6 Ways To Use In-App Messaging (And How They’ll Help You)


Here’s how in-app messaging improves the product experience and communication with users.

In-app messaging

Keeping users hungry for more is critical to your product’s success. To do so, you must communicate with them effectively to catch their attention and give them reasons to come back. That’s where in-app messaging comes in.

In-app messaging is contextual and is comprised of real-time pop-up messages that you can use to guide customers and drive actions in the product experience. These actions can include encouraging a purchase, helping your first-time users in their onboarding process, or improving customer support.

If you’re looking to optimize your user experience, then in-app messaging campaigns need to be a part of your strategy. It's an effective way to communicate with users, drive customers to actions that impact your bottom line, and reduce churn. Here are the best six use cases for integrating in-app messaging with your product experience.

1. Onboard New Users

In-app messaging is a great tool to facilitate the user’s onboarding journey during product tours. As they’re going through the first steps of using your platform, you can use in-app messaging to explain your product’s most important features and help them complete their tasks, so they will eventually decide to adopt your solution.

The key to successfully using in-app messaging in user onboarding is to identify which features matter the most to users. You can then use in-app messages to showcase these features to the user, so they can instantly see the value of your product and how it improves their lives.

Here’s a great example from the workplace management tool Slack. They welcome the user with in-app messages showcasing the platform’s best features along with brief information on how they work and benefit the user:

In-app Messaging Slack Example

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The in-app messaging allows the user to quickly browse through the platform and understand how it works to improve workplace communication. Slack also offers the user the option to skip the tour, although they can go back to it at any time.

2. Collect User Feedback

In-app messaging is a practical way to collect customers’ feedback on their product experience. It allows the user to drop their comments about your product without having to log off and submit their feedback through an external website or third-party app. Here’s an example from HotJar.

In-app messaging hotjar example

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In the example above, the user can rate their experience with Hotjar based on a score of one to five. It only takes them one click via the in-app message to provide their score.

3. Announce New Updates and Features

In-app messaging offers an excellent opportunity to showcase any updates that you’re releasing. As the customer uses your product, you can target them with in-app messaging pop-ups to inform them about any new, relevant functionality you’re releasing and how they improve the customer experience.

That said, if not used correctly, in-app messaging on product updates can get quickly annoying for the user. Hiten Shah, the co-founder of Quick Sprout and Crazy Egg, said he’s experienced logging into an app only to be shown multiple pop-ups and chat messages about updates.

“Far too often, I'll log into a SaaS product and get hit by 5 pop-ups and two chat messages with the latest product updates,” he says. “I don't care about these updates. I have work I'm trying to get done, and these messaging examples are getting in my way.”

It’s why you should only use in-app messaging to let the customer know about recent critical changes and not about small updates that don’t have a significant impact on the product experience. That way, it doesn’t create friction for the user. Also, keep your message straight to the point and not more than two to three sentences.

In the example below, the project management platform Trello provides the customer with a quick message on their new updates, such as integration with Butler and exciting new features. The message is short, doesn’t cover the whole screen, and the user can quickly close it.

In-App Messaging Trello Example

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If the user does want to learn more about the new updates, they can click on “Read more.” The in-app message will then lead them to a Trello blog post explaining the recent updates and how it impacts users.

4. Celebrate User Wins and Milestones

Celebrating the milestones and small wins of active users with in-app messaging encourages them to continue using your product. By acknowledging their progress, you’ll increase customer engagement and product usage and make them hungry for more.

An essential part of the language learning platform Duolingo’s product experience is using in-app messages to celebrate users’ small achievements. For example, they congratulate the user whenever they finish a lesson and let them know how many points they need to complete to achieve their daily goal.

In-App Messaging Duolingo Example

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As the user sees the progress they’re making on Duolingo’s platform, they feel more motivated to follow through and finish their task. It gives them an extra incentive to get back to the tool and continue improving their language skills.

5. Promote Upsells and Referrals

Upsells step up your customer lifetime value by encouraging users to upgrade their membership to access more advanced features.

Here’s an example of using in-app messaging to promote upsell offers from Insight Timer, an app that people can use to improve their meditation and sleep. In the example below, Insight Timer uses in-app messaging to promote their Member Plus program.

In-App Messaging Example Insight Timer

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The in-app message highlights the value the user gets when upgrading, which is access to hundreds of courses and more advanced features. To drive the most sign-ups possible, they also offer the first week for free, so the user can experience the upgrade at no extra cost.

6. Offer Users Exclusive Access to Beta Features

To reward users for their engagement, you can use in-app messaging to give them access to new beta features you’re releasing for your product. Not only does it make the user feel valued, but it’s also an opportunity to test out how your audience will react to the feature and whether you should include it in the official product.

GoToWebinar is a web conferencing company. In the screenshot below, they’re inviting the user to try out their “Charge for Webinars” feature, which allows the user to charge participants before they enter a webinar.

In-App Messaging GoToWebinar Example

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GoToWebinar produced excellent results with this in-app message. Dozens of customers from their user base signed up to experiment with the new beta feature, driving a conversion rate of 5%, 10 times more than the conversion rate of their email campaigns.

How Stream Simplifies Making In-App Messaging Part of the Product Experience

Done correctly, in-app messaging can improve your product experience and inspire users to take desired actions in their customer journey. In return, it will lead to more retention, longer product usage, and better customer satisfaction.

That said, building an in-app messaging experience from scratch within your platform is a challenging process. It requires a lot of complex functionality, and most product teams find that using a third-party solution that provides a solid infrastructure to scale is optimal.

The Stream Chat API can drastically reduce the time it takes to add in-app messaging and establish solid infrastructure, so you can scale. It’s all thanks to our easy-to-use SDKs and flexible messaging UI kits that you can instantly integrate within your platform. Check out this blog post for instructions on how to set this up.