Let's face it.
First impressions matter.
In 1/10th of a second, you'll decide if you like a person, and your website is no different.
You have 0.05 seconds to persuade a visitor to stay.
Tough crowd, hey?
It's the same for mobile apps.
25% of apps are only used once, and 71% of users churn within the first 90 days of downloading the app.
Creating a product experience with an irresistible "aha" moment.
It's like lightning in a bottle.
Once you've cracked your formula, you'll have a rinse-and-repeat solution that'll help users realize the value of your product.
What is an “aha” moment?
An "aha" moment is when the light bulb goes off. It's a "clicking into place." It's the moment when the unknown becomes the known.
In PLG, your "aha" moment manifests as soon as a user sees value in using your product. You've successfully transformed their business, solved a pain point, and made it that much harder to click "unsubscribe."
You've made an irreparable shift in their perspective.
That's some powerful stuff, my friend.
Even more powerful than Harry Potter's Patronus.
Why “Aha” moments matter for your SaaS business
The power of the "aha" moment comes down to basic human psychology.
You're creating an "emotional trigger," one of the most effective strategies for growing your SaaS business and retaining users.
It creates a dopamine rush when you trigger an emotional reaction like confidence, excitement, or satisfaction. Users are happy to move forward and don't need to consider other options.
According to a Harvard Business Review report, after a bank introduced a credit card for Millennial customers with an emotional trigger to inspire connection, it increased usage by 70% and new account growth by 40%.
That's not all.
Emotionally connected users are 52% more valuable and more likely to expand, and keep using your product, reducing your customer acquisition cost (CAC).
What does using emotional triggers to create an "aha" moment look like?
It starts with identifying the most valuable emotional motivators for your users.
For example, if you're selling a project management software like Monday.com, the emotional motivators could be to "feel secure" and "have confidence in the future."
When a potential customer signs up for your free trial, their pain points are:
- Frustration around managing tasks and projects
- Stress from missing deadlines
- Overwhelmed by a lack of cohesive organization
To create your "aha" moment, you want to defuse the negative emotions around project management and replace them with a more positive user experience like:
- Confidence in time management skills
- Control over workflow
- Excitement in completing tasks on time
During Monday's onboarding process, the app starts the "aha" process by asking two important questions:
- What do you want to work on first?
- What do you want to focus on?
This helps Monday create a customized onboarding process and project management template that matches your goals. It saves the user time, reduces time-to-value (TTV), and helps Monday figure out what core features to promote that'll drive product adoption and stickiness.
6 SaaS aha moment examples
It's easy to say, "find your aha moment," but what does that look like in practice?
To help you gain perspective, we will dissect "aha" moment examples from some of the top SaaS companies and how each company helps users see value in their product.
"Aha" moment: 2,000 messages sent in a workspace
Slack knows it's activated a user when the person reaches a 2,000 message milestone.
It's a measure of product stickiness. If a user reaches that milestone, it indicates product adoption and frequent use.
But how does Slack guide you toward seeing its value?
It begins with an interactive user onboarding process. The product tour guides you on how to use key features, helps you finish setting up your account and prompts you to do the most important step:
Invite your co-workers to your Slack channel.
The user will only reach the product adoption milestone with someone to send messages to.
That's why if you try to skip the "invite teammates" prompt, another box pops up to remind you how much better your Slack experience will be with other people.
"Aha" moment: Making a booking for the first time.
Airbnb's value is easy. It's booking a unique stay.
The hard part?
Getting users to find their next bucket list getaway and complete a booking. With so many listings on the platform, it's daunting for a user to manually scroll through endless options.
To help users reach their "aha" moment, the short-term rental marketplace removes as much friction as possible.
- You don't need an account to browse through listings (only when you want to bookmark a place or make a booking).
- With categories like "amazing views" and "treehouses," Airbnb reduces listing overwhelm and helps users quickly find their first stay.
- The search function allows you to set a destination or search the whole world, enter your fixed or unfixed travel dates, and how many people are coming with you.
- There are advanced search filters like "price range," "type of place," and "amenities" to help users cut through the noise and only see listings that match their requirements.
The UX demonstrates Airbnb's value.
As the user lifecycle moves from browsing listings to completing a booking, the person starts to understand the process and see the value of choosing a unique short-term rental over staying in a hotel.
"Aha" moment: Finding something to watch within 30 to 90 seconds
Netflix is an online streaming giant. It has over 1,500 TV shows and more than 4,000 movies on offer.
While having so many choices is great, it's also a weak point. For new users to understand Netflix's value and reach their "aha" moment, the number of options available needs filtering.
The solution? A continuous personalized experience.
Signing up for a Netflix account prompts you to select TV shows and movies you already like. Using the data, the algorithm learns your tastes and preferences and creates a list of personalized recommendations.
New users don't spend 10 minutes trying to find something to watch, build up frustration and ditch the app.
Instead, Netflix delivers on helping you find something you'll enjoy in 30 to 90 seconds, avoiding a negative experience, and building product stickiness.
"Aha" moment: Completing a language lesson on the app
Duolingo is a language learning app that relies on users returning every single day. It must reinforce its value with multiple "aha" moments.
How does the app achieve this?
- Every time a user completes a lesson, there's a flame icon to congratulate them and encourage a streak.
- Users receive crowns as a reward each time they level up on a skill.
- As users progress, the exercises become more challenging.
- You can compete with other users via Leaderboards weekly to earn additional XP and advance to the next league level.
These "aha" moment examples keep users coming back for more. It motivates learners to open the app, complete their daily exercises, and see tangible progress in their language abilities.
It creates a dopamine effect.
When we find something pleasurable, like winning a game or getting likes on social media, our dopamine levels increase, and our brains anticipate the next hit of pleasure. The process keeps us doing things (like opening Duolingo every day) because we want the reward.
Take a page from Duolingo's book and give users small rewards regularly.
It keeps dopamine levels high, builds anticipation, and you're consistently rewarding your users for logging in every day and using your product.
"Aha" moment: Completing the survey for a personalized meditation routine
Here's the thing about meditation.
It's an incredibly personal experience.
Everyone has different goals, uses different techniques, and wants to do it at different times.
For Headspace to become successful and drive conversions to its paid plan, it had to ditch a cookie-cutter approach and offer users a personalized experience.
To do this, the app asks you to complete a survey as part of its frictionless onboarding process.
The first section asks about your meditation experience and the main reason for downloading Headspace.
Then, you're asked when you'd like to meditate. But instead of asking for specific times, it gives you options around your existing routine, like after waking up or eating breakfast.
Once you're done, you have a personalized schedule that fits in with your life, a clear goal (e.g., to feel less stressed), and a meditation duration to suit your experience level.
You're ready to start using the app exactly the way you want. Immediately.
It increases product stickiness right out of the box, delivers value without wasting any time, and creates a seamless user journey map.
"Aha" moment: Finding and engaging with the right leads at the right time
As website traffic for your PLG company grows, more leads start flooding into your pipeline.
There’s only one small hiccup.
Not every lead is your ICP, increasing the amount of noise your sales team needs to shift through every day.
That’s where Clearbit comes in.
The platform uses 100+ firmographic and technographic data points to help you create an ideal customer profile and reach the right audience for your business.
Its “aha” moment is when your sales team uses the tool to make sense of your data and know which leads to focus on when.
How does Clearbit guide you towards its point of activation? By encouraging you to integrate your go-to tools with the platform.
Once you’ve connected Clearbit to your CRM, sales and marketing stack, you’ll get the data you need to make data-backed business decisions without wasting time on manual data entry or the wrong leads.
How to find the “aha moment” for your product
Ready to cut down on your time-to-value? Follow these four steps to identify your activation point and create a sticky product experience.
What is your core value proposition?
Reviewing your core value proposition is the first step in identifying your "aha" moment.
What is your key benefit that makes your business stand out from the competition and keeps users coming back?
Let's look at a few examples:
- Teachable: Helps coaches build and sell online courses.
- Buffer: Helps you manage your social media presence across different platforms.
- Frase.io: Helps you write content faster.
Analyze your product data
Next, analyze your product data for your power users and churned customers.
These two customer groups will help you discover trends that lead to your "aha" moment.
For your successful active customers, you'll want to ask the following questions:
- What common actions led to users converting?
- What basic and advanced features do your power users use?
For churned customers (or those with low engagement), ask yourself:
- What actions were skipped that led to churn?
- What popular features did these users not use?
Track SaaS customer success metrics like:
- Conversion rate
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
- Renewal rate
These metrics will give you more insight into your user journey and where users experience value and friction.
After your analysis, you should have a good idea of the main differences between these two groups and what is driving their behavior.
Once you identify the features that increase conversions and keep users engaged, that's your "aha" moment. You've activated the user and demonstrated your product value.
Get product feedback
Enrich your hard data with customer feedback.
It's how you can confirm your "aha" moment hunch and ensure you follow the correct breadcrumbs trail.
What is the best way to collect product feedback?
Send out an NPS survey to your current customers. It will help you understand the value your retained users see in your product.
Ask questions like:
- Which feature or features do you find the most valuable?
- What do you like the most about our product?
- What made you decide to go from a free trial to a paid plan?
If you need help pinpointing what makes users churn, send your former customers a feedback form.
Sure, not everyone will reply, but those who do will give you valuable insights into what went wrong and how you can fix the leak in your conversion funnel.
We listen to our customers’ feedback and continuously analyze new and existing users’ behavior to determine where our market research software helps them the most. Based on what we learn from them, we make ongoing improvements and updates to reduce the time it takes to experience value in our product. Once our users experience their first aha moment, they see how easy it is to repeat this process and make customer conversations a habit.
Tom Higgins, Head of Product Marketing, Voxpopme
Use A/B user testing
Ready to put your theories to the test?
Right now, you only have a few hypotheses for your "aha" moment.
The final step is to prove your theory by experimenting with your data.
Create user segments and start testing different ways to guide your users to your "aha" moment. This can look like changing your in-app messaging, highlighting specific features, or switching up your onboarding flows.
However, there are three things you need to keep in mind:
- Always have a control group. These are users who aren't going to experience any changes.
- Only make one change at a time. This will help keep your data clean and avoid confusion over what caused an increase or decrease in activations.
- Benchmark the activation period for each group. The faster users reach the "aha" moment, the better.
The winner of your A/B test is the flow that results in more sales, quicker product adoption, and the lowest time-to-value (TTV).
How to guide users to reach their “aha” moment
Once you know your product's "aha" moment, you want to focus on getting your first-time users there as quickly as possible.
Use these tips to drive the actions that set users up for success and increase your product adoption rate.
Tooltips guide the users where you want them to go. It's a low-effort way to lead them directly to your "aha" moment with a breakdown of what to do next.
Plus, it beats a boring talking head video or lengthy Knowledge Base article.
Tooltips are engaging, easy to follow, and teach users in real time how to reach their goals with your product.
Rolling out a new feature? Are new sign-ups not completing their onboarding?
Fix your activation problem with hotspots.
It's an effective way to gently nudge a user to take the right action to experience your "aha" moment and show them where to pay attention.
Add hotspots to your onboarding process to guide users through a sequence of steps and nip friction and confusion in the bud.
Sliders are useful for prompting users to take action on a disguised "aha" moment.
For example, if you have a useful integration or Chrome extension, you can use a slider to encourage your users to download the additional feature.
Grammarly, an online writing and editing tool, prompts new users to download their apps for Mac, Chrome, Windows, iPad, iPhone, and Android.
When users have the product on all of their devices, they can experience Grammarly's value whether they're writing a Whatsapp message, an email, or creating a document.
4. Email nurturing campaigns
Got a batch of users who have only logged in once or a handful of times?
Then, send a targeted, personalized email campaign to drive activation.
Highlight features with the most value, create a mini tutorial and demonstrate how your product can solve their problem.
5. Use the human touch
While all the above tools are great for increasing activation events, don't forget about the power of the human touch.
Encourage your CS team to step in and take action to activate users and avoid churn.
What is the best way to do this?
Our integration helps customer success leaders surface at-risk accounts automatically. Set up your qualifying criteria for your customer lifecycle, get notified when there is a drop in engagement, and see the full context to tailor the onboarding process to the exact needs of a customer.
By using a proactive approach, you’ll impress the user and increase your net dollar retention.
Creating a successful onboarding experience to help users find their "aha" moment is only the first step.
The key to user retention and long-term product adoption comes from engaging users throughout the entire customer journey and leaning on your customer success team to stop churn in its tracks and find those golden nugget land and expand opportunities.
- Your "aha" moment is when a user activates and sees the value in your product.
- The best "aha" moment examples reinforce product stickiness and create a dopamine effect.
- To find your point of product activation, focus on your core value proposition, analyze your product data, gather user feedback, and test your hypotheses with A/B testing.
- Guide your users towards activation with tools like sliders, hotspots, tooltips, email campaigns, and notifying CS of at-risk accounts.