People use a number of apps alongside yours.
And the features? Probably be 30 or more.
To expect them to notice some new feature in an app by themselves is pointless, right?
Yes and no.
If they are too hooked on your product, people can sense the changes. Take the example, Instagram Reels.
But you cannot be sure that people will do the same with yours. That’s a risky business.
Well, that’s the case of people who have enabled auto-update. Now, think of the rest, who need to update manually for new-feature addition.
How will they know you have something new to offer?
That’s where announcements come into play. Announcements are important. Let’s dive in to know the A-Z of new feature announcements.
Why are feature announcements crucial?
All practice for no stage show? You can build in silence. But you cannot definitely sell/market in silence.
A lot goes behind the scene in developing new features for your product—
The research your team does, to know what more the users expect from the product. The analysis as to whether or not the feature will bring growth to your product. A great deal of work your design and development teams put in for the new features.
Doing the right kind of announcement pays off for all these efforts. But new feature announcements are crucial for other reasons as well.
- Users and markets are like a stream that’s constantly flowing towards the future. To stay relevant with both your product needs improvements and updates.
- Users like the fact that businesses hear their concerns and needs. But they love it when you act on it. New features announcement is one of the ways to re-emphasize that you are user-centric. Also, when users who feel acknowledged and worthy turn out to become loyal customers.
- At any moment, not every user you have is engaging with your product. Some might be inactive. Some might be on the verge of leaving. New feature announcements are the best way to mend the terms. When you offer something new, you can possibly re-engage them. It can prevent churn.
- Many products offer a free trial to people. They keep looking for reasons to subscribe to your product. New feature announcements can add up to it. In short, it can act as a conversion factor.
Channels of new feature announcement
New feature announcements are generally made through these channels. But there are distinctions, owing to which you cannot use the same message everywhere. The way users observe and respond to announcements differs with the channel. Each channel has its way of messaging that’ll prompt them to take action.
Also, users are accustomed to particular ways in particular channels. Your messaging should be fitting to these norms to yield the best results. To put it simply, you cannot write paragraphs for push notifications.
Let’s see how each channel works and how you can use them effectively.
In-product announcements have more chances of being seen by the users. It is the best way to target active product users.
You can deliver them in the form of visual highlights, tool-tips, or product tours.
However, you have to be careful with these announcements as change is aversive for humans. They might be reluctant to accept it. Instead of bombarding them with the changes, introduce such that it’s easy for them to digest.
Make announcements a pleasant surprise. Make them sound like it’s a valuable addition and highlight the benefits. Only then start with the feature explanation. Look at how Airbnb does that,
Since users are already inside the products, it’s easy to grab their attention. The explanation part can be tooltips, product tours/demos, or links to the blog. Provide an option where they can learn the working later whenever they like.
Your in-product announcement should be tuned uniquely for the different user segments. Especially focus on their behavior inside the product and set triggers for announcements accordingly.
Email is for targeting the existing inactive users of the product. It is aimed at bringing back these users to your product.
Emails, however, possess the problem of not getting opened. Add the right subject line that persuades and gives them a reason to open. Check out this email subject line. It makes the content interesting by adding ‘our most requested feature.’
The mail must be effective in making them take action. Add CTAs to take them to try out the feature.
You can also link blogs here if you think the blog will re-engage them in the product. In the case of email, you cannot use it for meager announcements. Ensure that the new feature is worthy enough to hook the inactive ones.
You can also target new users with emails. Craft the message such that the new feature becomes yet another reason for their stay/conversion.
Blogs can be used as a permanent source of information. You can redirect your users from the mail, in-product, and social media here.
Blogs announcements are long as they explain the feature working in detail along with the reason why. The reason for development is what triggers the reader’s/users to know more about the new feature.
Users may not remember your interface. So a plain explanation will not make sense. So, add a lot of screenshots or demo videos, making it easy for the users. You can add CTAs that take them to try the new feature. Make it a detailed guide.
You can explain different use cases targeting different segments and link them all to one main blog. If you think a single blog will be a cognitive overload, break it into reasonable parts.
Use blogs in case of significant feature updates.
Social media announcements are for significant updates.
It is targeted at a general audience. You can link to blog posts.
New feature announcement framework
You cannot roll out a new feature without a strategy.
Well, you can try.
But its success isn’t ensured. The same goes for the announcement part as well.
With a framework, you can ensure your announcements can bear the fruit of feature success. It helps you choose the right ways of messaging and channels. It can make you focused.
Without a goal, your work might be all over the place. Discuss what you wish for with this feature announcement. You might aim at one of the benefits we mentioned earlier,
- Reducing Churn
- Improve Conversion rates
- Hook to re-engage, etc.
The goal puts you in one path instead of being pulled inside many. The goal of the announcement should match with the goal of new feature development. The most important thing you gotta do is to communicate the goals with your team. It keeps your team aligned to the vision.
- Target User
Not all users utilize a feature in the same way. Their need, usage frequency, and likes might change. That is why we create user personas in the first place, right? So, you need to know the segment of users this feature targets. You can revisit goals and then ask,
‘Who will be benefited most?’
When you find answers, you can use them in the messaging and entire targeting process. Again, just like the goal, communicate the target user information to your team.
- Check feature priority
Say all announcements, small or big, go like this.
We got an important message for you!
And you end up delivering an insignificant message most of the time. Users will lose the sense of what is significant and what is not.
It is why you should gauge the gravity of your announcement, in turn, the feature priority. Depending on it, you can go ahead to decide the number of channels. Remember- More the feature priority, the more the announcement channels.
- Choosing the channel
Different channels are effective for different segments. For example, if you need to add value for existing users, in-product announcements are the best.
For in-active ones, push notifications and emails are the best option. You can also go with multiple channels depending on the significance of the announcement.
Best practices for announcing new features
When users are amidst the flow of their tasks, any pop-ups can be quite a hindrance. And it has become an involuntary action to close the pop-ups.
If the visuals aren’t good, they might not want to check it out. Not just the case of pop-ups, this holds true for all visual-incorporated announcements. Make sure that visuals are attention-catchy. You also have to ensure to hook attention throughout the announcement phase.
- Personalization for different groups
Different users look for unique things from your product. So you have to craft personalized messages that can yield the needed response.
Announcements fabricated with the right users in mind will trigger the aimed action.
Don’t use the same messaging across different user segments.
- Copy is everything
Your copy plays a significant role here. It’s the base that can elevate the announcement. If your announcement copy isn’t good, the users do go further. Make it precise and at the same time effective in conveying the entire message.
- Talk benefit
Why would a user check out the feature if it doesn’t have a benefit to offer? Conveying the benefits is the right way to get them hooked. Instead of focussing on how the feature works, start with how it is beneficial. Highlighting it can make a big difference in user response.
- Don’t annoy users
When using toolkits or product demos, make them short and precise. Users inside the product are a part of the task flow. These announcements should not take them away from the current flow path.
Ensure that you don’t make them feel like being caught inside the announcement component.
Great feature announcement examples
1. In product
Look at the benefit stated here: We’ve made it easier for you to chat and make video calls in Gmail. Also, the visuals are quite eye-catchy as well.
This is followed by tooltips showcasing the feature along with the benefits. There are also indicators showing the number of features, making it predictable for users.
Feedly’s new feature announcement is a pop-up, with good visuals that convey the message. The users can figure out what the feature does from the visuals easily. The benefits are stated rightly.
Check out the rest here: https://www.reallygoodux.io/blog/feedlys-new-feature-walk-through
This mail feature announcement from Hinge is minimal and the copy is on point. It brings to light the user problem and introduces the solution as well. The benefit is also stated: ‘a new way to organize’
The mail continues explaining the features,
Once all the benefits or updates are mentioned it ends with a CTA
Look at the entire mail here: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/66/ea/8f/66ea8fd51f2b8a2c99e536fed2e03e56.jpg
Go Big and Bold creates a mystery factor and the text that follows adds sense to it. The words ‘Put fun in the functionality’ hook the users to look for more information.
The features along with the benefits are explained in this mail from Trello. There’s also a CTA button.
Look at the CTA of the next feature update. It is action-triggering, right?
Check out the entire mail: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/9a/89/92/9a89928017e9dda5bfcae349ddeceaa3.jpg
This blog from LinkedIn is titled ‘ Discovering New Jobs on LinkedIn Just Got Easier’. And readers wonder how. That’s the first hook here. The blog begins with ‘why’ they have developed those new features.
And then it explains new features along with screenshots making it easier.
Check out the entire blog here: https://blog.linkedin.com/2019/february/discover-quick-helpful-insights-on-your-job-search
New feature announcements aren’t just informing the users.
They are the first step in hooking them to the idea of the new feature. This should lead to familiarizing with the feature and eventually adopting it.
The adoption starts from announcements. If it ain’t good, it will get difficult for you to get them to adopt it. Onboarding plays a crucial role in product adoption. Likewise, new feature announcements can be considered as the next onboarding. They don’t just push the new users, but the existing ones as well towards adoption.
New feature announcements are another chance you’ve got. Make sure that you use it the right way! Create a good first impression about the new feature and restore faith in the product.