Using Psychology To Enhance Your Web Analytics

Lucy Hughes our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 10/3/2019 9:15 AM
Web Analytics have long been used to help companies understand their customers’ online behaviour, extracting and interrogating an abundance of information; from time spent on pages to bounce rates and conversion rates. Having provided a lot of insight as to what customer are doing online, these techniques have been less useful for understanding why they do it.

This is where psychology comes in. As the why of Web Analytics becomes more and more important, with companies always looking ways to edge out the competition, there are more links to psychological principles than you might expect. 

Of course, traditional Web Analytics and metrics remain very important. However, what psychology can do is help us speculate as to why customers may be behaving the way they do and, by doing so, allow businesses to make more informed changes to their websites, or conduct more conscious testing.  Without directly asking we will never know the real reason behind customer’s actions, but we can use a number of established psychological constructs to make well informed assumptions. We can then work this backwards and use these constructs to make changes to our sites that will fall in line with these assumptions in order to convert more customers. 

Familiarity


People tend to favour that which they are familiar with, whether it be items of clothing that match their preferred style or holidays like ones they have been on before. A customer visiting a page to find a series of unfamiliar products is more likely to leave without making a purchase. This is why personalisation is important; it gets rid of unnecessary information and leaves the user with products they are more likely to want. 

By working backwards, businesses can personalise their sites to each individual customer. If you’ve ever bought an item of clothing from an online shop only to be shown a number of similar items the next time you log on, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The thinking is that, as these items are more familiar to you, you’ll be more likely to either purchase them, or remain on the site to purchase something else. 

Social Proof 


Research into social proof has shown psychologists that the more people who reinforce a certain concept, the more likely it is that other individuals will perceive it as correct. This heuristic is used widely by companies like Just Eat and Deliveroo who allow customers to leave comments about their restaurants and give them a star rating. It is much more likely that conversion rate will be higher on restaurants with better reviews as the rating allows the customer to make a quick judgments on its quality. 

Scarcity


This is a cognitive bias where humans put more value on things that are scarce over those that are in abundance. If one site is showing a product with no indication to the quantity left but another company is showing a similar product where there are only three left, the customer is more likely to convert on the second site. Where an item is nearly unavailable, this suggests a number of things; it is more valuable and it is desired by more people (social proof) etc. Companies like Amazon and Asos use this technique by showing visitors when an item is low in stock or even showing how few are left, giving them an edge on conversion over their competitors.  

Web Analysts and CRO professionals should take note of user psychology and start to implement it in their day to day practice. In fact, some might be already without even knowing the fundamentals of the psychology behind these techniques. Applying the above techniques and testing these ideas could produce a boost in conversion that simple changes to user experience, like changing the position of the checkout basket, aren’t providing. 

A number of businesses are now looking for Analysts who can explain why customers are behaving in a certain way and tell a story with the Data, rather than just explaining what was found. Finding someone with this deeper understanding of user psychology has therefore an integral part to many hiring processes. By looking into this area, candidates are likely to increase their chances of securing the role they want. 

Whether you’re looking to expand your Web Analytics function or want to take the next step in your career, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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Using Data Ethically To Guide Digital Transformation

Over the past few years, the uptick in the number of companies putting more budget behind digital transformation has been significant. However, since the start of 2020 and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, this number has accelerated on an unprecedented scale. Companies have been forced to re-evaluate  their systems and services to make them more efficient, effective and financially viable in order to stay competitive in this time of crisis. These changes help to support internal operational agility and learn about customers' needs and wants to create a much more personalised customer experience.  However, despite the vast amount of good these systems can do for companies' offerings, a lot of them, such as AI and machine learning, are inherently data driven. Therefore, these systems run a high risk of breaching ethical conducts, such as privacy and security leaks or serious issues with bias, if not created, developed and managed properly.  So, what can businesses do to ensure their digital transformation efforts are implemented in the most ethical way possible? Implement ways to reduce bias From Twitter opting to show a white person in a photo instead of a black person, soap dispensers not recognising black hands and women being perpetually rejected for financial loans; digital transformation tools, such as AI, have proven over the years to be inherently biased.  Of course, a computer cannot be decisive about gender or race, this problem of inequality from computer algorithms stems from the humans behind the screen. Despite the advancements made with Diversity and Inclusion efforts across all industries, Data & Analytics is still a predominantly white and male industry. Only 22 per cent of AI specialists are women, and an even lower number represent the BAME communities. Within Google, the world’s largest technology organisation, only 2.5 per cent of its employees are black, and a similar story can be seen at Facebook and Microsoft, where only 4 per cent of employees are black.  So, where our systems are being run by a group of people who are not representative of our diverse society, it should come as no surprise that our machines and algorithms are not representative either.  For businesses looking to implement AI and machine learning into their digital transformation moving forward, it is important you do so in a way that is truly reflective of a fair society. This can be achieved by encouraging a more diverse hiring process when looking for developers of AI systems, implementing fairness tests and always keeping your end user in mind, considering how the workings of your system may affect them.  Transparency Capturing Data is crucial for businesses when they are looking to implement or update digital transformation tools. Not only can this data show them the best ways to service customers’ needs and wants, but it can also show them where there are potential holes and issues in their current business models.  However, due to many mismanagements in past cases, such as Cambridge Analytica, customers have become increasingly worried about sharing their data with businesses in fear of personal data, such as credit card details or home addresses, being leaked. In 2018, Europe devised a new law known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, to help minimise the risk of data breaches. Nevertheless, this still hasn’t stopped all businesses from collecting or sharing data illegally, which in turn, has damaged the trustworthiness of even the most law-abiding businesses who need to collect relevant consumer data.  Transparency is key to successful data collection for digital transformation. Your priority should be to always think about the end user and the impact poorly managed data may have on them. Explain methods for data collection clearly, ensure you can provide a clear end-to-end map of how their data is being used and always follow the law in order to keep your consumers, current and potential, safe from harm.  Make sure there is a process for accountability  Digital tools are usually brought in to replace a human being with qualifications and a wealth of experience. If this human being were to make a mistake in their line of work, then they would be held accountable and appropriate action would be taken. This process would then restore trust between business and consumer and things would carry on as usual.  But what happens if a machine makes an error, who is accountable?  Unfortunately, it has been the case that businesses choose to implement digital transformation tools in order to avoid corporate responsibility. This attitude will only cause, potentially lethal, harm to a business's reputation.  If you choose to implement digital tools, ensure you have a valid process for accountability which creates trust between yourself and your consumers and is representative of and fair to every group in society you’re potentially addressing.  Businesses must be aware of the potential ethical risks that come with badly managed digital transformation and the effects this may have on their brands reputation. Before implementing any technology, ensure you can, and will, do so in a transparent, trustworthy, fair, representative and law-abiding way.  If you’re in the world of Data & Analytics and looking to take a step up or find the next member of your team, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.

How Web Analytics Can Help Grow Your Business

Six months ago, many businesses had big plans for the new year, and the new decade. Little did we know the year had big plans of its own. So, how can businesses put their best foot forward now? Web Analytics. Understanding your Web Analytics helps you understand your customers. And, as everything stays online for the foreseeable future, you’ll be better placed to understand what demographics and desires drove the customer to your site, how you and your business can improve, and you can ultimately grow your business. So, how can Web Analytics help you? Understand Where Your Customers Come From Enhance Their Experience. Consider how your visitors come to your site – phone, tablet, laptop – and how you can optimise your site to best suit these devices. When you understand their demographic – age, gender, interest, location – you can use this information to enhance their experience through your customer-driven business decisions.  Know What Your Best Content Is and How it Draws Visitors to Your Site Visitors, views, page actions, and more all tell your business how your site is performing and what people like see and read. For example, if you have a ‘best day’ or ‘most read’ tag, find out what it was people identified with, and do more of it. Keep things fresh. Curate Your Content with SEO in Mind When you know your visitors, you can use search engine optimisation (SEO) to gain better visibility, rank higher on search engines, create content focused on what customers want to know based on their demographics and interests. Track and Analyse Your Metrics Align Analytics with Your Business Strategy  By aligning your data, analytics, and business strategies, you’ll have a clear view of your mission, your business objectives and goals, and data-driven solutions to inform your business strategies. Trust Your Team to Make Informed Decisions from the Frontlines Standardise Processes and Tools Explain Clearly to Eliminate Roadblocks to Change  As businesses return to a new normal and begin to rebuild, leaders will want to reassess business models. Though ways of doing business are new for everyone, many consumers say they’ll continue to use digital channels into the future. Make AI and Web Analytics Resources a Priority Look For and Hire Talent from Unexpected Places This has been a time to reassess change in not only business practices, but careers. Distance and remote learning have provided opportunities for those interested in pursuing new paths to upskill themselves for future jobs. Or if you see a professional in your business with potential, this is also an ideal time to reskill those workers ready for a change. Offer training, classes, and more to help drive interest. Build Your Data Strategy More Aggressively Identify risk through an audit of your existing models at the operational, risk, and financial areas and keep a close eye using model-validation. Having this information can help your business to better inform your decisions and reassess your business practices from just a few years ago. Don’t get caught up in one form or another of Data. Be sure to include both external and internal Data in your audit. Having this information can help you decide which Data should be cleansed, what information should inform improvements, and how standardisation can help ensure your Web Analytics metrics keep your business running for the future. From stakeholders to business leaders to employees on the frontlines, everyone is learning at a rapid rate. Ensuring everyone is on the same page with an eye to processes and standardisation can help to position your business for scalability.  Much has changed from January to June, but if you’re ready for the new normal, we may have a role for you. If you’re interested in Big Data & Analytics or other Data professional opportunities, take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.  

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