Look, we've all been there: you’ve signed up for new software or a new tool, and the moment you log in, you're hit with a wall of features, buttons, and options that leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused.

No one wants their customers to feel alienated and lost. Luckily, there’s a simple solution that can make your users feel right at home from the get-go, and they’re called product tours.

Shall we get on with it? Let's go...

What is a product tour?

Product tours are intuitive, step-by-step walkthroughs that guide users through your product's features and functionalities within the application itself. What do they do exactly? What do they consist of? Product tours offer:

  • Contextual prompts
  • Visual cues
  • Interactive elements

They create an immersive and personalized experience that enhances user understanding and accelerates time-to-value.

In order to provide a good customer experience, it's helpful to give them an overview of what they can expect to find and where to locate it. You may want to offer the option to "skip this" or "return to this later." If your product is complex, it's a good idea to stretch this tour out over time.

But of course, all of this depends on the user, they’ll have different levels of tolerance for information. Play the caution card and keep an eye on how digestible your product tours are – you don't want to overwhelm your new user.

Slack does a really good job of providing product tours during their customer onboarding.

Source: SaaS Websites

As soon as you enter your email address into Slack, you get a glimpse into what your experience will look like. 

Once you enter, Slackbot takes over and introduces you to what can be achieved in your channel or workspace. There are also numerous pop-ups giving tips and directions to reinforce the information given. Any white space is also cleverly used to illustrate what will eventually be there when a user starts to engage with Slack regularly.

The difference between product tours and product demos

If you’re new to SaaS or the wider tech industry, you’d be forgiven for mixing up the terminology surrounding different product experiences. Let’s clear up some of that confusion.

Product tours are interactive, allowing users to explore the product hands-on while being gently directed toward key features and functionalities. It's a guided, yet self-paced journey designed to help users quickly become acquainted with the product and feel empowered to navigate it confidently.

On the other hand, product demos are non-interactive experiences, often taking the form of videos or narrated guides, where the product's capabilities are showcased and explained, but without any hands-on exploration from the viewer.

TD;DR: Product tours are all about learning by doing, while product demos are about learning by watching. Both serve valuable purposes, but they cater to different stages of the customer journey and learning styles.

So, consider your users' needs the next time you're wondering whether to offer a product tour or a product demo. Are they better served by an immersive, self-guided experience that builds confidence and familiarity? Or would they prefer to sit back and observe the product in action before diving in themselves?

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Product tours + customer onboarding = success

Have a subpar product tour? That means you’ve got yourself a subpar onboarding process and, likely, a subpar customer experience.

The onboarding process sets the tone for a customer's entire journey with your product. It's the critical first impression that can either pave the way for long-term success or lead to frustration, confusion, and ultimately, churn. 

Effective onboarding is about more than just getting users to sign up – it's about guiding them through your product's features and functionalities, helping them understand its value proposition, and ensuring they experience those "aha!" moments that foster lasting engagement and loyalty.

However, traditional onboarding methods, such as lengthy product documentation or generic tutorials, often fall short. The reason? This overly formal method of education fails to provide the personalized, contextual guidance that modern customers demand, resulting in a disjointed and underwhelming experience. 

This is where interactive product tours shine, offering a seamless and engaging approach to customer onboarding.

Product tours throughout the customer journey

When you think of product tours, you probably associate them with the introductory walkthroughs that greet you upon launching a new app or software. They guide you through the interface, pointing out key features and functionalities. 

But despite being key features of an onboarding process, product tours have the potential to be so much more than just a one-time onboarding experience.

Here are some of the ways to unlock the full potential of your product's capabilities.

New feature updates

Introducing groundbreaking product updates? We all know how easy it is for cool new stuff to fly under the radar, but that’s not going to happen on your watch. Let product tours do the work for you and showcase the value proposition of your latest innovations. No more confusion or missed updates here.

Promoting underused features

Providing value is at the heart of customer success efforts, agreed? The thing is, your customers won’t fully realize the awesome features and capabilities of your product if they’re unaware of them.

If you notice your customers aren’t making the most of all of your product’s cool features, there’s a good chance it’s because they don’t know about them! By and large, their overall engagement, satisfaction, and experience would be improved if they knew about the awesome other things your product can do to alleviate their pain points. 

Product tours are a brilliant way to draw attention to underused features and help users realize value – and fast.

Connecting with developers and engineering buyers
By immersing yourself in the world of developers and engineers, offering authentic value, and consistently nurturing brand memories, you position your business as a valuable partner in their path forward.

User re-engagement

Noticed your once-loyal users have gone a little... crickets lately? Not to worry, these things happen. The trick is to nip any inactivity in the bud immediately. If a user is inactive, it’s likely due to not fully grasping all of the nifty tricks your product is capable of. A tactical product tour is the perfect way to reel them back in and remind them why they fell in love with your product in the first place.

Whether you get their attention with an email or an in-app message, highlight everything they've been missing out on – recently launched features, improvements, you name it. They'll think: "Oh I get it! This is why I bought X” 

Support and education

Even your most experienced users can level up with the right guidance. Product tours are a brilliant way to educate them on advanced ways to optimize their workflow and get maximum value.

Share insider tips, power user tricks, or simply reinforce best practices – it's a bit like a free coaching session. They'll be absorbing pro-level skills left, right and center. Consider it an investment in their success (which is a win for you too!).


Did somebody just hit a major milestone? Don't let that momentous occasion go unnoticed. A perfectly timed tour can celebrate their accomplishment and reveal what fresh opportunities have been unlocked.

Get users hyped about earning that new badge or hitting a new level with a tour showcasing the fresh new features and next-level capabilities now at their fingertips. In a way, you’re teasing them a little, showing them, “Look how far you've come... but the best is yet to come!" 

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Interactivity: The USP of product tours

Product tours have emerged as a powerful tool for enhancing user onboarding and adoption. By combining visual guidance with interactive elements, they provide an immersive and engaging learning experience that helps users quickly grasp the functionality and value of a product.

The power of contextual learning

One of the key advantages of interactive product tours is their ability to deliver contextual learning experiences.

Rather than bombarding users with generic information or documentation, these tours offer guidance within the specific context of the feature or workflow being demonstrated. This contextual approach ensures users receive relevant and actionable insights precisely when and where they need them, minimizing cognitive load and increasing comprehension.

Visual guidance and interactive elements

Product tours leverage visuals like annotated screen captures and interactive hotspots to make complex features more accessible and intuitive. Step-by-step walkthroughs and simulated actions further reinforce the learning experience, allowing users to actively engage and solidify their understanding.

Personalized experiences for diverse user roles

Modern software often caters to diverse user roles with varying needs and permissions. Interactive product tours can be tailored to provide personalized guidance based on these roles, ensuring each user receives a relevant and focused onboarding experience. This targeted approach enhances efficiency and fosters a deeper understanding of the product's value proposition for each user segment.

Measure the impact of your product tour

To truly understand the effectiveness of your product tours and their impact on customer success, it's essential to establish clear metrics and measure their performance. Some key metrics to consider include:

  1. Activation and engagement rates: Track how many users complete and engage with your product tours, as well as their subsequent actions and feature usage patterns.
  2. Time-to-value: Measure the time it takes for users to experience their first "aha!" moment or achieve a specific goal after completing a product tour. A shorter time-to-value typically indicates more effective onboarding and guidance.
  3. Feature adoption and usage: Monitor the adoption rates of specific features highlighted in your product tours, overall usage metrics, and user activity levels.
  4. Customer satisfaction and net promoter score (NPS): Gather feedback and NPS scores from users who have completed your product tours to gauge their satisfaction levels and likelihood of recommending your product.
  5. Support ticket reduction: Analyze the impact of product tours on support ticket volume and the types of questions or issues being raised, as effective tours should reduce the need for user support.

By continuously measuring and analyzing these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your product tours and identify areas for optimization and improvement.

Wrapping up

Okay! That concludes our exploration of product tours and all of their intricacies. Here’s a recap of why interactive product tours are a powerful tool for driving customer success and growth:

  • Provide seamless and engaging onboarding experiences
  • Foster ongoing feature adoption and product value maximization
  • Leverage contextual learning, visual guidance, and interactive elements
  • Create immersive and personalized user journeys
  • Enhance user understanding and accelerating time-to-value

To unlock their full potential, focus on:

  • Thorough user research and persona development
  • Adhering to best practices in product tour design
  • Continuously measuring and optimizing based on metrics like activation rates, feature adoption, and customer satisfaction

With well-executed product tours, you can differentiate your offering, build lasting customer relationships, and pave the way for sustainable growth and success.

In our Guide to Developer and Community Engagement, you'll find expert advice, how-tos, and inspiration to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of developer and community engagement.

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