What are Self Hosted Analytics?
In a nutshell, self hosted means installing analytics on your own computer or server, hence hosting the analytics yourself. There are many reasons why various companies may choose to do self hosted analytics, but you have to make sure that you have the proper storage, power, and IT knowledge.
If your server is prepared to host its own analytics software, it could mean more privacy for your company and its analytics, which can be a big draw for some. Many larger companies and corporations go this route not only for the privacy as mentioned above, but also for the convenience and autonomy of having your own analytics hosted on your own server.
What are Heatmaps?
Heatmaps are a type of analytics that provide companies with more information about users while they are visiting their websites. More specifically, the heatmaps track where the user is going and spending most of its time in a graphical representation. The map has a gradient of colors from blue (cool) to red (hot). The hot zones are most frequented, the blues zones are the least frequented, and the other colors are in between the two. It can take really complex data and analytics and make it easier to digest through the visual representation.
A heatmap can visually show a company more information about the following:
A heatmap can show what most users click on the most and least. If users mostly click on a link that takes them away from the website, they may want to change the option to click away.
It can also show how quickly the users click on any particular link or button.
- Mouse Movements
Typically, where the mouse goes is where the eye follows. So, heatmaps can also be used to map the most trafficked mouse movements, showing where users mostly go when visiting the website, and what they are seeing.
- Scroll Movements
Similar to mouse movement, heatmaps can also show scroll movements of users when visiting your website. It shows the percentage of users who scroll down to any given point of your page.
What are Session Recordings and Segments?
Session recordings and segments are similar to heat maps in the sense that they provide information about users while they are on their website, but they provide more detailed, specific information.
Essentially, session recordings and segments are full recordings (or recorded segments) of the visitor’s visit on your website. Session recordings record the entirety of the user’s visit on the website, while segments are just portions as the word suggests.
Session recordings and segments take note of where the visitor went, what all the person clicked on, and more. It provides a more detailed look into what users are doing on your website in order to teach you more about the user’s experience.
Now, that we’ve broken it down and taken a look at what self hosted analytics with heatmaps, session recordings and segments are, we will be exploring the purpose of each of these. Since we have already shared what self hosted analytics are and touched on their purpose above, we will be focusing this section on the purpose of heatmaps and session recordings and segments.
- Improve Conversion Rate
Heatmaps and session recordings and segments play a big role in improving conversion rates. Your company’s conversation rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that complete the desired goal you have set. Your goal may be making a sale, clicking on affiliate links, or something else that you have previously set.
The reason these analytics tools help companies with their conversion rates is because they provide the necessary information about the user’s visit to your website. In turn, you can use this information to alter, fix, and improve your website to better reach your goal and improve your conversion rate.
To learn more about how to improve your company’s conversation rate, click here.
- Reduce Bounce Rate
Another important reason companies utilize heatmaps and session recordings is to reduce the bounce rate. To put it simply, the bounce rate is how quickly a visitor “bounces” off your site to another. Websites with high bounce rates, have a lot of visitor turnover, while websites with low bounce rates have visitors who click on the website and stay for a considerable amount of time. So, having a low bounce rate is ideal.
In our article, How to Improve Your Bounce Rate, we share that utilizing tools that help you “spy” on visitors can make a big impact on your bounce rate because they allow you to learn how quickly your visitors are clicking off your page and where they are spending their time. As stated in the section above, this information can allow you to determine adjustments that need to be made to your site or areas that you can improve and make more engaging in order to reduce your bounce rate.
- Understand User Behavior
Heatmaps and session recordings, as stated earlier will allow companies to better understand the behaviors of their target audience and website visitors. If they have a high bounce rate, we can analyze the heatmap to see and understand these behaviors. If visitors have a tendency to jump right to a particular link or video, we can look into why, better understand the behavior, and then adjust the site to make these most trafficked areas better accessible.
- Improve UX
Above all, the purpose of a website is for its users to have a positive user experience (UX). If the users aren’t having a positive experience on the website, nothing will add up. They won’t stay on your page for long, which means that they won’t help you reach your goal (or conversion rate), and they won’t teach you much about their behavior. Mostly, you won’t learn about their behavior because if they’re not having a good experience, they simply won’t be on your page long enough to learn about them.
“Research shows that a frictionless and well-curated UX design could possibly increase customer conversion rates to 400%,” as stated in one of our recent articles on making the most of SEO trends. Thus, proving that if users are having a positive experience, then they will stay and help you meet your goals through purchasing your products, etc.
With all of this being said, heatmaps and session recordings will help you to see through all of the analytics, charts, and graphs, where you can make things more streamlined, easier to find, and improve your user’s all around experience.
You may be wondering why heatmaps and session recordings and segments are important? Well, as stated above, these tools can have a significant effect on your brand’s online presence, customer experience, and even profits.
Learning about your customers by seeing how they utilize your website will equip you with very specific information that you would have never otherwise been able to obtain. And, as the world continues to rely more and more on the Internet for shopping and researching, it becomes even more essential to have a well designed, user friendly and attractive website.
Bringing it all together, not all companies will have the adequate resources (IT, money, storage, and capabilities) for self hosted advanced software such as analytics that uses heatmaps, session recordings, and segments.
If a company does have the ability to self host these tools, it will provide them with the opportunity to utilize these tools in a more private, in house way. They won’t have to rely on an external server to obtain the information necessary to learn more about their websites traffic.
Whether a company can afford this or not, heatmaps and session recordings and segments are definitely something worth looking into, especially if you are wanting to increase your conversion rate, lower your bounce rate, or simply improve your customers experience when on the site.
While you could create surveys to send to your customers about their online experience with your site, sifting through the information would prove very daunting. Not to mention, the information wouldn’t be as helpful. There’s just something about literally watching and actually seeing where your users visit, click, and interact on your page. It’s this kind of raw data that, when analyzed properly can take your website from good to absolutely amazing.
We hope that you were able to find this deep dive on self hosted analytics with heatmaps, session recordings and segments both informational and helpful. Be sure to check out our other posts on our blogs for all things marketing and SEO.