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Last updated: February 2017
This is one of a series of articles. In the first part of the series, we explain why these techniques are the most reliable way to grow hugely any business. The first part also contains an infographic that summarizes the whole series.
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Web analytics software gives you details about the visitors to your website—where they came from, and which links they clicked on once they arrived.
It’s essential for conversion rate optimization (CRO), but it tells only a small part of the story. It’s like the closed-circuit TV cameras in a supermarket. They give an aerial view of where visitors entered the store, but they don’t reveal why the visitors came. They show the path that visitors took through the store, but they don’t reveal what the visitors were thinking. They show you exactly where and when the visitors left the store, but not why. Or what to do about it. For that, you’ll need the qualitative tools, which begin with Technique 5.
You’ll find web analytics most useful in the early stages of a project, when you are seeking to identify on which pages to start work. It will also inform the pages on which you should implement the tools described in the rest of this series of articles. If a page gets no visitors, then changing it will have no effect. Nor will changing a page that already has 100% conversion rate. Web analytics software will help you to identify the arteries of the website—the high-traffic flows that lead to successful conversions. Along with other tools, it can also help you to spot the aspects of those flows that are currently underperforming.
Despite being free, Google Analytics is a sophisticated and powerful web analytics suite. It is sufficient for most websites, and most of our clients use it or its enterprise equivalent, Google Analytics 360.
Kissmetrics and Mixpanel provide additional functionality that can be useful to conversion marketers. Cohort reports, for example, show how groups of visitors behave over a long period. Amplitude helps marketers to understand how users behave within a website or app.
Whereas web analytics software tells you what links your visitors click on, click-mapping software shows you which parts of your pages your visitors click on. There’s a subtle difference: click-mapping software shows you clicks even if they weren’t on a link. This information is displayed as a “heatmap,” like this:
Click-mapping offers several advantages:
We recommend you study click-mapping reports of your most important pages (in terms of revenue and traffic) and of any pages you feel may have usability issues.
Of course, most heatmaps show many things that are predictable, but that’s not why you should use heatmaps. Ignore the predictable heat and look for the anomalies.
We often use Crazy Egg (mobile-friendly), Hotjar (mobile-friendly), ClickTale (mobile-friendly) and several A/B-testing tools that include similar functionality. Other alternatives include Fullstory, Inspectlet, Decibel Insight (mobile-friendly), Jaco, Lucky Orange, MouseStats, Ptengine, UsabilityTools, UserTrack, and Zeerat.
Web analytics software is concerned mostly with the movement of visitors between pages. Session-recording tools can be a great complement, revealing what visitors did on each page, by capturing each visitor’s keystrokes and mouse movement.
Session-recording tools can be useful in the following ways:
ClickTale (mobile-friendly) pioneered session-recording software. Alternatives include Hotjar (mobile-friendly), Inspectlet, UsabilityTools, UserReplay, SessionCam, FullStory, Decibel Insight (mobile-friendly), and Mouseflow. (Each tool tends to have multiple functions, so our choice of tool often depends on the combination of features and functions that a particular client requires. Also, some of our clients already have a tool installed when we begin the project.)
Some companies—such as those in financial services—are regulated as to how their data must be stored. ClickTale offers an enterprise version for such cases. IBM TeaLeaf is another popular alternative for enterprises. Decibel Insight offers on-premises deployment, so you can store data in your own environment and have complete control.
Form-analytics software allows you to study how people are interacting with your forms. The software is extremely important, because visitors who interact with forms are very likely to convert. By finding out why they bail, you can unlock great profits.
The software can report on many issues, including the following:
Live chat can allow you to hear from visitors who wouldn’t phone you. Such visitors might prefer live chat for some of the following reasons:
Live chat can reveal the following:
Live chat can have two additional benefits:
ZenDesk Chat, LiveChat, Drift, FreshDesk, Olark, LivePerson, HappyFox, SnapEngage, LiveAgent, Intercom (for web apps), and Comm100. Some of them, like Intercom, allow you to track, help, and convert visitors across multiple browsing sessions.
Cobrowsing software allows your visitors to share their screens with a customer support person. Cobrowsing tends to be particularly useful when you struggle to work out what your visitors are seeing—for example, if the visitor is looking at a dynamically generated page, like a page of search results or an interface in a web app.
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Fax: 0870 838 1135
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