Product Walkthroughs vs Interactive Product Tours

Natalie Marcotullio
November 11, 2022

Both types of platforms can guide users through an app or experience, encourage them to sign up for an account, and turn them into paid users.

Product walkthroughs are used when a user is actually in the app while interactive product tours are often used on a website or shared via a link.

This article will explain:

  • What product walkthroughs and interactive product tours are
  • When they should be used
  • What use cases they are best suited for

What Is a Product Walkthrough?

A product walkthrough is a form of product onboarding in which a user is guided through a series of predefined steps within a mobile or web app. These steps explain what the product does and how it works.

Product walkthroughs typically start when users log into a free trial or a product for the first time. The best product walkthroughs use tooltips or overlays to direct users’ attention to specific features or use cases, with the goal of helping take the first steps to get up and running and achieve a-ha moments.

What Are Interactive Product Tours?

Interactive product demos or tours provide prospects and customers with a hands-on walk-through experience of your product throughout the sales and marketing funnel.

Unlike product walk-throughs, interactive product tours are sharable replicas of your product (not the product itself). So instead of having to log into an app to see how it works, users can access interactive product tours on websites, in email campaigns, or on social media.

Product tours also contain CTAs throughout to encourage users to sign up for free trials or register for a demo.

When to Use Product Walkthrough vs Interactive Product Tour

Below, we share when to pick a product walkthrough or an interactive product tour based on the metrics you’re trying to improve and your overarching goals.

Product Walkthrough

Metrics You Want to Improve

  • Free trial to paid conversion
  • User onboarding and activation rates

Point in the Funnel

  • Active user
  • Upgrade free trial users
  • Upsell existing accounts

Why Use Product Walkthroughs

1. Your users are getting stuck

Onboarding can be tricky. Training teams are so accustomed to using the tool that even when they try to put themselves in users’ shoes, they still miss critical opportunities to provide more information.

Product walkthroughs eliminate that issue by hand-holding users, describing each feature, and answering FAQs along the way. For instance, Genially, an interactive content platform, has so many different use cases that users may be overwhelmed when they log in.

Genially gif

That’s why Genially encourages them to use templates instead of starting from scratch, walking them through how to pick one and customize it to their needs.

Walkthroughs all help guide users to experience a-ha moments that increase your activation rates and even prompt conversion from free to paid trials.

2. Your product has a more complex setup process

Because of their complexity, B2B products naturally have a steeper learning curve. But long and difficult setup processes make users want to give up. So why not make it easy on them?

Product walkthroughs take users through configuration flows step by step, clarifying each part of the process and explaining how it connects to the bigger picture. Project management tool, Asana, leverages product walkthroughs to help users create their first project:

Asana walkthrough

You’ll notice that pop-ups continue to appear asking different questions that pertain to the user’s work. On the back end, this helps Asana point users to the appropriate template. Once that template is chosen, Asana uses tooltips and hotspots to explain what else they can do to make their project more streamlined.

That way, users follow the product walkthrough exactly and start off on the right foot.

3. You want to introduce new features or UI updates

A new UI or new feature can disrupt a customer’s flow – so much so that they just ignore it. So in conjunction with launching something new, consider creating a product walkthrough.

Adobe Premiere Pro provides contextual flows for every part of the software that update when there is something new to share.

Adobe gif

Using hotspots – like Adobe does in this gif – can slowly acquainting users with a new look and feel and potential new use case will make them more likely to understand the reasoning behind it and weave it into their daily workflow, ultimately increasing adoption rates.

Interactive Product Tours

Metrics You Want to Improve

  • Website conversion rates
  • Free trial onboarding and activation rates

Point in the Funnel

  • Visitor on your website
  • Prospect evaluating your software

Why Use Interactive Product Tours

1. You have a complex product, and users may not be ready to jump into a free trial

Software for backend functions like cybersecurity or finance can be challenging for users to pick up, even in a free trial. Plus, users may not want to give away sensitive company or financial information to a free trial.

Product tours can educate users about how a product works before they commit to a free trial or freemium subscription.

The product page for Ramp, a finance automation platform, has a product tour front and center.

Ramp

As users progress within the tour, they see how Ramp’s corporate cards work, and how the Ramp platform can help them pay bills, automate their accounting processes, and report on their finances.

This interactive product tour has contributed to much higher user retention for Ramp.

Andrew Capland, Founder of Delivering Value, used Ramp as an example for his clients, showing them how Ramp limits the amount of “stuff” users have to enter before getting any value. He explains,

Andrew post

His post demonstrates the value of giving users “stuff” to play around with and understand before diving into the platform.

2. You want to start teaching users how to use the product in fewer trainings

Unfortunately, product enablement often falls on the shoulders of the busiest people at a company: sales engineers and customer success managers. But you can save them from repeating the same content over and over by exposing prospects and customers to interactive product tours.

Within your demos, you can highlight specific key product features and customize flows to particular personas. Mixpanel does a fantastic job of this on its homepage, making users aware of what Mixpanel is and what it does.

Mixpanel

As users continue through the tour, they learn how to determine retention drivers, build ad-hoc funnels, and break down engagement trends — all key components of the platform.

At the end of the tour, Mixpanel invites visitors to sign up for a free demo and try out what they’ve learned.

Mixpanel CTA

The best part is that no one on the Mixpanel team had to spend time talking about each of these features in detail. Users could just go through the tour, sign up for a free trial, and practice on their own time.

And if you don’t have a free trial, you could just as easily add a CTA at the end of a tour that directs users to a webinar, recording, whitepaper, or any other materials to get them up to speed quickly.

3. You want to show complex parts of your product (e.g. integrations)

Integrations are core to most B2B SaaS businesses, but are particularly difficult to show prospects. Interactive product tours give users a preview of how easy each integration is to set up and the potential value it brings.

For this very reason, Alyce, an AI-powered gifting program, releases interactive product tours along with new partner announcements.

Alyce

Showing users exactly how to configure integrations, like this tour for Slack, not only reduces customer support load, it also piques the interest of prospects who would potentially use that integration.

By creating a whole suite of these interactive product tours, Alyce empowers partners, customers, and prospects to learn when it’s convenient for them.

Top Product Walkthrough & Interactive Product Tour Software

At this point, you’ve got the information you need to get started with product walkthroughs and interactive product tours – you just need a no-code tool to help you.

Userguiding

Category: Product Walkthrough

UserGuiding is a SaaS platform that effectively onboards users by prompting the right in-app actions for their familiarity level. UserGuiding is simple to set up (no coding required) and allows admins to track hotspots, add interactive manuals, and even send NPS surveys.

User Guiding

To make product walkthroughs even more personalized, UserGuiding has built-in segmentation features and customizable templates, ensuring the right users see the right thing at the right time. UserGuiding is an ideal product walkthrough solution for pushing users toward upsells and upgrades.

Category: Product Tour

Navattic empowers go-to-market teams to instantly create interactive product tours. Another no-code solution, Navattic makes it easy for any team member to assemble a custom interactive demo with overlays, tooltips, and and checklists.

Navattic

Navattic’s customers add product tours to their homepage and product pages to get users to understand how the solution works and visualize it for their particular use case, speeding up the sales cycle.

It can also be used to train partner teams or introduce customers to brand-new features.

Appcues

Category: Product Walkthrough

Appcues is a product walkthrough vendor that displays on desktop and mobile apps by installing an SDK or integrating with a CDP like Segment.

Appcues

Appcues admins can build their own product walkthroughs with slideouts, tooltips, and hotspots via Google Chrome extension. And on the back end, they can measure in-app behaviors through the Appcues Studio application.

Loom

Category: Product Tour

Loom is a free screen recorder that enables users to create interactive videos. Users simply download a Chrome extension and start filming themselves using their product. In addition to their voiceover, Loom users can point out specific features with overlays and text in the post-production process.

Loom

Loom is a good option for showcasing your newest features or refreshing users’ memory of old ones. It also makes the learning process more exciting, with a friendly face guiding you through the product.

Product walkthroughs and interactive product tours are uniquely suited to the PLG motion, allowing users to get a taste of the product even before the sales cycle begins. Each can be leveraged at various points in the funnel to boost conversion rates, improve onboarding rates, and even encourage upsells.

To learn more about how you can incorporate product-led practices into your presales process, read:

See an interactive demo of your product.Request a free demo build from our team.