product metrics

User Onboarding KPIs: Key Metrics You Need to Track

Sep 29, 2022

7 mins read

User onboarding is essential for any business that wants to retain its customers and grow its user base. But what user onboarding KPIs should you be tracking to ensure customer onboarding success?

First, What is User Onboarding?

The user onboarding phase is the process of helping new users learn how to use your product or service. It's a crucial part of the user experience, and it can have a big impact on your business.

This is the most common type of onboarding program for software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies. It includes video tutorials, how-tos, and guided tours to help customers get familiar with the app.

At each stage of the customer lifecycle, you should ensure that your customers are getting the most out of the product. This is what a user onboarding process does – it provides you with the opportunity to explain what makes your company unique, and how your products will benefit them.

A well-designed and interactive instructional video can help onboard new users.

User Onboarding KPIs: The Basics

Example of funnel analytics, tracking user onboarding with Usermaven

Many different factors can affect the success of your user onboarding process, but one of the most important is tracking the right KPIs.

Customer onboarding KPIs are metrics that help you measure the success of your onboarding phase.

There are several onboarding metrics you can track, but some of the most important include:

1. Activation Rate

This is the percentage of new users who successfully complete the key actions you want them to take in your product or service. These key actions could be anything from purchasing to signing up for a newsletter.

2. Retention Rate

This is the percentage of new users who continue using your product or service after the initial onboarding period. This is a key metric to track because it shows how successful your onboarding process is at retaining users.

3. Engagement Rate

This is the percentage of new users who are actively using your product or service. This metric is important to track because it shows how successful your onboarding process is at getting users engaged with your product or service.

4. Conversion Rate

This is the percentage of new users who take a specific action that results in the desired outcome.

5. Net Promoter Score

This is a metric that measures customer satisfaction. It's calculated by asking customers to rate their experience on a scale of 0-10.

This is a score that measures how likely new users are to recommend your product or service to others. This metric is important to track because it shows how satisfied new users are with your product or service and your onboarding process.

6. Time to First Value

How long does it take for users to achieve their first meaningful interaction with your product? This metric can be a good indicator of how well your onboarding process is working to introduce users to your product's key features and benefits.

In the world of software-as-a-service, time to value is the time it takes for new users to start realizing the value of a product. This term is also known as "Aha! moment" in the software world.

A shorter time to value indicates that customers got immediate benefit from your product or service.

7. Trial to Paid Conversion Rate

Many SaaS companies offer free trial periods for their product. This allows trial users to try the service out before they commit to paying for it. The rate at which these users convert to paid customers is known as the trial-to-paid conversion.

Failing to provide trial users with enough information about how they can actually use your product or service to meet their expectations is a surefire way to have poor conversion.

8. Support Tickets

This is the number of support tickets that are generated by new users. This metric is important to track because it can show you where new users are struggling and where your onboarding process needs improvement.

Why Are Customer Onboarding Metrics Important?

User onboarding metrics are important because they help you track the success of your user onboarding flows. They can also help you identify areas of your customer onboarding framework that need improvement and make changes to optimize your onboarding process.

For example, if you notice that your activation rate is low, you may need to rethink your customer onboarding process. Similarly, if you notice that your engagement rate is low, you may need to add more interactive elements and data analytics features to your customer onboarding framework.


Best Practices for Tracking User Onboarding KPIs

There are a few best practices you should follow when tracking user onboarding KPIs.

1. Set Goals

Before you start tracking KPIs, you need to set goals.

What do you want to achieve with your user onboarding process?

2. Choose the Right KPIs

Not all KPIs are created equal. You need to choose the KPIs that are most relevant to your goals.

3. Track Progress Over Time

The user onboarding phase is a process so you need to track your KPIs over time. This will help you see how your onboarding process is improving.

4. Take Action

Don't just track your KPIs, take action based on what you see. If you see that something isn't working, make a change.

Why User Onboarding KPIs Matter

Improving your onboarding flows without customer onboarding metrics is a lot like trying to fix a leaking pipe in the dark. You’re likely to do more harm than good, and you’ll end up with a big mess.

Improving your customer onboarding framework with analytics is another story. All of a sudden, the solutions are more obvious—you see what works and what doesn’t work, and it’s easier to make improvements to your customer onboarding program based on actual data.

With user onboarding data, you can:

  • Personalize your flow based on data from certain cohorts.
  • Focus on features that increase activation rate.
  • Test the updated UX.
  • Get to know your user's journey from signing up to becoming an advocate.
  • Figure out what friction points are getting in the way of the onboarding workflow.
  • Shorten time to value for users.

This is not just theory. Digital communication platform 'Take' enjoyed a whopping 124% boost in user engagement after they started collecting data during the onboarding phase.

Similarly, the success of YotPo's product adoption rates was due in part to its use of onboarding data metrics. Adjusting their landing page improved retention rates by 50%.

So no more fumbling around trying to figure stuff out. Instead, start measuring your adoption rates during onboarding processes so you can better understand user behavior and provide customers with a great first experience.

How to Set Up Effective User Onboarding Tracking in Google Analytics

There are a few different ways to track user onboarding progress in Google Analytics. One way is to use Events.

Events are actions that users take within your product or service. You can track events by setting up event tracking in Google Analytics.

Another way to track user onboarding progress is by using Goals. Goals are specific actions that you want your users to take.

For example, you may want your users to sign up for a newsletter or make a purchase. You can set up goals in Google Analytics and track how well your users are completing them.

5 Ways to Improve Your App's User Onboarding

User onboarding is the process of helping a new user understand how to use your app. A great user onboarding experience will help your app retain users and improve your app's overall conversion rate.

There are several ways you can improve your app's user onboarding experience.

1. Use a Welcome Screen

A welcome screen is a great way to introduce your app to new users. A welcome screen should explain what your app does and how it can benefit the user.

It is also a good idea to include a short video or tutorial on how to use your app.

2. Use Tooltips and Hover States

Tooltips and hover states can help new users understand how to use your app. Tooltips should be used to explain the function of each element in your app.

Hover states can be used to provide more information about an element when the user hovers over it.

3. Use Animated GIFs

Animated GIFs are a great way to show new users how to use your app. GIFs can be used to demonstrate how to use specific features in your app.

They can also be used to show the user the results of their actions.

4. Use In-App Messaging

In-app messaging can be used to send messages to new users as they use your app. These messages can be used to introduce new features, give tips on how to use your app, or promote special offers.

5. Use a Progress Bar

A progress bar can help new users track their progress as they use your app. A progress bar can be used to show the user how much of your app they have explored, or how many tasks they have completed.

By following these tips, you can improve your app's user onboarding experience and help your app retain users.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the KPIs for onboarding?

  • Retention rate
  • Engagement rate
  • Free trial conversion rate
  • Time to value (TTV)
  • Feature adoption rate
  • Activation rate
  • The number of onboarding support tickets per day

What are the top metrics that you would track during onboarding?

  • Time to Complete
  • Customer Progression
  • Customer Response Rate
  • Escalation Response Time
  • Product Adoption Rate


If you are measuring the incorrect user onboarding KPIs, then you will be wasting your resources, time, and efforts. More importantly, your customers' experiences are not improving.

At each point of contact, you need to carefully measure the metric that matters most to your product and customer. By optimizing this, you can better understand how your customers feel.

The experience you provide your customers will determine how successful you are. The efficiency with which you onboard customers will affect your churn, your renewals, your CLV, your NPS, and just about everything else you can think of.

At no point should a customer feel like they are not being taken care of. As a company, you must keep your customers satisfied. Having customer onboarding metrics and measuring them regularly is one of the most essential steps to take toward that goal.

Knowing the user onboarding KPIs you need to track is only half of the job. Now the hard part begins—improving them.

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