Guest Post: Eliza Savov
Segmenting your data to identify differences across visitor groups has become a must in the analysis of user behavior. So much so, that analytics guru and Digital Marketing Evangelist Avinash Kaushik, said simply that "All data in aggregate is crap."
Every major analytics tool provides options for segmentation, but it is up to the analyst’s experience – and often creativity – to apply the right ones to get actionable insights from segmented data. While segments like traffic source or traffic coming from mobile devices have become almost a standard, segmentation can become trickier when you want to differentiate between different patterns of visitor behavior inside the pages you're analyzing.
Clicktale uses segments to visualize differences in visitor behavior in heatmaps, or applies segmentation to conversion funnels to see how and to what extent different visitor groups reach a website’s goal. In addition to classical filters like bounce rate, entry pages and marketing channel, Clicktale offers segmentation options that enable you to compare visitor behavior based on actions they executed or did not execute on your site. Here are some segmentation practices we often use, and some trends we have observed.
- New vs. Returning Visitors – the updated Clicktale algorithm detects whether a visitor returns to the site beyond the default 30-day history. This segmentation option shows how visitors who know your site or are comfortable with it use it, compared to those who discover it for the first time. You can usually observe shorter time to (the first) click and increased interaction in login areas for returning visitors, who know their way to their areas of interest or have even become site members.
- Events – events are extremely powerful and flexible, as they let you to segment your visitors by almost anything. For example, you can create separate views for visitors who click a CTA button vs. those who do not interact with a page; this usually gives you immediate insights into where conversion obstacles might lie. We have often seen that visitors who do not convert tend to get 'distracted' in the final stage of a checkout process by the options for changing their order. In other cases, we have seen how a not-optimally-placed promotion can get in the user’s way towards a CTA button, or how a group of visitors who didn’t convert gets frustrated by clicking a nonclickable element and leave a page.
- Engagement Time – engagement time is a Clicktale-specific metric that gives lots of insight into actual visitor activity in your site. By segmenting visitors by engagement time that is higher or lower than the average for the pages you are analyzing, you can see which elements on a page keep visitors interested in what you have to offer. Be careful if you detect high login activity in the group of users with a short engagement time, however – you may want to exclude those from the segment as their behavior is not problematic. Look for patterns that show where and how visitors with short engagement time left the page; for example, to a specific page category, using copy/paste and search (visible in clusters of clicks around product titles), or using the Back browser button, indicated by heavy interaction in the upper left corner of the page.
- In very specific cases, you may find segmenting by Scrolling Distance very helpful. For pages in which the average fold height is very close to the average fold (as is usually the case in pages with large image galleries at the top), you may want to segment visitors who do scroll beyond those lines. Check whether there is a significant amount of interaction with content that remains out of your visitors’ reach, which should to be moved higher on the page.
Using these four tips you will be able to understand and compare visitor behavior based on actions they executed or did not execute on your website.
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