Start Measuring Your Product Onboarding Engagement Rate

Last updated on
October 4, 2023


What is product onboarding engagement rate?

It’s a metric that measures the level of user engagement and interaction during the initial onboarding process of a software product. It indicates how effectively users are adopting and using the product.

Why to measure product onboarding engagement rate?

Measuring product onboarding engagement rate helps identify the effectiveness of the onboarding process. It also allows to improve user adoption and retention, enhance customer satisfaction, and optimize the product experience for better long-term success.

Keep reading to discover how to measure and improve your product's onboarding engagement rate, and gain valuable insights into your users' adoption and usage patterns.


Start Measuring Your Product Onboarding Engagement Rate


One of the biggest challenges for product development teams is to ensure that users successfully onboard onto their product and engage. Without effective onboarding, users may become frustrated, confused, and ultimately churn. This can result in lost revenue, negative reviews, and a poor reputation.

Measuring onboarding engagement rate can provide you with insight into users' early interactions with your product and help your team optimize the onboarding experience for success.

In this article, we'll explore the benefits and risks of measuring onboarding engagement rate, how to do it effectively, and alternative metrics to consider. With these insights, you can create a delightful onboarding experience that keeps users engaged and leads to long-term success for your product.

What is product onboarding engagement rate?

Product onboarding engagement rate is a metric used in product development that measures how effectively users are engaging with a new product during the onboarding process. In other words, it’s a measure of the effectiveness of the onboarding process. 

Product onboarding engagement rate tells us how successful we are in capturing users' attention and keeping them interested and actively using the product. It's like a gauge that helps us understand how well we're meeting users' needs and expectations.

High vs low engagement rate

A high engagement rate suggests that users are finding value in the product and are likely to continue using it in the long run. It indicates a successful onboarding experience and increases the chances of user retention and satisfaction.

Conversely, a low engagement rate could indicate problems with the onboarding process. It may suggest that users are struggling to understand the product, finding it unappealing, or encountering barriers to usage. In such cases, it's important to investigate and address the underlying issues to improve user adoption and satisfaction.

Key point: You should strive for a high product onboarding engagement rate.

Why to track product onboarding engagement rate?

By tracking the product onboarding engagement rate, you gain insights into user behavior and can make informed decisions to enhance the onboarding experience. 

It helps you identify areas for improvement, optimize the onboarding flow, and create a more compelling and intuitive product that users will enjoy using from the start.

Benefits of improving product onboarding engagement rate results

Improving product onboarding engagement rate can have several benefits for software development teams and companies. Here are five of them:

Increased user adoption and retention

When users have a positive onboarding experience, they are more likely to continue using your product in the long run. Therefore, by improving the engagement rate, your team can increase user adoption and retention, as well as reduce churn.

Better customer satisfaction

When users understand the product's features and how to use them, they are more likely to be satisfied with their experience. Therefore, improved onboarding experience leads to increased customer satisfaction. With that, your product gains more positive reviews and recommendations.

Faster time-to-value

Users want to experience the value of a product as quickly as possible. By improving the onboarding process, you help them understand the product's value proposition faster, leading to a quicker time-to-value.

Reduced support costs

When users have difficulty using a product, they often turn to support for help. By improving the onboarding experience, you can reduce the need for support. That way, you lower support costs and free up resources to focus on other areas.

Increased revenue

Ultimately, improving the product onboarding engagement rate can lead to increased revenue. By increasing user adoption, satisfaction, and retention, companies can achieve higher sales and revenue growth.

Risks of focusing on product onboarding engagement rate improvements

While measuring product onboarding engagement rate can provide valuable insights, it's important to be aware of potential risks and limitations. Here are five risks to consider when basing decisions solely on product onboarding engagement rate results:

Superficial optimization

Focusing solely on improving the engagement rate may lead to superficial optimizations that prioritize short-term gains over long-term user satisfaction. It's crucial for your team to consider the overall user experience and address underlying issues rather than just optimizing for engagement metrics.

Neglecting product-market fit

Relying solely on onboarding engagement rate might overshadow the importance of product-market fit. Even if your users engage well during onboarding, it doesn't necessarily mean the product aligns with their needs or solves their problems effectively. Ignoring product-market fit can result in disengagement and limited long-term success.

Ignoring user diversity

An emphasis on improving the onboarding engagement rate may inadvertently overlook the diversity of users and their varying needs and preferences. A one-size-fits-all approach might fail to address specific user segments, leading to lower engagement among certain groups and missed opportunities for customization and personalization.

Limited context and insights

Onboarding engagement rate alone might not provide a complete picture of user behavior and preferences. It's crucial for your team to complement this metric with other qualitative and quantitative data sources, such as user feedback, usability testing, and post-onboarding engagement, to gain a deeper understanding of user needs and motivations.

Sacrificing long-term goals

Overemphasizing onboarding engagement rate can divert attention from other important long-term goals, such as product scalability, technical debt management, and feature enhancements. Strike a balance and consider the broader product roadmap and strategic objectives to ensure sustainable growth and success.

How to measure product onboarding engagement rate?

Measuring product onboarding engagement rate is an important step in understanding how users interact with a product during their first-time experience. Here's how to measure it:

Define what "engagement" means

Before measuring onboarding engagement rate, it's important to define what actions indicate engagement for your product. For example, it could be completing a specific task, watching a tutorial video, or filling out a profile.

Set up tracking

Use analytics tools like Google Analytics or Mixpanel to track user behavior during onboarding. Set up event tracking for each engagement action to measure the completion rate.

Calculate the engagement rate

Divide the number of users who complete the engagement action by the total number of users who start the onboarding process. Multiply the result by 100 to get the percentage engagement rate.

Analyze the results

Interpret the engagement rate data and look for patterns or trends. For example, if there's a significant drop-off in engagement during a particular step of onboarding, it might indicate that the step needs improvement.

Here's an example: Suppose you're measuring the onboarding engagement rate for a mobile app. You define engagement as creating a profile, and you set up event tracking in Google Analytics. Over a month, 500 users start the onboarding process, and 250 of them complete the profile creation step.

To calculate the engagement rate, divide 250 by 500 and multiply by 100, which gives an engagement rate of 50%. This means that half of the users who start onboarding complete the profile creation step.

Alternatives to onboarding engagement rate

When it comes to measuring user engagement during onboarding, there are alternative metrics that can provide valuable insights. Here are a few main alternatives to onboarding engagement rate, along with their explanations and comparisons:


Time-to-Value measures how quickly users experience the core value or benefit of a product. Instead of focusing solely on engagement actions, this metric tracks the time it takes for users to achieve their desired outcome. It provides a holistic view of user success and can be more meaningful than measuring isolated engagement actions. 

Choose Time-to-Value when the core value of your product is delivered through a specific action or feature.

Activation Rate

Activation Rate measures the percentage of users who complete a predefined set of actions that indicate successful onboarding. Unlike onboarding engagement rate, which looks at individual actions, Activation Rate considers a combination of actions that signify a deeper level of engagement. This metric helps evaluate the effectiveness of the onboarding process as a whole. 

Choose Activation Rate when you want to assess the overall success of your onboarding flow.

User Retention

User Retention measures the percentage of users who continue using the product over time. It focuses on long-term engagement rather than immediate onboarding interactions. While onboarding engagement rate is a snapshot of early user behavior, User Retention provides insights into how successful the onboarding experience is in retaining users. 

Choose User Retention when you want to understand the long-term impact of your onboarding efforts.

User Satisfaction

User Satisfaction measures the level of satisfaction or happiness users experience with the onboarding process. This metric is typically gathered through surveys, feedback forms, or user interviews. It provides qualitative insights into users' perceptions, frustrations, and overall satisfaction. Unlike onboarding engagement rate, User Satisfaction helps you understand the emotional aspect of onboarding. 

Choose User Satisfaction when you want to gather subjective feedback and improve the overall user experience.

User Feedback

User Feedback involves collecting direct feedback from users about their onboarding experience. This can be done through in-app feedback forms, support tickets, or user research sessions. User Feedback helps capture specific pain points, usability issues, or feature requests that users encounter during onboarding. It complements quantitative metrics like onboarding engagement rate by providing qualitative insights. 

Choose User Feedback when you want to gather detailed feedback to guide improvements and address specific user concerns.

Next steps

Measuring product onboarding engagement rate is a crucial metric for successful product development, as it provides insights into user adoption and usage patterns during the onboarding process. By optimizing this process, teams can improve customer satisfaction and long-term product success. However, metrics should always be adjusted to product and business goals, and every team should compose a set of metrics that works best for their specific case. 

To learn more about software delivery performance metrics, process metrics, and other software development metrics, check out our articles and start building a comprehensive set of metrics for your product today.

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Olga Gierszal
Software Engineering Editor

Software development enthusiast with 6 years of professional experience in the tech industry.

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