Conversion Optimization

What Website Session Recordings Can Teach You

session recordings

Updated on September 7, 2021

One of the best ways to improve your website conversion rate is to observe your site visitors. And one of the easiest ways to do this is with website session recordings. Now, reviewing session recordings can get time consuming. To save time, here’s what to look for and what you can learn from session recordings to make an impact.

What are Website Session Recordings?

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves here, let’s back up and go over what website session recordings are. Session recordings are videos of anonymous visitors using your website. You can’t hear them. You can’t identify who they are. You are only looking at a video of your site and watching a mouse move around it. You see mouse movement, scrolling, clicks, and any pages they viewed. There are a handful of conversion rate optimization tools that you can use to collect this data.

What Can You Learn from Session Recordings?

There are four primary insights you can gain from reviewing website session recordings. They allow you to observe how people navigate your site, discover bugs and obstacles, optimize forms, and identify patterns that result in people leaving. Now, let’s discuss each of those in more detail.

Observe How People Navigate Your Site

When you observe people using the site you will notice issues that others overlook. People might navigate the site in a loop and not even realize it.

I’ve seen this happen before. Someone was trying to register. They were on the registration page but continued to scroll down to read more information. At the bottom of the page there were links to other pages but the registration options were still at the top. They clicked a deeper link. They kept clicking links to get them closer to registering. Eventually, they landed back on the registration page where they started. They were then ready to buy and successfully purchased. They didn’t express frustration at any point. But, as someone familiar with the site, you watch and cringe thinking about all the extra clicks.

There was a simple solution, add a call-to-action at the bottom of the page as well. The recording session made it obvious that there was a need for improvement even if no one reported it as an issue. A navigation issue like that would never get reported because a site visitor wouldn’t see it as a problem. They are unaware there is an easier path.

Discover Bugs and Obstacles

Watching session recordings can help you identify any bugs or obstacles. Sometimes you’ll notice a person’s experience doesn’t go how you would expect. They tried to click something and it didn’t work. A button didn’t submit, a video didn’t play, or a link went to the wrong page.

When this happens, it’s best to try and recreate the issue yourself to confirm it is a problem. You don’t want to spend time trying to fix an isolated issue that is specific to one person. As soon as you confirm it’s an issue, fix it.

Optimize Forms

Session recordings can also help to optimize forms. Filter the recordings so you can review all the recordings of people who visited the page with the form you’d like to optimize. Watch as many as you can to try and find patterns. Is there a particular form field that is causing confusion? Does everyone leave when they get to a certain point? If so, find a way to make that field less confusing. It might need a different name or a tooltip to add some clarification.

Identify Patterns that Result in People Leaving

One last insight you can gain from reviewing website recordings, is to identify patterns that result in people leaving your site. Do people take similar paths before they leave? Does it seem like they are scrolling up and down the same page struggling to find an answer to a question? If you see patterns that result in people leaving, try to identify how to improve the experience.

In Summary

Don’t let reviewing session recordings take over your calendar. Understand you will almost always capture more than you have time to review. But, spend time monthly reviewing enough recordings to identify patterns. Then, use those patterns to improve the user experience on your site.

Do you want to listen to this article? Here’s the podcast episode:

About the Author

Jennifer Rogina is the Co-Founder & Lead Marketer of ClearPath Online, a DIY SEO tool for entrepreneurs to grow their own website traffic. Jennifer has been a digital marketing specialist since 2008. In that time she has focused on search engine optimization, digital analytics, and conversion optimization.



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