Onboarding: the tip of the engagement iceberg


We all love to talk about “sprints”.

Mature Product teams know that user engagement is a marathon. Startups and under-resourced Product teams think in sprints. They often only consider the “immediate” that neglects the true lifecycle of their (soon to be successful) App.

“We just need a home page guide”

“We only want a Carousel for our Apps splash page”.

These are common opinions and definitely part of the Apps journey to success. But the sprint perspective believes the “first 5 minutes” is a panacea for user retention. The “first 5 minutes” is just the tip of the iceberg.

Beneath the surface is the real volume of the iceberg. Here lies the massive breadth of engagement activities that includes:

  1. Onboarding
  2. Feature Announcements
  3. Feature Discovery
  4. Guides
  5. Tips
  6. Training videos
  7. Self-Service help and docs
  8. Tooltips
  9. Nudges
  10. Goal Completion
  11. Re-engagement Emails and Push
  12. Feedback Questions and Surveys
  13. NPS or CSAT

Plugging the leaky bucket

Growth comes with Progressive Onboarding.
The way to get DEEPER ENGAGEMENT & RETENTION is to progressively guide users to “aha moments”. The MAGIC of deeper engagement is getting users to understand and interact with:
  • Your primary use-case in the onboarding process
  • Secondary functions and uses down- played to achieve your primary goal
  • Nudging at the right time to go further
  • Providing contextual help when a user needs it.


Beneath the Surface

This post covers the first 4 of 13 listed engagement activities. We give screenshot examples of how Product Teams have deepened engagement.

Example 1 - Onboarding

For Examples of “Onboarding” refer to some other posts.

Example 2 - Feature Announcements

Here Google introduces a new feature in two different ways. One is a grand announcement and tour. The second if a contextual prompt to nudge the user at the moment of maximum impact.

google presso - welcome to office editing

Example 3 - Feature Discovery

Vimeo has been around for years and needed to catchup with the cool-kids like Loom who were making video/screen recording simply. With the advent of Covid-19 and work-from-home the need to have RECORDED zoom sessions arose. This was sitting under the hood until I “discovered” it.

The second screenshot surfaces a feature that you might easily miss.

The 3rd from Twitter is amazing because I never knew your could Bookmark tweets. I use it all the time now!

zoom to vimeo - prompt
see who is viewing the page 2

Example 4 -Guides

Using a crypto wallet is a new experience, not for the faint-hearted. Metamask do a good job in walking the new user through important fields and actions.

Next time...more iceberg!

In the next posts, we’ll continue with the next group of engagement methods:

  1. Tips
  2. Training videos
  3. Self-Service help and docs
  4. Tooltips
  5. Nudges
  6. Goal Completion
  7. Re-engagement Emails and Push
  8. Feedback Questions and Surveys
  9. NPS or CSAT

    More Posts

    Contextual & StreetHawk Inc 2023.