The Why of User Engagement

Converting traffic

Shooting from the Hip

In my last post, I talked about the two steps for better UX — understanding how users are engaging with your website, and why they’re engaging with it in that way. Having the correct answers to these questions, what we’ll call the “how” and “why” of engagement, can mean a world of difference when considered in terms of conversion and sales.

If you don’t understand your users, any changes you make to your site are — at best — aesthetic guesswork. And even though you might succeed in making your site look more appealing, most customers aren’t going to buy from you just because they like how your site looks. Don’t determine your UX by shooting from the hip. Invest to obtain real data, then make changes based on your findings.

Moving Beyond the Hypothetical

Most businesses are already in possession of the “how” info via Google Analytics. There are dozens of tools available to find this data, but in my opinion, you won’t find a better solution anywhere. It’s free, it’s reliable and it’s easy to pick up and learn.

But let’s say your users aren’t converting how you need them to be. Imaging that, right now, your Analytics says that your site has had 856 visitors in the past two weeks, with a 68% bounce rate and an average session duration of 1:32. Now answer this: what do you change on your page to make your users convert?

That’s where the “why” info steps in. If you were to make the “Add to Cart” button red instead of green based solely on the Analytics data above, it would almost certainly be unfounded. On the other hand, “why” data could tell you that users simply aren’t scrolling down far enough to see the “Add to Cart” button. A really simple fix, especially when compared to what could have been months of guessing based on Analytics data.

So how do you get this data? By setting up a heatmap for your pages. Heatmapping will show you where your users are clicking, where they’re scrolling to and what different types of referral traffic are looking for, supplying you with concrete data to analyze and determine what fixes need to be made. In combination with Google Analytics, these tools can and will drastically improve visitors’ conversion.

Case Study: Viridian Energy

Consider this example. We did some “how” and “why” analysis on Viridian Energy’s customer landing page about a month ago, then made some fixes based on those findings. Within the first day, their customer service calls — people who had trouble figuring out the page — dropped from an average of 40 down to 3 on the first day.

As it turns out, we didn’t change too much on Viridian’s website — we didn’t have to. After running our tests and analyzing the data, we changed the design accordingly. But those few, ostensibly insignificant changes yielded a ROI of 1,720%, not to mention the retention of potential sales revenue that undoubtedly was lost from customers’ confusion with the service.

Conclusion

Before you start redesigning your site, make sure you can back up each of those changes with solid engagement data. Better UX is the key to success in the online marketplace, and this is how you get it.

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