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Add Some Color to Your Black-and-White Analytics

It’s not always easy to reach a consensus with your team. It can be even more difficult if everyone is trying to agree on a decision using information laid out in an Excel spreadsheet, with line after line of numbers failing to fully illustrate the pros and cons of a decision.

Data visualization is becoming an increasingly relied-upon tool in both the workplace and the media — and for good reason: Seeing numbers displayed visually can transform a person’s understanding of a problem. Utilizing visual analytics can bring nuance and color to an issue that once looked black and white, and allow your team to make more informed decisions.

Thankfully, there are tools you can implement to use visual analytics to eliminate the guesswork, improve your site, and increase user engagement.

4 Tools for Enhanced Interaction
Web analytics have traditionally been pretty straightforward: number of visitors, time spent on site, links clicked. But these only tell part of the story. With these four tools, you can learn more about how users interact with your site and make better decisions.

Heat maps: Rather than relying on clicks or time spent on a page, heat maps allow you to see how your users use your site. Heat maps can tell you where users click the most, how far they scroll, and where the cursor spends most of its time. They allow your team to see the user experience directly, instead of just relying on numbers.

Visitor recordings: Essentially a more specific version of heat maps, visitor recordings allow you to see how specific individuals use a site, giving you useful case studies. You can see everything from how they add items to a shopping cart to when they start filling out a form. If heat maps give you a bird’s-eye view of how visitors use your site, visitor recordings let you see it from the ground level.

Form analytics: Especially useful for companies focused on lead generation, form analytics allow you to create more efficient, user-friendly forms that visitors are less likely to abandon halfway through.

Conversion funnels: A key metric in determining what makes a site effective is figuring out where user drop-off is occurring. Conversion funnels allow you to see these weak points so your team can do something about them. Again, you can sometimes figure this out through traditional analytics numbers, but conversion funnels allow you to see the data in a way that makes drop-off points much clearer.

Using a combination of these tools is ideal, but if you have to decide on just one tool to use, identify how much time and effort you have to put into reviewing the information.

  • If time is limited and you’re looking for aggregated trends, heat maps are the way to go.
  • If you have a little more time and are looking at various scenarios of how people use your site, visitor recordings give you that granular detail.
  • If you’re in lead generation or e-commerce and forms are a priority, then in-depth form analytics will give you the most value.

5 Ways to Implement Visualization
Having the right tools for the job is an excellent start, but it’s equally important to implement them correctly for your team. Use these five strategies to successfully incorporate visualization tools and encourage teams to utilize them in the future.

Awareness: When choosing data visualization tools, make sure you understand which departments will actually be using them. Marketing, sales, research, and design can all benefit from these tools, but they’ll all use them differently.

Accessibility: Make sure members of each team can access the data with their own login credentials. Sharing a login feels less personal and often causes users to not use the product.

Education: Once all teams have their own login information, take the time up front to properly educate them on how to use the platform. If a team feels like a product will be too difficult to use or learn, the group won’t use it, and money will be lost.

Collaboration: Hold routine meetings within departments. Encourage employees to bring their “findings” and interpret them. It’s key to remember that while we all might look at visual data in a similar way, the takeaways can be different from team to team. If this happens, you know you’re getting your money’s worth.

Reviews: Now that everyone has weighed in and you’ve decided to make some changes, be sure to benchmark your successes and check back regularly. You want to make sure every change or recommendation is validated and continuing to provide value to your organization.

Once these tools are properly implemented, you’ll find the decision-making process is not only easier, but the results are more beneficial to your customers and your company. So abandon the black-and-white, and bring some color into your analytics to enhance understanding and boost your site’s performance.

Danny Wajcman is the co-founder and vice president of sales and operations at Lucky Orange, a provider of website optimization and improvement. Using Lucky Orange, you can understand visitor behaviors, diagnose trouble areas in your conversion funnel, determine causes of abandonment, and evaluate your website optimizations to measure successes.