Why Visual Analytics Are a Must-Have in Modern Businesses

Relying only on numbers is a total shot in the dark. Not all of us are Steve Jobs, and we can’t make great decisions based only on our hunch.

Traditional analytics are black magic for most of people.

It is pointless to collect data about the number of visits, clicks or views when we do not know why should these numbers matter. Without that knowledge, we can’t make good decisions. Yet, we still try that, and the results are tragic.

Using the data coming from, for example, Google Analytics tells us only about what is happening between the pages. However, what matters is the answer to the question what happens on the webpage, and why.

The answer can be provided with Visual Analytics. It means visualizing data and providing easy to digest information about your users and websites, telling you what and why something happens.

In the following article, I’ll tell you about 3 tools that do not only put you into your user’s seats, but also allow you to understand their way of thinking and the structure of events within the websites. Knowing about these aspects will help in introducing new solutions to your service, in improving user experience and in increasing conversion and satisfaction.

The clicking bomb

The first tool worth noting is Click Tracking. It does what it does – it tracks clicks, but it also visualizes them in a form of a heatmap, which show areas that received most of the mouse clicks.

heat map
A sample heatmap of UsabilityTools main page. The menu bar received the most attention.

Heatmaps aren’t new themselves, but once they were introduced to E-Commerce, they become revolutionary in increasing conversion.

One of our clients is one of the best examples to show that. OptimalEnergy is a Polish website offering price comparision for energy distribution services. They faced a problem with low conversion rates, and turned to UsabilityTools for help. With a Click Tracking heatmap they noticed a peculiar event – about 22% of clicks were directed towards a slider with images, which featured seemingly clickable CTA’s like “Start now”.

heat map fake CTA
The heatmap of clicks on the fake CTA. The intensity of the red area signals that many clicks were wasted.

In truth they were unclickable and led to nowhere, therefore clients assumed that the website was unresponsive and was simply not working, urging them to leave. Simply changing the buttons so they acted like real CTAs resulted in a 122% increase in conversion. Click here to read the whole case study.

This example, however, is just a drop in the ocean. Many websites face similar problems – for example, many B2B businesses place their CTA’s in wrong locations. If you place a CTA too low below the copy, the client won’t notice it. The areas with the CTA will be all blue at the heatmap, as they receive no attention.

Click Tracking is an amazing way of verifying whether your current structure of your websites and its elements fulfill their goals. I can guarantee that you’ll be surprised with the results – people sometimes act in very unpredictable ways.

Reformat your forms

We all were creating accounts on the Internet. We all had to come back to one of the registration forms, because we filled it wrong. We all have been furious when we had to re-enter the password one more time, because we were notified that the password must include capital letters, numbers, Kanji symbols and an excerpt from the theory of relativity.

And at the end the Captcha greeted us with an image that even CSI wouldn’t be able to decipher.

Frustration and resignation coming from the abovementioned example is a result of a badly designed web form. This is bad, because forms usually are terribly crucial for many businesses such as e-stores.

Yet, how are we supposed to know whether forms are causing troubles? Well, the first indicator could be the high exit rate during using the form. However, is the form faulty or maybe something else? Not everyone has the same experiences, after all.

The second tool, which is perfect for providing an answer to these questions, is Web Form Testing.

Results panel Web Form Testing
The results panel coming from the Web Form Testing. You can see how many people engaged the form, how many dropped out, how many submitted and many more.

In the picture above you can see results coming from a sample study. The results show that people were abandoning the form either during filling out their name (it means they weren’t interested anyway) or during providing their website’s address. The high exit rate means that there is an issue with the website and that it needs to be analyzed.

Do you need an example of how much damage a simple form can cause? Here you go. About 6 months ago, I tried to buy a pair of shoes in an e-store. The form for registering a new buyer required me to provide my phone number. I was relentlessly trying to put the 9 digits of my phone number hoping that the ruthless system will finally accept me, to no avail.

I gave up hope after few tries, and decided to go back to the registration later. In the end I forgot about the registration, the shop, the shoes or buying whatsoever. Only after few weeks did I learn from my friend who was also a client of that shop that you needed to put the number in the following format: 999-999-999, with the dashes. He learned that only because his keen eye saw a barely visible instruction below the form. Faulty CSS and bad colors made it impossible for me to see the letters properly.

A small mistake, but resulted in losing me as a buyer.

It could be easily fixed with Web Form Testing. Do it before it’s too late.

Find your way

The last tool, which belongs to the pantheon of Visual Analytics, is Visitor Recording. No, I don’t mean spying your users like NSA and seeing what they do through their webcam.

Instead, we are going to follow their mouse on our webpage.

It is a simple form of displaying the “journey” of a user, showing where they clicked, where they reached, and where they encountered a problem. If something bad happens, then it is good to see it in context.

Sample recording of movements on main page
Sample recording of movements on our main page.

VR lets you follow your users step by step, highlighting all their activities within the website. It operates almost similarly to any video player – you can rewind, fast-forward and so on. Thanks to it, you can experience what your users were experiencing; great way of finding grave pain points.

Final word

Click Tracking, Web Form Testing and Visitor Recording are actually only three of available methods of visualizing data. However, they are the best solution at the beginning, and in capable hands, they are more than enough for analyzing users.

It is good to see what is happening within your website. If you are ready to conduct long studies and marketing campaigns to attract people, devote the same amount of time to making sure that they will want to stay. With the aforementioned tools, you’ll be able to improve their experiences and thus convince them to use your services.

Mavenec’s sidenote:

If you want to gain a competitive advantage by increasing your conversion rate and grow your revenue and profits without spending an additional dime on advertising, contact Mavenec today to learn more about our approach to conversion rate optimization. You can also learn our most valuable conversion rate optimization strategies by downloading Ultimate Conversion Rate Optimization Toolkit.

Author: Bartosz Mozyrko

Bart is CEO @ UsabilityTools, a B2B SaaS company that helps businesses to optimize websites for higher conversion and better user experience. He has over 8 years of experience as UX Researcher and specializes in remote user testing and visual analytics.


Grow Your Conversion Rate

Get your free copy of Ultimate Conversion Rate Optimization Toolkit:

Get Yout Free Copy Now
Read previous post:
Migration of Classic Analytics (ga.js) to Universal Analytics (analytics.js) with Google Tag Manager

People are creatures of habit, and although sometimes the grass seems greener on the other side of the fence, we...