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by Laura Phillips on 17th June 2013
Without a comprehensive arsenal of analytical weaponry it is likely that you will never achieve your full potential as a site. Maximising conversions requires a good understanding of user behaviour patterns but luckily a plethora of tools are available to help you achieve this.
Business sites should be continually testing, and adjusting pages accordingly to strive for maximum conversions. A wide range of tools are available to help you analyse, segment, and generally pull apart your data to better understand user behaviour.
The Google Analytics Conversion Suite is specifically designed to focus on analysing and maximising conversions on your site. Some of the key things you’ll discover are:
Goals in Analytics are the most common and probably the easiest way to track the number of conversions on your site. This does not have to be a sale; goals can be defined in Analytics by anyone with administration level access. You can find out how to set up goals here.
By dissecting conversion reports in conjunction with other Analytics data, site owners can see which areas of the site are performing well, and more importantly which are under performing. Once this has been determined businesses can use Analytics along with other tools and plain common sense to determine why some areas are performing better than others and start to test and better optimise lower performing areas.
- Event Tracking
Conversions do not have to be a direct sale, you can track pretty much anything using events as per this very helpful post by our own @Koozai_Anna. Site owners may wish to track time spent on a page, downloads, button clicks, video plays, or any other personalised metric. Event tracking allows you to track much more than standard goals as defined in Analytics.
Event tracking is another great way to determine where visitors are stumbling along their conversion path. For example, if you have a video on your page with a strong call to action at the end that is not converting you may wish to track how long users watch the video for on average. If they are dropping out half way through they will not see your message and are therefore less likely to convert. In this example moving the call to action or shortening the video may be the appropriate fix.
- Multi-Channel Funnels
Multi-Channel Funnels were added to Analytics by Google in 2011, allowing analysts access to much more than the previous ‘last click’ conversion data. Whereas conversions are credited to the last point of contact before the converting click, there is often a trail of other reference points which helped get the user to convert, but this data was not previously available. For example, where did the user first find out about the site? What other searches were performed and/or Ads clicked before this point? These reports only cover the last 30 days but for most businesses this is enough time to give a clear picture of user conversion paths.
Conversion path data includes interactions with virtually all digital channels. As Google state these channels include, but are not limited to:
• paid and organic search (on all search engines along with the specific keywords searched)
• referral sites
• social networks
• email newsletters
• display ads
• custom campaigns that you’ve created, including offline campaigns that send traffic to vanity URLs
You can read more about Multi-Channel Funnels in this post.
Google Analytics is the perfect place to begin to grasp the nature of your visitors via funnels, bounce rates, exit pages and the like; however Analytics cannot tell you everything (though Anna may disagree!).
Heat maps and user testing are fantastic tactics for showing you what is actually happening on your page, the way users navigate it, and an idea of why they do or do not exhibit the desired behaviour.
Heat maps are a great way to gauge how users are interacting, or not interacting with various elements of your site, be it click heat maps, hover maps, or eye tracking technology.
- Click Heat Maps
Click heat maps do exactly what they say on the tin, a colour map is created based on where users have clicked on the site, highlighting points of strength and weakness helping you optimise for conversions. For example a heat map will help you understand what elements of the page are and are not being used, or where visitors have clicked but you do not have a link. This is denoted below by Click Density using red crosses:
Through click heat maps you can identify the most and least popular links, images, banners or any other clickable element of the page, as well as determining which areas of dead space are being clicked.
- Mouse Movement Heat Maps
Research suggests that mouse movement and eye movement across a page are closely related. Just because an area of the page has not received a click does not mean users are not interested in that element, or that it is not important to the conversion chain. Mouse movement heat maps are a great way to track what users are looking at, the flow of their vision on your pages. Although clicks may not be involved, mouse movement heat maps will help determine (alongside Google Analytics) which content is being read/read most/ignored and requires work.
Other types of heat map include scroll, scroll depth, and attention heat maps.
Scroll and scroll depth maps can help optimise design page layout and length based on the reactions of users. Having a better understanding of when users tend to abandon the page, which bits they skip, and how far they will scroll can help your team find the best position for your most valuable content and links. Use this alongside Google Analytics to reduce bounce and abandonment across your main conversion pages, and increase retention, flow and conversion on lesser pages.
Top Heat Map Tools:
User Experience (UX) testing is fundamental to CRO. You can predict and test the site for as long as you want, but until you sit the general public in front of it you really have no idea what they will find and/or do. Quite often you will find issues where you predicted none, and visitors clicking in all sorts of places they probably shouldn’t.
There are many companies out there offering to video user experiences. Most offer the same basic product with a few of their own unique features. As a company, you decide what you would like tested, and these companies draw the most relevant users from their database to complete the test on your choice of tablet, desktop, or mobile. The test is videoed and sent to you, which can really help give you a ‘real world’ look inside how your site is used and where the stumbling blocks lurk. In most cases you can also test your competitor’s sites to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
Top Session Tools:
We could write for days on this subject, but in short split testing (aka A/B testing) means splitting traffic between two versions of your landing page, then comparing results to see which is more successful. The ‘winner’ should then be tested against another version and so on.
Applications such as Optimizely and Unbounce offer affordable solutions for split testing, allowing you to quickly and easily create new landing pages, and test current ones.
Examples of split testing include:
- Button Size
- Call To Action
…and much more. Any and every element of your landing page should be split tested routinely, the results may surprise you.
Top Split Testing Tools:
I hope you have found this post useful, and find the time to check out some of our favourite tools to get more of your visitors converting; after all, that’s what it’s all about. If you have any other tactics or tools to share please leave them below:
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