How to Launch a New Product Feature

9 tried-and-tested ways to announce new product feature releases and drive adoption, fast.

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Lauren Cumming
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When it comes to launching new features, a solid understanding of different user types, and their product journeys is essential. Only then will you be able to strategically pinpoint the right product moments to drop your feature adoption announcements, and instead of disrupting your user's flow, you'll be adding value by showing them how to accomplish what they're doing, the better way. Plus, you will be able to segment your users and only serve announcements to those who can get value out of your shiny new feature.

If you're a believer, like us, that changing user behavior takes more than one single feature announcement, this article is for you. You will learn 9 different ways to launch new product features (the login page, banners, hotspots, tours, slideouts, badges, empty states, next-step recommendations, and release notes page), with real-life examples of how product teams like you use each to drive adoption effectively.

Launching new features is challenging

Engineering: “[New feature 1] is out!
Product: “Hey Everyone! [New feature] is out!”
PMMs: “What? Another feature we need to tell our users about?”
…. 1 week later
Product: “Huh, why didn’t our users adopt [New feature 1]?” 
Engineering: “[New feature 2] is out!”

Sounds familiar?

Launching new features is hard. It takes time and effort from multiple teams to build, test, and finally launch a new feature. While you can plan a new product feature launch well before its release, getting users to actually use and adopt a new feature can only happen when the feature is live in the product. With features continuously being shipped and limited attention span from users, making sure all your newly-released features are utilized can be a huge challenge!

Fear not, we've compiled a list of the most effective in-app strategies to help you promote new features and drive user engagement.

9 ways to announce new product features effectively

#1 The Login Page

The login page is the first part of your product that users see and is likely one of your highest-traffic pages, making it prime real estate for a new feature announcement. This approach is obviously the most high-impact, and most product teams reserve this spot for their most important feature releases. Below you will see how companies like Zoom, Hotjar, and Brex utilize this space effectively to promote their latest updates.

Hotjar's sign in page shown to be used to share product updates. This ensures only returning users (not new users) see the updates.
Hotjar leverages the Sign-in page to share updates. This ensures only returning users (not new users) see the updates.
Brex sharing quarterly releases on its login page.
Brex teases quarterly releases on its login page.
Buffer using its login page to showcase new releases and capabilities
Buffer uses most of its login page to showcase new releases and capabilities.

#2 Banners and Cards

Banners offer a quick and obvious means to grab users' attention without interrupting their workflow. When placed strategically, they ensure that everyday actions like logging in or navigating key pages become opportunities to inform users about new features. This approach guarantees that essential updates will be seen during routine interactions with your app.

Customize your banner to be sticky or dismissible

If you regularly release features, or need to drive adoption in a product, having the right digital adoption platform is key. The right platform should provide you with a banner editor that allows you to choose whether banners are dismissible or non-dismissible, and make the banner go away once the user satisfies your pre-set product action(s). Choose a non-dismissible banner for a critical feature to increase visibility—be sure to set logic so the banner disappears after a user engages with it or performs a related product action. For minor updates, you can make banners dismissible. 

Place banners in prominent locations

For top-tier features and releases, embed banners in your product's high-traffic pages, like a homepage or dashboard. This visibility is crucial for user awareness, as it guarantees that announcements reach a broad audience, including those who might not regularly check updates or emails.

Use banners to educate and serve help resources

Don't stop short at driving traffic to the feature page. Once the user is on the feature page, you can use cards and banners to educate users on how to use the feature and even provide relevant resources. Complementing promotional banners with contextual banners on the feature's actual page or related sections is an effective way to make sure your users go on to using the new feature.

Aside from feature releases, check out other ways banner announcements can be used to drive user retention.

Vidyard pulls product marketing into its product by highlighting its latest releases with videos on its homepage
Vidyard pulls product marketing into its product by highlighting its latest releases with videos on its homepage.
A screenshot showing how Vidyard highlights new features with banners on feature pages.
Vidyard continues to highlight new features with visually appealing banners on feature pages.
A screenshot showing Intercom's dismissible sidebar builds demand for its new AI copilot.
Intercom's dismissible sidebar builds demand for its new AI copilot, Fin.
A screenshot showing how Loom adds a subtle upsell nudge with a nav card advertising Loom AI
Loom adds a subtle upsell nudge with a nav card advertising Loom AI.
A screenshot showing how Sprig cleverly adds an auto-advancing carousel to its sidebar for upcoming product releases.
Sprig cleverly adds an auto-advancing carousel to its sidebar for upcoming product releases.

#3 Hotspots

Hotspots are an invaluable UX tool for promoting new features because they effectively draw users' attention to specific areas within the app without being overly intrusive. These subtle visual cues guide users to new or updated elements in your product, making it easy to discover enhancements naturally as they navigate it.

Use hotspots when you want to be subtle

Hotspots take up less real estate on your product pages, making it one of the most subtle ways to communicate with users. Use hotspots that allow users to opt-in by clicking on the beacon for more information

Trigger hotspots automatically to serve critical updates

For significant updates, ensure that hotspots open automatically to promptly draw attention to your update before the user navigates away.

Place hotspots near product buttons

Make sure to place hotspots next to product buttons rather than cover the button itself (this may annoy users as it prevents them from doing a product action).

A screenshot showing how Candu's team drops a hotspot in its editor, helping users understand where to find the new analytics capabilities.
Candu's team drops a hotspot in its editor, helping users understand where to find the new analytics capabilities.

#4 Product Tours

Product tours provide a structured, interactive way for users to learn about and engage with new functionalities. By guiding users through a series of steps, tours can demonstrate the practical applications and benefits of new features within the user's workflow. At Candu, we have a long history with product tours. It began with our keenness to pop the pop-up before our recent admission that pop-ups and tours can be very effective when used with these considerations:

Use tours to offer structured guidance

Offer step-by-step walkthroughs to demonstrate new features in the context of the user's existing workflow.

Pair a product tour with other UX

Trigger tours from an inline button on a banner or contextual card, such as ‘Take a tour,’ to create an opt-in experience and reduce dismissal rates.

Design your tour to stand out

Ensure your tours stand out from your standard interface to grab users' attention.

A screenshot showing how Gorgias builds a beautiful tour showcasing how users can save time with new functionality.
Gorgias builds a beautiful tour showcasing how users can save time with new functionality.

#5 Modals, Slideouts and Drawers

Modals, slideouts and drawers are powerful for promoting new features because they can capture users' attention with high visibility and focus. These elements showcase essential updates, new functionalities, or monthly release summaries in a way that is easy to notice. However, their intrusive nature means you should be using them sparingly!

Use modals when you need high visibility

Use them for monthly release summaries to showcase multiple features at once or for major releases, but use them sparingly to avoid high dismiss rates and user fatigue.

Set and follow a frequency

Establish a regular cadence to set user expectations and reduce dismissals.

You don't need go full-screen everytime

Remember, the bigger the modal, the more intrusive it is, which can lead to higher dismiss rates. Slideouts can offer a less disruptive alternative, allowing users to access detailed information without a full-screen takeover.

A series of screenshot showing how Gorgias showcases multiple new updates in a polished modal.
Gorgias showcases multiple new updates in a polished modal.
A screenshot showing how Figma users a modal carousel to showcase several important releases in one product announcement.
Figma users a modal carousel to showcase several important releases in one product announcement.

#6 Badges

A subtle 'New' badge on newly introduced features is a highly effective UX strategy for promoting them without overwhelming your users. This small yet noticeable indicator draws attention to new functionalities in a non-intrusive manner, seamlessly integrating with your existing product interface.

Choose a design and stick to it

Using consistent color schemes and positioning, ensure the badge is visually distinct but not overly flashy.

Use short text to provide context

Provide a tooltip or brief description upon hovering to give users more context about the new feature.

Flash a 'new' badge for most, if not all new releases

Place badges consistently following new or updated features to help users quickly recognize and understand their purpose.

A screenshot showing how Genially adds a subtle 'new badge' to updated feature pages in the navigation.
Genially adds a subtle 'new badge' to updated feature pages in the navigation.
A screenshot showing how Slack promotes its new Lists feature with a 'New' badge with a negative margin.
Slack promotes its new Lists feature with a 'New' badge with a negative margin.

#7 Empty States

Empty states, often overlooked, are a highly effective UX element for promoting new features because they transform unused space into a valuable opportunity for engagement.  By designing a compelling empty state for a new feature, you can educate users about its benefits and encourage them to use it. It may be obvious, but empty state content should disappear once the user does what you intend them to do. Read more about how to design an effective Empty State.

Use empty states to tell the user story

Treat the empty state like a mini landing page, emphasizing the feature's key benefits and show users why and what they're missing out.

Include a clear call-to-action

Ensure the call-to-action is clear and compelling.

Build trust with social proof

To build trust and interest, include brief testimonials or callouts from beta testers or early adopters.

Personalize page content for different user segments

Customize the empty states for user tiers and tailor the messaging to upgrade plans or upsell add-ons.

A screenshot showing how Slack features templates in its new Empty State for Lists, a project management feature.
Slack features templates in its new Empty State for Lists, a project management feature.

#8 Recommended Next Step Feed

By leveraging user behavior within the product, such as feature usage patterns or completion of specific actions, you can intelligently suggest next steps that align with their current workflow and goals.

Recommend relevant features based on user behavior

Based on their actions within the product, guide users towards undiscovered functionalities or features they may have overlooked. 

Improve product engagement incrementally

Encourage users to discover and use more features gradually. Product adoption is a long game.

Give suggestions at the right moments

Ensure recommendations are timely and relevant to enhance user engagement and encourage exploration.

A screenshot showing how Gorigas adds a feed of personalized cards, advertising unused and new features.
Gorigas adds a feed of personalized cards, advertising unused and new features.
A screenshot showing how Mailchimp uses a 'recommended for you' section to highlight new features.
Mailchimp uses a 'recommended for you' section to highlight new features.

#9 What's New / Release Notes Page

A What's New or Release Notes page is a centralized hub where users can quickly access detailed information about recent updates, enhancements, and new features without leaving the app.

Centralize your product release history

However much you try, users are not made to remember every single feature release. This page allows new and existing users to access previous updates whenever they need. It also acts as a centralized hub for users to access detailed information about recent updates, enhancements, and new features without leaving the app.

Give your users convenient access

Ensure the page is easily accessible within the app's navigation or menu. If a full-page takeover isn’t feasible, use a slideout to provide easy access without disrupting the user experience.

Serve content in different formats

Incorporate videos, interactive demos, and screenshots to enhance readability and appeal, making the What's New page engaging and informative.

A screenshot showing how Make updates its What's new page, which highlights new integrations, capabilities, and templates monthly.
Each month, Make updates its What's new page, which highlights new integrations, capabilities, and templates.

Use a mix of feature announcements to drive adoption effectively

Promoting new features within your product doesn't have to be daunting. By creatively using various UX approaches, you can ensure your users stay informed and excited about what's new. Remember, the key is to find a balance—use a mix of these elements to keep your promotions engaging without overwhelming your users. By thoughtfully integrating these UX approaches, and tracking their effectiveness with analytics, you can drive feature adoption effectively, ensuring that your hard work in developing these features pays off. Happy feature launching!

P.S. Candu lets you do all these, and more. Want to give Candu a try?

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