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Activation Rates in the Gig Economy: How to Onboard Better and Convert Faster

Amy Watts
Amy Watts


The competition for talent in the on-demand space is fierce. With new platforms popping up each day, all the effort and time invested in acquisition can be wasted in an instant if your conversion funnel remains leaky.

This is where activation comes in. Encouraging your candidates to begin providing services on your platform - and simplifying the journey to productivity as much as possible - is key to preventing drop off at this crucial stage.

Read on to find out what activation actually entails, how to calculate your own activation rate, and the steps needed to improve it. 

  1. What is activation?

  2. What causes low activation rates?

  3. How can I calculate my activation rate?

  4. How can I improve my activation rate?

  5. Download our free activation rates guide

What is activation?

Activation is the second stage in the funnel that follows acquisition. An activated candidate is one who has performed the necessary steps to begin gaining value from your platform.

Different companies have different criteria for what constitutes ‘activation’. Some companies may define activation as account activation, i.e. completing an identity confirmation check. In the on-demand sector, activation is often synonymous with completion of the onboarding process, after which, a candidate should be ready to start working.

People at this stage are new to the platform and they need to be upskilled on how to use it to achieve their desired outcome (earning). Your goal should be to make them see the value as quickly as possible - assure them it is worth the time investment.


What causes low activation rates?

Low activation is the result of a barrier to use. Somewhere along the way the candidate has experienced friction, which results in them becoming less motivated to keep using your platform. 

Often, this barrier is caused by a poor onboarding process. Failure to provide candidates with adequate onboarding leads to high churn rates across multiple industries. It’s even been shown that 20% of people churn within their first 45 days.

Another common cause of dropoff in the activation stage is a design flaw in your UX. 52% of users say that a bad mobile experience makes them less likely to engage with a company, which is why each step in the funnel needs to be as intuitive and user friendly as possible. If not, you risk alienating your less technologically literate candidates and letting them fall away at the first hurdle.

How can I calculate my activation rate?

So, now that you know what activation rates are and why they’re so pivotal, the next step is to figure out exactly what proportion of your own candidates are activating.

This is the formula for calculating activation rate:


It’s recommended to evaluate your activation rates on a regular basis. Even if your current rate is high, don’t wait for it to become problematic before you re-address the situation.

Try running A/B tests to see how you can improve your activation rate over time, e.g. inserting a welcome video into your onboarding flow and comparing its performance with and without.


How can I improve my activation rate?

Time for the important bit, what can you do to improve a poor activation rate?

Essentially, it’s about setting newcomers up for success by enabling them to derive value from your platform as quickly as possible. 

In order to successfully take a first job and start earning, users will need to complete onboarding or compliance training, input certain data and pass certain checks. This takes time, which can quickly become a barrier to completion. In very simple terms - anything that reduces time to value will increase activation rate. 

The key to improving activation rates is therefore through your onboarding process. This is your opportunity to equip new starters with everything they need to start earning, as quickly and easily as possible. 

All onboarding content should be bite-sized, engaging and centered around the fundamentals. Try not to overload individuals with too much information at once, and ensure that it’s delivered in a way that’s accessible for your candidate.

At EduMe, we believe in the power of mobile onboarding - it enables you to roll out onboarding at scale, to any market, and provide standardized training that’s tailored to your end users’ needs. 

For more in-depth examples of how to improve activation rates with success stories from clients such as Uber, download our full guide here.

To find out more about what EduMe can to do help and chat to our team, book a demo below 👇