What is the product adoption curve – and why does it matter?
Product developers, such as app developers and software developers, must understand product adoption.
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Those that do will be able to improve their digital adoption efforts, product engagement, and the entire product experience.
What the Product Adoption Curve Is and Why It Matters
The product adoption curve is similar to the technology adoption curve.
It is a curve that describes how users adopt, implement, and use a new product.
For businesses, the focus is on when and how customers adopt products:
- Customers first come into contact with a product
- They become interested in and learn more about the product
- They are introduced to the product during onboarding
- Training and the product experience affect long-term product usage
Businesses that understand the product adoption curve can leverage that understanding to:
- Build better products that are more relevant, useful, and satisfying
- Gain insights into their customer journeys, as well as their hearts and minds
- Get bigger returns from their product adoption efforts
Among other things.
But before a business can gain these benefits, they must first understand the product adoption curve.
Inspecting the Product Adoption Curve
While each person may have his or her own unique model for understanding product adoption, each adoption process follows the same general steps.
- Users become aware of a product
- During onboarding, they begin using the product for the first time
- They gain competency and proficiency
- Long-term users continue becoming more proficient and productive
The product adoption curve covered here begins when users first become aware of a product.
However, it is worth noting that the customer journey begins before this point.
When users first become aware of their problem, they may not know that a solution exists – or what types of solutions exist.
During these early stages of the customer journey, they must first learn about their problem, solutions, and providers.
Marketing is often tasked with educating, informing, and influencing prospects during this stage of their journey.
Some view this as part of the adoption process, while others start later.
Regardless, it is important to understand that product adoption is just a piece of the customer journey … albeit a very important one.
How to Accelerate Product Adoption
Here are a few tips that can help businesses accelerate product adoption.
With the right approach and execution, accelerated product adoption can help businesses earn more from their products and customers.
1. Understand the product adoption curve.
The first step to successful product adoption is actually understanding it.
Reading this article is a good step in that direction.
However, to truly understand it, organizations should examine their own users and business processes.
When organizations examine their own data, they can see firsthand how product adoption works.
Then, with the right approach, they can make improvements.
2. Learn where the product adoption curve fits into the customer journey.
As mentioned, product adoption is an important part of the customer experience.
Understanding how adoption fits into that journey can help in a number of ways:
- Businesses can gain deeper insights into their end users’ hearts, minds, and mindsets
- That information can be used to improve product adoption efforts
- Business units can coordinate with one another to gain more insights, streamline the customer experience, and make other improvements
Other areas of the customer journey include:
- Pre-adoption communications, through marketing and sales channels, for instance
- “Unseen” business functions that impact product adoption efficiency, such as IT, billing, or other back office functions
- Support and customer communication, through customer service, marketing, and so forth
Ultimately, understanding how all of these areas work together can help organizations get better results from their adoption programs.
3. Map out the adoption process.
The next step to improving product adoption is mapping it out.
Maps, such as roadmaps and journey maps, are extremely useful tools for many business functions.
Here are a few examples:
- Customer journey maps
- Project schedules and roadmaps
- Product adoption maps
There are a number of benefits to building roadmaps such as these:
- Roadmaps translate theory into reality
- Goals can be set and measured
- Progress can be tracked
- Insights can inform decisions and further improve product adoption
In short, a roadmap or journey map helps businesses understand adoption in their own business – and, more importantly, improve it over time.
4. Focus on product engagement and the product experience.
There are many ways to improve product adoption.
However, those that are the most impactful are those that directly involve the end user.
- Interactions with the product itself
When it comes to areas such as these, it pays to focus on experience and engagement.
- Streamline and simplify the onboarding experience
- Improve training and support
- Make adjustments to the product that improve usability, utility, and other areas that affect the end user’s experience
These types of improvements directly affect adoption rates.
The better a user’s experience, after all, the more engaged, proficient, and productive they will be.
Those metrics, in turn, will positively impact areas such as user satisfaction, retention, as well as their long-term value.
5. Analyze, learn from, and adjust your efforts.
Analysis is a must in any business endeavor.
In product adoption, use the map created above to:
- Track progress against goals
- Analyze and learn from that progress
- Implement changes and corrective action
There is certainly no magic recipe when it comes to improving product adoption … or any other business process for that matter.
The best approach is to analyze and understand adoption in one’s own circumstances, then apply best practices and strategies when making business changes.