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6 inspiring product adoption examples to create customer delight

You know you need to focus on product adoption to help your users realize value and drive revenue. And you’ve read all the how-tos. 

But what does great product adoption actually look like in practice? 

There are many stages on the adoption journey and many adopter profiles. How can you possibly cater to all of them?

Last updated

7 Sep 2022
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To help you understand how product adoption works, we’ve put together a list of 6 product adoption examples from real companies. We’ll walk you through each, why it works, and how to apply their strategies to guide users through each stage of adoption. 

Want to design a product adoption process others will want to copy?

Hotjar’s product experience (PX) insights tools put the customer at the heart of your decision-making.   

6 product adoption examples 

We’ve put together product adoption examples relating to each user profile and adoption stage. So let’s first take a minute to recap the product adoption process

How do users adopt products? 

Users move through 6 stages of product adoption, though not necessarily in this order: 

  • Awareness—when potential customers become aware of their problem and your solution  

  • Interest—they look for more information about your product 

  • Evaluation—they dig deeper to see if your product meets their needs, and how it stacks up against your competition

  • Trial—they sign up for a trial or freemium account 

  • Activation—their ‘aha moment’ comes when they realize value for the first time, usually by performing a key task 

  • Adoption—convinced of your product’s value, they make it part of their everyday lives   

You can also group users into five user profiles

  • Innovators—tech-savvy, able to self-serve, and willing to experiment with new technologies 

  • Early adopters—ditto, but more a little cautious

  • Early majority—this group adopts new tools easily, but won’t onboard till they’re convinced your product can solve their problems

  • Late majority—not tech-savvy and very risk-averse, they want to see that others have gone first where they fear to tread 

  • Laggards—the least tech-savvy group, they’ll only sign up when their pain becomes so unbearable that the status quo is no longer an option    

Now, let’s see how our examples relate to those stages and profiles. And which product adoption strategies you can use for each to create customer delight

1. Uber  

B2C ride-sharing platform Uber aced the Awareness stage of adoption with a killer marketing campaign to help them disrupt the taxi industry. 

Uber targeted innovators and early adopters in the San Francisco tech community matching Uber’s ideal customer profile (ICP). They focussed on tech-savvy risk-takers who were up for playing with new tools and improving their lifestyle. 

Uber spread the word by hosting tech events and offering free rides, which helped it start generating word-of-mouth. It also offered a referral program to encourage sign-ups among both riders and drivers. Both can refer friends using a personal referral code. The referrer gets free or discounted rides if new users sign up with the code. 

Once Uber had generated a buzz around its product, it leveraged brand partnerships. Brands like Capital One and Starwood Hotels helped introduce the product to new audiences. It also lets Spotify users connect their playlists during rides.

#Uber’s ad campaigns made people aware of a problem they didn’t know they had
Uber’s ad campaigns made people aware of a problem they didn’t know they had

To apply this strategy to your business: 

Focus on achieving product market fit and define your ICP. Then, figure your who your innovators and early adopters are. Where and how do they live? Where do they hang out online? And what will motivate them to try your product or tell others about it? 

Once you know that, design an omnichannel marketing campaign. It should speak to their desire to be the first to try your shiny new toy. You can also host exclusive VIP product launches and events, or offer early bird discounts and offers. 

In digital product development, we ask two key questions: which tasks frustrate people, and which are most frequent? Find those and you’ll have an initial target of people willing to try out your solution.

JD Rico
Editor & Venture Partner, Digitalist Hub

2. Hubspot 

At the Interest stage, B2B SaaS provider Hubspot uses a chatbot. It automatically pops up when potential customers land on the website looking for information. 

The chatbot simplifies the process of learning about Hubspot’s different products and services. This helps potential customers figure out which is right for them. So Hubspot lets users self-serve and get answers fast. As well as boosting customer satisfaction, this reduces support tickets and costs. 

It also has the added advantage of gathering insights into user needs and questions. Hubspot then uses this information to segment users. For example, when designing marketing copy, sales campaigns, and onboarding materials.  

#As well as helping users self-serve, Hubspot’s website chatbot makes it clear how their information is useful for sales and marketing teams
As well as helping users self-serve, Hubspot’s website chatbot makes it clear how their information is useful for sales and marketing teams

Tactics like this are useful for all adopter profiles, especially late majority and laggards. They will appreciate you simplifying and de-stressing the information-gathering process.  

To apply this strategy to your business: 

Install a chatbot on your website and use Hotjar Heatmaps. These tell you which parts of your site get the most attention. Then, combine this data with insights from Hotjar Ask tools. Surveys and Feedback let users tell you in their own words what they want to know. 

Use this information to create marketing and help center content to answer users’ needs. For example, a downloadable white paper on common industry issues. Or a helpful webinar on how to apply possible solutions. 

#Hotjar’s question bank lets you create drag-and-drop product adoption surveys
Hotjar’s question bank lets you create drag-and-drop product adoption surveys

3. Basecamp 

B2B SaaS company Basecamp has a great ‘before-and-after’ page on its website. This helps convince visitors at the Evaluation stage. 

The page starts by listing some of the tools its customers tried before Basecamp. 

And the pain they suffered with those tools.

#Basecamp knows potential customers are evaluating it against its competitors, so it addresses this on its website
Basecamp knows potential customers are evaluating it against its competitors, so it addresses this on its website

Then comes a second section packed with customer testimonials. These detail exactly how switching to Basecamp solved users’ problems. 

#Basecamp’s testimonial section provides compelling social proof for users evaluating its product
Basecamp’s testimonial section provides compelling social proof for users evaluating its product

This lets potential customers understand the value of Basecamp. And provides compelling arguments for choosing it over other tools. The testimonials focus on the benefits. This makes it clear that Basecamp excels at what it does and delivers results for its users. 

This strategy is great to convince the early and late majorities. They need to see that the value of your product outweighs the effort of learning it. Or switching from a competitor. Knowing that others have boldly and successfully gone before helps overcome the natural resistance of these more cautious groups. 

To apply this strategy to your business: 

Once you’ve achieved a minimum customer base, talk to your sales and customer success teams. Try to identify a) what pains your customers had before onboarding and b) what they’ve achieved with your product. Then, reach out to your ideal customers to ask for testimonials. If you land a big-name client, ask if you can use their logo on your website and marking materials. 

Also, develop case studies and product demos. These help potential customers visualize business outcomes with your product.  

4. Toggl 

B2B/B2C time-tracking software Toggl nails the Trial stage with an interactive onboarding guide. 

On sign-up, new Toggl users can choose to launch the interactive guide or explore on their own. 

If they choose to go with the guide, users get a walkthrough of key features and functionality. At all times, the guide shows how many steps the user has completed and how many remain. 

If they choose not to take the tour, they can still launch the guide at any time during onboarding. And pause it anytime. 

#Toggl’s onboarding guide is optional, so users can self-serve if they prefer
Toggl’s onboarding guide is optional, so users can self-serve if they prefer

During the walkthrough, pop-ups nudge new and existing users to explore more features. These help them realize value by solving their unique problems.

#Toggl’s features nudge new users to features that could solve their problems
Toggl’s features nudge new users to features that could solve their problems

Letting users choose their own path like this is crucial to driving adoption for different profiles. More tech-savvy users may want to explore on their own. So they could get frustrated with a one-size-fits-all onboarding experience. By contrast, a walkthrough is exactly what less confident later adopters need. 

Either way, they can both change their minds at any time. 

To apply this strategy to your business: Leverage insights from product experience (PX) tools to understand your user profiles and what they need help with. Then, use product adoption software like Appcues or Userpilot to design an adaptive onboarding flow that caters to all users. 

Pro tip: Install a feedback widget on your site. This lets users rate parts of your product and onboarding. They can also tell you in their own words what they love/hate about them. For example, if a pop-up is annoying users, you can retire it or launch it at another point in the journey 

5. Notion 

B2B productivity tool Notion helps new users achieve Activation by gathering information about them, their role, and goals. It does this as they take their first steps with the product. 

Notion uses this information to dynamically tailor onboarding and guide users to the most relevant features for their needs. These help users realize value by achieving their role-specific goals.

#Notion’s pop-up surveys let customers self-identify and provide information to tailor onboarding
Notion’s pop-up surveys let customers self-identify and provide information to tailor onboarding

After answering some initial questions, users get a personalized onboarding checklist. This helps them identify and start using key features.

#Dynamically created to-do lists guide users to learn features and realize value with Notion
Dynamically created to-do lists guide users to learn features and realize value with Notion

Notion also provides demo templates. These help users quickly reach their ‘aha moment,’ when they realize the applications for their workflow.  

#Providing demo features makes it easier for new users to visualize how to apply it to their tasks
Providing demo features makes it easier for new users to visualize how to apply it to their tasks

Notion makes it easy for users to onboard and see only what’s relevant to them. This speeds up time-to-value and activation. And, like Toggl, it caters to all adopter profiles. 

To apply this strategy to your business: Gather user information at all stages of the adoption journey. This lets you design segmented onboarding flows. Continually improve your product and processes with an ongoing user research process. This ensures you put the customer at the center.   Use Hotjar Session Recordings to see how users navigate onboarding. Then, filter the results by User Attributes. This yields a deeper understanding of each user’s adopter profile, role, and needs. This lets you tailor onboarding to each segment and identify where their aha moments occur.  

6. Zalando 

B2C ecommerce company Zalando knows exactly how to drive Adoption among its customer base. 

New customers use their email to create an account and make their first purchase. This then triggers an adoption email campaign. This starts with a welcome email with a limited-time discount on your next purchase. It also lists the benefits of getting the Zalando newsletter. Like exclusive offers, news, and discounts. If you don’t use your voucher within a certain period, Zalando also sends a helpful reminder.  

This strategy gets users returning to the app, so it becomes their go-to for online fashion shopping. It’s a great strategy for all adopter profiles. However, the ‘exclusive’ content will particularly appeal to early adopters. They love to be ahead of the curve with new trends.

#Zalando knows the first few days after sign-up are critical for adoption, so its welcome sequence tempts users back to the app soon after sign-up
Zalando knows the first few days after sign-up are critical for adoption, so its welcome sequence tempts users back to the app soon after sign-up

To apply this strategy to your business: 

Use email marketing software to automatically capture emails on sign up and add them to your mailing lists. And use surveys to gather information about each new customer. You can use this to segment your lists and target them with the right messaging at the right time. 

Product adoption examples: your roadmap to creating customer delight  

To drive product adoption, you need to understand the five adopter profiles and their needs at each of the six stages of the adoption journey. Gather information about user needs, pains, and goals. This lets you create tailored content, marketing campaigns, and onboarding flows that speak to individual users. 

And that helps them realize value with your product by achieving their personal goals. 

Take inspiration from our six product adoption examples. Think about how you can apply similar strategies to your business. 

Get it right—and put users at the heart of your decision-making—and you’ll have them coming back again and again.

Want to design a product adoption process others will want to copy?

Hotjar’s product experience (PX) insights tools put the customer at the heart of your decision-making.   

Frequently asked questions about product adoption examples