We asked one of our most experienced web analysts, Lance Nelson, to help us understand UX analytics (also known as session replay, click-mapping or in-page analytics).
How would you describe UX analytics?
UX analytics tracks what a visitor does within a page on your website – which is why it is sometimes called “in-page analytics”. For example, where they move their mouse and how they interact with videos and calculators.
How does it differ from web analytics?
Web analytics tools such as Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics show how visitors move through a website, but are not so good at showing exactly what happened on each page.
Web analytics funnel reports might show a drop in conversion from one page to another – but what is the problem on the first page? Is the page badly designed? Can people not see the CTA button? Is something causing an error on a field? Without in-page analytics, we can only guess.
Common problem pages are applications forms, shopping carts, landing pages, long-copy articles or content-rich account pages.
Unfortunately, many web marketers jump straight to A/B testing various parts of the page – buttons, page layout, copy – hoping to stumble across the answer. Instead they should spend an hour looking at the in-page analytics to discover exactly what the problem is – and then A/B testing solutions to that.
What tools are there?
There are lots of vendors but the most commonly used are IBM Tealeaf, Clicktale, Crazy Egg, SnowPlow, Decibel, ContentSquare, SessionCam and HotJar.
Tealeaf and Clicktale are really aimed at the corporate market and can be quite expensive, but you can get some very good tools without spending huge money. In fact, if you only need basic functionality, HotJar is free.
What problems can UX analytics solve?
One of the most common uses is in application forms. How forms are being filled out correctly and are different methods (dynamically-generated forms and drop downs) improving the experience?
Everyone wants to know which fields cause the biggest drop-offs. Now you could tweak your Google Analytics tags to register on-click actions in each field. But the numbers would not be accurate. Fields completed using auto-fill, for example, don’t register a click – and users do not always fill out fields in the order we expect them to.
In-page analytics can help you focus on the exact field that has the problem. You can filter the sessions that had the problem and then replay a “video” of each session to see exactly what happened. It could be an error in the address lookup on certain postcodes, or it could be that a drop down list of job types was too long to scroll through. The session replay you can watch it happening. No amount of effort in Google Analytics or CRO would have told you this.
If you are content marketer, you might be interested in interactions within a long-copy article. Are people reading the whole page, scrolling to the bottom, and spending a reasonable amount of time on each paragraph? Or are they skimming through paragraphs to spend more time on infographics or videos? You might want to know about technical problems – if a widget was not loading for example. The clickmap will tell you exactly what parts of the page are attracting the most (and least) attention.
On a landing page, it might be interesting to find out which banner is providing the most valuable conversions. It might be that a promotion on the homepage is not being clicked on, but is having an effect on high value sales later in the purchase process. Some in-page analytics allow you to “monetise” the page – to see the contribution of each banner and banner to the final sale.
How does Mezzo Labs provide a solution?
We always recommend deploying three tags: an in-page analytics tag, a web analytics tag, and a CRO tag, preferably via a tag management system.
If you add all three tags, you have everything you need to identify UX and design problems and test solutions that will increase engagement or conversion.
Different products capture the page details in different ways – and some require a fair amount of customisation to capture the page accurately and can add a lot of “weight” to page load times. But some are light and relatively easy to deploy.
What are the business benefits of using these tools?
Ultimately the business benefit is either better engagement (more repeat visits) or better conversion (more sales).
Web analytics tools provide the aggregate view – path analysis, visitor types, user behaviour and so on. UX analytics tools provide the specifics.