A Guide to Making Sense of the Digital Experience Measurement Ecosystem

There are three fundamental technologies that companies need to invest in to fully understand the experiences of their customers.

1. Digital Analytics

2. Session Replay

3. Voice of Customer


Digital Analytics

Digital analytics was originally referred to as web analytics. As the ecosystem of online devices changed, so did the nomenclature, with esteemed industry organizations like the Web Analytics Association (WAA) rebranding as the Digital Analytics Association (DAA).

Legacy Solutions — The two largest, most well-known legacy digital analytics companies are Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics. Both of these companies employ page tagging technology, which essentially means if you want to tag a page or an event, you place a piece of code on the website in order to tag that page and/or event.

The well-known challenge with legacy analytics providers is that if you don’t have the foresight to tag a page or an event that you need in the future, you’ll need to re-instrument/re-implement your code. Once you do you can start collecting the new data, but as many have painfully discovered, the time between re-instrumenting your analytics code and collecting enough data to answer your new pressing question can cost millions of dollars.

Full Data Capture Analytics — Companies like Auryc (www.auryc.com) and Heap are next generation analytics companies. With a single piece of code, these companies are able to capture a much broader swath of site data, thus eliminating the need for additional site instrumentation, and effectively wiping out all analytic coverage gaps.

Full Data Capture Analytics represents the future of digital analytics because it’s simply better. It’s easier to implement, saves money because there is never a need for code re-instrumentation, and is a more complete analytics solution designed for an era where the insights mined from large quantities of data are more meaningful and more accessible than ever.


Session Replay

Session Replay technology enables you to watch how visitors are interacting with a digital experience. There are two core use cases for Session Replay:

1. Usability Analysis

2. Site Audits

From a usability perspective, Session Replay is valuable because it enables companies to observe how customers are interacting with a site in the wild, as opposed to in a laboratory. Consider learning about animals by going to a zoo, compared to learning by observing animals in the wild. You can learn an awful lot about animals by watching them in the zoo, but it just doesn’t compare with gaining a true understanding of animal behavior in the wild. The same can be said for observing customer behavior, in that customers may not always act the same in a lab as they would “in the wild”.

Most session replay technologies that are used solely for usability will rely on sampling in an effort to keep costs down. (Meaning they capture a percentage of all the customer visits.) Companies like Clicktale fall into this bucket.

Companies that use session replay for site auditing have different objectives. Auditing requires 100% session capture because they need to isolate a single customer session for things like compliance, fraud, error detection, and verifying and documenting specific behaviors or actions. Auryc and Tealeaf are examples of companies that can be used as auditing tools.

For example: A retailer may receive feedback from a customer that says, “The site checkout flow is buggy.” If you aren’t capturing 100% of the sessions, the chances of recreating this issue diminish along with the percentages of sessions being captured. An auditing tool eliminates this challenge.

Another example: A customer disputes a charge because they claim your site listed a different price than what they were charged. If that claim is untrue, a credit card company will require visual documentation of that visitors session or they will refund the customer. (See our article on Medium about Enabling a System of Record to Fight Fraudulent Chargebacks.)

The challenge with all Session Replay technologies is figuring out how to identify the sessions that will be most impactful to your business. Once you get beyond the most basic of identifiers (narrowing down based on customer number, or error message), how do you proactively seek out sessions that will have a meaningful impact on business performance? This is where integrating with robust analytics and with the voice of the customer becomes critical. (To read more on this topic, check out our other blog post titled, “Identifying the Meaningful Sessions with Auryc’s Session Replay”.)


Voice of Customer 

If digital analytics is designed to help you measure and understand site performance and experiences based on your own KPI’s, and session replay is designed to let you observe how customers are acting in the wild, then adding the voice of the customer enables companies to understand the site performance and experiences from the customers’ perspective.

There are two fundamental types of surveys to present to customers online.

  1. Feedback Surveys — This is a mechanism that you give to your customers to let them give you feedback whenever they want.
  2. Context-Aware Surveys — This is where you trigger a survey based on a set of behaviors.

Feedback tends to skew towards negative comments, where customers are raising their hand to tell you directly about problems they are experiencing. Context-aware surveys tend to be more representative of your customers who aren’t necessarily having any problems and are more suited to quantifying overall perceptions of the experiences being delivered. Both approaches are valuable, but the use cases are very different.

The two great challenges with Voice of Customer data is that customers aren’t always specific enough to help you identify what you need to do in order to make the experience better, and online survey response rates are in decline. Vendors in this space employ a number of approaches to try to deal with these challenges: Everything from identifying what page the customer was on when they gave the feedback (like OpinionLab), to building longer more structured surveys to tease out the details needed to take action.

It’s worth noting that Auryc provides its own survey tool that can be triggered as Feedback or as Context Aware surveys. And because Auryc provides a native integration with SessionReplay and with robust analytics, the challenge of insufficient customer specificity has been completely eliminated.


The Digital Ecosystem Imperative

As in nature, each member of a healthy ecosystem should be complementary to, and live in harmony with the other members. The same holds true with the digital analytics ecosystem.


To summarize:

Feedback that customers provide often doesn’t have enough detail to identify what the actual issue is. Combining the voice of the customer with Session Replay provides an obvious benefit since it speeds up the identification of the actual issue. Combining with analytics also enables you to “size” the issue by quantifying how many customers experienced the same issue observed in Replay and documented in the survey.

Session Replay shows you what customers are experiencing, but finding meaningful sessions to watch can be a challenge. Integrating with digital analytics can enable finding that needle in the haystack session that will be profoundly impactful, and viewing sessions based on customer feedback dramatically speeds up the identification, acceptance, and resolution of customer issues.

Analytics excels at telling you what is happening, but is isn’t so great at explaining why it’s happening. By combining digital analytics with the voice of the customer, you’ll understand the why behind the what. By combining analytics with Session Replay, you’ll be able to immediately confirm customer experiences by observing them as they happen online.

Integrating these three data sources can be incredibly impactful. Unfortunately, integrations rarely work flawlessly. Implementing a multi-vendor integration can be costly, time consuming and frustrating. And once the integrations are complete, which vendor do you go to when there is an inevitable problem?

Auryc is the only company that natively combines Full Data Capture Analytics, Session Replay (for both auditing and usability), and a Voice of Customer solution into a single, cost effective, and fully integrated solution. The integrations work because they were built from scratch to work that way.


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