Product Adoption

It doesn’t matter how many hours designers and software engineers spend building something. A successful product needs to solve a problem while being intuitive enough for customers to figure out.

Even the best products on the market can fail if it fails to reach that “aha” moment with its target audience.

That’s where product adoption strategies come into play.

New product adoption programs help companies cultivate a loyal following and gain a foothold in the market. That’s because product adoption is so much more than advertising — it’s about getting prospective customers to take that first step and engage with your product.

Ready to learn more about the different product adoption strategies you can use right now to improve your product’s performance in the market?

What Is Product Adoption?

Production adoption is best described as user adoption — or colloquially as the “aha” moment — a stage in the customer journey where a user starts using your product or service to accomplish goals and solve problems. From this stage on, clients receive value from their relationship with you and are likely to become recurring customers.

Mathematically, it’s the percentage of new users who start using your product’s key features for their intended purpose. What exactly these key features are and where the “aha” moment lies is up to your teams to decide.

Product adoption differs from acquisition. Acquisition is the job of your marketing department to attract the attention of prospective customers and bring them to your product. Adoption is showing those interested people that your product or service is worth the money in the long term.

Why You Need To Start Raising Adoption Rates

It’s obvious that a high adoption rate translates to more users and thus more revenue. But adoption matters for other reasons:

  • Going beyond marketing: The sales funnel doesn’t end at the marketing department. Make sure you can convert interested prospects into paying customers effectively so that your advertising doesn’t go to waste.
  • First impressions: A better adoption pipeline means a more positive first impression of your product or service. Customers understand why your offerings are valuable earlier on, enabling you to retain those customers for longer.
  • Maximizing lifetime value (LTV): Lifetime value is the total revenue you receive from a single customer throughout your entire relationship. Starting early with proper adoption procedures means more value accumulates over time.

User adoption strategies also directly impact other sales metrics like cost per customer (CPC), conversion rates, and churn rates.

How the Product Adoption Process Works

It’s worth knowing the makeup of your potential clientele to understand the adoption process they go through. For most businesses, the product adoption curve is a bell curve:

  • Innovators are always at the forefront of the market and pick up your product upon launch. They make up the smallest group by far.
  • Early adopters are also few in number but vital to your success. They’re second to adopt your product and often make up the initial round of reviews and public opinion of your brand.
  • The early majority are the customers who take the time to read up on reviews and might adopt your solution if they see potential in it.
  • The late majority is slow to respond to your marketing efforts but may eventually convert. These people tend to choose time-tested products.
  • Laggards are unlikely to respond to your marketing and adoption efforts, either through a lack of exposure or interest. They make up approximately a fifth of your target population.

Regardless of what group clients come from, any who convert to your brand go through the product adoption stages detailed below.

Stage What Happens How You Can Help Example
Awareness Prospective customers might not be aware of a problem they’re facing or not know where to look for a solution. It’s your job to introduce yours. Educate potential clients at this stage through advertising and awareness campaigns. Offer sales and promotions to get people’s attention. A coffee shop puts up a billboard in the city or a print advertisement in the newspaper to attract new visitors. Alice happens to see one.
Research You’ve piqued a customer’s interest, and that person starts gathering information about your company, either through research or just asking around. Offer robust customer support to help prospects learn more about your company. Tweak your website to be as informative as possible to new visitors unfamiliar with your brand. Alice goes online to start researching the location. She Googles the shop and looks up its location, menu, and customer reviews.
Consideration The customer evaluates whether to engage with the business and make first contact. Inform customers of how your brand differentiates itself from the competition. How do you compare objectively to the alternatives on the market? Alice looks at her schedule and decides whether to head over that afternoon.
Trial The customer samples a product or service from the brand for the first time, either through an initial purchase or a free trial. Make the first contact as low-risk and convenient as possible. Offer free trials or money-back guarantees to this effect. Alice walks to the shop and orders an inexpensive espresso.


The final stage is the decision of whether to adopt the brand or reject it. Imagine Alice looks around at the decor and takes note of the coffee’s taste, as well as the barista’s positive attitude. Her next step is to decide whether to add the shop to her morning routine tomorrow.

How Do You Increase Product Adoption Rates?

There’s no silver bullet to the adoption problem. However, you can raise user retention and boost engagement through these strategies and best practices.

  • Product design: The simplest advice is to improve your product. Use feedback at this stage to see where the primary pain points are.
  • Onboarding procedure: Customer adoption matters because the onboarding stage is such a common drop-off point. Help new users orient themselves to your product early on.
  • In-app help: Software applications can include in-app tutorials so that users find key features and efficient workflows more quickly.
  • Customer support: Customer success teams must be ready to address speedbumps and roadblocks in the customer journey.
  • Usage analytics: Learn how your new users engage with your product. Usage analytics will point to any confusing features that need tweaks and help product designers improve critical components of the UI/UX.

Don’t forget to engage with customers outside of the product as well. Even a small push, like a reminder email or a software update notification, could be enough to reel someone back in.

What Product Adoption Metrics Should You Track?

Data analytics matters immensely to product adoption initiatives because it identifies exactly when interested customers recognize the value of your brand. This aforementioned “Aha!” moment can be difficult to pin down, especially in complex markets like software technologies.

For this reason, you can’t just rely on any available metric like website pageviews to guide your efforts. Instead, look to:

  • Conversion rate: the percentage of prospects who convert into customers, either by signing up for a subscription or joining a newsletter.
  • Time-to-value (TTV): how long it takes for a new user to reach a critical step while using your product. This step catalyzes the “Aha!” moment and convinces users that your product meets their needs.
  • Feature adoption: Businesses often track adoption rates not only for the product as a whole but also for individual features. Software companies pre-install usage analytics into their programs for this reason.

Gathering this information and tracking these analytics requires a robust technology stack. Only then can your teams correlate specific user behaviors with adoption.

Next Steps to Improve Your Production Adoption Strategy

You’ve likely spent a lot of time developing and improving your customer experience. Don’t let that go to waste. 

Start turning potential customers into long-term paying customers with the right product adoption strategy. 

If you’re serious about product adoption — read our blog post covering the exact metrics you need to know to streamline the product adoption process. In this blog, we take a deep dive into 5 key metrics every product marketing manager should know, why they matter, and unpack the goals of each.

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