Adoption rate refers to the speed at which users begin to utilize a new product, service, or feature. It is often used to predict and evaluate the effectiveness of marketing efforts and internal changes. The following are illustrative examples of an adoption rate.
Adoption rate is associated with innovation. In some cases, a leap forward in value isn’t immediately appreciated. An innovation that is destined to change the world may suffer from slow sales and a lack of interest for years or even decades. The reason for this is that innovation may require customers to change their way of thinking, modify their routines and learn things. People don’t easily change for a new product, even if it is valuable to them.
Early adopters are people who are open to your innovation. This is often because they are enthusiasts, advanced users or generally open minded. Early marketing for an innovative product usually focuses on early adopters. If you get enough early adopters using a valuable new product, service, process, technique or idea it can quickly snowball to the rest of your target market.
One way to engage early adopters is to launch early versions of your product or service on an invitation-only basis. This makes those you invite feel good and can trigger a fear of missing out that generates more demand. This works best if your product has significant publicity or status amongst likely early adopters. If you are unknown an “invitation” just looks like a marketing gimmick.
An unsought product is a product that generates no desire in people. This has several variations including products associated with misfortune such as fire extinguishers and funeral services. It is often possible to sell unsought products if people feel they need them. However, the adoption rate is slow at best and you shouldn’t expect a sudden jump in adoption.
Products may lack adoption simply because they aren’t valuable to customers. This includes products that fail to appeal to customer needs and preferences. Pricing, distribution and promotion can also be factors in product failure. For example, a product that is too expensive for the value offered.
Early & Late Majority
Products can hit an extremely high adoption rate on the back of word of mouth and social status. This can occur because a product is innovative, fashionable or interesting in some way. It can also occur due to the brute force marketing efforts of a large firm. When the majority start adopting something it tends to happen quickly because the majority copy one another with enthusiasm.
Laggards are independent thinkers or people who are simply out of touch with social trends or your market. A product that has been adopted by the majority will once again have a slow adoption rate as the last 20% of a market are laggards.
Beyond product development, it is common to track the adoption rate for internal changes. For example, a project that launches a new technology tool may target an internal adoption rate of 2000 users / month. If there is no mandate to use the tool, this may require internal communications such as presentations to generate demand.
Functions & Features
Product development teams may also track the adoption rate of new functions and features. For example, a photo editing platform might track how many users try a new filter. This information is used to tune product strategy.