You may have noticed a trend happening online in the past decade: where once the default approach to digital selling was to push products and services at all costs, these days providing value to the consumer and meeting the user on their own terms is becoming the guiding principle.
In this article we’ll look at why understanding user behavior has become more essential than ever before, and what tools brands can use to help them fall in step with their target audiences.
Why user behavior matters
You might be asking why tracking and understanding user behavior on your website is so essential. Maybe you have a conversion rate you’re already happy with, or maybe you have a predetermined schedule of products or services you promote at certain times of the year.
Often times website priorities are dictated to marketing from on high — either based on sales objectives or (on occasion) based on the instincts of the executive team. The problem with this approach is that website users don’t care about sales priorities or objectives dictated from company executives. All they care about is their own needs and how your brand’s website can help meet them.
Amazon, arguably the world’s most successful ecommerce retailer, demonstrates the importance of this type of emphasis on the user. The company has repeatedly noted that their obsessive focus on the customer is what sets them apart and is the factor that enabled them to become the ecommerce behemoth they are today. Amazon Prime, which was initially believed by many to be impossible to execute, is now core to Amazon’s overall success. Why? Because it fulfills the customer’s desire for (nearly) instant and effortless gratification.
How brands can discover user intent
There are a number of ways your brand can track user behavior in order to better understand the goals and intentions of your customers.
Even with the most basic of measurement tools — that is to say website analytics — there’s a lot you can unearth about what customers are looking for when they come to your website. The same is true of basic social media performance analytics tools.
For example, with these tools you can easily discover what types of content users engage with most. A user’s content preferences signal his or her intentions, as do internal site searches and referring keywords. Understanding the how, when, and why of customer engagement with your website is the first step toward determining what their needs and desires are.
User surveys involve asking the customer for direct feedback on a specific element or elements of their experience. Surveys can take place after a purchase or interaction with a company representative, usually with the aim of gauging customer satisfaction. Short one or two question surveys can also be deployed as the user navigates your site. In either case surveys should be designed to help brands understand what the customers needs are and whether the experience provided was able to meet them.
Site behavior tracking tools:
There are a variety of tools that allow brands to track user website behavior. These tools involve tracking clicks, mouse movements, scrolling, and more. They offer empirical, quantitative data on the actions users take on your website and can help highlight areas of hesitation, friction, or confusion.
Brands may also choose to monitor user behavior in a controlled environment. Conducting user tests on new products or properties entails having real consumers use the product while being monitored. This enables brands to not only understand how the user engages with a product, but also offers insights into what tasks they’re trying to achieve and identify problems or friction points.
The most successful brands are almost always the ones that focus first on the needs of the customer. Earlier in this article we took Amazon as an example of a brand whose relentless, obsessive focus on the customer has helped them drive continuous growth and revenue. Brands of all sizes can learn from Amazon’s example in this regard.
In order to deliver that kind of obsessive customer focus, however, brands must first get in tune with what the needs and wants of their customers are. Behavior tracking is key to understanding those needs. Investing in a variety of mechanisms of user behavior tracking can help brands become more user-oriented, and ultimately better able to dominate in their sector.