Imagine you’re running a brick-and-mortar store. From your perch at the counter, you can see and fix any issues the customers have as they move around the shop: if they have trouble navigating the aisles, you can make adjustments and help out; when they come up to the counter, you can strike up a conversation and learn who they are and what they’re looking for.
An ecommerce website doesn’t work like that. You can’t really see people as they wander through your site pages, and you can’t informally chat about their impressions during checkout. Your access to your users is limited, and you may have a hard time understanding user behavior or knowing what users want.
That’s where studying user behavior via user behavior analytics (UBA) comes in, giving you a window into the user experience you wouldn’t have otherwise.
What is user behavior?
User behavior encompasses all the actions visitors take on a website: where and what they click on, how they scroll down a page, where they stumble, and where they eventually drop off the page and leave.
Tracking user behavior gives you an inside look at how people interact with your site and what obstacles or hooks they experience in their journey as your customers.
What is User Behavior Analytics (UBA)?
User behavior analytics (UBA) is a method for collecting, combining, and analyzing quantitative and qualitative user data to understand how users interact with a product or website, and why.
Note: UBA is sometimes confused with UEBA (user and entity behavior analytics), which focuses more on cybersecurity and data protection than conversion optimization; and behavior analytics is sometimes confused with behavioral analytics, which focuses more on predicting user behavior than improving the user experience (UX).
When you want an answer to pressing business questions such as “Why are people coming to my website?” or “Why are they leaving?,” traditional analytics alone can tell you that quantitative activity is happening, but can’t give you any of the ‘whys’. That’s where user behavior analytics comes in, with tools that help you get a full picture of user behavior:
- Session recordings are renderings of real user engagement that happens on your website such as clicks, taps, and scrolling, which you can review to learn how people actually interact with different pages during the customer journey.
- Heat maps show you where on a page customers are spending the most time and where they are clicking, so you can see which buttons, calls to action (CTAs), videos, or other clickable assets get the most and least interactions.
4 benefits of tracking and analyzing user behavior on your website
Spending time and effort analyzing user behavior with website tracking helps you do for your website what a brick-and-mortar shop owner can do in her shop every day:
- Get real, first-hand insight into what people are interested in, gravitating towards, or ignoring
- Identify points in the customer journey where they get stuck, struggle, get confused, and leave
- Investigate how specific pages and sections are performing
- Understand what your customers want and care about