A bit of friction in your growth funnel is a good thing. In fact, I will go even further and declare that some amount of friction in this area is great!
One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to user experience is that we must eliminate as many questions and barriers as possible to be the gold standard. That is a false conclusion. In fact, without even realizing it, most of today’s hottest startups have added friction to their onboarding flows to improve their users’ end experiences.
Most startups seek to avoid friction and look to pump their “vanity metrics,” especially signups. It is only later that firms learn that to retain users, the user experience must be personalized to induce their signups to keep jumping back in.
This is no different with B2B products, service-based industries or any other type of startup. Some friction is great and I’m here to show you the types of friction to consider, how to straddle the fine line between frictionless onboarding and excessively time-consuming onboarding, and the propensity metrics you will need to track.
One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to user experience is that we must eliminate as many questions and barriers as possible.
Types of friction
There isn’t a manual that will show you where to add friction to your onboarding flow and growth funnel. Instead, this process involves exhaustive testing to perfect. To start, there are a few major types of friction to consider implementing:
Below are some examples of how both startups and mature companies leverage friction to improve their users’ experience and north star metric.
Canva, a graphic design platform that’s experienced explosive growth over the last few years, asks questions about why a user is signing up. Are they a student? A corporation?
This data allows Canva to preload the right templates that a student would find useful (presentations, study templates, etc.) versus what a corporation would need (posters, social media, etc.). What at first appears to be a simple onboarding question likely took multiple rounds of growth tests to perfect.
Outside of the onboarding experience, added friction in the form of questions can help startups with growth pillars such as lifecycle and retargeting. Keeping with the same example, now that Canva understands that user X is a student, they can retarget that user with ads centered around improving their grades and performance in school with Canva. Similarly, Canva can send out emails tailored specifically to this user who intends to use the product in their role as a student.
Question-based friction is especially vital for B2B startups who are seeking to narrow in on their ideal customers early on. Are they businesses of five employees in the marketing vertical or perhaps a business of 100 employees in the logistics vertical? These types of findings are expedited and can be tracked in the form of revenue per contract and lifetime value for each business vertical that signs.
Without these questions that add slight friction, it becomes increasingly challenging to double down on segments that can accelerate business growth.
LinkedIn has done a phenomenal job with setup-based friction, where they have users add a variety of details about themselves to create their profile. This creates a feeling of satisfaction and users will then desire to add their colleagues to show it off.