How to Test Your Onboarding Process Based on Your ad

Danni FriedlandOnboarding, User Experience, User testing1 Comment

Test your onboarding process based on your ad

Onboarding new users is probably one of the most important, yet underrated processes taken into consideration when building a new product.

If done correctly, it can increase your retention rates dramatically. If done poorly, your potential clients will leave and never come back.

Yes, onboarding users is harder than you think and there are many pitfalls you’ll need to avoid.

Many product managers and success managers think that the onboarding process starts with the product’s homepage or log-in screen. The process actually starts with first contact – it can be a blog post or a Facebook ad.

In his book “The Elements of User Onboarding”, Samuel Hulick describes the onboarding process as one that starts with an ad and ends with an active user heading towards becoming an advanced user.



In every step of the process the user should attain more knowledge about “why they should use your product” or “how your product turns them into a better version of themselves” (In Samuel’s words).

However, each step also holds potential for friction where your user will get confused, distracted or simply “won’t get it” which can make him leave before even signing up or in the mid-process.

This is why every step matters and why you want to make sure it is thoroughly optimized for your users (to increase conversions of course).

You don’t always have full control over the process. If a user heard about your product from a friend and decided to check it out, you don’t have control over the words the friend used (you can have some control over it by having great branding and user experience).  But if your users come from a Facebook ads campaign or any other ad source, you can have full control.

Test your onboarding process based on your ad with this step-by-step guide Click To Tweet

Your ad affects your customer lifetime value

When testing ads, you usually focus on testing copywriting, image variations, different user targeting, etc.

Then you start tracking conversion rates originating from your ad and observing how it performs.

But you don’t really get the actual “why” and “how” it affects your new user’s behaviour on the platform.

You don’t know if ad A’s audience behaves differently or has a different perspective on the onboarding process. What if you could be aware of not only which ad performs better, but also of how the onboarding process experience is working for different users? And how different target audiences react to the process of becoming new users.

You could optimize your ads not only for immediate conversions but also for real activations. In addition, you can change parts of your onboarding to fit your new campaign because now you’d know which friction points the audience is encountering.

In this post, I will explain how you can easily do this by using Jaco.

Step 1: Create a unique UTM for every ad you want to test.

Whether it’s a Facebook ad, Twitter ad, Adwords or any other platform – by using the utm for our filtering, we can test any platform regardless of integration and we can separate the sources in a granular way.

Add a different source to each platform and a different campaign to each of your ads so that you can differentiate between the ads in Jaco.

If you’re new to UTM’s you can read this guide to catch up quickly.

Step 2: Filter sessions based on referral UTM

Go to your Jaco Dashboard (you can sign up here for free if you haven’t already) and filter your sessions based on your ad referring UTM.

Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Click on Add Filter -> Session details

add-filter2. Choose Referer to filter by the referral URL.

referrer3. Click contain -> add the UTM for the ad campaign you want to analyze.


You should now see a list of all the sessions that signed up via the ad you created.

You can get even more insights by comparing with the same segmentation on GA (+ filter the first session) to view quantitative data such as time on site of first use and match the data with your Jaco insights.

Step 3: Save the segment

You can save your new segment in order to compare the different ad segments and come back to them later on.

By returning to the segment occasionally, you’ll be able to see how changes in your onboarding process effected a specific audience without having to do the entire filtering process over and over again.

Our advise it to save the filter under your campaign name – so it’s easy to recognize it.

Just click “Save As” and name your segment.


Step 4: Analyze sessions of each ad

Congrats! You’ve got everything set up!

You can now watch users go through the onboarding process as if you were standing right beside them while they’re doing it!

Start watching your session based on the different ads draw different target audiences with different use patterns.

Optimize the process according to your findings.


We also recommend adding notes and then summarizing the conclusions after watching several sessions – that way, you’ll have a better understanding of the reactions and behaviors coming from your ad’s audience and you’ll be able to compare the onboarding process without remembering the differences between each ad audience’s performance.


When you analyse your onboarding process, a qualitative method can be the extra mile that will make the difference between a win and a complete miss by helping you understand whether your onboarding is working for your users or not.

Try this process the next time you optimize your onboarding and tell us if you gained unique insights that you couldn’t get before.

Have any other tips for analysing your onboarding? Have an idea for a guide we should create? Let us know in the comments!

One Comment on “How to Test Your Onboarding Process Based on Your ad”

  1. Richa

    Testing onboarding process based on your ad can be done with the help of various tools available at find the one that best matches your requirement. Even those steps shared by you are helpful 🙂

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