Do you know where the single biggest dropoff is in your current onboarding experience?

Onboarding is a murky term. Sometimes people mean your first session with a product. Other times it refers to those popups, modals and guided welcome tours you have to endure. Other people think of onboarding as the initial two weeks with a product, usually the free trial territory of the experience.

For the sake of this little post, I would like to define onboarding as everything that precedes someone successfully building a habit around your product.

To keep things clear, I’m going to define ‘building a habit’ as doing a specific action a set number of times withing a specific timeframe.

You’re not pulling these numbers out of a 🎩. You have to sit down with your data lead. Figure out how many times people must perform your core action within an initial timeframe to stand a chance of becoming a long term user.

The only way to do this is to run correlations between how many times people perform an action within different timeframes and how likely they are to continue using your product six months later.

Once you have a placeholder for what people need to do to stand a chance of building a long term habit around your product you have an end point to work with.

The idea is to start at the endpoint and work backwards. Map out all of the touchpoint people must go till you get to when they sign up.

You can measure exactly how many people made it to each touch point. Mapping your onboarding experience in this way lets you highlight the single biggest dropoff in the journey people take to build a habit with your product.

Visualising your onboarding experience as a funnel and measuring where the most significant drop-offs are is a valuable way to find high impact opportunities for growth.


Other questions to ask yourself to improve your retention…

  1. Does your product make a clear promise?
  2. Do you know how often people have the problem you help them solve?
  3. Do you know what your product’s core action is?
  4. How many people continue to use your product six months after they sign up?
  5. Have you segmented your retention curve by the different types of users in your app?