Why Recording & Watching Visitors On Your Website Will Change Your Life

Website owners need to watch what their visitors online do so that you can improve the user experience.

Recording Visitor Sessions, Creepy? Or Not

A lot of people may think recording their session is creepy, but what most people don’t realize is that they probably already have tons of cookies attached to their browser that they haven’t cleared, which gives tons of companies the ability to understand what sites they’re visiting and what products they are buying. This helps marketers advertise more effectively through personalization and relevant ads. Recording someone’s session is meant for an even greater good, as it’s sole purpose is to optimize the user experience so that when that website visitor comes back one day, it’ll be an easier path to checkout.

Most websites are just not that usable

Let’s face it … most website are just not that intuitive or usable simply because they were either designed by developers that have no idea what users want or they were built using some pre-existing templates that was designed based on a designers hunch. The web is meant to be optimized in a perpetual beta fashion, meaning you can’t get it right the first time … or the last time. The possibilities are endless when it comes to making the user experience more seamless, and as new devices come out and people’s expectations get higher, the need for a beautiful website that performs optimally becomes more and more important.

Understand why users are dropping off

The main purpose of session recording, again, is to optimize the user experience, but you can’t optimize till you know what’s wrong and what you want to improve. That’s why watching videos of your users interact with your website is so important, because the more videos you watch, the more people you’ll see struggling with a certain page or functionality on your site that causes them to get frustrated and hit the x button. You know you’ve done this on other people’s sites, now you can find out why people are doing it on yours.

Replay a site feedback session

If you have a site feedback module or widget installed on your website, sometimes the feedback you receive isn’t 100% clear and you wish you had more context. That’s when session recording is at its most valuable, meaning if you replay that users sessions, you’ll be able to watch them navigate through your website to where they got to the point where the frustration began, leading to their complaint on your web form. Combining this valuable feedback with their session replay path can yield powerful optimization theories that you can use to run an a/b test or make an obvious fix to your website.

See what problems users are having in checkout

No one gets checkout right 100% of the time, not even Amazon. Based on my experience, if you can get at least 60% of people through checkout, you’re doing an OK job … but what about the other 40%? That’s where session replay comes in. If someone adds to cart, goes to cart, begins checkout and starts to enter in their billing information, how is it that you can lose 40% of those people? It’s because the checkout process is a very complex development process that has to account for many use cases that need to be bug free! Whether it’s too many form fields, poorly displayed error messaging, long order processing or a countless number of checkout fails, you need to be able to see what your users are seeing so that you can fix it.

Fix your navigation

Your primary nav is one of the most important parts of your website, since it’s where your website visitors start their browsing process. Top level categories should clearly show subcategories, and the categories within those subcategories. The problem with many navigations are that they are done using hunches as opposed to analytics and user feedback, and let alone the usability problems they could face across different devices such as mobile, tablet and desktop. Use session replay to study these users and watch how they use your nav … I guarantee you’ll see them struggle and you’ll definitely come up with ideas on how to fix it.

Fix your search

People get really frustrated when your search bar and results it spits out aren’t user friendly. The reason they get so frustrated is because Google has truly mastered search, causing people’s expectations to be way too high! Most out of the box search tools on various website platforms such as shopify or wordpress are pretty garbage, so you’ll need to really watch as many videos as you can to figure out all of the failed use cases users have when using your search bard. Watching these videos should yield a nice long list of bugs you can put on a list for your developers, and each fix should move the needle slightly in not only increasing continue rates after users search but also conversion and AOV as well.

Know what to start tracking in Google Analytics!

Just because Google Analytics comes loaded up with 1000s of different KPIs you can track doesn’t mean you should actually look at them all consistently. Most of those data points are a waste of time unless you are trying to fix or impact them. The beauty of watching session replay videos across your entire site is that you’ll start to realize what clicks you should start tracking in order to use as a benchmark to try and increase conversion. You might notice when watching videos that some users are using expired coupon codes on the cart page! Wouldn’t it be great to track that event so that you can try and reduce this by either showing a sitewide banner with your latest coupon codes, updating retailmenot with recent codes (and deleting expired ones) or even giving users that enter an incorrect code a new temporary one?

That’s just one of a thousand ideas you can get from watching videos  to start tracking in GA so that you can come up with optimization enhancements in order to beat your benchmark data.