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A 4-step strategy to hit your goals with behavior analytics
Behavior analytics can (and will!) unlock a whole new world of insights about your users—so, what do you do with those insights? How can you use them?
By now, you know the behavior analytics fundamentals, like actions you can track and the benefits this gives you. You also know the best behavior analytics tools you can use to collect insights and data.
The final step, then, is to build and implement a strategy that works for your business, website, product, and audience—not just to improve a number, but to help your users achieve their goals, so you can achieve yours.
What is a behavior analytics strategy?
A behavior analytics strategy is a set of steps designed to improve the user experience based on what you learn about the current user experience from behavior analytics tools.
If you've read the other pages of this Behavior Analytics guide, you know the importance of discovery—and how you can use behavior analytics tools to learn what users need from your site or app, how they interact with it, and what’s stopping them from taking action.
But your strategy doesn't start and end with discovery: for your behavior analytics strategy to yield results, you need to use what you've learned to fix issues and make updates to your website or product. This way, you’ll help users reach their goals so you can reach yours—which could look like an increase in leads or revenue, or higher customer satisfaction.
A successful behavior analytics strategy will help you stop guessing what your users need and give you actionable steps for improvement, backed by real-life data and experiences.
Why blindly applying best practices doesn’t work
There’s a deceptively easy path towards improving results from your site or app: industry benchmarks. (Dun dun dunnn.)
Benchmarks are comfortable. They tell us what other brands are doing and give us a tangible, measurable goal to aim for. If we hit that number, we’ve done our jobs, right?
Benchmarks and 'best practices' are past practices by definition: something that worked in the past, for someone else. These practices took months (or years!) to develop, test, implement, and pass on. Using other companies' best practices means you’re just playing catch-up.
Benchmarks tell you how a range of companies, with many different websites, products, and customers, are doing on average. You’ve heard of benchmarks for metrics like:
Conversion rate: the benchmark is 4% for landing pages
Bounce rate: the benchmark is 41-50%
Cart abandonment rate: the benchmark is 70%
Without details and context, these numbers are pretty useless. Let’s unpack the benchmark for landing page conversion rates:
Let’s say your landing page converts 1% of its visitors. The benchmark is 4%, so you use that as your goal. To make this happen, you implement some landing page 'best practices':
You add a contrasting color to your call-to-action (CTA) button.
You add scarcity to your landing page copy (“Limited quantities/spots!”).
You reduce the number of fields in your signup form.
You add an exit pop-up.
Well done. So what's the issue with this approach?
You have no clue what 99% of the people who visit your landing page actually do before they leave without converting. You don’t have answers to questions like:
Are users missing a key piece of information they need to take the next step?
Are users confused by what the landing page offers?
What do users look at on your website right before they open this landing page?
How long do users stay on the landing page before leaving?
What do users focus on, and what do they completely ignore?
The only way to get more than 1% of your visitors to convert is to explore what’s standing in the way of the other 99 and then fixing it for them—not simply slapping on a best-practice-band-aid.
The good news is that your users are already telling you what they need from your site or product—they're telling you what’s missing, where they get stuck, and what needs to improve—you just need to know where to look and take action based on what you learn.
Ditch benchmarks and best practices for these four steps to implement a customer-centric behavior analytics strategy—one that works for your users, based on your data and your business.
4 steps to implement a customer-centric behavior analytics strategy
In the past, your product and marketing strategy may have gone something like this:
Set a business goal (like increased revenue or customer acquisition)
Figure out a strategy (based on 'best practices') that gives you the best chance to hit your goal
Execute the strategy
Keep at it until you meet your goal
But now you know best practices aren't always best, so it’s time to flip this approach on its head: start with what your users already experience when they use your website or app and let that lead your strategy.
Instead of forcing users into an experience that matches your goal, collect data about their behavior, make improvements to help them reach their goal, then use that to inform your goal and strategy in these four steps:
1. Understand the current user experience
Your first step is deceptively simple: understand the current user experience by learning how real people interact with your site or product.
This is where you put your behavior analytics tools to work—with tools like heatmaps and session recordings, it's almost like peeking over your users’ shoulders to see:
What users pay attention to and ignore
How they move between website pages or product features
Confusing or frustrating bugs or issues they experience
Actions users take before they exit
💡 Pro tip: use Google Analytics and behavior analytics tools together
Reviewing hundreds of session recordings or heatmap reports might sound intimidating and time-consuming. That’s because it is.
Instead of blindly going through every report you get from your behavior analytics tools, complement your user behavior data with a tool like Google Analytics (GA) to identify pages or elements to focus on.
For example, you could use GA to find low-converting pages, under-used product features, or pages with high drop-off rates, and then use filters in your behavior analytics tools to locate and analyze relevant reports.
For more ideas on how to combine Google Analytics and behavior analytics tools, check out this example-packed guide.
2. Identify issues that keep users from the experience you want them to have
Your next step: find what’s standing between your users and their ideal experience with your site or product. Dig deeper into the user experience and look for specific blockers or areas where users get stuck.
Look for friction points and issues like:
Repeated clicks (aka rage clicks) on an element that isn’t clickable, like an image or plain text
CTAs users miss because they don’t scroll far enough
Broken buttons or links
Product features that are ignored or overlooked
Some behavior analytics tools, like heatmaps, will give you aggregate data to understand issues your users experience on a larger scale. Others, like session recordings, show you individual users' clicks, mouse movements, and navigation from page to page.
When choosing your behavior analytics tool(s), ask yourself: “will the insights I get from this tool help me understand where my users struggle and decide which changes I need to make to my site or app?”
Use the Behavior Analytics Tools chapter of this guide to understand the different tools and choose the right one for your situation.
💡 Pro tip: combine tools for even more powerful insights
The fun thing about behavior analytics tools is that each tool gives you a different type of data—the real magic happens when you start layering tools for even deeper insights.
For example, you can combine
Heatmaps and A/B testing tools: compare heatmaps for A/B test variations of the same page, or use heatmaps to come up with a hypothesis for an A/B test.
Heatmaps and session recordings: use heatmaps to catch patterns (for example, only 30% of people scroll deep enough to see a feature update), then use session recordings to see what users do on that page (for example, what do they do when they don’t scroll to the updated feature).
Session recordings and A/B testing tools: compare session recordings for A/B test page variations to see how each of them impacts the user's experience with your product.
3. Understand your users’ goals
You're providing the most value to your users when your product is helping them reach their goals. Now it's time to learn what your users are trying to do when they visit your site or use your product.
Think about using the Jobs-to-Be-Done framework (JTBD), which implies users ‘hire’ your product to do a job for them. This includes your product as a whole, individual product features, and your website.
To understand your users' goals—the job they hired your product for—ask yourself (or, better yet, ask your users!):
Why did they come to your website or app today?
What are they trying to find or accomplish while they're there? Did they successfully do that?
Did any of the issues identified in Step 2 (above) stop them or slow them down?
You can learn a lot about your users’ goals from how they navigate your website (using tools like heatmaps and session recordings), but you can learn even more from user feedback.
User feedback is gold. It gives your users a voice and gives you a way to prioritize fixes, UX improvements, and product updates. With that insight, you can roll up your sleeves and start making the changes that matter most.
💡 Pro tip: make it easy for users to share instant, direct feedback
Tools like Hotjar Surveys let you ask targeted questions and limit them to specific pages users visit or devices they’re on. By asking questions like
What persuaded you to [take action] today?
What, if anything, stopped you from [action] today?
What are your main concerns or questions about [product or service]?
What were you looking for when you landed on this page?
you’ll add context to what you’ve learned through heatmap reports and session recordings.
There’s more: Hotjar Incoming Feedback lets your users leave feedback on specific elements of the page or product. See what users love and hate, the issues they run into, and how improvements you make impact their experience over time.
📚 Bonus reading: here are 70+ survey question examples you can use to get the best voice-of-the-customer (VoC) insights.
4. Use what you’ve learned to inform your goal
So far, you've focused on your users’ experience and goals—as you should. In this final step, it's time to identify and reflect on how improving the user experience will lead to business results.
A great customer experience (CX) generates and increases customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth marketing. Naturally, your goal to create a better user experience—and how seriously you take it—impacts your business goals.
If your users can have a frictionless product experience—meaning they can hit their goals and get maximum value from your website or product—how does this reflect on your business?
Leads: webinar signups, contact form completions, free trials, demo requests
Sales and revenue: new customers, repeat purchases, subscriptions, average transaction value
Check this data regularly as you implement improvements to understand the true impact of your behavior analytics strategy for every aspect of your business.
Behavior analytics strategy isn’t just a once-off, sequential checklist you work through and then file away. It’s an iterative, cyclical process that allows you to perpetually learn from your customers so you can help them reach their goals—so you can reach yours.
💡 Find out what users really think
Use Hotjar's behavior analytics tools to understand how users experience and interact with your website or app, so you can spot issues and bugs, and improve UX.