Appcues vs Pendo
Which onboarding software will better suit your needs?
I tested Top In-app Onboarding Software: Appcues, Userpilot, Pendo, Stonly, Userflow, Chameleon, Product Fruits, Userguiding, Usetiful.
Discover the best software here.
What struck me most is that Appcues looks like Userpilot’s clone. Their app panel layouts and flow builders are very similar, with only cosmetic changes.
Nonetheless, Appcues is less “polished” and doesn’t offer the resource center feature, what I treat as a major inconvenience. Also, even though the localization feature is there, I wouldn’t wish using it my worst enemy.
If you think about going for Appcues, check out Userpilot first. In my opinion, it’s better and half as cheap!
I can’t say Pendo isn’t a decent tool. In the end, it has all the main features and many of the more advanced options. But it’s expensive, not pleasant to use, and takes time to get used to.
If its flow builder went through an overhaul, I’d be curious to test it again. But for now, I wouldn’t want to use it on a daily basis.
Appcues vs Pendo: Engagement features
Table: Main feature availability
|Add title & description|
|Embed images/videos in the header|
|Add guides and links|
|Set targeting per checklist item|
|Item completion based on user attributes/events||Only events|
|Embed the resource center in a page|
|Add guides and links|
|Add custom content||Only videos|
|Add nested pages|
|Add content groups||Only flows|
|Set targeting per item|
|Built-in “Contact us” section|
|Built-in contact form|
|Search items or flows|
|Search knowledge base|
| Integrate live chat|
(e.g., Intercom, Zendesk)
|Notifications about new items|
Appcues vs Pendo: Flow setup options
You might think there’s not much science to flow triggering. While in most cases you’ll use a page view to trigger a flow, there are some additional possibilities you might find interesting.
- Appcues – Custom event triggering, Element click
- Pendo – Element click
Most user onboarding software allow for the same targeting options based on user attributes and performed events (both generated by interactions with the messages/widgets as well as custom events). However Appcues is the only one that lets you create endless nested logic groups (logic group in a logic group).
Pendo contrary to Appcues lets you set exact dates your guides will be shown.
Frequency (single flow)
- Appcues: Once, Every time
- Pendo: Once, Repeat every X days/hours and set the frequency cap
Appcues vs Pendo: Additional features
Table: Feature availability
|Localization||Only flows||In beta|
|Frequency capping (throttling)|
|Account structuring/Flow organization|
When it comes to translations Pendo is a better alternative to Appcues because after localization you still can edit your flows. However, in Pendo, you can work only with XLIFF files (no CSV upload).
In Appcues, you can localize only flows (and not checklists or pins), and what’s worst is that after localizing the content is locked (you can’t edit it). It causes a lot of trouble, especially for onboarding/lifecycle flows (in contrast to regular, one-off communication) that are meant to stay there for longer and should be subject to iterative optimization.
Account-wide frequency cap (throttling) + Flow prioritization
Both Pendo and Appcues offer the highest flexibility of guide prioritization (you can define the exact order in which your flows are to be shown).
Appcues vs Pendo: Pros, cons, prices
My rating: 3.5/5
- Event triggering
- High flow design flexibility
- User diagnostics useful for debugging
- No resource center feature
- Very poor localization (after adding translations you can’t edit flows)
- Limited checklist options
- Quite a few quirks that make working with Appcues frustrating in the long run
My rating: 3.25/5
- Has all the important features
- It’s not just a product adoption platform — it also has product analytics and roadmapping
- No user-friendly (UI can be a bit confusing)
- Poor out-of-the-box look and feel from end-user perspective
- Localization only with XLIFF file
- I constantly experienced issues starting the builder
- Resource center (and checklists) not available on free plan what made it impossible for me to test
Read full comparison of the 9 top in-app onboarding software here.