In recent articles we have been looking at some of the technicalities that a marketer needs to know. Whether you are in business or work in a digital marketing agency, it is essential to have a good understanding of SEO – and how this is constantly changing – and also link building. Tools and techniques like this will enable you to optimise your website and bring more traffic your way.

But in parallel with this, it is also important to understand the how as well as the what. Increased traffic may come your way as a result of your SEO endeavours, but what does your typical customer then do once they get there? Understanding the customer journey is an essential aspect of improving conversion rates. You can do this by using behavioural data.

Behavioural data refers to metrics that show how users are interacting with your site. It can help you gain an understanding of the pages they are likely to visit, the order in which they are likely to navigate around the site, and how long they are likely to stay on the site in a typical visit. This data can help you optimise your website to make sure that visitors do see what you want them to see, and to know the right places where to edge them closer to conversion.

So what kind of data are we talking about?

  1. Website analytics
    Whatever your analytics tool of choice, this is the best place to give you an overview of how visitors come to your site and what they do when they get there. It can help you identify how long they stay on the site overall – and specific pages – and average pages visited per session. Critically it can also show your conversion rate. The longer a visitor stays on your site, the more likely they are to convert.
  2. Heatmaps
    So far so good – but although website analytics can show you what your customers are doing, you then need to build on this to find out why they are doing it. One way to do this is by using heatmaps. Heatmaps are a visual representation of different interactions across specific areas of your site that enable you to take a more in-depth look not just at the pages that are being visited most frequently but also the proportion of visitors that are hovering, scrolling and clicking on different parts of the site.
  3. The four main areas of activity that heatmaps enable you to analyse are:

    • Mouse click recurrence ie where do users click most often. This provides invaluable information as to which links, buttons and calls-to-action are the most used on your site, and which are for some reason being avoided.
    • Scroll reach ie how far are users willing to scroll down the page. This will enable you to ensure that all your key information is contained above the fold.
    • Mouse movement. This can be a good indicator of interest in a link, even if that link is not actually clicked. It shows that there is some attraction to the content, which perhaps could be increased with a little tweaking. It can also highlight areas where users try to click but are currently unable to do so: in which case you may want to consider adding new links at those points.
    • User attention. This can be measured different ways – for example combining the length of time a user stays on a page with the scroll reach. It can help to determine the sections of content that are overall the most appealing.
  4. Session replays
    Session replays can enable you to dig deeper into individual visits to your website so that you can analyse what visitors see and do. You can observe how visitors navigate through the site, which pages they spend time on and interact with most, and where they click along the way. All this data can help you to improve your UX and customer support, and ultimately increase conversion rates.

    Session replays can be time consuming, so if you want to major on this you may decide to use machine learning to do an initial filter for you of those sessions that are likely to be the most valuable for you.

  5. Clickstream data
    Clickstream data is a tremendously valuable tool that enables you to put the customer journey into context by identifying the locations of your website visitors before and after they visit your site. According to research from Google and Ipsos, customers are increasingly using multiple channels for their journey. For example, 61% of internet users – and, interestingly, over 80% of millennials – typically begin their search on one device then continue or convert on another.

    This complex customer journey makes attribution increasingly difficult; which is why clickstream data can be so useful. Understanding where your customers come from – and where they are likely to go next – presents an enormous opportunity for optimisation to ensure that once they come to you they stay there!

  6. So when formulating your digital marketing strategy, do consider building in an element of behavioural data analysis. Doing so can put you at a considerable advantage and could be the key factor in improving not only the quality of the traffic you retain on your site but also increasing your conversion rate.

    We hope that the above steps will help you use behavioural data to make significant progress with optimising your website and increasing conversions. If you need any further help or advice on this then do get in touch to see how we can help you move forward.