(2022) 8 SaaS Trends Founders Need To Be Aware Of

Denis Shatalin
Founder of Saas Camp
SaaS has been around for a while—since the days of floppy disks and CD ROMs, according to most internet historians.

Still, as far as industries go, SaaS is still relatively young. It's constantly evolving in response to demand shifts, technological advancement, and new business models. That means SaaS developers and founders need to be open to evolving, too.

But what trends should SaaS founders be ready to embrace in the coming years? That's the question I'll be answering here. So, if you're a SaaS developer who wants to stay ahead of the game, read on!

What Is SaaS?
SaaS is easy to define—at least on the surface.

It stands for software-as-a-service. It's a type of cloud computing system wherein businesses pay regularly for access to applications hosted by an outside service provider, rather than buying and hosting the software themselves.

Beyond this basic definition, defining SaaS gets a little more complicated. There are tons of characteristics you could point to, including:

  • Continuous Development: SaaS products are never “finished”—they are always evolving to meet customer needs. Otherwise, it would be hard to justify paying more than once.
  • Low Upfront Costs: SaaS products are subscription-based and (usually) require less upfront investment.
Multi-Tenancy: All users of a single SaaS product instance share the same code base, which makes it easier and cheaper for developers to keep up with changes.

Why Should You Care About SaaS Trends?
Building a SaaS product that people continue to pay for month after month is about much more than chasing trends, fads, and passing fancies. You need to find a sustainable niche to deliver real, lasting value in.

Not all trends die out, though. Some go on to become integral parts of the industry that we end up taking for granted. These trends are the ones that are worth caring about because they allow you to future-proof your product and capitalize on the needs of future users.

Before we dive into the list, here's a quick example.

COVID-19 lockdowns meant tons of employers needed to adopt a hybrid or WFH model. That led to a trend in SaaS to prioritize features that made it easier to collaborate remotely—think virtual whiteboards, remote code editors, and asynchronous communication apps.
Book design is the art of incorporating the content, style, format, design, and sequence of the various components of a book into a coherent whole. In the words of Jan Tschichold, "methods and rules upon which it is impossible to improve, have been developed over centuries. To produce perfect books, these rules have to be brought back to life and applied."
Front matter, or preliminaries, is the first section of a book and is usually the smallest section in terms of the number of pages. Each page is counted, but no folio or page number is expressed or printed, on either display pages or blank pages.
Incorporating AI doesn't guarantee success. But if the growing list of companies that have positioned themselves around AI is any indication, it's something investors and users are looking for.

2. No-Code and Low-Code

No-code and low-code tools are becoming increasingly popular as they enable business users to build complex solutions without writing any code.

With no-code platforms, users can create a wide range of digital products—from eCommerce stores to custom web applications. Low-code tools, on the other hand, allow developers with some coding skills to quickly build applications that can be customized as needed.
No-code and low-code tools are still relatively new, but they’re currently blowing up in terms of popularity. Don’t believe me? Searches for “low-code tools” and “no-code tools” are up by 663% and 229% respectively since five years ago.

3. Micro SaaS

In case there's anyone reading who's unfamiliar, micro SaaS products are small, focused applications that solve a very specific problem for a very specific set of users. In other words, they're vertical products (rather than horizontal).

There's a fairly common misconception in SaaS that building a highly vertical product will limit your market too much to be worth the effort. But the reality is that micro SaaS products are able to satisfy needs that more general-purpose products simply can't.

If you’re looking for a tool to manage a gym, you could go with a general-purpose SaaS platform that offers management features. But you'll be sacrificing niche features like class scheduling that the developers didn’t see as valuable enough to include. That's why a gym-focused micro SaaS product like PushPress has been able to gain traction.

Micro SaaS products are (relatively) simple to develop, low-maintenance, and have a disproportionate amount of growth potential if you find a promising niche.
Plus, searches for “micro SaaS” have increased by more than 270% in the past five years—and it doesn't look like they'll be slowing down any time soon.
4. SEO and Content Marketing
If search trends are anything to go by (and they are)—content is still king.

Searches for “SaaS SEO” are up by 90% since five years ago, with searches for “content marketing” holding steady at a very high volume.
Banner blindness is a very real phenomenon—and companies are turning to SEO and content marketing to reach customers who are getting better at ignoring overt marketing. That's why tools like SEMRush ($1.9B) have done so well—they provide companies with the data they need to craft effective SEO strategies.

Developers who create tools that simplify some (or all) aspects of this tricky discipline will have no problem finding customers.
5. User Onboarding
SaaS developers need to teach people how to use their products—but many don't want to waste time coding onboarding features themselves. That's where user onboarding tools come in.

These are software products that make it easier to set up an onboarding process, track users, and send automated notifications. The goal is to reduce onboarding friction, increase user engagement, and ultimately reduce churn.

Done right—user onboarding tools can be an invaluable asset to any SaaS business. Just look at Appcues ($193M)—it helps companies onboard customers quickly and easily—and its success speaks for itself.
Searches for “user onboarding” have increased by 171% in the past five years—so this is one trend that doesn't seem to be losing steam any time soon.
6. Integrations
Integrations make it easy to connect other applications with your SaaS product, so users can access data and features from multiple sources.

The trend towards integration has been growing steadily in the past few years—and it's no surprise why: integrated systems are more efficient, easier to use, and provide a better user experience overall.

Integration-focused software companies like Zapier ($1B) and Segment ($1.5B) are some of the most successful SaaS businesses out there—and for good reason. That said, native integrations are becoming increasingly common—so developers who create solutions that make integration easier will have an edge.
Searches for “integrations” and related terms have increased by 93% since five years ago.

7. Mobile Support

It's no secret that we're building towards a mobile-first world. Roughly 60% of Google searches are now done on mobile devices. You’d think more SaaS products would be available on mobile, but the truth is a little complicated.

The idea of mobile SaaS products has been getting thrown around for years. People predicted an explosion of mobile-first SaaS products, and when it didn't happen, that prediction would get a new date.

Now, years later—we still haven't seen the mobile SaaS revolution. But we are seeing a related trend happening in mobile-supported SaaS products. Many SaaS companies are making it a priority to extend the functionality of their products to mobile devices.

It's still an emerging trend, but developers who create well-designed mobile experiences for their SaaS products are sure to win in the end.

8. PaaS

SaaS products are great at providing immediate solutions. They're not so great at providing custom solutions. That's where Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) comes in.

PaaS is a type of cloud computing platform that allows developers to build custom applications on top of pre-existing infrastructure. It provides a way for companies to quickly create and deploy custom solutions without having to build everything from scratch.

PaaS is still a relatively new concept, but it's growing quickly in popularity—especially among SaaS companies. And it's not hard to see why. PaaS has the potential to drastically reduce development time and costs.

The current PaaS market is valued at roughly $60B, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.3% expected over the next 5 years. So, it's clear that more and more businesses are looking to take advantage of what PaaS has to offer.

Let's Take Your SaaS to the Next Level

There has never been a better time to create a successful SaaS product. Over the next few years, we'll be seeing more and more companies breaking through to the mainstream—and it's likely to be those who are focusing on innovation and developing solutions that match user needs.

If you're looking for help to get your SaaS product off the ground, you're in the right place. I've helped hundreds of entrepreneurs fine-tune their products, find product-market fit, and build successful SaaS businesses.

If you're ready to take the next step, apply to SaaS Camp or shoot me an email about your product.

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✋ Hey, it's Denis! Thanks for reading :) Want help with your startup or to have a chat? Just reach out to me on Twitter, Email or LinkedIn.