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What is onboarding?

Team Storyly
March 16, 2023
min read

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding is the process by which users who open an app for the first time are oriented to the app and educated in its use. 

What Are Onboarding Activities?

Some common onboarding activities for new app users include syncing data from other tools or apps, enabling permissions or push notifications, creating an account, or progressing through a tutorial.

Why is onboarding important?

Thing of the onboarding process for your app like a first date or a job interview; it’s incredibly important to make a good first impression. Onboarding is incredibly important for apps because it is the first chance that a company has to fulfill on its promises made in ads or introductory copy. In fact, the first 20 seconds after a user opens an app for the first time are the most crucial and if users aren’t able to find the value of the app within that short time frame, they will often abandon it altogether. 

What is onboarding checklist?

An onboarding checklist is a way for app marketing and product teams to identify the essential actions a new user must take when going through the onboarding process in order to use the app. The onboarding checklist is key to designing the onboarding flow for the user since it outlines the steps along the journey through orientation.  

Benefits of an effective onboarding process

An effective onboarding process is key to success because it is the first time a new customer gets to actually use your app and it will set the tone (for better or worse) for the rest of their relationship with your brand. 

Effective onboarding has a direct, positive effect on retention, conversion, lifetime customer value, and net promoter score, whereas an ineffective onboarding process can cause high churn rates and ensure a low return rate on your investments in development and marketing. 

Setting onboarding process metrics

There are many ways to measure the effectiveness of your onboarding process, and you may chose to focus on different KPIs depending on the nature of your app and goals of your brand, but the key metrics to watch are:

  • Onboarding Completion Rate: What percentage of new users complete the onboarding process?
  • Time to Value: How long do users take, on average, to complete the onboarding process enough to start getting the value of your app?
  • Trial to Paid Conversion Rate: If your app offers a free trial, what percentage of users upgrade to a paid subscription or version when the trial period is complete?

How Long Should Onboarding Take?

Since user expectations are constantly rising, the quicker and easier your onboarding process is, the better. The first 20 seconds are especially crucial since that is the amount of time that most users will give a new app before deciding whether or not they want to continue engaging with it. The trick is to make sure users can get to the value of the app quickly and easily with a minimum of barriers, and save anything not absolutely essential for a bit later in the process.


Team Storyly

Group of experts from Storyly's team who writes about their proficiency.


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