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Coinbase’s simple inline invite panel and referral rewards

Coinbase is an online cryptocurrency exchange for web, iOS, and Android that handles many types of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum.

Like cryptocurrency itself, Coinbase has grown through word-of-mouth, as existing users tell their friends, families, and colleagues about the platform. But Coinbase doesn’t rely on its users’ goodwill alone—they also offer a $10 invite bonus for both parties to incentivize user invites.

Let’s take a look at how they made their referral process an example of really good UX:

Inline user invite prompt

When a user logs into Coinbase, they’re greeted with an invite offer at the very top of their screen. The panel is prominent without being obtrusive, and gives users several options to invite successfully. However, the panel can be dismissed—an important design choice as well.

coinbase dashboard invite a friend reward prompt and referral rewards program

It’s the details that make this particular user invite such great UX. For instance, the “Send invites” button is clearly disabled until a valid email address is entered, which gives clear feedback about what’s possible to do right now, so the user is always clear on the current state.

invite a friend email field gif

And the placeholder text “Enter email address” gives clear instructions. Upon clicking “Send invites” the user receives clear feedback in the placeholder field that the invite is on the way.

Simple sharing options

Don’t have a friend’s email address? Coinbase also makes it simple to share the invite via other channels with clear and easy options.

Clicking “Share” (which has a clear, recognizable icon and copy) opens a simple, clear menu. The call to action gets straight to the point—“Share your link”—and the 3 social sharing options are easy to tell apart by both color and logo.

share link example with 3 social buttons for one click sharing

Clicking “Copy link” is also as simple as can be: one click copies it to your clipboard and once again, clear feedback tells you the job is done.

single click copy link to clipboard to share user invite

Why this is really good UX:

  • The invite panel is prominent without getting in the way, making it more likely to be noticed but unlikely to cause frustration. 
  • Coinbase isn’t forcing the user to do something they don’t want to do—it’s easy to dismiss the panel (and easy to change your mind, since an invite CTA lives in the top menu bar).
  • It gives the user several options over how to complete the task, giving them control over their own usage of the feature (and probably making it more likely that they’ll complete the task).
  • Each action has clear and obvious feedback when it’s been successfully completed.

Why this really good UX really matters

  • Referrals are a great way to drive new acquisition. And because your users are the ones doing most of the legwork, the cost of acquisition for invited users is typically significantly lower.
  • Making the invite process as pleasant and painless as possible gives users a reason to send more invites (a real monetary reward doesn’t hurt, either). More referrals equals more new users equals more referrals equals compounding growth!