Monday, December 4, 2017

Dramatically improve your conversions with session recording



Are you satisfied with your sign-up rate? Or activation rate? Do you think it could be higher? What do you think you can do to improve them? How do you know that?

One of the most powerful things that you can do to improve your activation rate is to watch what your users are doing: what confuses them, what path is logical to them and where they fail. When you do that, you will find out that your call-to-action is too mild, your layout is confusing, your responsive design isn't adapting well in all cases or that the navigation path you thought everyone takes isn't common at all. You cannot solve what you do not know. Luckily most of your issues are likely low-hanging fruits you can find easy remedy to.

There are a gazillion services you can use, HotJar being perhaps the biggest name. But it wasn't the right choice, at least for me. HotJar lets you record towards a quota and you can define pretty flexibly who you want to start recording and when. But HotJar doesn't work with scrollable DIVs and if you would like to see only sessions that include purchasing your product, HotJar will fail you.

If you're not too concerned about GDPR or privacy matters in general, then Yandex Metrica might be a great choice: it's free and from what I can tell fairly powerful. But I care about privacy and you should too.

Then there are decent looking services such as Fullstory, Inspectlet and Mouseflow, but honestly when comparing the bang-for-the-buck they came second to Smartlook. I'm especially fond of the fact that they are taking GDPR seriously.

If you end up going with Smartlook, I recommend taking a look at their tagging. With that, you can add identifier tags to the sessions, e.g.
<script>
        // tag a session with a user's email
 smartlook('tag', 'email', 'ilkkapel@gmail.com'); 
</script>
This is pretty handy if you get feedback from a user about a bug and you just can't reproduce it. This lets you see what really happened.

Or you can tag a session that includes a specific action
<script>
 smartlook('tag', 'checkout', 'true'); 
 smartlook('tag', 'contacted', 'true');
</script>
Keep in mind that you cannot override a tag you've already used. The following will not work
<script>
 smartlook('tag', 'action', 'checkout'); 
 smartlook('tag', 'action', 'contact');
</script>
Also, I've found it quite handy to tag with a session number. If you otherwise won't have access to a session number, you can easily create something that would track it in the browser using the local storage for example.

This only gets you so far though. After the easy problems have been fixed, it becomes increasingly harder to find the signal from the noise. By that time though you will have tremendously improved your conversions.

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