Tracking user behavior is an essential part of your conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy. Along with the traditional quantitative analytics tools, Ecommerce business owners and marketers have been using heatmaps, funnel visualization, form analysis, and surveys to gather behavioral and qualitative data.
Despite making a noticeable change on the website, many times you don’t receive the response you thought you’d get.
In such instances, you’d often be thinking, “If only I could understand what my visitors are exactly looking for?”
Website session recording analysis helps you understand this baffling behavior. Session recordings don’t just tell you, they show it to you the activities performed by the user during a session.
What Are Website Session Recordings?
Website Session recording (or session replay videos or user recordings) are anonymous recordings of users/visitors browsing your website. User recordings track clicks, mouse movements, scrolls, screen resize, and page changes.
Session replay videos of website visitors show how your visitors navigate through the website and can help you understand how they react to the various elements on the website. They also help you identify difficulties that users come across and find ways to improve website user experience (UX).
In the remainder of the article, we will look at how to refer to user recordings analysis to improve your website UX and CRO efforts.
Which Actions Can Be Recorded With Session Recording Tools?
Session recording tools allow you to track and record activities a user performs on your website.
In the bottom right corner of the screenshot above, you can see all the activities that you can track. Let’s look at each one in detail below:
Mouse Click, Move, and Scroll
While heatmaps provide you with a composite view of user behavior, website session replays show you how a user interacts with your website.
Session recordings track mouse movements, clicks, and scrolls to see how a visitor browsed through the page. Each mouse activity is indicated using a different color to distinguish between these activities.
The screen resizes feature shows whether the visitor resized their browser screen. This can help you understand if visitors are facing any issues while consuming content.
Form change shows the user’s interaction with a form. The field details are replaced using the asterisk (*) character to maintain user anonymity. You can see it in the screenshot below:
If a user navigates to a different page or refreshes a page, it is recorded under page change.
Along with these key features, you can view the following data using a visitor session recording software:
- Pageviews in a session
- Location, device, operating system, browser, and profile of the user
- The time bar/progress bar in the media player shows the occurrence of each activity allowing you to jump at a specific time to view a particular event
- You can also speed up the playback or skip parts where the user did not perform any action
How to Analyze Session Recordings of Users
Session recordings present a goldmine of data as you can see how real people browse your website. It’s a good idea to schedule a 2-3 hour long session to analyze session replays.
Before you begin to watch the sessions, decide what you’re trying to learn from it. For instance, your research can revolve around a specific landing page to find ways to increase the click-through rate (CTR).
You need to watch a series of recordings to identify patterns as it’s unlikely that a single session will convey useful information. Here are a few things that you’ll begin to notice:
- How your visitors scroll the page, notice mouse movement patterns, and which elements receive the most clicks?
- Which website sections receive the maximum attention?
- Do the web pages appear the same across different browsers and operating systems?
- Are the visitors misinterpreting any website elements?
- Visitors are prone to click on a web element multiple times to see if it works. Using this information, can you spot any broken elements?
How to Use Session Replay for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Perhaps, the most important use case of session recordings is to optimize the conversion rate of your website. Here are a few ways you can utilize user recordings for your CRO activities:
Curb the Bounce Rate
A session is considered as a bounce when the visitor visits only one page of your website. Session recordings show how many pages a user visited. You can view single-page sessions to understand what is causing users to drop-off from the first page.
Simultaneously, you can check the page’s corresponding marketing elements such as social ads or on-page SEO efforts to understand if there’s an expectation mismatch.
Discover Glitches, Bugs, and Errors
Which brings us to our next point. To reduce the bounce rate and increase the conversion rate, you need to make the website UX as smooth as possible. Session recordings can let you know the obstacles that prevent users from completing an action. It could be an inefficient placement of a call-to-action (CTA) or web elements such as icons that visitors confuse for a clickable item.
By resolving such technical and aesthetical issues, you can boost your CRO efforts and avoid mistakes.
Measure A/B Test Results
You run A/B tests to test your assumptions in the pursuit of improving website UI/UX and ultimately boosting conversions. When you get session recordings of both variations, you can compare them piece-by-piece to see where and how user behavior changes at specific instances.
Armed with this knowledge, you can implement the right changes on the website to get favorable results.
Use Visitor Session Recording Data With Other Tools
You can combine data collected from quantitative analytics, heatmaps, surveys, and other qualitative data with session recordings to gain deeper insights. By aggregating this micro (session recording data) and macro (remaining qualitative and quantitative data) perspectives, you will be able to make the right judgments without relying on an incorrect premise.
Sharing Session Recordings
Most session recording tools allow you to share session recordings among your peers and stakeholders. You need to copy and send the session recording the link and the recipient(s) would get access to the session recording.
The only restriction the recipient has is that they can’t view the visitor profile if they don’t have sufficient rights.
Session recordings are the perfect personification of the adage – show, don’t tell. Rather than relying on intuition or gut feelings, session recordings show you what is happening on your website.
One caveat to keep in mind is to avoid any bias that may interfere with your decision making process. What we mean is, rather than looking for patterns that conform to your assumptions, identify patterns/trends, and then go on developing assumptions or hypotheses.
Do you have any questions about visitor session recordings?
Let us know in the comments below!