The Digital Happiness Index: Quantifying Your Customer Experience

Although conversions are the desired outcome of a good customer experience, they are not the end-all be-all for brands. A happy customer may make a purchase, but more importantly, a happy customer will return.

But how exactly do you define customer happiness? How do you understand the nuances of customer frustration and pinpoint what exactly fosters engagement? And how do you turn all this intelligence into an effective retention strategy and greater customer lifetime value? 

There are plenty of systems designed to measure user experience; these primarily and, for the most part, deal with the locations users visit on your site, conversions and the oft-cited biggest UX failure: bounces. 

But a basic set of analyses on user experience won’t cut it, and certainly won’t glean any discernment on the nuances of users’ digital happiness. The good news is that, for brands interested in quantifying the user experience as a whole, there’s a metric that does exactly that.

Calculated from several other behavioral metrics and consolidated into one mega metric, the Digital Happiness Index (DHI) is a unique measure of visitor satisfaction, providing an objective view of whether or not your overall experience is hitting the right notes.

 


What Is Digital Happiness And How Can You Achieve It?

Before we delve into the DHI, let’s focus on digital happiness. A rather simple concept, it denotes the convenience, satisfaction and even the pleasure of interacting with a website or online interface such as a search engine results page (SERP). 

As a feeling, it is incidentally difficult to pin down, even in the digital realm. But with the new, futuristic metric that is the DHI, you can determine how happy your site visitors are, based on their experience with your site or app. 

The first of its kind, the DHI combines KPIs from the 5 key strands that contribute to overall customer satisfaction:

Is navigation seamless and friction-free? Is your content proving effective to helping visitors reach their goals? Are visitors coming back to your site? Are they exiting early or completing their journeys? And finally, are they finding what they’re looking for — be that information or products?

By quantifying these various strands of experience, and combining metrics into one score, the DHI provides brands with an objective grasp of whether or not visitors are enjoying a positive experience.

Calculating the DHI: the 5 Dimensions of Digital Experience 

Here is a look at what comprises the Digital Happiness Index and what makes it tick.

Using behavioral data from our tool, the DHI separates the data into 5 dimensions to filter the numbers into intelligible concepts behind visitors’ digital happiness. Our clients get a comparison to industry standards, and every score represents an aggregate of every session on the website.

As we mentioned earlier, the DHI has 5 components, aka the 5 dimensions that make up its final score, a number out of 100, which is the average of the 5 scores of each dimension. To come up with this rating, we consider the following five dimensions:

Each of these 5 individual scores is determined by its own calculations, based on metrics like time spent on site, time spent engaging with pages/elements, bounce rates, and more. 

It also takes into account if users have reached their destinations and the way they’ve done so. It captures whether users ran into UX issues like non-intuitive navigation — clicks on non-clickable content, misleading clicks, et al.

Making Sense of the Digital Happiness Index

Innovations in SaaS and marketing have led to more avant-garde methods of measuring digital customer experience and benchmarking customer satisfaction. 

Although the complex, 5-tier system of our mega metric is supplemental, it is very much in line with our granular approach to behavioral analytics. 

The fact that the 5 dimensions deal with different occurrences in the UX means the DHI is casting as wide a net as possible to capture your customer’s mindset. Based on this score, you can shine light on areas of friction and other obstacles in the customer decision journey

Customers today will not hesitate to review a poor UX or give one star for a session that doesn’t meet their expectations. But they are also giving you continuous feedback on your site or app through their interactions — with every tap, click, scroll or hover, they are voicing their feelings about your CX. 

Here at Contentsquare, we’ve got a horde of people dedicated to helping you hear and understand what your customers feel and want — in fact, we’ve got 170 people in R&D and innovation alone. 

Happiness of any kind is difficult to pin down to a numerical format. With a consolidation of 5 distinct aspects of the UX, you will come as close as possible to determining how digitally happy your visitors are with your content.

 

NEWS: Contentsquare launches most complete experience analytics platform in industry

NEW YORKOct. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Experience analytics leader Contentsquare today launches a major release of the most complete experience analytics platform on the market, helping brands to innovate based on customer behavior across digital channels.

Contentsquare now gives brands the ability to surface and quantify revenue-generating recommendations for experience improvements using artificial intelligence. Contentsquare customers can use these recommendations to immediately troubleshoot issues or innovate new ways to improve the experience. For example, teams can quickly understand the impact of changes to a web site or mobile app by comparing side-by-side the visitor experience over time or across split test versions.

This update to the platform is the work of a combined team of 170 innovators in R&D and product development who came together through the combination of Contentsquare and Clicktale, which was announced in July 2019. The teams have been working closely with customers to prioritize the use cases that drive the most return and upside for digital leaders across industries such as retail, travel, automotive, financial services and telecommunications.

The benefits to Contentsquare’s customers are huge. Armed with quantified alerts, the tool gives resource-stretched digital teams the ability to discover new growth opportunities to increase revenue, (worth up to nine times the revenue opportunity of fixing bugs). It also aligns the whole business around a single version of the truth with regards to digital customer behavior, with intuitive visualizations of macro behavior, and session replays for seeing behavior at the individual session level. As a result, teams can more quickly and confidently prioritize and execute on the experience changes that will mean the most for their business.

(PRNewsfoto/Contentsquare)

Feliz Papich, director of product management at Crocs, said: “Contentsquare aids our ability to innovate, giving us more room to do insight-driven experimentation with less risk. With the visualizations, we don’t have to make assumptions about the visitor experience, we can make enhancements based on tangible behavior. Contentsquare makes it easier for us to have the hard discussions about what to prioritize and implement to meet our big growth goals.”

Contentsquare’s new platform, available later this quarter, helps brands capitalize on the fact that consumers who receive a better customer experience spend up to 140% more than when they receive a poor experience (Harvard Business Review). It also helps brands operate more like best-in-class digital businesses, which can have 2-3x the lead generation and sales conversions versus the average according to Contentsquare insights.

Jonathan Cherki, founder and CEO, Contentsquare said: “At Contentsquare, we envision a world where every digital interaction is used to create better experiences and improve the quality of people’s lives. Traditionally, the barrier to turning that vision into a reality is that brands have been in the dark when it comes to understanding specifically how to design the experiences their customers will love and want to use again and again.

“With our technology, though, we are empowering brands with unique behavioral insights to create better experiences — and connecting those improvements more directly to the upside they drive for  their business and for their customers.”

How The North Face Optimized Its Gift Guide By Leveraging Customer Experience Intelligence

Although we’re slightly past mid-summer and have got quite a way to go before the mercury significantly drops, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holiday shopping season. Aside from which products you want to highlight and which promotions to push for the season of gift-giving, you’re keenly going to need to fine-tune your digital strategy. Otherwise, a UX left unoptimized for the holidays won’t reap the sweet bump in holiday conversions.

Optimizing the customer experience (CX) for the holiday shopping season begins with… you guessed it, your customers. There is much you can learn from the data on your visitors’ behaviors during the holiday shopping season — make sure these insights don’t go to waste! Our case study with one of our top clients, The North Face, shows that the proof is indeed in the pudding, as our granular insights informed key CX changes for the 2018 holiday shopping season.

The North Face & Its Primary Holiday Shopping Challenge: The Gift Guide

The North Face is a top-name brand that offers outdoor gear, particularly activewear and equipment to athletes, the athletically-inclined and anyone who wants to go on adventures and look stylish doing so.

Originating as a San Franciscan storefront, the brand has been investing heavily in its online customer experience to better serve the digital community of North Face aficionados. We worked with the gear company to help the team optimize a key digital asset for its 2018 holiday shopping season: its online holiday gift guide.

This gift guide is an annual online experience that helps customers find the right gifts through a wide index of products designated for the holidays. This content serves a critical purpose in aiding Q4 sales and maximizing the mighty potential of the season.

The gift guide was strategically set to go live in October, right before the high tide in holiday traffic, which granted the digital team ample time to analyze the digital engagement of early-bird shoppers. Through a granular analysis of digital interactions, The North Face was able to continue its strategic approach to its holiday shopping campaign, as it directed its UX findings to adjust the experience prior to initiating its gifting-centered marketing campaign.

The North Face is well-known for its outdoor and sporting gear.


Putting UX Analytics to Use

As part of its analysis of the Gift Guide, the digital team surveyed customer interactions on a per-page basis, to reel in a comprehensive understanding of the guide’s performance. The team specifically was on the lookout for frustration and friction points in the customer journey

The team looked at exposure rate, which takes into account how far down a page a user is scrolling and considers a zone seen when over half of it was viewed by a user. 

The North Face continued the UX analysis by studying the click recurrence (which measures engagement and frustration), the click-through rate (calculation of pageviews and clicks) and attractiveness rate (attractiveness of an element, dealing with clicks after exposure). What they found allowed them to make UX decisions rooted in data, which lead to several improvements.

The digital team at The North Face used heat maps and a variety of unique metrics for measuring the user experience of its Gift Guide.


Findings & Actions Taken to Yield an Improved User Experience

The digital team at The North Face analyzed the exposure rate of various elements of the guide, which sets forth how far down a user scrolls. It also dictates that a zone is seen once over half of it was viewed by a user. 

This analysis displayed a low exposure rate of the category CTAs, pointing to a need of adjusting the CTAs above the fold to improve their exposure. This UX change proved to be an improvement, as it brought the exposure rate of the CTAs up by 50%. This resulted in an increased visibility of each gifting category.

Heeding the click recurrence, the team unearthed a frustration stemming from multiple clicks on the hero image. This pointed to the fact that the hero wasn’t entirely clickable, so the team made it so, not just the product. This brought down the click recurrence of the hero to a satisfactory rate, with far fewer clicks since all of it was clickable.

The click recurrence metric also informed the team that there were multiple clicks on links to head to the Women’s Gift Guide page — even though users were already there. Through this insight, the team placed a header title to the page to make visitors aware of their presence on this destination within the site. Consequently, this action also reduced the click recurrence. 

As far as merchandising optimizations go, the digital team observed the click-through rate and attractiveness rate of each gift category. Through these, they were able to discern which categories were the most popular, as well as the importance of the position of these categories on the page. As such, the team moved the most popular ones further above the page to access the most popular items quicker.

The gift guide left users unbeknown that they were already on the Women’s Gift Guide page, unlike this clear-cut section on the website.


Optimizing Holiday Shopping Campaigns

Holiday shopping campaigns, much like many other retail campaigns, require a keen understanding of customer intent and engagement. Customer journeys are never stagnant, so you’ll notice that they alter — even among some common trends from season to season. That’s why you have to constantly monitor them, otherwise, you’re not getting the full picture of how customers and potential customers navigate your website, their frustrations and conversion opportunities.

Looking to granular analytics, the kind that can provide on-page behavior and interactions per element is a cure to the UX ignorance of your site. That’s because this kind of digital analysis doesn’t only show, it tells, particularly the correct implementations to your digital experience. This will assure you don’t remain in the dark on your UX during for the holiday shopping season for 2019, which is fast approaching.

 

UX Global Map Lessons: Comparing Online Customer Acquisition Marketing Channels

There’s a lot to learn from the way site visitors browse and interact with your website. Then there’s customer acquisition marketing, since before users navigate your site, they must be acquired, which is a digital marketing feat on its own. Much of what we cover is UX (user experience) — the environment and associated feelings users undergo on your website and other digital offerings.

But drawing users in is a major step, a push further down the sales funnel, bring them closer to conversion and certainly a crucial to brand awareness. Sometimes it involves perfecting the UX as well, except as an alternative to onsite behaviors, it deals with those on acquisition channels, some of which you can customize, i.e., social media.

As the final installment of our 3-part series covering the UX International Map, this iteration will edify you on what customer acquisition marketing channels look like through a global lens. After all, if you’re going to set up websites for different countries, acquiring the users of these countries and their distinct acquisition manners is key to be mindful of. 

Acquisition Channel Methodology 

In the past 2 UX map lessons, you’ve read that we parsed through over 35 million visitor sessions in January and February 2019 on 11 luxury websites — that’s 150 million page views and 3 billion clicks. 

The 7 countries we focused our analyses on were: the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, China and Japan. 

For each of the 7 countries we surveyed, we analyzed the performance of 12 acquisition channels — both paid and unpaid. For each country we scrutinized, we asked the following questions to get a deep read of how websites were gaining visitors: 

Free Vs Paid Acquisition Channels

The chief divide of digital acquisition channels is whether they are free or paid. Free acquisition channels, as their name suggests, are outlets that you can leverage for free. They encompass the following: 

Paid acquisition channels are cost-based and these costs are not unilateral. In other words, while PPC ads will cost you for each click on the keyword you bid on, affiliate marketing will cost you the amount agreed upon with your affiliate marketer. These channels include:

The Global Majority of Online Consumers Prefer Free Acquisition Channels

While it’s patently obvious that brands and marketers prefer to acquire consumers through free means, our analysis has found that even from a consumer standpoint, the preferred method of arriving at a new website is from a free traffic source. With a 61% global average share of traffic from free channels, this is something of a global consensus.

The customer audiences in Japan and Italy are at the higher ends of the free acquisition spectrum, as they reach websites through free channels at the respective rates of 69% and 65% of their total acquisition. The US comes in at third, with 62% of its site visitors springing from free acquisition channels.

France has the lowest share of traffic from free channels, at 55%. Germany and China come in second at the low end of the free channel spectrum with traffic rates of 58% from both countries. 

Global visitors mostly arrive at a site via free traffic acquisition, although France drives a large portion of paid traffic.


Acquisition through Consumer Research or Recommendation

Another way to gauge customer preferences and segment behaviors is by analyzing whether visitors land on your site from independent research or by following a product recommendation. It’s crucial to study this, since some consumers arrive at your website through their own due diligence from research, while some need to be marketed to concertedly, i.e., in a direct way, often involving recommendations. (Think targeted ads and sponsored social content).

Here are a few independent research channels: 

Here are a few recommendation research channels:

So which acquisition method, independent research or product recommendation takes the victory among our swath of global consumers? In this type of acquisition square-off, the emerging winner is independent research, which holds the majority across every country we surveyed.

In Italy, 92% of consumers reach a site through their own research, overshadowing the country’s 8% of consumers who reach a site by following a link. China is at the lowest end of the independent research gamut, with 54% of its users reaching websites through their own research, but even this lower rate shows a favorability among consumers to visit a website based on their own findings instead of recommendations made to them. 

Japan and the US follow Italy, with a respective 81% and 80% of users landing on a website through independent research.

Independent research drives most global visitors to a site, but has a varying traffic share per country.

 

Organic Search Traffic Dominates in the US, Italy and Japan

Organic search traffic (SEO) overshadows paid search, affiliate marketing and other acquisition sources in the US, Italy and Japan. This is due to the dominance of free acquisition in these 3 countries, raking in over 40% of user acquisition in these 3 countries, with a massive 70% in Japan.

Traffic from SEO has the highest influence in Japan, with 48% of traffic coming from organic search. Italy ranks in second on SEO acquisition, with 40% of consumers reaching websites this way and the US comes in at third, with 32%.

Reel in Traffic with Display Ads in China

Gaining site in traffic is heavily dependent on display ads, along with the Baidu Brand Zone technology. Procuring 28.2% of all traffic acquisition in China, this channel is a force to be reckoned with in order to increase site visitors. While globally, there is far less dependence on this channel (only 4.1%), in China it is a key player in obtaining traffic. Display ads go in tandem with this channel and also fall within the trend of using visuals to keep users interested.

Email Marketing and Social Reign Supreme in the UK

In the UK, customer acquisition is contingent on social marketing efforts. At 12.4%, social customer engagement spurs twice as much traffic in the UK as it does in any of the other countries surveyed. Aside from social, email campaigns are also drivers of successful traffic, raking in 6.7% on desktop and a heaping 18.4% on mobile. Organic search traffic lags behind in the UK, as far as traffic is concerned, accounting for only 23.1% of traffic, as opposed to the global 31.5% global ranking.

France is All About Paid Tactics 

Whether it’s coming from SEM, PPC or paid social, paid tactics are driving up traffic in France. Paid channels account for almost half of all French traffic at 45%. This traffic mainly comes from paid search, which rakes in 29% of the traffic. SEM in France brings in roughly a third more in traffic than in all the other countries we analyzed. A significant part of the traffic in France is wrought by paid social — 8.4%, as opposed to the global average of 4.7%.

German Traffic: Paid Search and Direct 

German traffic acquisition is dominated by two sources: paid search and direct traffic. Paid search yields 27.3% of all traffic in the country, while direct traffic is even more powerful in drawing in users, as it’s higher in Germany than any of the other 6 countries at 26.1%. The direct traffic average globally is at 21.9%. High direct traffic visitations suggest that visitors in this country have a vested interest and loyalty in big-name brands.

Optimizing The Landing Page — Whatever The Traffic Channel

Understanding how your site acquires visitors, who might later become customers, is as crucial as studying the UX of your website. After all, no matter how ideal your UX is, it won’t matter if little to no one arrives at your website. As such, acquisition channels provide a kind of hook, line and sinker approach where acquisition is concerned. 

Acquisition channels are markedly useful and necessary for drawing in customers, but you must remember their limited scope in your overall digital marketing strategy. As their name suggests, they are good for acquisition but have little to do with retention. These channels may even hurt your UX and thereby conversions if these channels redirect visitors to irrelevant pages.

This is why the landing page is a critical aspect of acquisition — and retention. A landing page that’s relevant and optimized for users will maintain a good UX and digital happiness. So make sure to study the elements of your landings pages and see which ones are detrimental to the customer journey. There’s no point in optimizing acquisition only to lose your customers later on. 

Why Digital Experience Analytics Matters

Analytics have made a splash in the realm of marketing, to say the least. The need for data is more apparent than ever, as more brands are marketing themselves under the coveted category of “data-driven.” In reality, they are not becoming data-driven fast enough, if at all. 

We can vouch for the fact that data trumps intuition, but aside from arming yourself with industry data that relates to your vertical for market research, it’s also vital to compile site data on your own site visitors. That’s where digital experience analytics solution enters the picture, and it does so in a substantial way. 

Most web analytics platforms show how a websites is accessed, along with some of the activity that occurs on it. Granular digital experience analytics takes this further, in a concerted effort to measure digital customer experience (CX). As such, it offers acute data sets, visualizations and metrics that evaluate and quantify how visitors interact with the individual elements of your website. But not all user experience analytics solutions provide the same granularity of data.  

Most analytics platforms do not take user insights a step further, so they do not give you a more granular performance review of your site or app, meaning that you wouldn’t be able to comprehend how each in-page element is used and how it contributes to a broad set of KPIs. 

In short, user experience analytics is a functionality designed to give you insights into visitors’ user experience. It’s incredibly important for both marketers, web developers and designers alike, as it dictates their strategy and implementations. But not all DX platforms offer the same capabilities.

So why exactly does digital experience analytics matter? Let’s find out.

Understanding Your Customers

If you don’t understand your customers, your website will show, leading to reduced activity, heightened bounces and poor conversion rates. Digital experience analytics allows you to segment your audience based on their behavior, and unlock a much deeper understanding of their needs and expectations.

From what visitors are trying to achieve and how they want to go about achieving it, to what causes frustration along their customer journey, analytics gives brands a nuanced read of these occurrences. Pure play brands are masters at leveraging this type of customer intelligence as they hyper-target their offerings to specific segments. With this approach, they are not attempting to be all things to all users, but are tapping into the minds of their most profitable segments, implementing high levels of customization.  

Behavioral analytics can highlight visitors’ distinctive behaviors on your website, such as where they are most engaged, where they click and how often, the frequency of their hovers on a particular part of a page, the time they spend per page or element and much more.

We recently helped, travel leader Pierre & Vacances identify customer preferences for targeted optimizations. After analyzing customer behavior on its holiday property search results page, the brand found that site visitors were interacting heavily with the “number of rooms” filter (it had a high click rate and a hearty dose of conversions).

However, this filter was lost among a wealth of other filtering options. Based on this intelligence, the brand placed the filter in the second position on the filter bar, making it easier for users to find it. 

The moral of their story is that once you’ve figured out through  DX analysis what your users’ precise intentions are, you can then go about improving your digital experience to allow them to seamlessly complete their intended tasks without incurring any frustration. 

Additionally, it’s interesting to learn about online behaviors of visitors in different regions of the world. As per our Global UX Map, a comprehensive report on the user behavior of visitors in 7 countries, we’ve found just that.

For example, we learned that visitors China are happy to engage with visuals, with a slideshow click rate of 5.5, so adding product images on your China site makes for a great UX. On the contrary, using a lot of visuals like slideshows is less well-received by visitors in the US and Italy, which have the respective click rates of 1.3 and 2.5 on the slideshow, the lowest of all the surveyed countries. 

In both of these cases, DX analytics has the prowess to empower digital teams with localizing knowledge that can assure a positive UX for global users. 

Creating Data-Driven CX Decisions 

Digital experience analytics matter where website design is concerned, as it dictates what the experience will look like for visitors. If it doesn’t, chances are, your analytics platform isn’t very robust and offers little else aside from a traditional traffic analysis. 

A granular user experience analytics space empowers its users to make data-driven CX (customer experience) decisions, and if you couldn’t tell from this blog, CX is not something to ignore. It is critical for the sake of both acquisition and retention, especially the latter, which is important for maintaining a steady revenue stream.

With data providing multiple reference points to optimize your content, you can do so innovatively and confidently. An optimized CX will make it so that you can streamline your customer journeys and remove frustrations, the latter of which impedes conversions. It can also help you detect if there are any errors in the elements that yield conversions themselves, such as CTAs, form fields and buttons that signal making a purchase.

But it doesn’t end with conversion-bound elements. A deep experience analysis can identify a host of other faulty site elements which stir your site visitors into leaving. That’s where a data-driven analysis comes into play, finding pesky problems in the design and structure of your website that can have grim consequences on your CX.

A data-backed CX optimization plan acts as a security net for brands seeking to try new things on their sites. Perhaps there’s a trendy feature you want to try out or a new setup of a crucial site element. Delving into new implementations is a rocky road, but with data on your side, you’ll be informed as to what works and what doesn’t.

Furthermore, making data-driven decisions allows all team members to own business goals, measure the contribution of their revenue and quantify the ROI of the experience.

Making Headway in Conversions

After you’ve done your CX homework, testing what strategies work and keeping close tabs on how your website is used, you check to see the impact. Which ROI is more important than conversions? Most marketers would agree that conversions are of the utmost importance for a business if not one of the most important.

Aside from boosting conversions, digital experience analytics assists in all the steps leading up to conversions, as it visualizes user flows with customer journey mapping. Understanding how users navigate your site is the first marker of what needs to be improved, along with indicating what works and what drives interest among visitors.

As such, granular analytics provides the relevant data and metrics for CRO (conversion rate optimization). Optimizing conversions always starts with measuring the experience on your site and/or app. As for preserving retention, a chief business goal, digital experience insights will assure you know what works and what doesn’t — essentially giving you more knowledge into how to retain conversions by keeping hold of the same site visitors.

Getting The Most Out Of Digital Experience Insights 

Digital experience analytics carry weight with the entirety of your user experience, as it can quantify a host of user data: their interactions, hesitations, frustrations, etc. on your website. Because of this, it should be a top-priority implementation into your marketing plans. However, not all user experience platforms have the same built-in capabilities — particularly the actionable, full-picture data of all the goings-on of your website. 

For example, not all of such platforms analyze individual site elements and how they fare in traditional metrics, let alone more robust ones. So you should be selective when choosing your experience analytics software. Don’t forget: you ought to aim for retention over acquisition, as once your users visit your site and enjoy what they experience, the likelihood of them returning shoots up.

 

Analyzing Visitor Behavior For Conversion Rate Optimization

There’s More to Conversion Rate Optimization

You’re probably aware of the weight that analytics carry in your overall marketing executions. While quantitative analytics solutions give you a good indication of what is happening on your website (conversions, bounces, etc), they don’t present a granular understanding of your customers’ user experience. And when it comes to conversion rate optimization (CRO), the more you know, the better.

Behavioral analytics put forth a deep reading of how visitors interact with individual elements on your web, mobile site and app. By tracking advanced KPIs, behavior-based solutions allow you to discover high points of friction and hesitation, which traditional programs analytics do not offer. They also reveal the areas of your site that contribute to engagement and conversion goals.

Let’s take a gander at the more latent analytics waiting to be used at your disposal for CRO.

Behavioral Analysis to Improve Conversion Rates

In the context of website and mobile analytics, behaviors and their derivative behavioral analysis can be narrowed down to a few quick, yet vital actions that users take on your website.

So what are behaviors in the context of site analytics? A behavior is a navigational action made by a user that gets recorded by a tag. Such an action can be culled and accessed as part of a UX optimization strategy to improve a website’s conversion rate. Behaviors can include page views, clicks and hovers (to name a few) with each event painting a nuanced picture of how your site is used.

Since 90% of behaviors occur between clicks, a true observation into behavior would require looking at the behaviors beyond clicks alone. These include the behaviors not limited to a single action, such as frustration, hesitation and engagement.

Being able to understand the customer story behind behaviors is key to rolling out the improvements that will have a positive impact on engagement and conversion rate optimization. Clicks, for example, can signify both interest AND frustration — what matters is figuring out which it is.

Behavioral Analysis Starts with Customer Journeys

The first step of a behavioral analysis is to identify where on your site lie the biggest issues and opportunities. This comes from surveying the customer journey. This journey grants a step by step view into how visitors traverse across your website, mobile sites and apps. You can see all the pages users have visited to put together the story behind their digital journey: where they leave and what has led them to conversion. These paths make up the user flow, a crucial aspect of UX that gives you a clear vantage point to the visitor’s intent, which is much-needed to landing conversions.

For example, a site visitor may be on your site for a number of reasons: to window-shop, check out their local store’s opening hours, add a promotional code to a cart to see the price difference, etc.

Customer journeys are visualizations that shine a light on user intent — vital information when you’re trying to develop a customer-centric digital experience. Understanding customer intent will help you optimize your content and know how to best guide visitors down the conversion funnel. It’s also the cornerstone of a satisfying experience, which itself is a guarantee of long-term customer loyalty. If visitors do not convert on their first go, a good UX will spur them to in future visits.

For example, a number of airlines have earned a negative reputation due to their substandard customer experience. But their low prices have gained them the ability to capture a solid customer base. Airlines that offer low prices coupled with good customer experiences (including digital) will undoubtedly give these shoddy airlines a run for their money due to their competitive edge.

Customer journeys present you with a detailed view of where your visitors drop by on your platform, a function that allows you to see where they enter, where they head to next and all the pages in between exits and conversions. Viewing them will help you understand how your site is being used and how to optimize these journeys to ramp up the conversion rate.

For example, if the bounce rate for a landing page is at 60%, a behavioral analysis will provide insight into why visitors are bouncing. This is because it shows you what users do on a page before they bounce, which you ought to look at to make the proper optimizations.

Other issues affecting conversions can manifest as repeated attempts on a payment or login page. This suggests a struggle and thereby, frustration within users. Identifying this is a must in order to improve the conversion rate.

Zone-Based Heatmaps for Better Readings

Now that you’ve identified your most critical opportunities and issues, the next step is to answer why they are happening and how you can improve. That’s where we dovetail customer journey analysis with zone-based heatmaps, as they perfect the heat map with a more granular measure of digital behavior. Traditional heat maps appear as a big blob of colors on a page, showing the areas with the most engagement. They don’t however, give you insight into the performance of each page element.

That’s where zone-based heat maps come to the rescue. Like regular heat maps, zone-based maps are highly visual aides that display the most and least popular places on a site page in different colors. However, they have the added capacity of gauging each site element, so you can understand how visitors interact with each one, and what role they play in the overall customer experience.

To do this, zone-based heat maps are numbers-based, so along with the colors, they display attribution and performance metrics, such as click attribution, time spent on each element, conversion rates, revenue per click, etc.

Having this information on hand can help teams pinpoint precise areas of hesitation and engagement, allowing them to carry out targeted, data-backed optimizations. For example, rethinking the location of an image that visitors find attractive but is hidden beneath the fold can have a positive impact on revenue.

What’s more is that today, teams don’t even need to tag elements manually, thanks to the technology that scans all your site elements with precision, identifying CTAs, photos, text, carousels and other content in the process. This kind of smart technology is far ahead of the kind you’d get with a traditional analytics solution.

Reining in Confusion & Interest by Observing Hesitations

Behavioral analytics has the capacity to determine not just where people visit, but to also reveal what feelings individual elements of content trigger within visitors.

One of the things it can reveal is if and where users are hesitating on your website. You can leverage hesitation time, a metric that relays the average time elapsed from the last hover to the first click on a zone, which shows you whether your content is easily understood, or if it causes users to hesitate. Understanding this gives you a data-backed picture of the content that stalls visitors — crucial knowledge when deciding on where to optimize the UX for better conversions.

Scroll Behavior to Identify Exposure

Scroll behavior is crucial to evaluate in order to optimize conversion rates. A user’s scroll behavior depicts which part of a page garners engagement. When analyzing scrolling behavior, you can surmise that users are scrolling when they read something or are in search of a particular piece of information. In either case, there exists some level of interest in your content.

This behavior allows marketers, along with web designers to comprehend exactly how to tinker with page length, or the length of an in-page element that has a scrolling function. In short, scrolling behavior provides context into the impact of longer content. This is especially important for conversion rate optimization, as many scrollable elements lead to CTAs.

Scrolling behavior can be analyzed by way of exposure time, which you can use to see the elements users are scrolling past, to see if they are missing or ignoring a particular element. Or you can also refer to exposure rate, which reveals how far down users are scrolling on a page on average.

This can help you uncover real gems under the fold — areas of the page where visitors who scrolled far enough stopped to linger and engage with the zone. This insight, combined with the hover to conversion rate, can highlight highpoints of visitor engagement that would benefit from more visibility.

Measuring User Engagement with A Designated Metric

Conversion rate optimization can be bolstered by creating engaging content, but no matter how well you think your content is faring, it has to be measured for its efficacy. Traditional analytics fall short here because it cannot distinguish whether an abundance of clicks conveys positive engagement or frustration. Fortunately, there is a formulaic way to measure user engagement.

With the engagement rate metric, you can determine how intuitive your site elements are, i.e., how well users are able to understand how they work and what they do. The metric is calculated by dividing the number of page views who click on a zone by the number of page views with a hover on the zone. This represents the percentage of visitors who clicked on a zone or element after hovering over it.

Clickable elements, especially those that lead to conversions, should have high engagement rates, as this metric essentially shows if a zone has good affordance in light of clickability. So you should make all the aspects of the zone underscore that it’s clickable. This metric will show you if you need to make any changes to such site elements.

The engagement rate of an element can also be used to guide you where on a page to place an element. For example, elements with high exposure and a low engagement rate show that while visitors see these elements and are hovering over them, they don’t click.

Such a scenario reveals either confusion or a lack of interest in users. Thus, this insight points to the need to clarify these elements, i.e., they should clearly show why users should click on them and what they’ll see when they click.

Performance Targeting by Way of Benchmarking

Performance targeting comes from a kind of competitive analysis, one that brings you a  side-by-side comparison of content element performance and the like. Performance targeting provides data and insights on how your website is performing against industry averages, essentially showing you the behavioral standards sector by sector.

Additionally, it scraps the need to scout out analytical sources of industry averages, which are not readily available to the public. Performance targeting puts various benchmarks on display for comparison (such as engagement, conversion and revenue). Additionally, it provides insights into content element performance — average locations and sizes for common site elements like the search bar, menu and homepage hero banner.  

Lastly, it shows the typical behavioral standards on websites in a particular industry. This allows you to determine exactly what type of content to target and how to modify for better engagement and CRO.

Summing Up Unique Behavioral Analysis for CRO

Collating analytics should — and usually does — involve examining the most relevant metrics for conversion rate optimization. These bits of data will help you configure the best practices for the UX, as well as weed out the harmful elements of your website. But common behavioral analyses and their corresponding metrics like bounce rate and conversions are not enough, certainly not for conversion rate optimization. To tap into the minds of your site users and potential customers, you need to employ a unique behavioral analytics solution, which provides additional data-based perspectives and a slew of insight that will prove invaluable for conversion rates.