Session Replay

Session Replay is the ability to replay a visitor's journey on a website or within a web application.

Replay includes both the user's view (browser or screen output) and user input (keyboard and mouse inputs). These sources are generally used to understand visitor behavior for the purposes of optimizing a website's usability and conversion rate. In a B2B context, understanding a website visitor’s behavior to identify buying intentions is seen as an effective way to target marketing or product development activities.

Session Replay is a great way to see which problems users encounter and understand what makes them abandon the important processes on your website or within the app.

Picture below explains the basic concept behind session replays.

Where it’s useful?

Session Replay can be applied to virtually any aspect of your online marketing or product strategies. Here are a few example areas that can benefit from user behavior insights:

  • A/B Testing: You can use A/B tests to determine which page version performs better, and then use Session Replay reports to see which elements caused the winning version to perform better. This will generate ideas for future improvements and tests.
  • SaaS Product development: Session Replay allows you to analyze the conditions where your users churn from your application and see exactly how users interact with your product, so you can improve usability and conversion. Session Replays bridge the gap between analyzing the data and acting on it.
  • Landing Pages: Use it to understand which elements perform best in attracting visitor attention and enticing them to take action.
  • Category Pages: Your goal here is to establish a high degree of usability and to ensure that visitors can easily see and navigate through your products.
  • Product Detail Pages: A good layout in these pages increases the chances of a visitor adding an item to the shopping cart.
  • Shopping Cart/Checkout: Recordings are used here to optimize the checkout process and to make it more pleasant for visitors, resulting in a higher conversion rate.

What questions Session Replay answers?

The fundamental goal of Session Replay is to collect and analyze user data related to web traffic and usage patterns. Here are examples from our clients’ experiences of what questions they answered with Session Replay:

  • How users move through and interact with content?
  • What content works best above the fold?
  • Which web page elements and copy are confusing to the user?
  • How visitors react to longer or shorter pages?
  • What people are doing at the shopping cart?
  • How to generate new and effective A/B testing ideas?
  • Are my CTAs attracting attention?
  • Which distracting elements should be removed?
  • Why visitors are leaving the signup page?
  • How to get more customers with the same amount of traffic?
  • Why the conversion rate is low?
  • Why visitors are not becoming customers?
  • What a converted customer has reviewed on the website?
  • Which items, promotions, or advertisements visitors are attracted to?
  • Which design elements are attracting clicks?
  • What visual elements work well in persuading visitors to take action?
  • How long visitors spend viewing different sections of the page?
  • Are visitors scrolling down far enough to see important marketing material and CTAs?
  • How well links are performing and how quickly visitors click on them?
  • How landing page elements affect purchasing behavior?
  • What errors visitors experience upon checkout?
  • What percentage of visitors scrolls down far enough to see your form or submit button?
  • Why visitors abandon the shopping cart at the checkout page?
  • Did visitors hover over a product description to check it?
  • Are visitors clicking on non-clickable items?
  • How long do visitors spend looking at your product or its description?
  • Do they find the content interesting enough?
  • Are visitors scrolling down far enough to see all of your important content?
  • How well your call-to-action button is performing?
  • How quickly visitors make decisions and how many products they click on?
  • Which specific items or section of the page visitors are most attracted to?
  • Which items or rows get the most clicks on your product page?
  • How long visitors spend at different part of the page?
  • How much time do you have to catch their attention?
  • How many rows of products visitors scroll down to see?
  • Do certain types of products get more unique clicks than other types?

Are there other terms for Session Replay?

Session Replay is the name used by us, UsabilityTools. However, other companies and researchers use the same process of collecting data via recordings, but they use a separate name for it. Below you may find alternative names that describe Session Replay:

  • Session Recording
  • User Session Replay
  • User Replay
  • Visitor Session Replay
  • Visitor Replay
  • Visitor Recordings
  • Visitor Behavior Analytics
  • Visitor Playbacks
  • Visual Session Recording
  • Visual Replay of User Journeys
  • Visual Analytics
  • In-Page Web Analytics
  • Customer Experience Analytics

Although this software is widely recognized, there is no standard name that is accepted by the industry. 

What kind of data Session Replay collects?

Recordings gathered by session Replay consist of the recorded browsing sessions of your site’s visitors. These recorded videos give you an unparalleled insight into the browsing behavior of your site’s visitors and are an indispensable tool for usability and customer feedback tests.

There are no globally agreed definitions of what should be considered as a Session Replay, only a general idea. The industry has been trying to agree on definitions that are useful and definitive for some time in order to describe the process of recording.

However, many terms are used in consistent ways from one major analytics tool to another, so the following glossary based on those conventions, can be a useful starting point.

  • Pages: The number of page views recorded per visitor.
  • Browser: The browser type (not including version) the visitor used.
  • Country: The country the visitor came from.
  • Latest Visit: The time since the visitor's latest page view.
  • First Visit: Displays when the visitor entered the website for the first time and received a UsabilityTools cookie.
  • Engagement Time: Displays how long the visitor was active on your site. If a visitor doesn’t click, move the mouse, scroll, or type in a form for more than 20 seconds, the visitor is no longer considered engaged.
  • Original Referrer: Displays the URL of the page which referred the visitor to the entry page on the domain.
  • Entry Page: Displays the first page the visitor landed on in your site.
  • Bounce: If the visitor bounces, displays the type of bounce.
  • Events: Displays the events that triggered during the visitor’s browsing session.

What tools I can use together with Session Replay?

Some companies produce solutions that collect data through both collecting visual replays of user journeys as well as providing patterns of their behavior. By using a hybrid method, they aim to produce more accurate results and to aid the decision-making process.

Here are typical hybrid analytics methods that can be used together with Session Replays:

  • Mouse Click Heatmaps: The Mouse Click Heatmaps offer a way to evaluate the effectiveness of the links and navigation pattern on the page. It shows the places on your page where visitors have clicked, whether they are links, images, text, or blank spaces.
  • Mouse Move Heatmaps: The Mouse Move Heatmaps are a comprehensive visual representation of what visitors are looking at and focusing on within a webpage, based on mouse moves from thousands of visitors on a site.
  • Scroll Reach Heatmaps: The Scroll Reach Heatmaps display where the page fold lies, how far down visitors scroll, and at what point they abandon the page.
  • Form Analytics: Form Analytics provides an in-depth view of your visitors’ interactions with your web forms. It displays which fields the form is being dropped at or which fields take the most time to complete.
  • Conversion Funnels: A conversion funnel is a designated path of steps visitors follow on a website which lead towards conversion. A conversion funnel is monitored in order to understand and optimize the way in which visitors engage with a site.
  • Traditional analytics: Web analytics provides information about the number of visitors to a website and the number of page views. It helps gauge traffic and popularity trends which is useful for market research.

How do I filter the data from Session Replay?

Filters are an important tool for getting a better understanding of how different groups of users behave on the site or application. Filters analyze a given sample of recordings to include/exclude sessions that meet certain criteria. This can be used to narrow down the focus of your study.

  • Traffic Source: Traffic Source refers to the pages that led visitors to your site. Visitors can arrive at your site from a variety of different sources: Direct, PPC/SEM, SEO/ Keyword Search. The Traffic Source filters are captured through information that exists in the referrer URL.
  • Navigation: Filter visitors based on specific user steps and pages user visited during their journey: Visited Pages, Entry Pages, Exit Pages, Page Count, Previous Pages, Original Referrers, New/Returning.
  • Behavior: Filter visitors based on their specific events: Fold Height, Mouse Clicks, Mouse Moves, Scrolling Distance, and Engagement Time.
  • Demographic: Filter your visitors based on the country they browse from, the language they speak, different browsers they use, their screen sizes, visitor IDs.
  • Bounce Rate: Bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who enter your site and leave right out. Based on visitors’ engagement time, the bounce rate can be broken down into three classes - soft, medium and hard.

What is the value of Session Replay?

Companies are drowning in metrics on overall customer visits to their products, but have very little insight into the experience of individual customers. Online retailers could know how many customers are abandoning different steps of their checkout process, but could have no idea WHY they are abandoning.

You can use Session Replay to remove conversion barriers and to discover opportunities for growth for your business. Behavioral user insights from UsabilityTools can help you find the real issues that are getting in the way of conversions.

One of the ways to eliminate hidden sources of user struggle and turn more visitors into satisfied customers is to be able to replay individual customer sessions and see exactly what they saw.

This helps you turn your insights into action in a way that charts and graphs could never support.

What are the success stories of Session Replay customers?

If you’re a marketer, you’re undoubtedly looking for inspiration to optimize your website or product for better conversions. Below you’ll find 2 case studies showing the main pain points and ways how these companies got great results as a result of using Session Replay.

1. A 40% conversion increase with one change

CTAs have their goal — users should perform an action described in their message. However, sometimes that action might be counterproductive. GetBadges learned that a CTA in a wrong place can cause dropouts.

Thanks to collected recordings, they found out that users would go to the registration pages and fill out the registration form. After that, they clicked a CTA button that attracted their attention. Users did that because they believed it will complete the register process. Instead, that action took them to the registration form again and resetted it. This sequence made users feel like the form is not working and made them leave in frustration.

getbadges before redesign miniature

Old

getbadges after redesign miniature

New

GetBadges tracked how different segment of visitors interacted with and bounced off the webpage.

Recordings of user activity provided by UsabilityTools have shown that people were repeating the same mistake over and over again. After removing the problematic button, they noted a 40% increase in registrations.

Read the full story.

2. A 218% conversion increase through a redesign

Different design hypotheses may or may not result in better effectiveness. Vocabla thought a lot about redesigning their pricing page. This case study shows how they managed to remove conversion barriers by redesigning their pricing page and their web-app based on the actual user behavior, and how they improved their conversion rates as the result.

People at Vocabla were not happy with the conversion rate from their pricing page. They felt that 1.74% is not nearly enough for this step of the buying process. The question was — how to see what discourages users from clicking “Buy now”?

The best way to understand how people really browse and interact with your page is to record their sessions. Based on insights from UsabilityTools, they found why their pricing page was a major dropoff point in their website.

What Vocabla saw was that people quickly scrolled through the page and went back to the previous one. The hypothesis was that the pricing plans were too confusing. The team carefully analyzed collected sessions and proposed new changes.

Vocabla wanted to understand user behavior inside their SaaS product to see what frustrates users.

The effects came right away. People were spending more time on the website and the conversion rate picked up. The conversion rate of the new pricing page design jumped to 5.54% which means that it increased by 218% from the old version.

Read the full story.

How do I install it on my website?

Installing Session Replay takes less than a minute. After you create an account, you can create a new project where you specify the website you want to track.

Once you do that, you’ll be taken to a screen where we’ll display a short JavaScript snippet you need to copy and paste into the <head> tag of your website.

If you’re successful, within minutes you’ll receive an e-mail confirming that everything is set up properly and you received your first recordings.

If you do not know how to edit the tags of your website, ask your IT team to help you – they’ll solve this quickly.

The script is optimized and doesn’t slow the website in any way. It is also absolutely secure – hundreds of big companies trusted us and we want to keep that trust.

If you have any questions, you can always contact us at contact@usabilitytools.com – we’ll solve every problem you have, including your low conversions :)

Get started in less than 60 seconds

Just drop one line of JavaScript code into your site.

Even if you get stuck, our smart and fast support team can help at no extra cost.