Pendo might be one of the most established products in the Digital Adoption Platform market, but its dominance doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right product for each use case. Pendo is currently the market leader for those wanting an effective DAP to layer on top of their existing software –  to help guide users through important tasks and give contextual information as users navigate the product, but alternative products might be better suited to your requirements.

What is Pendo?

Pendo was founded in 2013 as one of the first, and most comprehensive, products in the DAP arena. With its wide range of features and track record of reliability and consistency, it is one of the most popular DAPs. It’s used by software companies wanting to optimise their products by first understanding user behaviour. Pendo offers tools to help gather feedback from users and lets you make data-driven decisions to improve the user experience.

The platform includes features like user behaviour analytics, in-app messaging, user surveys and product usage tracking. The deep analysis that Pendo offers helps you understand user behaviour and its guided product experiences help drive adoption. In other words, it helps customers learn your software at the same time as showing you how they are using it.

Pendo gives you the option to collect customers’ feedback as they use your application and lets you see how they engage with your product. This means you can develop updates and features based on what customers actually want and need.

Famous for the quality of its analytics, Pendo also helps drive product adoption by using User Interface (UI) patterns to communicate with users inside the product, enhancing engagement for more effective onboarding. Although critics comment that the UI patterns are too limiting.

User-level insights allow you to track and analyse the behaviour of individual users within your application or website. This granular level of insight enables product teams to understand user journeys, identify pain points, and personalise experiences based on individual user behaviour.

Pendo features tools for collecting qualitative feedback from users through surveys, polls, and NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys. This feedback can provide valuable insights into user preferences, needs and frustrations.

Why Pendo Might Not Be the Right Fit

Even market leaders have limitations and weaknesses, and Pendo is no exception. Downsides include a lack of real-life data updates, limited UI patterns for onboarding, a steep learning curve and high prices. Pendo can be expensive for smaller businesses, or even start-ups, particularly if they don’t have a large user base. Pendo is very much designed for enterprise-size companies and those without high volumes of users may find the product’s pricing too high.

  • Unnecessary features: Pendo describes itself as a “complete solution” but with very high pricing, you may end up spending more for features that you don’t fully benefit from. Pendo has a wide functionality which can suit some organisations, but others may not need the entire suite. The overwhelm of so many features might also make it more difficult for your teams to become accustomed to Pendo and use it effectively.
  • Steep learning curve: The learning curve to use Pendo effectively is renowned to be steep. It might take a large amount of time and training to bring users up to speed on all the features, especially if your teams aren’t familiar with similar analytics tools or methodologies.
  • Too much feedback: While customer feedback is valuable, Pendo users may find the volume of feedback provided overwhelming. Too much feedback, or contradictory feedback, can swamp and confuse product teams, making it challenging to prioritise and act upon. Too much of a good thing can be overkill if you don’t need it.
  • High pricing: Pendo pricing typically depends on factors such as the number of users, the level of support required, and additional features needed. They offer tiered pricing plans tailored for startups, small to medium businesses, and enterprise-level organisations, but are renowned for being one of the most expensive DAPs on the market currently.

Despite its many features, it’s not a foregone conclusion that Pendo will provide the insights you require.

5 Pendo Alternatives

Since Pendo’s launch 11 years ago, the market has widened considerably and there are now competitive alternatives with similar offerings and better services. It’s important to weigh the benefits of Pendo as a product, against the potential downsides to evaluate whether it fits with your specific needs and priorities.

1. Omniplex Guide

Omniplex Guide is a newer entrant to the DAP market, and is the latest addition to Omniplex Learning’s portfolio of products and services. Omniplex Learning has over 30 years of experience empowering organisations to design, create, and deliver impactful digital learning solutions. Their unique expertise now underpins Omniplex Guide, a Digital Adoption solution that helps businesses get the most out of their systems and technology investments.

The Omniplex Guide Suite offers three distinct products: Guide Workflow Assistant, Guide, and Guide Pro.

Guide Pro is the product which provides the best alternative to Pendo. It elevates the learning experience by providing advanced interactive in-app guidance, facilitating learning within the flow of work. Its array of features empowers users with enhanced workflow capabilities, fostering a dynamic learning environment.

Other impressive features include simple guide creation, embedded content, user management, guide health (to automatically alert you to any steps in the guide that may be broken or need updating) and form validation.

There are pricing plans to meet the needs of every organisation and you can sign up for a free and instant product tour to explore the tool for yourself.

2. Appcues

Appcues and Pendo both aim to improve user engagement and adoption within digital products, but they differ slightly with their functionalities and they each target different aspects of the user experience.  Appcues focuses mostly on in-app user onboarding, feature adoption and user engagement, with weaker analytics options.

Appcues analytics can’t match up to Pendo’s strength in analytics, but it does offer more UI patterns than Pendo does. Modals, hotspots, slide-outs, pins, banners and tooltips can all be used to build product tours or launch from a checklist. Appcues also supports in-app surveys including NPS (Net Promoter Score) to understand how your customers feel about your product.

Appcues provides a visual editor for creating in-app experiences without coding, behavioural targeting to segment users, analytics to track engagement, and A/B testing to optimise experience (also known as split testing – comparing two or more versions of a webpage, app screen, email, or other digital asset to determine which one gives the best outcome). It’s often used by product managers, UX designers, and growth marketers who are primarily focused on improving user onboarding, feature adoption, and engagement within web applications.

Pendo, on the other hand, appeals more to product teams, product managers, and data analysts who require comprehensive product analytics, user feedback, and guidance features to optimise user experiences and drive product adoption.

Appcues pricing packages start at $249/month and a free trial is available.

3. Mixpanel

Strictly speaking, Mixpanel isn’t a DAP but there is cross-over into the market thanks to its analytics focus. Mixpanel isn’t a product growth tool and offers no onboarding functionality, but focuses solely on product analytics and user behaviour tracking.

Mixpanel offers a range of tools and features to track, measure and understand how users interact with your digital product and helps you improve user engagement. Things like retention and conversions can be improved using data-driven decisions.

The insights provided by Mixpanel are incredibly detailed and include event tracking, user segmentation, funnel analysis, retention analysis and A/B testing. For businesses that are more focused on product analytics and event tracking, without needing the self help features and in-app guidance, Mixpanel has a lower price point than Pendo so may be a preferred option.

Broadly speaking, Mixpanel may be preferred by organisations that prioritise detailed event-based analytics and optimisation of user journeys. It’s mainly used by product managers, data analysts and marketers who are focused on analysing user behaviour and optimising user experience. Pendo may be more suitable for those looking for a comprehensive solution that combines analytics with in-app guidance and engagement features.

In common with Pendo, Mixpanel offers Mobile App Analytics, Digital Analytics and Product Analytics. Some reviewers say it is easier to set up and better at meeting requirements than Pendo.

Mixpanel has three pricing options – Free, Growth and Enterprise. Growth pricing starts at $20 a month.

4. WalkMe

As its name suggests, WalkMe focuses predominantly on providing interactive walkthroughs, in-app guidance, tooltips and task automation to help users navigate software effectively. Both Pendo and WalkMe offer basic user analytics, but WalkMe has fewer capabilities for communicating with customers in-app.

Where WalkMe excels is with in-app guidance and support. It allows you to provide personalised in-app guidance, trigger contextual tooltips and links, and create onboarding checklists and product tours. There’s also a resource centre with on-demand resources which your users can access and an AI powered chatbot to assist them.

For companies wanting to support a digital transformation project, WalkMe can be a good alternative to Pendo. It’s ideal for product managers, UX designers and customer service teams who want to prioritise improving the user experience.

In common with Pendo, WalkMe offers a DAP, Mobile App Analytics, Mobile App Optimisation and Session Replay.  According to G2 reviewers, WalkMe is slower to reach ROI, but offers better support than Pendo.

Pricing for WalkMe is not widely available but you can contact them for a custom quote, pricing is typically aimed at Enterprise level customers (55.8% of WalkMe reviews on G2 come from Enterprise level organisations).

5. WhatFix

Whatfix is particularly beneficial for training, support, and customer success teams aiming to streamline user onboarding, enhance product training, and improve user engagement within applications. It aims to empower organisations to get the most out of their customer-facing and internal software with a no-code editor which can create self-help user support and in-app guidance.

For employee onboarding and creating in-app experiences, WhatFix excels – both can be created without code if you don’t need customisation (although CSS would still need to be used for more bespoke options). Keeping pace with Pendo’s analytics tools, Whatfix Analytics is a codeless event tracking and product analytics software tool that lets teams understand product usage, identify friction areas, map user flows, build user cohorts, visual journeys and track custom events.

Whatfix stands out in the digital adoption space due to several areas where it shines such as intuitive authoring, personalisation, seamless integration, scalability and flexibility.

A user-friendly interface for creating interactive guides and walkthroughs without requiring extensive technical knowledge enables intuitive creation in WhatFix. This ease of authoring accelerates the creation of onboarding materials and support content.

This DAP also excels at providing personalised guidance tailored to individual user roles, tasks, and contexts within the application. This targeted approach ensures that users receive relevant assistance precisely when they need it.

WhatFix pricing is subscription based and worked out through a custom quote, but is aimed at Enterprise level organisations (41.4% of the WhatFix reviews on G2 are from Enterprise customers).

Which DAP is right for you?

A market leading product like Pendo might seem like the obvious choice for your purchase, but market dominance doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is right for your own situation, needs, budget and pain points. Newcomers to the market, like Omniplex Guide, can offer a fresh perspective and innovation, and are well worth considering.

Thinking critically about things like the features included, ease of use, customisation options, integrations and scalability will help you to make the right choice for your own organisation. If possible, take advantage of any free trials or demo periods offered by platforms. Use this opportunity to test out the features, functionality, and overall fit for your organisation before making a final decision.

Careful consideration before purchase will make sure you spend your budget on the right DAP for your needs – whether that is Pendo or one of the robust alternatives.