Even a small hole can eventually sink the ship

Avoid holes in your analysis, use Clicktale!
First article in Clicktale’s “True to User Life Accuracy” Series.


I recently had an astonishing discussion with one of our customers, a Director of Analytics and Testing in her company. Her biggest concern, by far, was whether she could completely rely on the data used by her team for digital analytics: “I need 100% consistent and reliable data that can be normalized, used, exported and analyzed.” According to Christin, stakeholders within her organization always try to poke holes in any analysis presented – at least until they reach a point where they know the analysis can be trusted.

Indeed, and this is true everywhere, decision makers need to know that the decisions they take are based on reliable information. “It’s all a matter of trust. They need to trust my analysis. I need to trust the data I’m using to present it” Christin told me. She added that “The issue of how data was collected should not be part of the discussion. When there’s trust, this should be a given. Then, the discussion can focus on the real business ”.

Clicktale has realized this since our early days. As a result, we’ve implemented measures to expose our data for the benefit of our users. In this article and the ones that follow, I’ll briefly touch on these measures.

Heatmap Page States

Let’s have a look at Clicktale’s homepage. Like most web pages, the page contains graphical layers – a horizontal menu bar in this case. When visitors hover with the mouse over ‘Products’, a new layer is displayed on top of the main view with the option to select a menu item. See below, in the red square:



Other graphical elements that can be used in layers include toolbars, popups and many more. We can think of all these layers as ‘different states’ of the original page, which is why we call them Page States. In the case of Clicktale’s home page, when the ‘Products’ menu is displayed, it is yet another state of the page. Other states can be ‘Customers’, ‘Resources’ and more.

When it comes to analyzing visitor behavior on this page, in order to optimize it, we can ask questions like: where do visitors click the most? What do they pay attention to? How do they move the mouse on the page?

Let’s see a Clicktale Mouse Move Heatmap for the homepage:

In this example we can see a lot of interaction with the menu bar itself (the reddish color), which is great. That said, there are a few potential pitfalls (or ’holes’, as described by Christin) on this page:


1. Does the heat below the menu bar (the yellowish color) include visitor mouse moves as they browse through the dropdown menus?
2. Can we see how they hover on the different submenu items themselves (e.g. the menu items under ‘Products’)?

To answer these questions, and in order to present more accurate information, we encourage our customers to define Page States for their heatmaps, and use those for the analysis, according to their specific needs. On the Clicktale homepage (below) we defined a Page State for ‘Products’:


In this heatmap, you can actually see how visitors interacted with the dropdown submenu. To add more numbers to that insight, we can add the Link Analytics layer, as seen below:


You can now see that 9% of users hovered over ‘Products’ and actually saw the dropdown menu, and 2.4% hovered over the ‘Clicktale Touch’ menu item. You can also see that ‘Products’ is ranked #1, meaning that it is the most hovered over (i.e. interesting) element on the page. Tying this to business questions, we can now consider changing the menu items or even the order in the ‘Product’ submenu, in order to optimize our page visits.

Page States are like ‘snapshots’ of the different views of each page. They provide you with valuable information to more accurately analyze how users interact with the page, and help you take better business decisions based on this information. You can define as many Page States as you like for web pages on which you have deployed Clicktale.

In my coming blog posts, I will cover more of the goodies we have in Clicktale that help your stakeholders trust your analysis and start taking decisions right away.

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