User Onboarding vs. Feature Adoption: A Comprehensive Review of Pendo and UserPilot


In today’s fast-paced SaaS world, customer engagement and product interaction can drastically affect user retention and growth. Enter Pendo and UserPilot, two of the heavyweights in the realm of user onboarding and feature adoption. At first glance, Pendo might catch your eye with its extensive analytics and insights, emphasizing a data-driven approach to user engagement. On the other hand, UserPilot sets itself apart with its dynamic user flows and customizable in-app experiences. Both aim to improve user onboarding and boost feature adoption, but their methods and nuances vary. In this article, we’ll offer a detailed comparison of Pendo and UserPilot, shedding light on their strengths, weaknesses, and how they cater to these pivotal user experience facets. User onboarding and feature adoption form the backbone of any SaaS platform’s success. After all, a signed-up user is only as good as their activity and engagement with the product. With that said, let’s take a closer look at how Pendo and UserPilot tackle these challenges.

User Onboarding:


Pendo excels in providing a seamless, data-driven onboarding process. One of its standout features is the retroactive analytics, allowing companies to understand user behavior even before they started using Pendo. This data helps in crafting personalized onboarding experiences. Guided tours, lightboxes, and tooltips make the user’s initial journey informative yet unobtrusive. What sets Pendo apart is its ability to segment users, ensuring that onboarding is tailored to the needs and behaviors of different user groups.


UserPilot, on the other hand, prides itself on its ability to create highly interactive and dynamic onboarding flows. It allows for a more visual building of onboarding scenarios with a ‘no-code’ approach, making it accessible to non-developers. UserPilot’s flows are adaptable, changing based on user behavior and feedback. This ensures that users aren’t just shown features but are interactively engaged, increasing the chances of successful onboarding.

Feature Adoption:


When it comes to feature adoption, Pendo’s robust analytics come to the fore. It provides heatmaps and usage data, allowing product teams to see which features are popular and which are being ignored. This data-driven approach helps teams prioritize feature improvements or invest in re-education efforts for underused features. Pendo’s in-app messaging and guides are also crucial in highlighting new features or changes, ensuring users are always up-to-date.


UserPilot takes a more hands-on approach to feature adoption. Using its customizable in-app experiences, it can highlight new or underutilized features interactively. Think of it as an ongoing onboarding process, where users are continuously educated and nudged towards full product utilization. UserPilot also allows for A/B testing of these in-app messages and flows, ensuring that the methods used are effective and resonate with the user base.

What about user onboarding for mobile apps?

Both Pendo and Appcues claim to provide a mobile offering however Contextual provides onboarding guides and Tooltips at a field and button level enabling sophisticated cross platform onboarding experiences. 
Feature Pendo Userpilot

User Onboarding

Guided Tours 

✅ Provides structured walkthroughs

✅ Dynamic, customizable tours

User Segmentation 

✅ Advanced segmentation

✅ Behavior-based segmentation

Retroactive Analytics

Test different onboarding approaches

Experiment with engagement strategies|

User Segmentation

✅ Captures pre-integration data


No-code Building

❌ Requires some development effort

✅ Fully visual builder

Dynamic Flows

❌ More static

✅ Adaptable based on behavior

 Feature Adoption

 In-app Messaging

✅ For updates and announcements

✅ Customizable in-app experiences


 ✅ Visual user activity tracker

Usage Data/Analytics

✅ Comprehensive insights

✅ Focus on feature utilization

A/B Testing

✅ For in-app messages and flows

User Feedback & Analysis

API Access

✅ Extensive API offerings

✅ API for custom integrations

Third-party Integrations

✅ Integrates with many tools

✅ Expanding integration list


UI Customization 

✅ Limited to branding and themes  

✅ Deep UI customization

Personalized Experiences

✅ Real-time behavior adjustments

✅ Deep UI customization

Personalized Experiences

✅ Real-time behavior adjustments

✅ Based on data segments


 Pricing Model 


Monthly subscriptions

Customer Support

✅ Dedicated support and resources

✅ In-app support and documentation


Both Pendo and UserPilot offer compelling solutions for businesses aiming to enhance their user onboarding and feature adoption. If you’re leaning towards a comprehensive, data-driven approach where analytics inform your strategies, Pendo might be your go-to. Its deep insights and segmented onboarding provide a robust framework for understanding and acting upon user behavior. However, if you prioritize interactive onboarding experiences and continuous in-app engagements, UserPilot is a strong contender. Its dynamic user flows and adaptability make it a powerful tool for businesses that want to keep their users engaged and educated at every turn. In the end, the decision between Pendo and UserPilot will hinge on your business’s specific needs and priorities. Both tools offer substantial value, and integrating them into your product can lead to improved user satisfaction, retention, and growth. If you want to learn more about mobile and web app user onboarding and feature adoption.  Contact us via the buttons below.