Best Practices

When AI meets product-led growth

Published May 18, 2023
As teams are forced to do more with less, AI-powered features are particularly appealing—and a great way to drive product-led growth. 

Across industries and businesses, people can’t seem to stop talking about the disruptive power of AI. From the ability of programs like ChatGPT to create emails, articles, and reports based on simple prompts, to AI programs’ capacity to analyze business results and advise on strategies, the corporate world is abuzz with how disruptive this technology will prove to be. 

Companies are also starting to leverage AI to enhance and improve many of the products and features they already offer. Consider Canva, the popular app for creating social media graphics and slide decks with ease. With a new AI-powered offering called Magic Design, users can now get help not only with generating the design and layout of decks, but with crafting the content as well. Amidst continuing economic uncertainty, where head counts are frozen or shrinking and teams are forced to do more with less, this kind of feature is particularly appealing—and a great way to drive product-led growth. 


Helping customers get to bigger “aha” moments faster

This AI-powered deck creation tool is the focus of the latest “PLG Teardown” episode, where the team looks at how well Canva leverages it in service of the six core principles of product-led growth. By creating content that’s both well designed and substantively on point, Canva’s Magic Design tool demonstrates huge value to users fast—getting them to an “aha” moment ASAP. And it does so via a free user experience (another core PLG principle). Here are two ways Canva is combining the power of AI and PLG. 

Craft upsell moments that give users a choice

As businesses think about how to most effectively convert software users from free to paid, many take the traditional approach of limiting the features on their “freemium” platform and imposing hard paywalls on other offerings. Canva’s approach is more subtle and nuanced. 

Consider what happens when a user decides they want to export and share the deck they just created using Magic Design. Rather than stop them in their tracks and give them no choice but to shift to a paid plan, Canva gives the user a set of choices. If they don’t want to pay, they can share the deck for free with watermarks on the images. They can also pay a one-time fee to share the images in the deck without watermarks, or opt for Canva’s pro plan and have access to the entire image library on an ongoing basis. 

By empowering the user to choose their own path forward, Canva is delighting them with options, and letting those who choose a paid path do so feeling as if it’s the natural next step rather than a result of pressure.

Make collaborating feel easy and natural

Creating assets (such as slide decks) meant to be shared is the perfect opportunity for a business to foster virality in product-led growth—and it’s one that Canva seizes on. They’re confident the power of a feature like Magic Design is one that delighted users will want to evangelize, and so they make it easy for users to collaborate with colleagues and friends with simple and clear prompts for link sharing and invitations to the platform. 

In product-led growth as in other areas, AI is not so much replacing human work and creativity as complementing and enhancing it. When it comes to PLG, AI features are delighting more users, driving more conversions, and bringing better business results in the process.

To explore Pendo’s PLG Teardown show more, visit the series page here.