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What is behavioral analytics? (+ how to use behavioral data)

Behavioral analytics illustrated for a retail website

When planning how to make a website, understanding how your users behave on your site offers a great opportunity to optimize how they experience your brand. To take advantage of this, though, you need to gather behavioral analytics, or data points about your audience’s behavior.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into your site's behavioral data, as well as answer some common questions on the topic so you can focus on the right metrics and make effective changes after you make a website.

What is behavioral analytics?

Behavioral analytics is a type of web analytics tracking how a user behaves on a website. For example, many websites use bounce rate as a key metric within their behavioral analytics practice. Measuring how fast or often users leave your site without engaging on your page can help you understand how effective your on-page content is to your target audience. It can also help flag if you have structural site issues that prevent users from engaging. Addressing these two insights can help you improve other business goals, like increasing conversions or retaining customers, and monetizing your website.

What is behavioral data?

You can gather behavioral data by observing a user’s interaction with a company’s website. A user can interact in many different ways on your website. For example, you can study how often a user clicks on a product or CTA or after how long they typically leave a page. Behavioral analytics makes sense of the interactions comprising behavioral data.

What are examples of behavioral data?

To illustrate how companies use behavioral data, let’s look at some examples of commonly-used metrics.

  • Ad clicks: Gathering data about which display ads users click on third-party websites can help you understand what advertising most resonates with their audience.

  • Purchase history: You can use purchasing behavior to suggest additional products and retain your customers.

  • Time on page: Understanding how long users typically spend on a webpage can indicate if the page is functioning properly, either in terms of content or user experience. If your average time on page metric is lower than expected, you may want to rethink how to improve the page’s content to match user intent.

  • Customer service requests: Support requests can improve your website experience. If you see a pattern among frequency and type of support requests indicating a problem with how your site or product works, you can easily prioritize and fix it.

Types of behavioral analytics metrics

You can categorize behavioral data into three main categories throughout your user’s journey from landing on your site to making a purchase.

01. Website behavioral analytics

Analyzing website behavioral data can help you understand how users interact with your content and experience your website. You might look at metrics such as page views, bounce rate, CTA clicks and navigational behavior.

02. Event behavioral analytics

In behavioral metrics, “events” refer to the actions your users take. While website behavioral analytics determine the overall user experience using data on how a user interacts with a website, event tracking looks at whether users engage with your content—and how they do it. Common event behavioral analytics metrics include starting a video, downloads, playing a song or signing up for a newsletter.

03. Conversion tracking

To understand conversion behavior, focus on data that shows whether your users click on your CTAs. If they don’t, you might need to reassess whether your CTAs are visible or actionable enough. If they garner a good amount of clicks but still don’t convert, you may want to reassess your purchase process.

How can you track the different types of behavioral analytics?

The market offers many website analytics tools to track behavioral analytics and events. To get more robust behavioral data throughout your entire user journey, you can find tools that can record user sessions, create heat maps, determine your high-value customers and highlight drop-off points in conversion.

Tip: Wix Analytics helps all Wix website users make informed decisions about their website and business. It lets you track traffic, gather visitor behavior and revenue reports as well as mobile analytics.

An illustrative of behavioral analytics

Who should use behavioral analytics?

Most website owners can use real-time data to analyze their user’s behavior across their customer journey:

  • Marketing: Make campaigns more targeted or segment ads for personalization to better acquire new clients or retain existing ones.

  • Sales: Highlight ways to best upsell a customer, based on their previous purchases.

  • Customer support: Offer actionable solutions to frequent issues that may arise.

  • Product: Improve the product quickly and accurately based upon customer feedback to increase retention.

Why is behavioral analytics important?

Behavioral data can provide significant benefits to companies. According to Google, “data-driven”decision-making organizations are three times more likely to report improvements in their processes. Additionally, establishing a process for reporting certain behavioral data points can translate into more efficient and accurate decisions made across a business’s functions.

7 tips to get you started with behavioral analytics

01. Set clear goals

Set SMART goals. Include targets for metrics you want to track and KPIs you’d like to reach. Remember that you should focus your goal on accurately tracking and measuring behavior rather than increasing conversions by a certain percentage.

02. Define your ideal user journey

Map out the paths users can take to arrive at your desired outcome. For example, an eCommerce company might map out their ideal user journey from a landing page all the way to checkout.

03. Determine a tracking plan

Don’t track as many metrics as possible when just starting out. Instead, create a tracking plan that takes your desired user journey into account and highlights the events and actions you’d like users to take. Focus on tracking those initially, then grow your tracking process.

04. Assign unique identifiers

To get an accurate picture of a user’s journey, assign unique identifiers (such as an email capture or user ID) in a behavioral analytics software to track a specific user’s behavior across multiple devices. The unique identifier won’t change over time and can be traced between different digital platforms, connecting touch points along the user journey.

05. Set up cross-platform tracking

You’ll probably want to view behavior across multiple platforms to understand how your users move from your website to apps or social media channels. Use a tool like Smartlook to help you collect and analyze cross-platform user journeys between website browsers and native mobile apps.

06. Keep tracking consistent

Make sure you’re tracking the same metrics at regular intervals so that you can identify patterns in your user’s behavior and easily spot inconsistencies. Both patterns can help identify which area of your product or website needs attention.

07. Regularly test for accuracy

Before you begin tracking data, run some tests to make sure you collect accurate real-time reports. Once you’ve established a regular practice, be sure to regularly test to ensure there are no bugs in your analytics tools or tracking process.

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