3 Key Elements of Product Adoption to Promote Retention and Growth

This article is contributed by Yemi Adewunmi, co-founder and chief product officer at Civic Eagle, a software for the future of policy analysis and legislative intelligence. Yemi is a digital product designer passionate about developing strong brand identities and building user-focused digital experiences.


Product teams should always be looking for ways to increase user satisfaction with their product and increase the customer retention for the business. To understand what impacts retention, product teams should map out their customer’s journey and get into the habit of experimenting with how the product can improve specific experiences in this journey.

Successful product adoption is influenced by a few key areas of the customer’s journey, including new user onboarding. At Civic Eagle, where we’re building SaaS for public policy professionals, we’ve been focused on improving our product adoption metrics by redesigning our onboarding experience. Here are the 3 elements we’re focusing on to improve the overall product experience.

New User Registration

New user registration is your opportunity to collect the essential data points on your new user and build them an account, to set them up for ongoing success. At this point of the user’s journey, they are willing and ready to get started and to discover the value your product promises.

To increase product adoption during registration, identify the primary pieces of information that you need from your user. Qualify whether or not data is needed now, at the peak of your user’s attention. For example, is collecting your user’s <City, State> information as important as getting them to select their notification preferences? For products that use notifications as an extension of their value, the latter may be much more relevant to the user’s experience than the former.

It can be hard to cull your list of new registration questions, but brevity and impact are key. Keep in mind that secondary data (less impactful data) can be gathered later in the user’s journey.

New User Communications and Marketing

How you speak and engage with your new users has a huge impact on product adoption. For example, having an automated email series to welcome new users can be a great tool for communicating to your customers at scale.

Set up a series of emails that does at least these 3 things: welcomes the user, introduces the user to your brand and product, and walks the user through the essential features of your product. If your product offers different value propositions to different user segments, this is a good opportunity to tailor the messaging in your welcome series to its relevant audience.

Another important way to communicate to your users at scale is through in-app messages, demos/tutorials, chat bots, and interstitials within your product. These are great tools for highlighting key functions, new updates and features. There are great customer engagement platforms that make this communication at scale easy to manage.

While product communications may feel like a nice-to-have amongst all the priorities, they’re an important tool for encouraging communicating your product’s unique value, identifying product growth opportunities, and creating a sticky product experience.

Tracking Product Adoption

To truly understand how your product is growing, it’s important to measure results against your original product hypotheses and make improvements as needed. To increase successful usage and adoption of your product by new users, you should identify the features and functions that are core to the product experience. These are the key features that indicate that the user is achieving your value proposition.

Note that in the early stages of your product, these key features are still hypotheses that ought to be tested, measured and improved, until you’ve reached product-market fit.

After identifying the key user activities needed for success within your product, you’ll need to engineer a method for tracking these activities and then encourage your users to perform them. This can be done by using a milestone-tracker on the front-end; gamify the experience for users by allowing them to see their progress towards achieving product success.


Product teams play an important role in product adoption, retention, and growth from the second a new user interacts with the product. By experimenting and refining new user onboarding, communications, and product KPIs on an ongoing basis, you can set your users up for success from day one and create a more valuable product experience.