Although SaaS product trend is growing exponentially, there is one big problem every SaaS businesses have: “Customer Retention Rate”. It is a metric that demonstrates whether your marketing and customer care efforts are wasting your time and money or boost your business. Here is the situation that “Product Adoption” steps in to offer an effective way to improve your business’s retention.

Let’s start with a short definition of product adoption, then continue with some exclusive clues that will help you increase it.

Sounds good? Let’s go ?

What is product adoption?

Product adoption, by definition, is a process by which customers hear about a new product or a service and become recurring users of it. It is a crucial aspect of customer health and plays a primary role in customer success.

Increasing SaaS product adoption encourages your customers to detect new items and elements. And also, your customers can discover new features of an existing product. Plus, it enables them to become long-term users. For the most successful companies, higher adoption is indispensable for higher revenue.

Especially, SaaS start-ups are highly familiar with the term of product adoption. Because they continue to struggle with low retention rates, users not coming back after signing up and always looking for a solution to keep their users for a long time to increase lifetime value.

You know, it’s the fundamental of a SaaS business model. You have to sell your SaaS product every month to your customers. Product adoption process provides a more advanced customer success by increasing the average lifetime value and the conversion rate of the trial to the subscribed user and free to paying user.

Amazing, like a swiss knife for product teams, isn’t it?

Let’s dive into how to measure product adoption first, and then to how to increase it.

How to measure product adoption?

saas adoption rates

There is an obvious fact that most software people do not actually have adequate knowledge and understanding of adoption.

Apart from classical visitor to user, the user to customer rates, there’s a whole different area to measure new feature adoption.

Let’s think about a scenario which you are really familiar with:

You worked for weeks over a new cool feature and finally launched it to all of your users. How many of them could actually reach it? Did they really start to use it? How actively did they use it? Did you actually do a good job working on that new feature, instead of something else? How to measure the success of this new feature or a product in general?

You need to attentively detect the areas that users drop off and exit. If drop-off and exiting rates are high, it is an obvious indicator of something going wrong and an urgent call for fixing it.

Don’t know what feature adoption is? Check out our article What is Feature Adoption and How to Increase It.

3 Product Adoption Metrics

There are 3 metrics to calculate product adoption rates, therefore help you measure the success of a new product.

Adoption Rate:

It is the percentage of a number of new customers to the number of total customers. There is a simple mathematical equation to answer the question of how to calculate adoption rate. A number of new user / Total Number of Users x 100. For example, you have 22 new users and the number of total users is 200: Your adoption rate is 22/200 x 100 = % 11. It can be calculated in a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis.

Time-to-first key action:

The average time it takes a new customer to use an existing feature, or an existing customer to use a new feature for the first time

Percentage of users who performed the core action for the first time:

Name of this metric clearly reveals its definition. It is the percentage of customers have performed a core feature for the first time in a given period of time.

“Using a tool as a backup can be helpful.”

To monitor and measure saas adoption rates, you can employ some tools which are able to review the new user onboarding funnel to analyze the steps in which users are having trouble with.

Analytics tools such as Mixpanel, Amplitude, Woopra etc are great tools to measure product adoption with customizable funnels and lots of helpful resources.

How to increase product adoption?

We need to attract customers who tend to actively and consistently use our products or services. No matter what business model we have, we can only achieve success when we make users experience unprecedented moments which make them say “aha, this is what I’m looking for”. It suddenly takes our product or service to a core ingredient of customers’ work.

To clarify it, I want to define the Product Adoption Process by 5 stages.

5 stages of the New Product Adoption Process:

Product adoption process

Every user respectively goes through these stages no matter what kind of product it is.

To increase your SaaS product adoption;

  • Follow the stages in the new product adoption process,
  • Detect insufficient points in each step carefully,
  • Enhance them immediately.

1 – Awareness (Introduction Stage): 

In the first stage of the new product adoption process, potential customers enter your website to know about a product but they don’t have sufficient knowledge about it yet.

Teaching Customers can be helpful: Prospects may not be aware of the existence or importance of a certain problem. On the other hand, customers may realize the problem but don’t know the solution. Educating customers about either the problem or the solution can help provide a strong awareness.

An important step is making a product more recognizable and making customers be aware of it. Bringing new and differentiated features, low price, sales, proposed quality into the forefront with a smooth onboarding process can be very helpful in this stage.

 2 – Interest (Information-gathering Stage):                                       

It is the stage that customers get attracted to the product and try to have more information about it.

Follow the steps of your customers instantaneously and make sure you have strong customer support. Sending segmented emails will increase product adoption at this stage as well.

3 – Evaluation (Consideration Stage):

At this stage, customers determine whether a product is worth to try or not.

Help your prospects evaluate your product objectively. Make them see the aspects that differentiate from alternatives to it.

4 – Trial (Sampling Stage):

Users try your product to see how efficient the product is for compensating customers’ need. It can be either the first purchase or free trial period.

Give free trials and a money-back guarantee to ensure your product is worth employing.

5- Adoption / Rejection (Buy or not Buy Stage):

Prospects determine if your SaaS product has the value and decide to adopt it or not. In the last stage of the new product adoption process, customers proceed from a cognitive state (being aware and informed) to the emotional state (liking and preference) and finally to the behavioral or conative state (deciding and purchasing).

An Example Case of the New Product Adoption Process from Real Life:

Let’s assume that you are walking through a street near your home:

  1. You saw a billboard that says a new pizza restaurant Alican Pizza has opened which located near your home. (Awareness)
  2. When you went home, you looked for some information on the internet to know more about Alican Pizza’s menu and prices. (Interest)
  3. You considered either want to try it or not. (Evaluation)
  4. You decided to try the pizza in small scale – one slice or a little size for trial – to improve or estimate its value. (Trial)
  5. You conclude that it is delicious and you want to be a long term customer of Alican Pizza. (Adoption)

Diffusion of Innovations Theory: The Product Adoption Curve

Have you ever noticed that some people adopt new products or behaviors sooner than others? In 1962 Everet Rogers a professor of rural psychology developed a theory called diffusion of innovations to explain the product adoption curve.

Rogers found that individuals within any society fall into one of five different adopter groups based on how early or how late they adopt an innovation. While explaining the product adoption curve, Rogers’ theory tells us that if you want to promote the widespread adoption of a new product, you need to market each adopter group differently using distinct communication channels and messages.

The Innovators (2.5%)

Innovators are a small but very important group because they are always the first learn about and adopt an innovation.

The Early Adopters (13.5%)

The early adopters are also a small forward-thinking group and are often highly respected as opinion leaders.

The Early Majority (34%) 

The early majority takes time to make decisions. They will observe others’ experiences and will only adopt a product once they are convinced it has real benefits and that it is the new status quo.

The Late Majority (34%)

The late majority is more resistant to change but they are very responsive to peer pressure. They want innovations to be very well tested.

Laggards (16%)

Laggards are highly unwilling to change and they also can be hard to reach with marketing campaigns. Because they often have very minimal exposure to media.

2 Ways to Improve the Product Adoption Process

1 – Make Your Support More Supportive

Customers are having trouble figuring out how exactly your product works. They have limited time and there are a lot of alternatives in the market so they do not want to spend much time on understanding your product. It creates a huge obstacle for customers to retain.

Customer support has the power that can make customers proceed to the next step with your product. Offering in-app live chat, embed videos and creating interactive guides are great solutions to improve saas adoption rates.

2 – Improve Your Onboarding

Effective onboarding helps customers how to successfully use the product without any external effort. You can show the proposed value of your product through a successful onboarding and it also helps users to find their “Aha!” moments easily.

A “Product Adoption Software” can be a very effective solution

You don’t want your developers to work for hours to create product adoption guides. It takes too much time and undoubtedly considerable effort is needed to do it. Save your developer team’s time and don’t waste your budget.

A product adoption software helps your users reach the product in websites and web apps with interactive guides that you created for them. It is the easiest and cost-effective way. You don’t need a big team and a high budget to make guides, your interns can even do it in a couple of minutes.

Moreover, product adoption software permits you to follow the product adoption process stages and provides analytical information which allows you to make objective evaluations handily.

For a longer answer to your question “Why shouldn’t I build onboarding walkthroughs insource?”, check out our article: Onboarding Walkthroughs Are Hard.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the five stages of new product adoption curve?

The Innovators – The Early Adopters – The Early Majority – The Late Majority – Laggards. All stages are explained in our article.

What is the most efficient way to increase product adoption?

A product adoption software saves your developers’ time and your budget and permits your team to follow the product adoption process stages.

What metrics should I follow to measure the success of product adoption?

Adoption rate of the product, time-to-first key action, percentage of the users that has reached the “aha!” moment.


Working in agile has been around on the software side for a few decades but the martech industry has been getting on the bandwagon in the past few years. While it’s still the early adopters running full-fledged agile marketing teams, it continues to be the way that companies are headed to be more mainstream in the coming year.

You may soon be asked to work in agile instead of the traditional, hierarchical way that has been the norm for the past 100 years in marketing. You’ll need to adapt from your current ways of working.

Below are three major changes that you’re likely to see in how your company approaches project management in 2020.

Marketing plans will be short-term flexible roadmaps

It used to be the norm to write a detailed marketing plan for the year ahead (or even five years ahead). However, we are learning that as soon as these marketing plans get distributed to the teams, they are already out of date. Our marketing landscape moves so quickly now that we need to be flexible and adaptable to change, which is why agile marketing is so valuable to teams.

This isn’t to say that marketing plans don’t have any value – it absolutely helps steer the strategic direction of the teams. It’s how they are put together and used that’s changing to keep up with our fast-paced world.

The new marketing plans are high-level roadmaps that manage campaigns. There is little detail because the people doing the work fill in the details as they get closer to doing the work.

Just because it’s on paper doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. These roadmaps should be re-visited every week or so to see if the timelines are realistic and review priorities.

Here’s an example of a 2020 marketing roadmap:

Source: Aha.io

More generalists than specialists will be needed

For a while, marketing roles were all about getting very specific skills and specialties. With the movement of agile marketing, generalists are valued more than specialists. Here’s why: Agile marketing is all about prioritizing the highest value work and getting it done. 

The change in focus highlights the difference from keeping individuals utilized to creating a team that can deliver the most valuable thing when its needed.

Let’s say that the highest priority for the team is to add a landing page to the website for a special event. The project might require a graphic designer, software developer, copywriter and editor all working on the landing page.

Now let’s say the graphic designer is finished with her piece, but the work isn’t considered done until it’s usable and in the hands of customers. If the graphic designer is willing to help with some of the writing, coding or editing, this keeps the team focused on the most valuable work rather than just keeping someone busy.

This isn’t to say that the graphic designer needs to be experts in all of these areas – her craft will always be her core skill. However, if she knows enough to assist in other areas it’s a win-win for everyone.

So as you are thinking about your career in 2020, see if there are other skills that you want to learn that could benefit your team and the work being done.

What to work on will be generated from teams, not ordered from above

For many decades, marketers waited for directives on what to work on and how to work. They were given very detailed requirements or creative briefs. In 2020, we’re going to see more and more marketers at all levels being empowered to generate campaign ideas.

This is great news for marketers because it means you’re no longer the McDonald’s order takers of your marketing department! Management will come to you less and less and say, “I need a 10 piece chicken nugget, small fries and a drink.” Instead, it will be more like, “I need something for lunch, what can you offer me?”

In agile marketing, a lot of teams have a marketing owner that triages all requests from stakeholders and decides what is the highest priority. But the marketing owner doesn’t come to the team with directives on how to get work done – there’s a fine line of ownership. The marketing owner owns “what” is needed and the marketing team owns “how” we’re going to accomplish the work.

The marketing owner may come to the team with a request from the customer’s perspective, like a parent wanting to compare the best college options based on their kid’s interest in one click.

So the team may decide to build a dashboard, or an app, or maybe a game. In 2020, the people actually doing the work will become more empowered than ever before to use their creativity and experiment to learn how best to meet marketing objectives.

It’s going to be a great year for marketers in 2020, I can just feel it! It’s so exciting that we will become more flexible, adaptable and agile.

More predictions for 2020

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Stacey knows what it’s like to be a marketer, after all, she’s one of the few agile coaches and trainers that got her start there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director and adjunct marketing professor. She became passionate about agile as a better way to work in 2012 when she experimented with it for an ad agency client. Since then she has been a scrum master, agile coach and has helped with numerous agile transformations with teams across the globe. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certs to her name than she can remember and loves to practice agile at home with her family. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she recently relocated to North Carolina where she’s busy learning how to cook grits and say “y’all.”


You know that everybody within your organization is responsible for representing your company’s brand at various opportunities — whether it’s meetings, lunches, conferences, or presentations. Yep, it’s important that everybody is part of showcasing your brand identity.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not cringeworthy every now and then.

You see PowerPoint presentations that use random colors and fonts. You see your logo stretched and pixelated on a variety of one-sheets. You see messaging that isn’t at all aligned with the voice and tone you worked so hard to cultivate.

This total disrespect for your branding guidelines keeps you up at night. Yet you’re stumped as to how you can encourage everyone within your company to stick with the rules and really do your brand identity justice.

You aren’t alone. Pretty much every marketer across the globe can relate to this struggle. Fortunately, there are some strategies you can put into play to increase adoption of your corporate branding guidelines so you can rest assured that your company is presented in the best way possible — regardless of the who, what, and where.

What should be included in your branding guidelines?

Maybe that above scenario made you think, “Oh, shoot. We should probably start by actually creating some brand identity guidelines for people to reference.”

If you don’t already have those down on paper, that’s where you need to begin. What are brand guidelines? Think of this as your chance to document all of those rules and best practices for representing your business the way you intended.

While we won’t dive into the nitty-gritty details here, there are a few things that your branding guidelines should absolutely include:

Messaging guidelines

  • Brand history (what led to the creation of this brand?)
  • Brand personality (for example, is your brand more like a thought leader or a close friend?)
  • Brand message or mission statement (why does your brand exist?)
  • Brand key values (what things are important to your brand?)

Visual guidelines 

  • Logo usage (including sizes, placements, etc.)
  • Color palette (what colors are acceptable?)
  • Typestyle (what fonts are acceptable?)

You can even go into more detail with things like letterhead design, accepted photography and images, and more. But the above basics are the things you absolutely need to cover to start with. 

7 tips to encourage people to use your branding guidelines

You have your branding guidelines mapped out. But that’s only half the battle. Now you need to encourage people in your organization to actually abide by them.

How do you make that happen? Here are seven different tips to put into play — starting now. 

1. Provide the necessary context.

You’ll notice that the brief branding guidelines template above mentions things like brand history and a mission statement. Those elements may seem like a formality, but they’re actually an important piece of the puzzle.

That’s because those pieces give everyone across your organization the context they need to better understand those guidelines, which already puts you a step ahead of everybody else.

According to research from Gallup, only 41% of surveyed employees agreed with the statement, “I know what my company stands for and what makes our brand(s) different from our competitors.” 

So rather than just handing out a list of arbitrary rules, empower people to understand the “why” behind those guidelines. Why does the color palette really matter? Does the placement of your logo really carry that much importance?

Spell this out. After all, to someone not in marketing, directions like those are going to seem like really inconsequential details. But tying them to a greater objective or purpose serves as extra motivation to actually stick with them. 

2. Use layman’s terms.

You can’t expect anybody to use your branding guidelines if they can’t actually understand them. That means that if you anticipate everyone across the organization following these directions, they can’t be heavy with jargon and marketing lingo that requires an advanced degree to understand.

For example, that person in the finance department might not know what to do with that color code (it looks like a jumble of letters and numbers to them). That other employee in human resources might not immediately know what a logo is and what isn’t — which explains why they keep using that promotional graphic instead. 

This is why it’s important to have people from a few outside departments proofread your branding guidelines and highlight any areas that are unclear or confusing. This way you can make sure you’ve pulled together guidelines that are easily understood — and not just within your own department. 

3. Keep your guidelines accessible.

People not only need to be able to understand these guidelines — they need to be able to find them. You need to keep this list of rules and expectations somewhere that’s centralized and easily accessible so people don’t have to go digging for them when they need them.

Research from McKinsey states that the average employee spends 19% of their work week searching for and gathering information. That’s a lot of time (and probably more than people will spend voluntarily tracking down your branding guidelines — they’ll more than likely just give up altogether).

So keep them somewhere easy and immediately obvious for everyone. Also, don’t neglect your other assets, such as logos, image files, and templates, that people might need to access when referencing those guidelines.

Our suggestion? Set up a Space in Wrike where you can easily drop and organize your guidelines and all of those other supporting files.

4. Create various templates.

We just mentioned templates in the above tip, and they’re a great way to ensure your brand guidelines are being followed on a repeated basis. Yes, it will involve a little upfront work from you, but it will make things so much easier in the long run.

Create simple templates for resources that are commonly created across your organization — things like PDF sheets, slide decks, social media posts, and more. By doing this, you’re giving people more than just branding inspiration. You’re actually offering them the skeleton of what they need to create. 

Of course, those templates can be customized by different employees for their specific needs. However, the important elements like colors, fonts, spacing, and more will be pre-set — meaning people don’t even need to worry about them the way they would if they were starting completely from scratch.

Just remember that you’ll need to update these templates if and when any of your guidelines change (more on that in a moment!). 

5. Provide a friendly nudge.

Here’s a question: When’s the last time you looked at your employee handbook?

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? You probably haven’t so much as glanced at it since your first week on the job. 

Well, most people probably think of your branding guidelines in the same way. They take a quick skim through them once out of a sense of obligation, and then promptly forget about them in favor of more pressing things.

It’s your job to keep those guidelines top of mind for everyone. So, whenever you see something being used incorrectly or know that the end of the quarter is coming up and the sales team will be pulling together a lot of sales sheets and other assets, drop in with a friendly reminder.

This can be as simple as a polite message in your company Slack channel or a brief email with a link to your guidelines. Here’s what this could look like: 

Hey, team!

I know many of you are hustling to create slide decks, sales sheets, reports, and other assets for your own department. So I wanted to stop by with a friendly reminder to reference and abide by our branding guidelines, which you can quickly access [right here](link to guidelines). 

Following these rules (it’s easy. I promise!) ensures that we’re presenting our brand in the best possible way. 

If you have any questions about the guidelines, please reach out to me or someone else on the marketing team. We’re more than happy to help!


[Your name]

Easy enough, right? Basically, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can share the guidelines once and watch as everything falls into place. It’s going to require some pretty consistent reminders on your part. 

6. Announce when updates are made.

Your branding guidelines aren’t set in stone, which means you’re bound to make some changes every now and then.

Whether it’s something small like a tweak to your logo placement or something major like an entire rebrand, don’t assume that people are keeping a watchful eye on your guidelines and will see those updates on their own.

You need to proactively announce when changes are made by sharing what changed and why. Again, this can be done in a quick email or instant message that looks something like this:

Hey, team!

I wanted to let you know that we’ve made a couple of updates to the [branding guidelines](link to branding guidelines) to reflect our new company color palette. 

For reference, the changes are on page 8 and are highlighted in yellow so you can easily spot them. All templates and supporting resources have been updated as well.


[Your name]

See that line about how the templates have also been changed to reflect those updates? That’s important! Make sure you include those as part of the process so that everything stored with your branding guidelines is current. 

7. Set up a review and approval process.

One surefire way to make sure that everything that leaves your company adheres to your branding guidelines? Require that you put your stamp of approval on it before it heads out the door. 

Create an approval workflow (you can easily set this up in Wrike!) that requires that your department signs off any assets like slide decks, flyers, letterhead, and more before they’re marked as finalized and ready to go. 

Sound like a lot of extra work on your plate? Rest assured that this doesn’t need to be anything overly complex. Even just a simple glance can help you catch any glaring issues that might undermine your brand identity. 

Make this even easier by using Wrike Proof, which centralizes your comments, allows you to leave visual feedback (even on images!), and helps shorten and streamline the entire process. 

Your branding guidelines aren’t suggestions — they’re rules

Designing a brand is hard work, and when people within your company don’t represent it the right way, it’s more than enough to haunt your dreams.

The good news is there are several strategies you can rely on to encourage people to follow the rules and present your brand identity the way it was originally intended. To recap, these tactics include: 

  • Providing the necessary context
  • Skipping the jargon and using layman’s terms
  • Keeping your branding guidelines readily accessible
  • Creating templates that people can use
  • Providing friendly nudges and reminders that your guidelines exist
  • Announcing when updates or changes are made
  • Setting up a review and approval process

Do those things, and you can rest easy knowing that your brand is being presented in a cohesive and positive way. Goodbye, pixelated logos and wonky fonts, and hello brand consistency. 

Need a centralized and accessible place to keep your branding guidelines and supporting assets? Start your free trial of Wrike today.