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We’ve all had some harrowing digital purchase experiences. My latest? A small Central American airline with the sketchiest checkout page I’ve seen since 1999. But hey—it was the only direct flight available, so I crossed my fingers, took out my least favorite credit card, and pressed “Buy now.” Luckily, it worked out. Still, I found myself firmly among the 90% of less-than-satisfied customers who feel most brands don’t deliver a good digital experience.

Fortunately, companies are slowly awakening to customers’ digital experience (DX) disappointment. More than 1 in 3 sessions creates frustration for visitors. Slow-loading pages are the most common point of friction.


Still, 82% of marketers think their brands are meeting customer expectations, according to Acquia. To bridge this gap, brands first have to understand what’s going right and what’s going wrong. That’s where digital experience analytics (DXA) come in.

Digital experience analytics attempt to quantify your users’ experiences on digital platforms through features like experience scoring, user behavior tracking, and journey analysis. Key DXA tools include session replay and heatmaps.

When put to proper use, DXA can help you create frictionless experiences for your customers. By automatically capturing and measuring millions of pieces of user behavior data, digital experience analytics help you understand what’s really going on during the customer journey—giving you a chance to fix previously hidden issues and exceed your customers’ expectations.

Benefits of Digital Experience Analytics

With the increasing complexity of digital systems—and with many brands managing multiple apps and websites for large audiences—DXA is the only way to understand, at scale, what you need to improve.

Most brands have plenty of room for improvement. For example, 18.1% of website visitors struggle with slow-loading pages. This leads many users to give up altogether—60% of customers abandon purchases due to poor user experiences.

Meanwhile, some parts of your digital experience may be so frustrating that they result in so-called “rage clicks”—when users click repeatedly on the same element because it doesn’t seem to be working.

infographics of digital experience analytics percentage of sessions experiencing frustration by factor

Collect enough user data and you’re sure to see:

  • User confusion
  • Navigation issues
  • Points of user friction
  • Technical problems
  • Form errors

The good news is that—by analyzing this data and addressing user issues—you can help customers have a better digital experience and improve your brand’s performance.

Here’s how digital experience analytics help you and your customers:

Improved retention: When you have more customer experience data, you’ll be able to improve the things users find frustrating about your product and cater your DX to the behaviors you’ve observed. A better product experience means more retention, more loyalty, and more organic growth through referrals.

Smoother customer journeys: The only way to know where your customers’ roadblocks and frustrations are is to watch them. Once you’ve seen where customers struggle, you’ll be in a better position to remove friction from the customer journey. And less friction means increased customer satisfaction.

A better experience than your competitors: Tailoring your product to your customers’ actual behavior using data-driven improvements is a major competitive edge. By tracking how customers behave, you can release new bug fixes and feature updates that are engineered to improve the digital experience. As a natural side effect, your improved DX will increase revenue.

Benefits of DXA Across Your Organization

DXA has implications across your organization, whether you’re in CX, UX, or marketing:

  • CX professionals can use digital experience analytics to better understand the digital portion of the customer journey, identify pain points, and make data-driven decisions to drive customer loyalty and retention.
  • UI designers can discover layouts and page elements that contribute to poor customer engagement and can create more user-friendly experiences.
  • UX designers can use DXA to identify and address points of friction in the user journey. Increasingly, DX dominates user journey design—because a huge proportion of brand interaction happens digitally.
  • CRO specialists can spot user journey bottlenecks that are dragging down key performance indicators, and find spikes in frustration and confusion connected to new A/B tests.
  • Ecommerce operators can uncover technical issues that are costing purchases on checkout pages.
  • Digital marketers can investigate form issues that are sabotaging landing page conversions, or use data analytics to better understand the audience they’re targeting through marketing campaigns.
  • Customer success teams can get a fuller picture of what’s driving the results of key CS metrics like customer satisfaction and net promoter score.
  • Product managers can use digital experience analytics to evaluate product performance, identify functional issues, and create a better product roadmap.
  • Development teams can use digital experience analytics to identify technical problems on a website or mobile app, like bugs that need fixing.

Start Gathering Data With These DXP Features

Convinced you need to improve your efforts with digital experience analytics?

The first thing you need to do is choose your digital experience platform (DXP)—then, start gathering data. From there, you can unlock a wealth of actionable insights into how customers are interacting with your digital platforms.

Digital Experience Platform Features

Here are some of the key features you’ll use within your DXP to track and measure customer behavior.

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Digital Experience Scoring

By quantifying every behavior, interaction, and journey with a single score, the digital experience score is your “single source of truth” for how customers are experiencing your digital platforms.

DX scores benchmark the experience of everyone who interacts with your digital platform—making them a useful complement to CX metrics, which are largely drawn from customer feedback.

User Behavior Tracking

Are your users bouncing immediately or exploring? Are they scrolling quickly or lingering? Are they navigating your website or app with ease, or rage-clicking their way through the experience?

Digital experience platforms can track all of this and more, giving you a full picture of user behavior.

Journey Analysis

Journey analysis tools create maps of user journeys. They help you visualize each user journey to discover the most popular paths—and also the paths that are causing problems. By understanding how most user journeys happen, you can remove friction in key areas and improve the experience.

Segmentation

The amount of customer data generated by DXPs can be overwhelming.

Fortunately, digital experience platforms segment user journeys in a more granular way. By segmenting based on behavior or demographics, you can understand how the digital experience varies for different groups of users.

Heatmaps

Heatmaps are visualizations showing how customers—in aggregate—are interacting with your digital platform. In a single view, you can see how users are scrolling, what they’re clicking, and where their attention is being drawn.

By analyzing heatmaps, you can spot DX issues and change your layouts and designs accordingly.

Session Replay

Most of DXA is about looking at the aggregate behavior of all of your users, or segments of user groups. There’s typically just too much information to justify sorting through individual user behavior.

But when you need to understand exactly how users are struggling with a particular feature of your digital experience, there’s no better tool than the session replay.

Session replays provide anonymized recordings of individual user sessions. By reviewing session replays, you can understand the source of user frustration and fix it.

Form Analytics

Of all the bottlenecks you can have with your digital experience, form issues are one of the most costly. That’s because by the time users engage with your forms, they’ve already decided to take action. But they can be easily derailed by a frustrating or clunky form experience—or, even worse, by technical errors that make it hard to hit ‘Submit.’

That means optimizing your forms is one of the fastest ways to improve your conversion rate. Form analytics help you watch user behavior closely to understand why users abandon forms so you can focus on improving those areas.

DX metrics

Most DX metrics—like session duration or bounce rate—will feel familiar to anyone with a CX or marketing background.

Here are some of the most common metrics you’ll come across:

  • Session depth
  • Session duration
  • Time on site
  • Page views
  • Page load speed
  • Session outcomes
  • Bounce rate
  • Scroll rate
  • Conversion rate

Digital experience platforms can also track more in-depth user interactions like clicking, swiping, typing, and field interactions.

How To Turn DX Insights Into Action

Think of DX customer insights as a way to reconnect with what it’s like to be a user of your own product. For some reason, spotting DX issues comes naturally when you’re using other products—but when it comes to your own, it’s easy to have blind spots.

Digital analytics tell you exactly what you need to do to build digital experiences that are helpful to customers.

Here’s how to go about this:

  1. Gather data: First, gather all the quantifiable data you can using digital experience monitoring tools. This includes everything from page load speed to session duration to conversion rate. Supplement this data with journey analysis, heatmaps, and session recordings to understand the ‘why’ behind the data.
  2. Prioritize issues: Whether you have hundreds or millions of users, you’re sure to have plenty of issues to work on. Prioritize issues by the number of users who are experiencing them—or by the revenue impact of each. Common issues for most brands include slow page loads, rage clicks, multiple button clicks, multiple field clicks, and low page activity.
  3. Investigate and find the root cause: Now that you’ve got a list of the most impactful DX issues to fix, dig into exactly what’s behind them. Create some hypotheses about how to improve each. For example, a slow page loading time can be caused by many issues, from server errors to clunky javascript to large image sizes. Find the root cause.
  4. Test and improve: You can fix some issues—like a slow server—behind the scenes. But if you’re changing something like the page layout that impacts users, make sure to run an A/B test so you know whether the changes you’re making are having a positive impact. You can also experiment with machine learning and AI tools to continuously optimize parts of your digital experience based on user behavior.
  5. Rinse and repeat: Once you’ve improved one aspect of the digital experience (congrats!) it’s time to do it all over again. Go back to your list of issues and tackle the next one on the list.

The Business Impact Of Digital Experience Analytics

Digital experience analytics affect every part of your organization—from CX to development—and they have a similarly broad impact on business outcomes.

Here are some key reasons to make digital experience analytics a priority:

Higher conversion rates

60% of customers abandon purchases due to poor user experiences.

DXA is the best way to understand why this is happening and fix it. When your customers engage more with your digital experience, you can expect a 19% higher conversion rate and a 20% lower bounce rate, according to Contentsquare.

Increased revenue

Investing in DXA means improving the digital experience across the board—and this has significant revenue implications.

A Forrester study found that one leading digital experience analytics platform delivered a 601% ROI over three years. According to the study, the additional revenue came primarily from website optimizations, reduced user friction, internal productivity gains, reduced costs, and increased conversions.

Reduced churn

Digital experience analytics help you understand why customers are leaving.

Once you know this, you can understand the specific steps you need to take to reduce churn. By getting curious about your users’ digital experience and taking a data-driven approach to understand where the experience is going wrong, you’ll naturally start to improve the digital customer experience and boost retention.

More customer loyalty

Your digital experience has a direct impact on customer loyalty and word of mouth. Nearly 2 out of 3 customers say that their digital experience (with a website or app) is a key factor in whether or not they recommend a brand.

By watching the digital experience closely, you can understand the issues your brand’s detractors are having—and fix them to create more promoters.

From Rage Clicks to Conversions

Remember this:

At this moment, hundreds or thousands of customers are interacting with your brand digitally—and some of them are frustrated.

Some customers might even be rage-clicking buttons on your website or app right now, as they struggle to get the outcome they expect from your digital experience. Beyond the unquantifiable damage customer frustration does to your brand, it also has a real and direct impact on your conversions, revenue, and customer satisfaction.

Digital experience analytics is your path to an improved customer experience and more revenue growth. By getting familiar with tools like session replay, heatmaps, and journey mapping, you can stop working based on instinct and start working based on data. And by using a comprehensive DX platform to manage your digital experience and generate a DX score, you can get a real-time understanding of what’s going right—and what needs improvement.

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Ryan Kane
By Ryan Kane

Ryan Kane has been researching, writing about and improving customer experiences for much of his career and in a wide variety of B2B and B2C contexts, from tech startups and agencies to a manufacturer for Fortune 500 clients.