Finding the right digital experience analytics platform.

August 1, 2022 By: Trevor Pyle

Choosing the right digital experience analytics platform for your business means no longer just thinking about your analytics team or even a single team for that matter. 

In today’s enterprise, multiple teams leverage digital experience analytics platforms to better understand the customer experience. It’s becoming more common to see teams such as CX, product, IT/Ops, and even the contact center benefit from using the same platform. 

Here’s a look at what you should keep in mind as you go about selecting the right digital experience analytics platform.

What are digital experience analytics?

Before we get started, let’s define experience analytics. It’s a rapidly growing technology category and the definition is still evolving. 

Gartner defines digital experience analytics as “diagnostic insights into visitor activity and the CX…enabled by advanced analytics and machine learning, session replay and heat map technology.” Meanwhile, Forrester focuses on the capabilities that allow “experience design pros to log and analyze users’ interactions with interfaces, which may be high fidelity prototypes or in production.”  

You can view our full definition of experience analytics in our accompanying guide. 

What does ‘good’ look like when it comes to  digital experience analytics? 

Easy to implement and maintain.

For seasoned analytics pros, modern digital experience analytics solutions might feel a bit like “magic.” They come with built-in, easy-to-understand metrics, session replay and journey mapping as well as the opportunity to create your own. They help teams understand every digital interaction (from clicks to API connections) at scale (without the need to manually tag everything.

More importantly, the right platform will help you proactively pinpoint user frustrations (such as a broken checkout button) and turn them into opportunities to drive more revenue.  

Quantitative and qualitative data analytics tools.

More traditional analytics tools like Google Analytics can help understand metrics such as page views, but they don’t provide a full picture of the customer experience. 

When selecting a digital experience analytics platform, make sure that you have access to qualitative tools like heatmaps, session replay, and click maps. Quantitative analytics can tell you where a problem occurs, whereas qualitative tools help you step into the customer’s shoes and better understand what can be improved. 

Detailed auto capture and no-code eventing.

For different digital analytics platforms, auto capture capabilities vary widely. The best platforms capture 300+ events, errors, and dimensions right out of the box. Much more than just clicks and taps. 

Today’s no and low-code autocapture solutions allow you to track the basics, like clicks and taps, as well as more complex metrics, like conversion rate and revenue. Advanced analytics platforms track every movement, business transaction, and technical errors. They quantify the business impact of frustration signals  such as rage clicking or long running spinners. 

Each business is unique. Your digital experience analytics platform should also allow you to build custom events, personally tailored to your business. The ideal digital experience analytics platform allows no-code users to build events with a graphical point and click approach, or with a wizard.  

With the right platform, you can avoid manually tagging elements in the codebase. Manually tagging elements is time consuming and can hamper application and website performance. This means your technical teams are not bogged down with analytics implementation and you don’t have to wait for answers when it comes to understanding your digital experience. 

Cross-platform capabilities, including mobile analytics. 

Many digital experience analytics platforms capture the customer experience on web pages, but not mobile apps or (for businesses like airlines and quick service restaurants) kiosks. 

The customer journey is becoming more omnichannel. You will need to gain a unified view into how customers interact with each digital touch point. This means you want to invest in an experience analytics platform that can analyze both pages (for websites) and screens (for mobile applications or kiosks).

Fast business impact analysis.

Digital products are always changing, which means there are an infinite number of possibilities for improving the user experience. It also means that everyone thinks that their ideas and opinions are the best option.  

Your digital experience analytics platform should help your team set priorities and cut through the noise. Today’s leading platforms quantify the potential revenue gain or loss caused by technical errors, UI errors, and other conversion-blocking design flaws. This way, your teams can work together to prioritize high-impact fixes that drive revenue and make customers happier. 

Automated UX analysis.

Data-driven UX design has become the industry standard. Today, designers use session replay, customer journey maps (sankey and sunburst), page analysis, heatmaps, attention maps, clickmaps, and interaction or content analysis maps to study user behavior. 

The most advanced UX analysis tools allow designers to aggregate data for cohorts based on device type, browser type, user demographic, and more. By understanding how large segments of users engage with your product, you can determine how page elements like confusing copy or poorly labeled buttons impact conversion rates.  

This in turn makes it easier for UX leaders to generate new testing ideas and estimate the business impact of design changes, marrying quantitative and qualitative together. 

Accurate alerting and monitoring.

In today’s digital world, teams need to anticipate problems before they negatively impact their users. This means receiving alerts in real time. Not just alerts about technical issues like failing APIs but alerts about frustration that could be stemming from a poor redesign. 

The best digital experience analytics platforms come with advanced ML and AI tools like anomaly detection. Your digital experience analytics platform should come with pre-figured alerts, as well as the ability to customize alerts based on changes in user behavior and other metrics. 

Accurate  anomaly detection based on historical benchmarking allows experience analytics platforms to trigger accurate and timely alerts, allowing you to surface issues before your users even encounter them. In addition to friction points, these tools help digital teams pinpoint potentially fraudulent activity, such as non-human traffic like bots attempting to copy-and-past login and passwords.  

Easy to onboard multiple teams, including technical and non-technical users.

Designers, developers, IT/Ops, marketing, executives, contact center agents, and others across the enterprise can benefit from a robust digital experience analytics platform. These platforms are so powerful as they allow teams with differing objectives to align around the customer experience. 

Use cases can range from contact center agents helping customers with session replay and IT/Ops pinpointing an API error with anomaly detection, to executives who might use the dashboards to obtain a birds eye view of their digital experience. 

As analytics becomes an integral part of each business unit’s strategy, having a platform that is accessible to technical and no-code users alike is more important than ever. With easy-to-read dashboards, intuitive data visualizations, and autocapture your digital experience analytics platform can truly begin to democratize access to customer insights across the organization. 

Security best practices.

With European governments cracking down on data privacy regulations, your digital experience analytics platform needs to ensure end-user privacy. This means compliance with regulations such as CCPA and GDPR. 

As tech behemoths like Google do away with third-party data, collecting first-party data about how customers interact with a product – not about the customers themselves– will be essential for understanding the user experience. 

To accomplish this, your digital experience analytics platform must include best-in-class encryption technology to safeguard customer privacy. Furthermore, the security should be built into the platform and easy to maintain. 

Enhancing an A/B testing program.

Armed with the right digital experience analytics platform, your design and development team can improve their A/B testing program by carefully studying how users interact with 2 or more versions of a product. A/B testing platforms will natively tell you which version won, but this often leads experimentation teams asking “why”. 

You can compare metrics such as conversion and churn rates to determine which features perform better for your end users. However, you can also see the exact engagement with an experiment to get a clearer understanding of why a particular experiment won. 

Integration with your current tech stack.

When selecting a digital analytics platform, you want to make sure it integrates with your current tech stack so that you can avoid adding unnecessary tech debt or integration work.

The right platform can boost workflows with a CRM like Salesforce, data analytics tools like Tableau or Optimizely, service management tools like Salesforce Service Cloud, Servicenow, or JIRA, and even supplement traditional analytics tools like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics.

Journey analysis.

Some of today’s digital experience analytics platforms come with tools to understand and analyze different components of the journey, including:

  • Attribution analysis
  • Retention analysis
  • Churn analysis
  • Funnel Analysis
  • Conversion analysis 

By understanding the ever-changing customer journey, you can gain business-critical insights into how customers arrived on your website or mobile app (e.g., Google search or social media), what steps they took to complete a conversion, or what prompted them to leave the website. 

Traditional analytics tools will often tell you what journey a customer (or segment of customers) took, but they won’t get into the details of why. Experience analytics tools bring in more context by supplementing journey analysis with friction indicators, session replay, and more.

Scale real-time data capture year round, tied to key business metrics. 

It’s no secret that businesses are overflowing with data. The best digital experience analytics platforms will cut through the noise and capture the data that matters. 

As you scale up your data analytics strategy, it’s important to capture 100% of your customer data for key interactions. While sampling can be effective in certain instances, this approach is limited in the long term. With 100% capture, you have the most comprehensive view into how customer behavior impacts the business. This eliminates the chance of confounding variables skewing your analysis. It also allows for key customer service use cases such as looking up a customer session after they reported issues with the digital experience.

So now what? 

The category of experience analytics is rapidly expanding and its definition will continue to evolve. This makes it hard for you, the digital leader, to make sense of all the options out there. The good news? There is a guide for that exact process. The experience analytics analytics buyers guide lays out the 7 critical criteria to evaluate in your search and the exact questions to ask every vendor. Included is a workbook that helps you to document vendor responses and ensure that no stone goes unturned in your search for the best in class solution. 

Download the guide here.

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