This post is one of a series of liveblogs from the 2010 MIMA Summit.
Web Analytics is an excellent way to ensure your marketing efforts are not in vain. However, looking at Analytics without understanding user behavior may leave you treading water instead of creating a wake your competitors will fear.
One way to take your methods of measurement to the next level is to combine Analytics with User Experience (UX) information. What you stand to gain can be great whether you dip a toe or cannon ball into blended analytic waters.
To make sure you don’t sink, first understand that Analytics will tell you what’s happening on the site. User Experience Research then helps you understand why it’s happening by gaining insight into the behaviors and motivation of visitors.
When you combine both, you can start to understand the What and the Why of what’s happening on your website. This also allows any potential problems to float to the top more quickly, allowing you to see the problem you need to solve and what changes might do just that.
The following case study illustrates what you can find when you combine the power of Analytics and user behavior:
An insurance quoting website, which had a 14 page quote and purchase process was going through a website redesign and decided it was the perfect time to double check their form process.
The goal was to identify where in the funnel visitors were getting stuck and abandoning the process.
After understanding user experience and their reactions to what you are testing, the data should be compared to Analytics. Does Analytics show visitor ‘drop-off’ points in similar places as what was identified as confusing/irritating by the users?
To understand drop-off points and not spend time in lower-priority places, be sure to identify logical places for drop-off. In this example a make-sense drop off would be after the quote is delivered because you can expect that some visitors won’t like the quote they received and abandon to either get a different quote or purchase elsewhere.
Where you want to spend time is identifying the unexpected drop-offs. One such drop-off point for the health insurance quote form was the request for a social security number. Almost all users are cautious when giving such information online, but the problem in this particular case was that the information was asked for too early in the process before the person is invested.
As such, they identified an item to test. After placing the request for the social security number further into the funnel where the user was more invested and felt like it was OK to give their personal information, the abandonment rate decreased.
The next drop-off point was the question of where they attended college, which some – via the user experience testing – found offensive and/or didn’t understand how it was relevant to an insurance quote. The Analytics confirmed this and showed a higher than normal drop-off rate at the point that question was asked in the funnel. Ask yourself, why is this question part of the form? Is it necessary? If not, remove it and improve the percent of visitors who get further in the funnel and closer to a sale.
Start getting more out of your website by diving deeper into the following 6 areas using both Analytics and User Experience Data:
1. Landing Page Optimization
Analytics: Bounce Rate, Conversion Rate
UX: Why people convert.
2. Site Navigation
Analytics: Top Content
UX: How they get there
3. Form Completion
Analytics: Abandonment, Page reloads
UX: Specific Objections
5. Analytics: Time Spent on page
UX: Is it engaging?
Analytics: A/B Testing
UX: What to Test
Analytics: Search Logs
UX: How people use language – what is your target marking using to search for you
In the case that you need to dip your toes, go old-school and simply sit behind someone and watch them navigate your website. Where do they go first, second, third, what do they avoid? Ask them why. Some data is better than no data.