10 Highly Effective Ways to Drive New Feature Adoption in 2020

Varsha Venkatesh Digital Adoption, Feature Adoption
10 Highly Effective Ways to Drive New Feature Adoption

Salesforce has as many as 3 releases in a year. And if you’re a Salesforce user, then you know their release notes are never-ending. 

The point here is that from the perspective of the product, all those features released definitely are useful and add value to the product. But, every user is not going to need all those features and the ones that do need it, have to go through those 200 pages of release jargon.

You might not be launching your new features with a release notes novel to go along with it. But, the crux of the problem remains the same.  

The delivery of the new feature was spectacular – it was built after hours of research listening to customer feedback, analyzing competitors, and building the product roadmap. You are certain that this feature will help the end-users be more productive with their work. However, there is a gap between the delivery and usability of the new feature and the main reason for that is in the way your end-users understand the existence and value of it.

Ultimately, introducing new features in a way that they get drilled into the end-users’ day-to-day activities is the key to feature adoption.

Here are 10 ways to help you drive new feature adoption

New Feature Announcement

1. Give Detailed Information With New Feature Blog Posts

While this is the generic way of communicating about your product’s latest feature, it’s still a critical step. The blog could include the product release notes, extensive description of the feature and its uses, and a product tour that explains how exactly to use it.

These new feature release blogs work with your email campaigns to help your customers succeed in using that feature to the fullest. Leave no stone unturned, right?

With feature release blogs, you’re engaging with all your users and telling them that the feature is coming. They land on your blog, read it, but then, maybe, crickets. Feature adoption seems to be going for a toss.

Blogs are just the first point of information where you’re telling the users something exists. Read on to know more ways on how you can continuously engage and re-engage with your users and drive feature adoption.

2. Stop And Draw Attention Using Your Login Screen

When you launch a product aimed at solving a problem, the impetus is in tackling the demand for that solution. But, the difference between a product launch and a feature launch is in the discovery- making sure the users find out that feature exists now in your product.

So, reminding users about the new feature becomes imperative because they might just go about their day, using your product for just as much as they have until now.

Enter, login screen.

Users will see the login screen from time-to-time due to being automatically logged out after a given period. This space gives you the opportunity to talk about your most recent feature release or even your old features that need a bit of love.

For instance, take a look at how Drift does it:

10 Most Effective Ways to Drive New Feature Adoption(Source: Drift)

3. Get Users Onboard With Interactive Popups

Now, your users are in the product, doing what they do with it every day. How do you showcase your new feature in a way that it pushes the users to take an action and try out the feature?

Unlike phone calls or emails which might catch the users in a non-contextual environment, Whatfix’s interactive popups engage the conversational aspect of user interaction, ie, while the user is actually using the product. This level of contextuality and instantaneous response helps you both gauge and create awareness at the same time.

You can easily draw attention to the feature with a simple popup that says “Try out the new feature”. You can even embed a video, link it to an article, or trigger a feature tour, like this-

10 Most Effective Ways to Drive New Feature Adoption

The best part is, these walkthroughs can be segmented according to the users based on the user group that would benefit from the feature you’ve released.

4. Show The New Feature’s Benefits With A Demo Webinar

Webinars are how you meet the expectation of “seeing is believing”. When the new feature is released, sewing together the how-to use the feature while demonstrating its benefits is like giving your users a specific recipe for success. You are essentially teaching the users how to use the new feature by giving them a context of where it could work.

While introducing a new feature through a webinar, you always want to demonstrate the value of the feature and not focus just on the functionality of it. Users care about how this feature is going to help or solve their problem so they can shift to a better state of productivity.

When you’re designing the webinar, start at the pain points. Use the customer feedback blurbs to make it interesting and to show your users that you’re listening to them. When you establish the pain points, you are putting the feature in their context.

For instance, if you’re a social media management tool, you might get a query/feedback like this- “I want to schedule more than 100 social media posts across networks in one shot. Will that be possible?”

If your new feature can do that, touch-base on how social media scheduling is beneficial to keep an active presence. Then talk about how it would be if users have to schedule 100+ posts one-by-one. And then BAM! Introduce your new feature (one that allows bulk scheduling of posts) that will solve all of these problems in the most effective and efficient way possible.

5. Push Users Into Your App With Push Notifications

10 Most Effective Ways to Drive New Feature Adoption(Source: neilpatel.com)

And, what do people do? Watch the entire season on Netflix that very same night.

It’s the simplest thing – reminding users that something is happening in an app. Push notifications, when done right, keep the users engaged and makes them return to the product. When you release a new feature, a well-crafted push notification will re-engage your users and direct them to open the app to try out the feature.

When timed right with an actionable messaging, push notifications are there to bring your customers to the aha! moment faster.

6. Remind users about the feature with Reminder Tooltips

Reminder Tooltips are a great channel for new feature discovery. If you’ve noticed, Facebook does this really well with a simple in-app tooltip like this:

10 Most Effective Ways to Drive New Feature Adoption(Source: Facebook)

Reminder tooltips are there to give the users a quick note: “Hey, do X with Y”. And since they are contextual to where you are in the app, it’s not as intrusive as a popup nor is it noncontextual like a blog or newsletter. The main idea here is to make sure that there’s no feature unexplored.

There are plenty of open-source options to create such tooltips. If you want to create custom tooltips, you can try Whatfix. Using Whatfix you can create action driven interactive tooltips for new feature announcement within minutes.

7. Draw Attention With The Whatfix Beacon

The new feature is released. You’ve done your due diligence of sending an email, publishing a blog, and even maybe conducting a webinar.

But, think of your email open rate. How many people opened your email? How many people clicked on the CTAs/links? Think of your feature release blog. What are the session rate and conversions like?

Typically, the average open rate does not cross 20.81%. Not everyone reaches this open rate and even if they do, not all users read through the email sent or the blog that’s published.

But, does that mean you stop and give up on new feature adoption?


Think about your product. In an already busy user interface, you need to draw attention to that new feature you’ve just released. Well, you can’t make it jump up and wave at your customers now, can you?

Yes….and no.

The Whatfix Beacon is an attention-grabbing and actionable element that draws the attention of the users to a specific element. Once the users click that beacon, it redirects them to a specific interactive walkthrough, video, or URL. Here’s how it works –

10 Most Effective Ways to Drive New Feature Adoption

8. Help Users Contextually With In-App Messages

Take this as the golden truth – every day someone who is a potential customer is looking at your product for the first time. Though you are communicating a new feature to your old customers, you are also engaging with new customers.

In-app messages is a channel where you can explain how the new feature works and nudge the users to get started in a natural way when the user is active within the app itself.

This form of messaging helps you start a conversation with the user to take an immediate action or invite them to try out the new feature. Since it’s highly contextual and conversational, it proactively alerts users to discover the new feature.

10 Most Effective Ways to Drive New Feature Adoption(Source: Intercom)

It also helps in making your users feel that help is here in the most accessible and clear way possible. This helps in re-engaging with the users and potentially making sure that they are using the new feature.

9. Retargeting With Behaviour Triggered Email Campaigns

Analyzing the user’s interaction at different points in your product can help you create highly targeted email campaigns that drive them to dive deeper into each feature on your app.

Once a user completes an action, behavioral triggered emails will follow up with the users giving them a set of next steps to be taken after that action. This creates a flow starting from one feature and educating the users about what more they can do in your app to get the most out of it.  This way, you are not only driving the usage of the new feature but also tying that new feature with other features, giving them a neatly packaged solution rather than just telling them to perform a random action.

10. Guide Users With Contextual Walkthroughs

A how-to content is best delivered from within the application so that your users don’t have to leave to figure out how something works. With every new feature, you are essentially onboarding your customers to use it. The discoverability of that feature becomes the most crucial aspect which is solved by the Whatfix Beacon. Once it is discovered, an in-app interactive walkthrough will be able to guide them in a streamlined manner, covering all the touchpoints.

10 Most Effective Ways to Drive New Feature Adoption

These interactive walkthroughs don’t have to be restricted just to the new feature. It can tell a story of how that new feature can be used in conjunction with the other features in your product so they get more from your app. This way, you’re not only driving feature adoption, but you’re also driving product adoption.

Feature adoption isn’t just about getting all your customers to use that new feature you’ve just released. These strategies can be used to revive the old features your customers aren’t using anymore, drive them to explore the hidden features in your product, and all-in-all nudge them towards using almost every feature in your app. When your customers get a taste of using your app to its fullest, they realize its complete potential, and they become less likely to leave you.

How are you driving feature adoption in your company? Tell us in the comments! 

Varsha Venkatesh

Varsha Venkatesh

Content Marketing Specialist at Whatfix
With a passion for storytelling, Varsha loves creating stories about everything and anything. Right now, she is in her corner creating one about Product Adoption, Training, Onboarding, or unicorns.

Tweet out to her or comment on her blogs. She would love to hear what you have to say!
Varsha Venkatesh
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