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New in Bento: empty states

Emily Wang
5 min read

One of the trickiest aspects of great everboarding is identifying the right time to show the user a relevant prompt. It relies on having a tremendous amount of data, empathy for the user experience, and frankly, luck.

Most companies hit a few walls so default to easier modalities (pop-ups) but those are so easy to overuse and creates a feeling of spam.

Our vision at Bento has always been to create effective everboarding experiences that are hybrid (meaning humans – specifically CSMs – can adapt for a customer). And today, we’re excited to share a meaningful step forward to doing everboarding well: solving the timing problem.


Embedded banners are a classic way to blend feature-marketing with a compelling call to action

By changing the paradigm entirely. 

Empty states in apps are prevalent and are one of the most underutilized assets. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) to see the number of webapps that drop users into an empty dashboard that has illustrations sprinkled in…but not much else.

Great empty states are ripe for activation. 

Bento is the first tool to allow users to embed interactive onboarding checklists into a dashboard or separate page. Today, we’re giving users the ability to embed empty state banners, cards, and carousels to bring bite-sized everboarding to advanced features.

You might say: but we already show pop-up modals and offer tooltips! Yet pop-ups and inline experiences have significantly different impact on:

  1. Timing: pop-ups have to get timing down to the millisecond. Inline is irrelevant of timing.
  2. Repeatability: pop-ups are generally 1-time. Inline is repeatable.
  3. Perceived importance: pop-ups feel like an afterthought. Inline feels important.
Carousels offer integrated inspiration

Inline components are available whenever the user engages with that particular page or part of your app. You don’t have to guess the right timing, because the right timing is when they choose to engage.

Inline components don’t interrupt and don’t cover up, so they can be engaged repeatedly. Bento’s inline components can be dismissed – or not – totally up to you.

Finally, in a world where we’re all inundated with pop-up chat messages, modals, tooltips, animations galore, an inline element that looks native says to the user: 

“Hey, this is important. So much so that my engineers and designers hand crafted this.” 

Use-cases for embedded guides

Embedded cards offer upsell and expansion opportunity
  • Empty feature pages. For example, on a page where users haven’t yet set anything up. We recommend using the Embedded banner experience.
  • Upsell / expansion. For pages that are actually not empty, you can still add a card to it that encourages users to upgrade for a new feature. Use Bento’s targeting functionality to show this only for users who are active.
  • Inspiration. Particularly helpful if one user has taken an action (i.e. create a template or workflow) but new users haven’t. An inline carousel can serve as inspiration for what to build.

Best practices for empty states

Great “empty states” are:

  • Actionable. Don’t just announce a feature. Give users a way to actually try the functionality you’re promoting.
  • Preview what happens next. Ideally, include an image or gif of what the non-empty version can look like so users can feel excited by the future.
  • Concise: as with all UI elements, users don’t read.

Why not build empty states in-house?

You totally can! And up until now, you had to. But unless there’s nothing more valuable for your engineers to build with your core product, we’d suggest using a tool that gives you flexibility 

Plus, you’d be surprised how nice it is to tweak messaging after you ship it ;)


We’d be happy to set you up with a free trial of Bento so you can play! Find 20 min to tell us about your use case, throw all your questions at us, and you’ll be set to go.

BentoAI - Auto-create guides from existing articles and recordings | Product Hunt