Webhooks: Enabling PLG in SaaS Applications

SaaS webhooks

Webhooks are predefined HTTP callbacks that are making applications more streamlined and user-friendly. These “software hooks” are helping SaaS companies make the shift towards Product-Led Growth by giving users more in-app freedom and reducing the need for cumbersome support emails or calls. Let’s learn more about the role Webhooks are playing in the PLG era.

What are Webhooks?

Webhooks are simplifying the way applications communicate with one another. With consumers using dozens of apps today, this generic methodology  is allowing smoother interactions for better flows with seamless integrations.

A Webhook can be seen as a simpler form of an Application Programming Interface (API). While the latter is a complete language with calls and functions to handle or process data, webhooks sit in predefined parts of the app and are fully automated. Webhooks are also significantly faster than polling frameworks, which are the least suitable for Product-Led applications.

For example, let’s assume we are creating an eCommerce app. When a customer completes a purchase, he will be expecting to get an invoice, preferably immediately. This is where webhooks come into play. A webhooks from any invoicing app can be added to the eCommerce app, allowing you to trigger an invoice dispatch after every purchase, all in an automated and smooth manner.

Pre-Hooks vs Post-Hooks

There are two types of Webhooks that are in use today. 

Pre-Hooks are scripts that can be executed before the operation is completed and the HTTP call is made to the  predefined API. This allows data manipulation before the call and lets the recipient to control the flow as per the product requirements. The Pre-Hook script defines what data will be accessed and returned with multiple parameters, or in some cases cancel the flow. 

Here are the main ones:

  • Service – As the name suggests, this is the service that API hook belongs to
  • Operation – This is the name given to the operation for the hooked API
  • Message – This field has the parameters that are being passed 
  • Params – Here the predefined parameters for the hook are defined

The Pre-Hook returns objects that should ideally have fields like Status, ReasonCode, ErrorMessage, MessageOverride, and Parms. When the first three are set to a non-200 value, the call is aborted and an error is returned.

Post-Hooks work similarly, with the main difference being that there can be post-processing of data where the data is modified before being returned to the client. This is achieved by changing input “Data” objects and return object fields. In order to override the data message that is returned to the client, the modified message needs to be assigned to the “Data” field in the return object.

Webhooks: 5 Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices

There are many use cases for the Webhooks (Post-Hooks) and Pre-Hooks. These tools can be used to improve product engagement, reduce in-app friction, and achieve your Product-Led Growth business goals. We have shortlisted five important use cases, where they can enhance your conversion rates and customer satisfaction metrics. Let’s get started.

1 – Reduce Dependence on Support Teams

Using the right Webhook can give you the ability to automatically pop up a bot message from the support team after the user completes the sign up process. This reduces in-app friction and also reduces the stress on your support team. The same can be done with an automated welcome back message, when a user comes back from a long period of inactivity. Re-onboarding is often overlooked.

2 – Make the Shift from Content to Video Smoothly

The famous “Content is King” slogan is getting outdated. As per a recent Wyzowl study, 8 out of 10 customers have purchased or upgraded an app after watching a related video clip or tutorial. You can use Webhooks to make the shift from cumbersome and text-heavy popups to pure video content. One such example is automatically shooting up an onboarding video for new customers.

3 – Improve Cross-Department Collaboration

With more and more users signing up for Freemium version or Free Trials, managing account signups can become challenging. But the good news is that all cross-department actions can be automated with Webhooks. For example, when a new account is opened, you can automate a relevant CRM notification to the Sales and Marketing teams. This essentially speeds up the entire process.

4 – Avoid Identity Conflicts and Duplication Issues

The SaaS space has become very dynamic. The boundary between B2C and B2B business is almost non-existent. For example, a dev from a startup can start using a service, with the CTO following suit after a few months. You can eliminate these kinds of conflicts and duplications by implementing a Webhook that will notify you about these issues in real time. That’s what PLG is all about.

In the aforementioned example, the Pre-Hook blocks the second signup and adds the CTO to the existing account. But there can be a different use case, where he can receive an error popup or email with the duplication information.

5 – Streamlining Password Management

Passwords are here to stay, despite the issues and backlogs it creates for support teams, not to mention the security risks involved. You can use Webhooks to send support teams password reset alerts for reduced friction. For example, if a user requests a password reset and completes the process (or fails), the support team can know about it instantly and act accordingly.

Related: Passwordless Authentication: Explained

Frontegg: Plug-and-Play Webhooks and Pre-Hooks

With Frontegg, you no longer need to write, edit, and test scripts for your Webhooks. We offer a wide range of Pre-Hooks and Post-Hooks for multiple use cases. This allows you to tweak and customize your SaaS application without adding more stress on support teams and allowing developers to concentrate on what matters most – working on the core technology.

What are you waiting for? Try it out now.