The Digital Happiness Index: Quantifying Your Customer Experience


Lorraine Ryshin

March 30, 2021 | 5 min read

Last Updated: Jun 2, 2023

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 one-time purchase, but more importantly, a happy customer will return to do business with your company time and time again.

But, how exactly do you define something as elusive as customer happiness? How do you understand the nuances of customer frustration and pinpoint what exactly fosters engagement? And, how do you turn all of this data and intelligence into an effective retention strategy that drives greater customer lifetime value (CLV)? 

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

But, unfortunately, basic user experience metrics won’t give you enough insight into the nuances of users’ digital happiness. Sure, studying on-page experience, bounce rate, time on page, and other CX metrics are important, but they only give you a one-dimensional view of your customer experience. They fail to give you rich insights into customer sentiment. Fortunately, there is a metric that does exactly that: the Digital Happiness Index. 

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.

In this article we’ll look at:

  1. What Is Digital Happiness And How Can You Achieve It?
  2. What is The Current State of Digital Happiness?
  3. Calculating the DHI: the 5 Dimensions of Digital Experience
  4. Making Sense of the Digital Happiness Index


What Is Digital Happiness And How Can You Achieve It?

Before we delve directly into the DHI, let’s start by focusing 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 by using Contentsquare’s DHI metric, 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 5 key pillars that contribute to overall customer satisfaction: 

  1. Flawless: Are customers enjoying a smooth experience free of technical performance issues?
  2. Engaged: Are customers engaging with and satisfied with the content?
  3. Sticky: Are visitors loyal, returning to the site frequently?
  4. Intuitive: Does the navigation make it easy for visitors to enjoy a complete experience?
  5. Empowered: How easy is it for customers to find the products and services right for them?

Is your site’s navigation seamless and friction-free? Is your content proving effective in 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.


What is The Current State of Digital Happiness?

To better understand the current state of digital happiness in the world, we recently surveyed over 500 marketers and 4,000 shoppers from around the globe in our new Digital Happiness Pulse survey. Here are some of the shocking findings the survey revealed:

1. Most Marketers Can’t Measure Digital Happiness

  • 77% of marketers say their brands don’t think about customer happiness as a key concern
  • 84% of marketers can’t currently track the moods and mindsets of digital customers
  • 76% of marketers can’t accurately measure whether digital customers are happy

If brands are going to understand and improve the happiness of their digital customers, they need to focus on using the right metrics, getting access to the right customer data, and the right technology to make the first two possible.

2. Why Today’s Customers Are Unhappy Online

  • 49% of online shoppers feel unhappy when a site uses pop-ups and adverts
  • 42% of online shoppers feel unhappy when they can’t find what they’re looking for
  • 48% of online shoppers feel unhappy when a site or app crashes during checkout

When asked if they feel happy when shopping online, only 15% of consumers said yes. Considering that a quarter (25%) of customers feel nervous about shopping in-store since COVID-19, now is the time for brands to get serious about making online experiences just as good as — or better than — those in-store.

Every brand’s goal should be to create digital experiences that ensure customers leave your app, site, or online store happier than when they arrived. This doesn’t mean losing focus on retention, market share or brand awareness, but rather thinking about those objectives in the context of satisfying customers and building experiences they’ll love.

What even more stats on the state of digital happiness? Check out the Digital Happiness Pulse survey now.


Calculating The DHI: The 5 Dimensions of Digital Experience 

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 or 5 dimensions that make up its final score, a number out of 100. To calculate a site’s DHI, we take the average of the 5 scores of each dimension. To come up with this rating, we consider the following five dimensions: flawless, engaged, sticky, intuitive, and empowered

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, etc.

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 give brands the tools to capture this on-page feedback so you can hear and understand what your customers feel and want. 

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