8 minute read · Published May 25, 2024

Moving beyond Pendo – explore these 5 alternatives to boost product adoption

Latest Update May 25, 2024

Two things reign supreme in the world of B2B SaaS – the need for stellar user experiences and a deep understanding of product analytics.

Product analytics reveal why users love your product, what features address their pain points, and most importantly, how to keep them engaged over the long term.

Understanding how users interact with your product and why, allows you to create experiences that are not just functional, but truly delightful and engaging. 

Here's where digital adoption platforms (DAPs) like Pendo step in. They bridge the gap between user experience and data analysis. DAPs help you leverage product analytics to drive product adoption and user engagement. However, Pendo’s limitations can hinder its effectiveness for your business. 

  • Steeper learning curve: Pendo is a well-established player in the DAP space. However, it might not be the smoothest experience for everyone. Customizing certain features requires CSS/HTML knowledge, which can be a barrier for non-technical users and create a dependency on developers. Several G2 reviewers also mention challenges with the setup process and a user interface that doesn’t feel intuitive. These factors can be frustrating for new users and hinder the adoption of the platform itself.
  • Limited segmentation capabilities: Pendo's segmentation is functional, but it might not be as powerful as some of the other alternatives. If you would like more freedom to slice and dice your user base, Pendo might not be the best fit for you.
  • Delayed data insights: While Pendo offers valuable insights, the data updates in the UI may not be suitable for real-time decision-making. With an update cycle of once every hour and a potential 15-minute processing delay depending on internet traffic, there could be a lag between user activity and the data you see reflected in Pendo. So Pendo might not be the ideal solution for someone who needs the absolute latest user behavior information.

What to Look for in a Pendo Alternative

  • Ease of use: B2B businesses believe in empowering all teams to leverage data insights. This means ditching complex coding and reports that require specialized skills. So when investing in a digital adoption platform, prioritize a user-friendly interface with intuitive features. Look for no-code capabilities like drag-and-drop functionalities, clear documentation, and readily available customer support to ensure a smooth learning curve for your team.
  • Powerful segmentation: If granular user segmentation is crucial for your product strategy, explore alternatives offering advanced segmentation capabilities. Look for options with a wider range of segmentation criteria and the ability to build complex user groups.
  • Real-Time Data Insights: Consider platforms that provide real-time data updates or significantly faster refresh rates within the UI. This ensures you have access to the latest user behavior data to make informed decisions quickly.
  • Pricing: Depending on your team size and budget, explore alternatives offering more competitive pricing structures as compared to Pendo. Consider free trials or freemium options to test the platform before committing.

Top 5 Pendo alternatives

CommandBar

If you want a non-annoying user assistance platform, consider CommandBar. It is a digital adoption platform that is built for the use of product, customer experience, and marketing teams and is designed to serve relevant experiences to the right audience at the right moment. 

  • CommandBar goes beyond generic product tours that simply explain the platform workflows or features. You can use it to design the kind of journey for your users from the very first platform interaction to ongoing engagement.
  • If you’d like your users to gain a deep understanding of your product as and when they encounter different features, you can choose CommandBar’s Copilot – an AI-powered agent that encourages self-service onboarding and actively guides users to reach the “aha moment” using interactive walkthroughs. 
  • CommandBar recognizes that users are not a monolith. Its audience segmentation capability lets you tailor product tours to specific user groups, ensuring a highly relevant introduction from the very beginning – which is a great plus when compared to Pendo.
  • Imagine being able to deliver content based on what a user is doing or feeling. CommandBar gives you that power. It can sense user intent and emotions and proactively suggests "next actions" or resources that fit a user’s specific needs.
  • CommandBar makes use of interactive checklists that feel more like engaging "quests" rather than tedious tasks to be done, making learning about new features an enjoyable experience, especially for new users.

A one-size-fits-all solution rarely works for B2B companies, which is why CommandBar offers a tiered pricing structure so you can find a plan that works for your team, no matter the size or the stage of your business. The “Starter” plan is best for small teams that are just starting with user onboarding. The “Growth” plan is best suited for those with a larger user base and needs to support a more sophisticated user onboarding process. The “Enterprise” plan is of course for those businesses that have a high demand for user engagement and want to unlock the full power of CommandBar – with all its advanced features, dedicated customer support, and integrations. 

 A snapshot of CommandBar's tiered plans

To the ideal plan for your team, head over to the CommandBar website where you can explore a detailed comparison of features across different tiers. 

UserPilot

Userpilot goes beyond basic onboarding. It helps you deliver personalized and relevant experiences for both new and existing users. It can guide new users through the ropes and smartly surface relevant features to existing users based on what they're doing in your app or platform at any given moment.

  • No two users are alike, so why treat them the same? Userpilot personalizes onboarding journeys based on user behavior and needs. This eliminates generic experiences and creates a more engaging start for every user.
  • Userpilot has a user-friendly, code-free interface which means that you can put the power of user education in everyone's hands. Anyone on your team can design engaging experiences to welcome new users and help them succeed on your platform.
  • Userpilot is known for its exceptional customer support. Should you encounter any bumps in the road, their helpful team is always there to guide you. This ensures a smooth experience not just for your users, but for your entire team as well.
Screenshot showing the code-free interface of UserPilot

The trade-off: While Userpilot is a great option for mid-market SaaS companies, it might not be the most suitable choice for early-stage startups with limited budgets (sub-$100/month).

Pricing: Userpilot offers tiered pricing plans to suit different business needs. Their Starter plan starts at $249 a month and is ideal for smaller teams. It supports up to 2,000 active users. For growing companies, the Growth plan offers more features at $749 a month. There's also an Enterprise plan with custom pricing for organizations with more complex needs. As with most digital adoption platforms, some advanced features like in-depth analytics and advanced targeting options are reserved for the higher tiers.

Appcues

Appcues is a popular alternative for those looking to streamline the onboarding process, boost user engagement, and measure impact – all without coding. 

  • Appcues gets you up and running fast with a quick installation process. You can design beautiful, personalized onboarding flows and in-app experiences using their intuitive drag-and-drop builder.
  • Appcues' powerful segmentation and targeting features ensure your efforts resonate with the segments you’re trying to serve. Plus, you can leverage features like in-app surveys and NPS to gather user feedback directly within your product.
  • You can easily track user behavior and measure the impact of your in-app experiences on product adoption. 
An example of how segmentation is done in Appcues

The trade-offs:

  • Limited data export options, especially for surveys.
  • Multilingual support for certain features requires an enterprise plan.
  • The initial setup process might require more guidance, although Appcues offers extensive live support.

Pricing: Appcues offers three tiered plans, starting with the “Essentials” plan at $249/month for 1 app (billed annually).

Whatfix

What makes Whatfix shine is that it serves both customer-facing applications and internal employee applications. This might just be the platform for you as it lets you tackle user adoption across your entire digital ecosystem. Whatfix's reach extends beyond web applications as it offers solutions for desktop and mobile environments as well so you can give your users a consistent experience, no matter if they're interacting with your product on a computer, phone, or tablet.

  • Whatfix caters to a wide range of needs. It can help you set up experiences for everything from getting new customers up to speed when getting to know your product for the first time to training your employees.
  • Whatfix equips you with detailed product analytics so you can see how users interact with your app, track their feedback, and understand their overall sentiment. This data becomes your roadmap for improvement, helping you identify areas where your app or platform can shine even brighter.
  • Whatfix allows you to create clear and helpful in-app guides and content for your users. This empowers them to find answers and navigate your app independently – a great way to encourage self-service for better product adoption.
An example of a pop-up created using Whatfix

Pricing: Whatfix offers separate plans for web & desktop, and mobile apps. However, specific pricing details are not readily available, but you can compare the feature sets of each plan on Whatfix’s website to get a general idea of what's included in each tier.

Userlane

Userlane is a great choice for those who wish to drive the adoption of complex software applications. Imagine having a dedicated in-app guide, ready to answer questions and provide step-by-step assistance the moment a user needs it. That's what Userlane offers.

  • Userlane stands out with its real-time, in-app guidance. Forget the hassle of searching for support resources. Userlane equips users with the information they need, exactly when they need it, directly within the application. This eliminates context switching and streamlines the learning curve.
  • It provides real-time analytics, giving you valuable insights into how users interact with your software. It’s the best way to use data for identifying areas for improvement, understanding user behavior patterns, and optimizing the user journey at every touchpoint.
  • Creating clear and helpful user guides and walkthroughs is a breeze with Userlane. No coding skills are required which means anyone on your team can develop engaging content that helps users master your software application.
Interactive guide created using Userlane

The trade-off: While Userlane excels in in-app tutorials and walkthroughs, it might not be as comprehensive in other areas of user adoption, such as automated email sequences. Additionally, the lack of upfront pricing information makes it difficult to compare alternatives during the early stages of your research.

Pricing: Userlane takes a custom approach to pricing. You can contact their sales team for a personalized quote.

Find the best Pendo alternative for your business

The digital adoption platform that you ultimately choose will depend on what your business requirements are, how much you are willing to spend, how tech-savvy is your team, and just what kind of user experiences you want to build. 

While looking for Pendo alternatives, it is important to compare platforms on factors like versatility ease of use, use cases, and pricing – so you can get the most out of your investment. 

Remember, the right DAP platform can significantly improve user adoption and ultimately drive the success of your digital initiatives. This is why you shouldn’t hesitate to explore free trials or demos offered by these platforms to gain firsthand experience before making your decision.

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