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Tango's Growth Strategy: From 0 to 330k users in 2 years

About Tango


Tango makes it easier to get work done by automatically capturing any process and turning it into a step-by-step interactive walkthrough.


🏆 350,000 users in just 2 years.

⚡ Intense onboarding. Used monetization as a lever to acquire.


Co-founders are Harvard dropouts so they have a nice story to tell!


I cover their onboarding flows, paywalls, monetization iterations and lifecycle emails below.



Review Tango's Flows


Screen 1: The Homepage


'Install free extension' is mentioned twice on the page and has a lot of visual hierarchy. PLG products have an individual use case and also have an enterprise play.



💎 Copy Tip: Give users a task


When drafting your CTA on the homepage, think of what action you want the user to take (eg: install extension). And then lower any friction they might have (eg: is it free? yes!)


It might be a better alternative than “Start free” or “Start free with email”



⚠️ Remove unnecessary CTA friction


Remove unnecessary interaction in the CTA if possible. Moving the CTA away when the user hovers over it may not deter clicks, but it is counterproductive.




Screen 2: The Plugin Page


Tango uses a lot of social proof on this next screen.




💡 Repetition is good. Social proof is better.


1. Describes the product. It doesn't end just at Tango. The repetition helps people that land from the homepage but also when they land on the Chrome extension page directly (either via referrals or chrome's discover engine)


2. Take advantage of platform features: Getting the 'featured' tag isn't too difficult. You need to use technical best practices that Chrome recommends and have good UX. If you're building on a 3rd party platform, it might be clever to start this process ahead of building on top of it. Having over 300+ five star reviews is enough!



⚠️ Messaging mismatch



I don't think many people would notice, but there's a messaging mismatch. I too have been guilty of not reviewing user journeys often enough. However, I noticed that when you make claims, it's hard to stay consistent as the product evolves, leading to messaging inconsistency. The only solution to this is to review user journeys often, especially the most important ones.



💡 Ask for what users expect to give



In this case, Tango only asks for one permission. There's always a trade-off regarding how much information to request, but the golden rule is to ask for what users expect. If people are likely to be deterred, prime them first and then make the ask. Tango looks like it is doing pretty ok here! 😀



Screen 3: Sign Up


The 'free' is back again! It asks for a "work email", yet allows personal email sign ups.



1. Work emails: Having work emails help trigger all sorts of analysis on a team level, org level, and on an ICP level that can help time product-led sales outreaches. You can use third-party data to build full profiles but you cannot do anything with an personal email address. Allowing personal emails is still useful because it helps spin the viral loop.


2. GIF: One thing I really like is that a GIF/Video auto-plays on the right. I'd prefer this over a testimonimal because it can get very copy-heavy. A GIF/Video loads slower though so its a tradeoff.


However, there's room for improvement!



Screen 4: Enter Password


After entering my work email, I am taken to this screen with several questions to answer. There's a lot of physical friction and negative pysch.



There may be reasons to ask these questions upfront:


1. Lifecycle Marketing: In case a user drops off, having their first and last names is beneficial.

2. Organic Viral Loops: If you plan to send emails on behalf of a user (e.g., “XYZ invited you to Tango”) and lack the data engineering capacity to confidently use third party data to pre-fill it, it’s worth keeping.

3. Customization: The information can be used to personalize the user’s landing page.

4. User Indifference: If users don’t mind typing in the information. For a niche market, the usual knowledge worker (Tango's target audience) might not mind, and there are likely no noticeable drop-offs in data.

5. Consistency in User Naming: Most people use Google logins, so collecting names upfront helps maintain consistency in user naming across the platform.



Screen 5: Verify Password



The UX is great! Love the icons used too. But its a very standard, exhausing flow that people are used to. There may be ways to ask this later down the funnel, possibly after they've created their first Tango. Duolingo does this really well. At Streamline, we do require users to verify emails only if they want to start trials for the paid tier. The free tier is ungated and requires no sign up. If Tango has a cost to serve, it would make sense to add more friction on this step.




Now that I'm in my inbox, I have two thoughts:


😍 Email copy: The copy has a pleasant tone! 'Welcome to Tango' is precisely what I was hoping for. The repetition of the company name is a genius touch.

🤔 Email design: There might be ways to improve this though. For example, placing the code above the fold so people don't need to scroll, or dynamically inserting it into the subject line. I'm personally curious to see which would convert better. Either could win for different reasons.


Screen 6: Sign in



I'm not sure how they track data, but the sign-in and sign-up screens both appeared in the same session. They could have bypassed this screen altogether or displayed it for just a second before directing users straight into Tango. From a user's perspective, seeing the same GIF repeatedly might become monotonous, but on the other hand, it could show consistency. There are pros to every con. And cons to every pro.



Screen 7: Onboarding - jobs to be done



After signing up, onboarding is the next logical step for PLG companies.


1. I love Tango's product shots. Hiding complexity is a smart move, and the execution is very well done. I think it's a 3rd party tool (typeform or tally) that they've used to build out the form. Tally allows for custom CSS.

2. Having the 'jobs-to-be-done' question helps personalize the user experience, feed data back to product marketing tools, and assists Tango in prioritizing ICPs. If users drop off at this stage, they're likely not valuable prospects to begin with.

3. 'Support academic education' brilliantly uses the onboarding as a segue into a free education pricing tier.

4. Emojis alongside the text make it more digestible and easier to scan.



Screen 8: Onboarding - job title



The problem with horizontal products with lots of use cases is that you end up having too many job roles. Tango had nearly 12 that you'd need to scroll. Customer Success and Customer Support are probably duplicate entries — I'm curious to know whether it's intentional or an oversight.



Screen 9: Onboarding - tools




The tool logos never loaded for me, as you can see. Additionally, this screen didn't load the first time, so I had to refresh. Looking at the limited set of choices, Tango asks this question probably to show templates and lifecycle email flows in the next step. Options are kind of a miss though —I'd imagine people randomly selecting something and just moving on. They could also use this info for the invitee if they collect team level data at any stage.



Screen 9: Onboarding - attribution



Dark attribution is a way of directly asking users where they found is. It's a great way to collect qualitative data. They've got options like "Google Search" and "Tango Blog" which can pretty much be duplicative since the blog is written primarily for SEO and far less for thought-leadership. Word of Mouth can encompass 'Coworker', but considering the nested nature of the categories, it makes sense to place 'Co-worker' prominently and use 'WoM' as a catch-all.



Screen 9: Onboarding - setup workspace




This is a great screen!


1. Personalization: They personalized it to a degree where it's a one-click submit.


2. Team use case: The default selection to group users in one workspace is also what contributes moves individual users to a team use case.



Screen 10: Splash before activating



A minimal breather screen before jumping off into a second onboarding is a smart move. It gives a clear action to do "Try out capture". The open in a new window icon is a little clever detail. UX copy is great too! The GIF on the right primes users on what to expect. Flawless execution by the Tango team.



Screen 11: Activation


Now, this is where the real onboarding begins. Without proper onboarding, it will be challenging for users to figure out how to use Tango.



A long onboarding


The team has spared no effort in creating a relatively lengthy onboarding process that is executed well (with a few bugs). However, the goal is clear: to help users reach that "aha" moment.



Quality > Quantity


The team is willing to accept losing users who are not willing to invest an extra minute to learn the product, possibly because users who don't make this effort aren't great users to start with. And that could be solved by addressing a motivation problem. Since they have a viral loop, setting users up for success means even a portion of high quality users with high frequency can make it spin faster. Rather than a bunch of users who may not fully understand the product. It's a tough decision to make, and I'd be curious to know more!



Repeat the CTA


They could have simply kept the body text, "Dive into this example survey...," on the main screen. However, they also supplemented it with "Take an action on the screen to start your capture" on the small left screen. The advantage of this approach is that, regardless of the order in which the eye travels, users will never be confused.



Other things:


1. Progress bar is a good primer

2. Positive, brain-friendly copy (bright idea, spark survey)

3. Smart choice of emoji to use the ✨ sparkle at the end of the copy. This helps people feel like they get it. Emojis make things appear easier than they are. Plus, the design aesthetic works well with the bulb icon at the top. It's different from their core brand color, and that's a good decision to separate branding from the template, which allows users to better imagine their own brand.

4. Tango branding appears twice on this page which makes it a little more unforgettable.



I don't know about you, but I'm a fan of whoever's writing Tango's UX copy. A lot of clever decisions have been taken! I wish I was half as good.




How far to extend onboarding?


Tango could've just added one question on this Tally form but they added 4 steps. That's an interesting choice. I think reinforcement is powerful and getting users to take a few extra steps can help.



⚠️ Paywalls during onboarding


I also encountered a paywall while onboarding. It can be a good or a bad thing depending what their goals are! I'd probably let people try paid features for free during the onboarding so people can get a taste where users can only try in this one sandbox. Or hide this feature completely so they aren't running into paywalls while activating.




Qualitative feedback loop for onboarding


One cool thing Tango did was they got feedback on their onboarding with the fourth question which was something like a 10 point Likert scale for people to score the survey on "This was indeed a short and simple survey". I forgot to take a screenshot! Building a nice qualitative feedback loop on top of your onboarding is kind of genius.



Repeat the action


If you look at this final screen, you'll see they're repeating the action yet again. It's unmissible regardless of where you look. Copy doesn't have unnecessary bold font choices.



Screen 12: Aha Moment




Now that the user has completed their first flow, they can witness the entire guide come alive. This marks the first time a user understands its functionality. Since Tango can't onboard a user to every potential tool of choice (which could be endless), teaching the user to do it themselves and showing them the expected outcome is the most sensible approach.



Screen 12: Address friction with onboarding


A common concern for Tango creators (on the supply side) is likely how their content will be consumed by their team. Tango addresses this through another onboarding process. It's quite challenging to execute, in my opinion, but they do it well.




Tango's onboarding is very flexible. This means you can exit and rejoin with ease; it's not rigid.



⚠️ Messaging Unclear


I'd suggest adding another splash screen here to clarify that Guidance will be how a Tango appears to their team. The message, 'Now that you've saved your workflow, check out how Tango will show you where to click for each step,' confused me. A better phrasing would be, 'Check out how Tango will show your team where to click.' Or something that doesn't use 'show you.' After all, I just created the workflow; I don’t need guidance.



Screen 12: Next flows





⚠️ Last screen is seemingly a dead-end


After completing the Guidance flow, I landed on this screen. However, there was no green button in sight (ofc). Additionally, the "Close" button wasn't easy to find. Thus, my only recourse was to close the entire Chrome tab and navigate back. They could have added a glow to the close button, used a tooltip as they did earlier, or introduced an alternative Tango version specifically for onboarding that users couldn't tell.



Screen 13: Referral in onboarding


Collaboration is key to Tango since it's a knowledge-sharing tool. So, the next step is to Share and Export. It's a glowing, beating button so users can notice. And that would increase the click through rate.




💡When to ask users to share?


As a PLG product, you can either time your share flow much earlier in the journey or ask later. You can do it during the onboarding flow or much later.

I love that Tango first gets a user to the aha moment and then asks to share. That's a much better ask than to invite team mates before a user even has a chance to make sense of a product.



Screen 14: Referral in onboarding - Email invite




⚠️ The bug in question


I couldn't even type out an email because the placeholder couldn't be removed. It wasn't actually a placeholder but a fixed piece of text. Bugs creep in so before investigating what's not working, it's always a good idea to just walk through the flow. Or use something like Fullstory / Mixpanel+Hotjar combo.




Screen 15: Casual Contact - Integrate with other tools




💡Building 3rd party embeds


Integration is a potent growth loop because it allows you to piggyback on another tool's usage. Notion acts as a company's wiki, introducing Tango to everyone in the organization.



🤔 Embeds vs Invite by email


Previously, Tango prioritized embedding over sharing via emails. This approach was logical, but I'm curious about what prompted them to shift their focus to an email-driven approach, which is more granular, targets fewer users, isn't evergreen, but potentially offers higher user motivation. Could it be data related to team expansion or wanting to have the presence of specific buyer profiles in their database? I'm not sure.


However, it's evident that they want users to invite by email. It's prominently displayed at the top, and there's even a pulsating glow icon urging me to return.



There's a lot displayed on this screen: a few of the most important tools, a brief description, a preview option, and an FAQ guide. When allowing users to copy something, you must be confident that they'll succeed on the first try. At Streamline, we have a copy button, and we share a similar concern. Copy works differently in different tools.


It's challenging to fit everything on a single screen so I appreciate that Tango chose to use a modal to accommodate the content, value props and deeper onboarding.


I appreciate their design choices too, except for the 'copy to clipboard' option being positioned at the bottom of the screen. Which is a bit far away from where it should be.




Screen 15: Trying to embed in Notion


And it sort of works. They could probably do better but it's much harder to integrate well with a 3rd party platform.




Screen 16: Casual Contact - Export outside the tool




💡Deprioritizing features that don't help Tango


Exporting as PDF, Markdown, or HTML doesn't benefit Tango; they don't receive any data. People don't find them through casual contact loops. So they deprioritized this feature. It now sits at the bottom of the list. They've also added a clear message about its 'limited features', hinting that users might want to avoid it. In Tango's defense, exporting off of Tango doesn't offer live editing features. So Tango likely wants to steer users away from this option and warn them before they discover its limitations themselves. Yet, they haven't axed this feature entirely because people might pay just for that. And what's good for the users should take #1 priority. Interestingly, they don't put the PDF download option at the start. Probably because of PLG reasons. So many decisions to make on one screen!

If there's a feature you don't want users to use anymore, you can either

  • remove it (eg: GA4)

  • keep it but deprioritize with an axe (eg: how Instagram hid their share link button)

  • keep it but lie why its bad for users to use

  • keep it but warn users of downsides of using it



Screen 17: Closing modals and reaching dead ends



The only way to close the share modal was by clicking outside the box.

After this, the user must figure out how to create a new capture. I don't see a create new button in the view? So, I have to find the tiny back button at the top. And move out.


⚠️ Could this be a potential dead end?


Maybe they could've shown more prompts like using with the tools you use. Or inspiration content? Or adding the pulsating glow to the back button?



Screen 18: Home with a checklist



The checklist isn't the first step in the onboarding. It's the final step. You're done with most tasks and only one is remaining. That makes it look like you're almost done! There's a better way than just using a checklist. And it's the Tango way.


I find a few grammar errors on this checklist page too. What to do 😭



Screen 18: Inspiration on second fold



I have to scroll to see these. It's not obvious I needed to scroll. And the inspiration content is decent. They already have the tools I use with the survey and can atleast whip up one onboarding per tool.



Could They, Should They Build A Community?


Pros: Imagine if it were like Figma or Dribbble, where you could access the latest help guides tailored specifically for you. You could then import these into your account, saving time from having to recreate or update them. Would be sweet and something they can just do by reaching out to people who've shared Tangos publicly (could look at Search Engine Console > Links or Ahrefs/SemRush)! They do have that 25 tango limit on the free workspace.


Cons: Potentially impossible, and might not even be all that helpful to their core ICP.



Screen 19: Paywalls (before hitting free tier limits)

If I'm under 25 Tangos, I don't see any upgrade message directly on the screen. Which is nice!



When click on upgrade and go to their pricing in-app modal, I see an incredible pricing page!



Creators Free vs Pro: They let paying users invite free users instead of paying for all members. That's what Slack does too with 'guests'. Yearly is the default cycle.



Screen 19: Paywalls (after hitting limits)


At no point does a free user gets a notification that they are restricted to 25 workflows. Some companies show triggers at each step with a count on how many are left (especially if users have only one chance) or a counter on the bottom left (like Loom does).


As far as their in-app payment modal goes, I think it's really clever. Besides the fact that the CTA sort of blends into the image and does not appear clickable intuitively.




Tango also doesn't offer a bulk delete option. So, if you wanted to stay under 25 workflows as a free user, you'd have to delete your old workflows one by one. I call this tactical friction. They're also a small team so it's ok not to prioritize dev resources to build a feature like bulk delete.



Adding monetization friction a share loop


While inviting your team is free, inviting a team to a collection isn't. So, if you wanted to create a private organized collection of Tangos, that's behind a paywall. Not everything that drives acquisition should be free.



Screen 20: Adding Seats


It is quite clever to let people add seats right at purchase. But when I did go to add seats, it crashed. It looked like they were initiating Mixpanel twice on the page. So, I couldn't move ahead. Clicking on Try Again wasn't helpful and it brought me back to the home screen.



History of Tango's Pricing


On Oct 2023



Free tier: Free tier limits at 10 free creators. They tightened this up this from 25 creator seats.


Pro tier: Still has unlimited workflows to spin their growth loop when free tier has limits. Having limits on just one vs both is better.


Enterprise: Enterprise tier got more investment. Tightening up PLG and making monetization stricter signals a pivot to PLS from PLG. Many SaaS companies (even Canva) are making their free tier look less desirable when they want to drive up revenue in the short-run.



On March 2023



The October version was cleaner and easier to understand. It's also generic, allowing Tango to make changes without being overly concerned about what was promised. It makes it easy to switch plans without grandfathering users. The March version is clear and explicit, which makes it easier for people to grasp, but it can also be overwhelming.


One key note is that this March version is more generous free tier in terms of invitations. We see 25 free creators, not 10. They might have changed this for a few reasons:

1. Not enough people actually adding more than 10 free creators in their account. A simple distribution graph could tell average invites sent / accepted.

2. It helps push people to the enterprise/pro tier by making the other look more desirable.

3. 10 is a round number. Easier to consider!

4. Teams smaller than 10 vs between 10-25 have very different purchasing powers. Smaller than may not need a lot of SOPs.

I'm just guessing btw!



On March 2023



Now, back in Feb 2022, you could see they promised unlimited workflows on the free tier. Even though it was "always free", I don't think they grandfathered old users. They made a swift, clean migration. And probably didn't delete pre-existing workflows if over 25.


Offering unlimited workflows in the free tier drove up PLG until they got to a point where they were happy to charge more and restrict free.


The plans for Tango were also cheaper. Annual was at $12, while monthly was at $16. As more features were added, prices rose. I'm not sure they'll go beyond $20 for the Pro tier now though since they're adding more users to the pro tier and driving up product-led-sales.



On Nov 2021



The price for Tango was $11 (monthly) and $8 (annually) in 2021.


This is a pre-launch offer for early adopters. Their pro tier hasn't been launched yet, but they did introduce a waitlist, which was a clever move. Legacy pricing helps retain early adopters in the product, promoting the viral loop to some extent. Offering lifetime pricing is another strategy when a free tier isn't viable. Lifetime pricing ensures older users remain loyal, thereby fueling the growth loop.


Add pricing even when you're early:

Even if you offer a free product during pre-launch days, it's helpful to show people how you'll make money. Otherwise they'll think:

1. I'm the data, and they're probably selling my data.

2. Or, that this business is going under. And I'd rather not build my workflows on top of them.


You'll observe that "Embed" was encouraged, not "Invite by Email" unlike what you see today. This strategy aimed to cast a wider net rather than trying to pinpoint the decision-maker in a company for enterprise sales. When Tango switched to PLS, they had to bring buyers into their account and figure out how many users from a company were viewing/using their product. Plus, it makes tracking more easy.



Tango's Lifecycle emails


1. Welcome email - take core action


This is a good email. I received it while I was still active in the product though. With no net new information I hadn't already seen. Here are a few things that impressed me:

1. Content was personalized based on the job-title info they picked up from the initial survey. The Youtube tutorial was of Hubspot's which was a tool I am familiar with.

2. CTAs were deeplinks that opened a workflow in a new tab.

3. The core action is "Capture a Tango" which is both on-brand and useful.

4. Footer that follows web design is pretty clever!

5. Copy is great with the "1 of 2". And they orange emoji.

All best practices executed really well!



Takeways:

1. They have a Youtube video and not a Tango to show how to use Tango. Maybe there's an audience that might not instantly get it and needs some more help? Looking by the views of the unlisted Youtube video, quite a few people watch it. That's around 30k. I think a good takeaway for me is to test adding a video tutorial in our email sequences. That might help!

2. The Add to Chrome it's free might seem irrelevant since I've already added it to chrome and they do have this info. And if t hey use Intercom, it can integrate with Mixpanel which is what they use for product analytics.



2. Education about pro tier


The next email I received was an offer to upgrade to Pro.

1. Too early: This seemed too early in buying journey since up until that point I had only created one Tango (the one that came standard with the onboarding) and none of my own. And it was probably too soon with the first email received less than three hours ago.

2. Balancing shortcomings in the app: It's also doing the majority of the job of education users what the Pro tier includes with the app never did. At no point in my onboarding journey was I educated that there's a desktop app, or that live blur exists, etc. It was just something that I'd be left to discover on my own as I used more and more of the app. So, the email is sort of taking that extra step of educating the user with a feature dump.

3. Opening a sales convo: It's easier to reply to an email than to fill out a sales lead gen form on the site.




3. Upgrade prompt / notification



These emails are often referred to as "upgrade prompts" or "paywall notifications". They are part of a monetization strategy where users are notified when they've reached the limit of a free tier and are encouraged to upgrade to a paid plan. This is an old email; I'm not sure if Tango still sends them.



4. Notification email driving habit loop



Triggers are placed in the user's path to bring them back into the product and reinforce the Core Loop. These triggers can be in the form of notifications about updates, changes, or activities related to the user's content or actions. This one layers on social proof on top of it!



Little detail. They're using Streamline..?


I think Tango uses Streamline icons, modified to their taste. What a surprise haha.