Feature discovery

What is feature discovery and how to use it to improve user engagement

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Mariano Rodríguez
Jun 12, 2019

Feature discovery is vital to the long term success of your product. You have a great product, app, eCommerce store or website. Your team is working hard to consistently add new features and updates to keep your product interesting and aligned with what your customers want and need. An evolving brand and product is how you ensure your customers stay loyal and do not churn out so you can build revenue exponentially overtime.

But this only works if your customers know about your product’s evolution. Why is this so important?

Keeping users onboard for the long run as your product grows and changes requires high user engagement. To keep users engaged, you want to continually communicate to them in an effective way that you’re creating more value for them with new features and updates. This way they don’t look for alternatives or disengage from your product overtime. There are many companies who run into the problem of making updates and new features only for them to go unexplored and unnoticed. This doesn’t help keep customers engaged even though you are putting the work in.  

Google feature discovery

That’s where Feature Discovery comes into play

What is Feature Discovery?

Feature Discovery is elements within your user interface that introduce users to a new feature that has just been added or shed light on a feature they may not have noticed.

Feature Discovery’s goal is to natively and effectively communicate new features, under-used features, or promotional offers and features (beta) so you keep users in the loop and engaged. There are always those little details that are actually really valuable that your users tend to miss! Usually, the goal is to introduce new features and updates in a place where it makes sense and is easy for the user to explore right away. Rather than send emails or try to let users know in even more obscure and out of context ways like social media or a blog post, they “discover” the updates as they use your product so they can interact right away.

You’ve very likely seen it or even been introduced to new features within tools you use all the time through feature discovery.

Here are some examples of feature discovery:

For example, Any.do has a little road map of features they suggest users to set up and take a look at:

Mailchimp introduces new features as well as features that are under utilized by users throughout the workflow process in discrete but in-context places:

For a lot of these SaaS companies, this has required a lot of backend work, especially for personalized and segmented feature discovery, and is integral to product design. In other words, time and money.

There are other ways you can implement feature discovery to your product for less time and money but with all the functionality.

Feature discovery can increase user engagement:

When you are consistent about re-introducing new and existing features of your product to users, you keep them involved with your product. You encourage them to continually interact with your product in new ways and discover the value to them. Many users can get very repetitive with how they use a product and may not know about other features and ways to use it. Overtime, if you users do not integrate your product into their fundamental work processes, they will churn out. Consistently showing them how they can use your product’s features to create great value for them or solve their problems better ensures their long term engagement. If you have customers who are on the edge and are about to churn out, feature discovery re-engages them. It may seem small but it’s worth it. Reducing churn by just 5% can increase profits by 25-125%.

How you can easily implement feature discovery with Beamer:

Instead of taking hours to build out feature discovery within your product, simply add Beamer. Beamer is a changelog and notification center that integrates right into your app or website. Your users can explore updates for just about anything in a discreet newsfeed that appears in a sidebar when they click on a “What’s New” tab or icon in the interface. You can create updates for anything: new features, updates, news, special offers, etc. Your users get those updates directly in your interface, where it’s in context. Furthermore, they have a central place within your product where they can always go to in order to see new and past updates.

Your updates are visual and engaging:

Unlike many native feature discovery elements even, Beamer allows you to be very visual and explanatory with your updates to help users not only be aware of your new features but learn how to use them. You can easily add photos, screenshots, GIFs, and videos to your Beamer updates so users can learn right away visually how your new features work and where they are. You can add actionable CTAs to take users straight to new features and get them interacting right away.

visual feature discovery

No coding/design skills necessary:

Your dev team doesn’t need to spend time adding feature discovery elements to your UX, anyone on your team can add Beamer and regularly create engaging updates. Simply add the plugin to your WordPress site or copy and paste your script. All design is simple from your dashboard.

Segment updates for a personalized experience for your users:

You can create a personalized experience for users without complicated algorithms and development. You can segment updates based on demographics, location, language, and past behavior. For example, you can introduce GDRP changes only to European based users and not the rest of global users who it doesn’t apply to. This way, your users don’t get “notification fatigue” and start ignoring your notifications because they assume they don’t pertain to them. Make sure you send something relevant for each user every time.

Engage users with different types of notifications:

Instead of offering just one kind of feature discovery element, Beamer allows you to create a few different types to engage users:

  • Push notifications:

Beamer helps you set up push notifications so that every time you post an update to your Beamer feed within your product, users get a push notification. This brings users back to your product and right to the update. It’s much more in context than an email which most users will either not open or not click through. It brings them right to the product.

  • Pinned posts:

You can also pin posts to the top of you Beamer feed so that users see your most time-relevant or important update first when they open your feed. It’s a good way to make sure that it gets seen more than one time.

Use Zapier to reach customers through other channels automatically:

Beamer works really well in tandem with the tools you’re already using. You can use the Zapier integration to connect Beamer with platforms like your social accounts, so that you can send updates out across all channels at once when you create them in Beamer.

Feature discovery is hugely important to ensuring that your customers know about the important changes to your product and learn how to get the most value out of it. It can be hugely instrumental in making sure that customers don’t churn out and leave your growth at a stand still. Implement feature discovery elements without any coding necessary with Beamer.