Did you always want to know what your users are doing on your website?
Replay sessions help accomplish this goal by letting you see what visitors are doing on your website.
Successful website development relies primarily on an efficient user experience. It is essential to ensure that your web interface is intuitive, user-friendly, and easy to use.
What is a replay session?
A replay session is a term that has been around for a while now in digital marketing and that we often use to describe one of the main features for conversion rate optimization.
It was first described as “the ability to replay a visitor’s journey through a website that can include mouse movements, clicks, and form entry.”
Nowadays, the definition is more descriptive and the solution even deeper:
A replay session can replay a visitor’s journey on a website or in an application. It can include the user view (browser or screen output), the user input (keyboard and mouse input).
Its principal value is to help improve your user experience and identify obstacles in websites’ conversion processes.
However, it can also be used to study site usability and customer behavior and address customer service issues, as the entire customer journey with all interactions can be replayed.
Replay Sessions: some basics
Before the Replay Sessions existed, marketers were unable to delve deeper into their user engagement metrics.
Steve Krug, author of the book Don’t Make Me Think, says companies spend between $5,000 and $10,000 per user experience test. With the advent of analytical and CRO tools currently on the market, these tests can be performed at a fraction of the costs mentioned above.
For these UX tests to be practical, replay sessions must include mouse movements, clicks, page scrolling, and form input to be valid.
Replay sessions should clearly display the layout, design, and content of the web page being replayed.
So why do you need replay sessions?
Replay sessions are more than a part of your optimization journey. They provide accurate and in-depth insight into visitor behavior.
They are the closest you can read to your customer’s mind.
It fills the void created by heat maps by providing detailed information based on user interactions within your site or application.
While this is valuable information to capture, this data does not provide any context about user experience or user engagement.
For example, when Google Analytics tells you that a visitor has spent 5 minutes of their time on your web page, that is apparently a good metric from an analytical perspective.
But, we don’t know if the visitor spent 5 minutes of their time looking for something they wanted or if they couldn’t.
This is where replay sessions come to let you know how much time users spend on a particular page. It provides information about all of their activity, including downtime.
Where can I use replay sessions?
Replay sessions can be used in several ways because they contain a good amount of information about your users’ behavior.
They are mainly used to improve your website conversion rates, take on better product development strategies and provide excellent customer service.
Boosting conversion rates
To get the most out of your inbound traffic, replay sessions provide input for your conversion experiences by helping you understand what needs to be tested based on your visitors’ interaction.
It also highlights what issues your visitors face while browsing your website, which keeps them from converting or frustrating them.
By refining these areas, your conversion rates can improve while still making your visitors satisfied.
Identify bad UX designs.
Good designs are barely noticed. It is only the bad ones detected on the spot and often painful for your users.
Besides frustrating visitors, bad UX designs make your website extremely difficult to use. This results in your visitors abandoning your website once and for all resulting in poor conversions and high bounce rates.
With replay sessions, you can:
- understand how different design elements work best for different audiences, devices, resolutions, browsers, etc.
- Identify bad UX designs and poor website navigation.
- Detect the areas of your website that are cognitively frustrating on your visitors and eliminate them.
Track your web page issues
A perfect website does not exist. The best thing you can do to have a close-to superb website or webpage is to constantly optimize it and make sure that no errors occur.
Replay sessions can identify page loading time issues, broken links, hidden CTA buttons, and more.
Session recordings give a crystal-clear view of the areas where your visitor’s interest is declining on your web page.
Improve your customer support
You don’t want to put yourself on the wrong foot with an already frustrated customer.
With replay sessions, appeasing a disgruntled customer can now be easy.
Session recordings give you the context of your customers’ questions before you even ask them. This way, you can resolve your customer issues quickly and efficiently without having to go back and forth over those issues.
How to analyze your session recordings?
Once you’ve collected visitor records from your replay session tool, the next step is to turn them into actionable data.
While there is no single systematic approach to analyzing these session replays, it is recommended that you follow the heuristic approach.
This approach means focusing on one complex problem while ignoring the others.
Any visitors’ journey record contains vast amounts of data, and going through each one is tricky.
To make sense of the data collected, it is best to find a standardized methodology that works and one that can be adopted and reused until it becomes obsolete.
Here are a few steps that will help you get started:
Set specific goals
The first step in analyzing your session recordings is understanding why you want to review them in the first place. With pre-established goals, you will be able to track a particular action performed by your visitors.
For example, you can use replay sessions to find out how many landing pages a user has visited on your website, or you can identify a particular action that caused a user to convert.
Categorize your sessions
Once you know your goals, the next step is to categorize your session recordings according to your goals.
Creating specific categories makes it easy for you to group sessions based on user input or a combination.
With replay session categories, you can segment visitor sessions based on the timing, number of pages, types of devices or browsers, and more.
This will provide you with more clarity while figuring out the best way to optimize your website and increase your conversions.
Identify what needs to be changed on your website.
Once you’ve organized your data from the session recordings, try to spot emerging trends in your videos.
For example, your mobile visitors may be looking around your website for a button that might otherwise be visible on your desktop page.
Replay sessions are a combination of a powerful tool and a systematic approach to analyzing your recordings would be the perfect recipe for sure success in all of your conversion-related experiences.
What are the essential elements when replaying sessions?
Replay sessions should show a visitor’s journey at a similar speed at which the visit took place.
Suppose you’re using a replay session to understand your customer behavior. In that case, it’s critical to see precisely how long it takes them to interact with each component.
Cross-domains and HTTPS
Nowadays, many companies are creating websites that involve visitor journeys crossing different domains and moving between normal encrypted HTTP and HTTPS pages.
With this in mind, replay sessions should include the visitor’s entire session to a website regardless of any change in the domain name or page encryption.
So be sure to include the tracking code in all the pages of your website to truly identify the pain points.
Nowadays, we can get hints (but not complete answers) to questions like, where are my users getting lost on my website? Why are my users not converting? How are visitors reacting to my content?
That has been made possible with the replay session videos.
Much like Heatmaps, replay sessions won’t give you specific pointers on what you should change on your website, but these two tools can give you a clear direction to that process.
By identifying your website’s potential issues and defining your goals set, your website’s user experience and conversion rates can be quickly and significantly improved.