enormous. Often, it's the difference between the success and failure of your product.

Do Your Research

Unfortunately, you can't just decide what your aha moment is. Many SaaS products think that something is their aha moment when what they really mean is that they would like that to be their aha moment. 

Of course, the way we think this should be and how they are in reality is often quite different. So don't fall into this trap. Take the time to perform the research required to define a legitimate aha moment for your users. After all, they are the ones that will make or break your product.

Pull Your Analytics Data

The first thing you'll need to do is access your analytics data. Find and pull everything you have that relates to the customer journey. No piece of data is too small to consider. So get all the information that you can from Google Analytics, Heap, Amplitude, or whatever product analytics tools you already have.

You must have or find a way to collect information on customer behavior. This data is essential and provides lots of actionable insights. If you don't have any product analytics tools, we strongly suggest you get some.

Once you've collected the data, you'll need to know what to look out for.

#1. Customer Retention

Look at the customers your product has retained. These users are the most promising source for figuring out what you've done right. 

So look through the data of their customer journey. Find patterns in their behavior. What you are looking for is the moment that users become active. So, once you acquire a user and they've signed up for your product, you want to examine what they did right after that moment.

The User Activation moment is crucial and is the point of time where users either:

  • Stick around and explore your solutions
  • Bounce, and look at one of your competitors.

Somewhere here, you'll be able to find an action or set of actions that these users performed that led to them sticking around. It could be engaging with a specific feature or watching a user onboarding product tour. Whatever it is, there will be something that most of your users did. 

Once you've identified this, write it down.

#2. User Churn

As we've outlined earlier, user churn is important. Customer acquisition costs are on the rise, and you're just wasting money if you are mashing users into your product but not incentivizing them to stick around.

So again, go to your product analytics and examine why users signed up for your product but didn't stick around.

It's important to distinguish between different types of user churn. Customers that use your product for a while and then leave are not exactly what we are looking for at this stage. The users you are trying to identify are the ones that churned after a few days or weeks.

Pull out the data on their behavior. What did they do before leaving? What did they not do before leaving?

Compare this to the users who stayed. Identify the points of difference. Did retained users watch a product tour? Did they perform some task or action that churned users didn't?

If you can find the answer to these questions, you'll be close to defining your aha moment.

#3. Get Customer Feedback

Product analytics is an excellent basis for answering these questions. However, they are one part of a larger picture. There are other great data sources that you have access to, like customer feedback and usability testing.

Getting this data will round out any findings from your product analytics.

But don't limit your investigations to the users you have retained. Churned users can provide just as important (or sometimes more important) information. So reach out to retained and churned users alike and ask them questions about your product. 

For retained users, you can ask them directly what was the moment that you realized our product could help you solve your pain points.

For churned users, you can ask them to identify the points of friction they encountered that led them to abandon your product. 

#4. Usability Testing

Usability testing is a great way to understand aha moments, even with a small sample size of users. Watching users as they first navigate your product can provide a rich source of information. Where did they get stuck? What isn't clear to them? What are the points that they got from your product and its possibilities? 

Note down their reactions and link them to various metrics within your product.

Once you've completed these four steps, you'll have a list of candidates for your product's aha moment. 

From here, it's time to put theory into practice.

Define Your Aha Moment

Now that you've collected data from your product analytics software and your users, you should have a strong list of candidates for an aha moment. 

Now is not the time to think narrowly. Be open to all possibilities as you and your team study the various contenders. Don't narrow it down to just one moment; try and take the top 3-5 moments from your data.

Then, examine each of these moments and define:
  • Which moment is easier to push users toward. For example, if your retained users a) watched a product tour and b) performed a task or used a feature, think about which one will be easier to guide other users to engage.
  • Which of these moments will affect your users most. You can categorize this effect as either a) which moment most frequently impacts your users or b) which has the most negative effect.

Putting Your Research Into Action

Once you have the information and have whittled down your aha moment to either one or a few candidates, it's time to put it all together in your user boarding.

So, create onboarding user flow designed to incorporate each of your possible aha moments. 

You can use a variety of approaches here, like:
  • User onboarding checklists
  • Product tours
  • Tooltips
  • Hotspots
These UX patterns can be overlayed with a digital adoption platform, like Usetiful.

What approach you take will depend on what your research has uncovered. For example, if you found that user churn was highest among those who didn't watch a product tour, you can make that a mandatory part of the sign-up process. That way, when users engage with your product, they'll know how to get value from it.

Likewise, if you found that user retention was highest when users engage with a particular tool or feature, you can highlight this with hotspots that trigger tooltips or make the feature part of your checklist.

Once you know what your research says, it's time to test it all out. 

There are a few options you can take:

A/B Testing

A/B testing is regularly used across the advertising and marketing sector to compare the impact of different ads or copy. But you can use it for picking your true aha moment too.

A/B testing helps you choose between several user onboarding tools by simultaneously running an A, B, and C… version. 

Each group of new users is assigned a version of the user onboarding process. Once you have an acceptable sample size, you can compare the results. Which version led to more conversion or user retention? That will be your aha moment.

1-2 Week Test

Instead of running A/B testing, you can choose to run different versions of your onboarding process over a week or two. Again, this works similarly to A/B testing in that you will have a point of comparison for different onboarding approaches. 

Whichever one had the most impact is likely to be your aha moment.


An aha moment is the point on the user journey that your customer understands the core value of your product. Users typically seek out a product or service because they have a pain point or dissatisfaction with their current tools. Generally, the source of this unhappiness is that the existing solution is too expensive, too slow, or too difficult to use. 

When users try your product, it's important that they quickly realize how it will be valuable to them. Whether that means saving them money, time, or hassle. If the user is not convinced that your product can help them solve their pain point, they will look to one of your competitors to do their job. User acquisition costs are so high that you can't afford to let users churn at this point.

Researching your aha moment and programming your user onboarding saas to help them towards their aha moment is essential to driving user retention, conversions, and opening up other revenue streams like upselling and cross-selling.

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