Top 25 user growth experiments designed to boost SaaS user activation rate

Top 25 user growth experiments designed to boost SaaS user activation rate

Building a sticky product is the dream of every SaaS, but it’s not easy. It requires you to always be tweaking and improving your strategy to activate new users and turn them into loyal ones. Some have suggested gamified onboarding, others recommend personalized notifications or tooltips. However, the right strategy depends entirely on your situation! With this in mind, we at StriveCloud have collected 25 user growth experiments to lift up your user activation rate and boost user engagement!

Track user activation rate by defining your AHA-moment

In reality, there is no one activation event. However, activation takes 3 steps. Firstly, the perception of value. Then, the experience of value. And finally full product adoption. But what facilitates those activation points are defined by your product’s key tasks.

Take a project management SaaS for instance. Their activation point might be when a user creates a new project. However, after doing some user growth experiments, you might find what other actions drive the user activation rate.

User activation rate = Activated users / Total registered users * 100

In short, experiments will help you reveal the tipping points with the highest user activation rate. In other words, you can motivate the behaviors that lead to more user engagement and higher customer lifetime value!

25 user growth experiments to start optimizing

Through research, we have determined 25 user growth experiments to lift up your user activation rate today! Moreover, each experiment comes with an ICE prioritization score which will help you find the best tests for your goals.

7 User growth experiments for new user onboarding

#1 Tweak the onboarding copy

A good piece of copy can make a new user like your product. But to succeed, you need 2 things: clarity and personality. For example, Acme Widgets overhauled their copy and achieved a 5% increase in conversions!

Our score:

  • Impact – 7
  • Confidence – 7
  • Ease – 9
  • ICE score – 77%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

user growth experiments activation rate

#2 Celebrate quick wins during onboarding with gamification

Onboarding shouldn’t be boring! So how can you make it fun while still expressing value? With a gamified approach, you can keep users in an engagement loop of action & rewards. You can celebrate wins through confetti screens, badge achievements, or even personalized notifications. AddThis for instance sends users an email when their traffic spikes thanks to them!

Our score:

  • Impact – 8
  • Confidence – 8
  • Ease – 8
  • ICE score – 80%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#3 Personalize onboarding to your user personas

Take advantage of user personas and match onboarding to complement each profile. When you segment users, you can customize onboarding for their unique roles & perspectives. Definitely, a personalized experience will lead to more app engagement.

Our score:

  • Impact – 7
  • Confidence – 8
  • Ease – 7
  • ICE score – 73%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#4 Feature video product tours to create the AHA Moment

Video can massively impact your user activation rate! In fact, 65% of people say video is their preferred way of getting to know a new product or service. Besides, it helps to scale time on both sales and customer success teams! Basecamp for instance has a 2-minute instructional video explaining the basics of their product.

Our score:

  • Impact – 7
  • Confidence – 4
  • Ease – 4
  • ICE score – 50%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

Onboarding user app engagement

#5 Customize your user interface based on product goals

Especially when you have a multifunctional product, it’s important to find the focus of your user during onboarding. The pop-up tool Hellobar for instance lets you customize its interface by selecting your goals and pop-up types. They even give you tailored instructions on integrations depending on your level of coding skills!

Our score:

  • Impact – 7
  • Confidence – 8
  • Ease – 1
  • ICE score – 53%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#6 Create gamified progress bars to improve onboarding completion

As a progress bar fills up, users receive both instant feedback and an indication of how long is left. This is crucial to avoid user frustration and boredom – a perceived longer onboarding means higher churn. LinkedIn is a classic gamified onboarding example; this feature alone boosted profile set-up completion rates by 55%!

gamified growth experiments onboarding

Our score:

  • Impact – 7
  • Confidence – 7
  • Ease – 8
  • ICE score – 83%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#7 Add a sense of endowed progress to boost user motivation

When you give your users instructions such as 5 steps to complete, try to already cross out the first two. Giving users a headstart motivates them to complete the challenge by making it easier. Take Userguiding’s gamified onboarding checklist for instance. This tactic helps to increase your user activation rate & onboarding completions by upwards of 10%!

Our score:

  • Impact – 7
  • Confidence – 8
  • Ease – 10
  • ICE score – 83%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

6 User growth experiments to improve feature adoption

#8 Nudge users with subtle tooltips

Pushing users too hard to try new things can provoke the ‘Reactance Effect’, where users do the opposite of your goal! Instead, go for closeable tooltips that show up exactly when the user needs them.

Our score:

  • Impact – 8
  • Confidence – 8
  • Ease – 7
  • ICE score – 77%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

app engagement SaaS

#9 Add gamified challenges to boost new feature adoption

Leverage gamified features like challenges & rewards to boost app engagement on new features. Gamification is a great way to spark the original motivation and to keep users coming back. Alert users about new features and reward them for trying them out.

Our score:

  • Impact – 8
  • Confidence – 7
  • Ease – 7
  • ICE score – 73%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#10 “Getting started” emails can hype up certain features

A series of emails introducing your product’s key features help to inspire that all-important ‘AHA Moment’. Certainly, giving users an overview of what’s possible with your software makes onboarding easier which can lead to more app engagement.

Our score:

  • Impact – 7
  • Confidence – 7
  • Ease – 10
  • ICE score – 80%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#11 Create interactive walkthroughs

As opposed to tooltips, walkthroughs mix user actions with instructions. Take CRM software Salesflare for instance. Their instructions not only show how their platform works, but it re-expresses value towards their users. Doing this can nearly double the user activation rate! And, you guessed it, a gamified rewards system can boost it even more!

Our score:

  • Impact – 8
  • Confidence – 8
  • Ease – 3
  • ICE score – 63%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#12 Introduce rewards to encourage feature adoption

Sometimes users just need a reward! Work management platform Asana rewards users with a flying unicorn that celebrates task completion. What’s more, Asana incentivized app engagement further by rewarding the first user who screenshotted the unicorn with a $500 gift card!

Our score:

  • Impact – 9
  • Confidence – 8
  • Ease – 7
  • ICE score – 80%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

gamified app engagement user activation rate

#13 Use in-app communities to promote new features

An in-app community allows you to communicate closely with users. Not only can you give advice on how to use new features, but you can also collect feedback & find product ambassadors! The Interconnected forum by Intercom for instance not allows you to ask questions, join groups & find the latest product updates & resources. It’s built to help users succeed by sharing their lessons. To promote user-generated responses they also feature a leaderboard of the top connectors!

Our score:

  • Impact – 9
  • Confidence – 8
  • Ease – 4
  • ICE score – 70%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

6 User growth experiments that boost trial to paid conversions

#14 Leverage “stored value” to keep users coming back

Some SaaS platforms become more valuable as a user spends more time on them. Take Salesforce for instance. The more someone uses it to store data, the more valuable it becomes. Not only does it lead to a more complete experience, but it also introduces the hassle of switching costs. Thus, think about what your user investment hook looks like!

Our score:

  • Impact – 8
  • Confidence – 8
  • Ease – 4
  • ICE score – 67%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#15 Offer the opportunity to extend free trials

Of course, trial extensions are better than losing users forever. However, the danger is covering users that never intended to pay! Experiment with this issue by offering extensions to specific user segments or through gamified trial extensions that reward user engagement. Navexa, for instance, gave users the ability to extend their free trial by completing their profile.

Our score:

  • Impact – 8
  • Confidence – 9
  • Ease – 7
  • ICE score – 80%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

gamified growth experiments activation rate

#16 Use social proof to build credibility

Did you know that 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations? Nudge your users to convert to paid by connecting them with relevant industry testimonials, using an authority figure in their market, or sending targeted case studies.

Our score:

  • Impact – 7
  • Confidence – 9
  • Ease – 8
  • ICE score – 80%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#17 Keep some features locked during trial

Try a user growth experiment around feature access. Too many features can lead to cognitive overload & churn. However, too few features might not give enough value. Instead, try out a gamified approach where users can unlock new features for carrying out specific actions, or simply add a premium button to have users upgrade right away!

Our score:

  • Impact – 9
  • Confidence – 7
  • Ease – 6
  • ICE score – 73%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#18 Trigger a sense of urgency by sending follow up emails

Don’t let the deadline pass without your user knowing it! A sense of urgency sparks the fear of missing out. Maybe your user hasn’t spent enough time on their trial? Or maybe they had just forgotten about it? Track user engagement & follow up accordingly. You could even consider offering a trial extension.

Our score:

  • Impact – 5
  • Confidence – 8
  • Ease – 9
  • ICE score – 73%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#19 Use scarcity & exclusivity to power up demand

Scarcity is guaranteed to boost your user activation rate. People are more motivated by loss avoidance than actual rewards. Take the email software Superhuman for instance! They built a waiting list of over 250,000 people. However, if you get an exclusive invite by an existing user you get to skip the line!

Our score:

  • Impact – 8
  • Confidence – 8
  • Ease – 3
  • ICE score – 63%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

6 user growth experiments to enhance personalization

#20 Personalized notifications provide unparalleled customer value

Empower your users and give them value with notifications designed for them. This level of personalization requires effective user segmentation – whether it be along the lines of user personas, behavior, or lifecycle stage.

Our score:

  • Impact – 10
  • Confidence – 9
  • Ease – 6
  • ICE score – 83%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#21 Greet existing customers with a personalized message

Say ‘welcome back’ like payroll company Gusto and you’ll build a great customer relationship! In conclusion, reserve your general sales-oriented copy for new users.

Our score:

  • Impact – 4
  • Confidence – 4
  • Ease – 10
  • ICE score – 30%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

personalization user growth experiments

#22 Retargeting campaigns can catch lapsing users

Retargeting ads receive 76% more clicks than a standard ad! Lift up app engagement by remarketing to lapsed users through personalized ads with information gathered during onboarding and from prior user engagement.

Our score:

  • Impact – 7
  • Confidence – 9
  • Ease – 7
  • ICE score – 77%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#23 Give product recommendations based on user activity

What better way is there to incentivize repeated user engagement than by making your experience even more personal? Help users discover new relevant features or use cases based on their previous interactions. You can do this through banners, notifications, emails,… As long as the feature you recommend is relevant & useful it will drive app engagement & retention!

Our score:

  • Impact – 9
  • Confidence – 10
  • Ease – 6
  • ICE score – 83%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#24 Leverage user engagement for progressive profiling

This approach will help you collect more user data with every interaction. Instead of overstimulating new users by asking them a ton of questions at the start, progressive profiling steadily collects more information over time to improve conversion in every stage by as much as 20%.

Our score:

  • Impact – 9
  • Confidence – 10
  • Ease – 6
  • ICE score – 83%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

#25 Webinars can answer a customer’s burning questions

It helps to have a friendly face when you want to ask the questions on your mind. Webinars are perfect for this, as the topic of them can even be personalized to provide the answers that a specific group of users is clamoring for. It’s certainly a great way to increase user activation rate in B2B SaaS.

Our score:

  • Impact – 9
  • Confidence – 7
  • Ease – 7
  • ICE score – 77%

Want to calculate your own ICE score? Get our Free Growth Experiment Planning Tool!

FAQ

In reality, the ultimate activation point for your SaaS product is the one with the highest user activation rate! Learning which event this is for your platform requires enacting a range of user growth experiments based on different activation points.

You can work out the user activation rate by dividing the number of activated users by the total of registered users, then multiplying by 100. This gives you a clear, easy-to-measure percentage.

Achieving sustainable growth is a constant challenge. It requires that you are always tweaking and improving the activation strategy that turns new users into loyal ones. User growth experiments are simply ways to discover your best activation strategy!

Gamification incentivizes repeated user engagement by making your product enjoyable to use! Higher levels of engagement mean more data for personalization and marketing efforts, as well as a product more likely to get users hooked.

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