Revealing Digital Behaviors #3: Bird’s Nest

Jack Maden
Written by Jack Maden
July 04, 2017

This is the third post in a series in which we introduce the digital behaviors picked out in our report, Revealing Digital Behavior: Applying Data Science to 2.2 Billion User Sessions. Just as someone shouting in a shop is evidence of a poor customer experience in-store – and someone smiling a good one – certain digital body language indicates the equivalent online.

The first post discussed multiclick behavior, while the second looked at reading behavior. This article looks at bird’s nest behavior and what it means in relation to customer experience.


What is bird’s nest behavior? Users rapidly dart mouse around, resulting in a jumbled mouse trail

Which device? Desktop

What does it mean? Confusion, Frustration

How do teams utilize it? To locate and fix frictions in the customer journey

Bird’s nest behavior refers to when a user rapidly shakes their mouse around, leaving a jumbled mouse trail that, in session replays, resembles a bird’s nest. I’m sure we can all relate: a website crashes, a form refreshes empty, a page gives no clear indication of where to go next. You rattle your mouse in frustration.

Bird’s nest behaviors are the digital equivalent of a frustrated customer not being able to find what they want in-store. Only if you’re lucky – or if they really desire it – will they be patient and continue with the purchase.

On a major ecommerce website, our data scientists looked at just under one million user journeys that corresponded to the site’s 5-step conversion funnel. The funnel steps are as follows: 1. user browses, 2. user adds items to basket, 3. user proceeds to checkout, 4. user submits payment and delivery information, 5. user confirms purchase.

We found that, while average user sessions completed an average of 1.96 funnel steps – in line with the conversion rate we’d expect from an ecommerce store – users who exhibited bird’s nest behaviors completed an average of just under 1. In other words, while on average users would at least add items to basket, those who demonstrated their frustration with a bird’s nest behavior did not get beyond the browsing stage before bouncing.

Figure 3: The average number of checkout funnel steps completed by users on a major ecommerce site.

User sessions containing bird’s nest behaviors reach significantly fewer checkout funnel steps than average.

Figure 3 shows that user sessions containing bird’s nest behaviors complete less than half as many funnel steps as average users.

How is bird’s nest behavior used by digital teams?

As with Multiclick behaviors, being alerted to bird’s nest behaviors is a boon for digital teams. It significantly cuts down the amount of time required to find frustrations in the user journey, and pinpoints exactly where improvements can be made.

One of our ecommerce clients, for example, was alerted to a number of bird’s nest behaviors on the payment stage of their checkout process. It revealed users struggling with a lengthy, confusing form. On clicking submit, some users would be directed back to the start of the form with no clear indication as to why they couldn’t proceed to the next stage of the checkout, leading to a bird’s nest jumble in frustration and confusion.

A bird’s nest behavior on a payment details form on an ecommerce site

After investigating further with Decibel Insight’s Form Analytics, the digital team designed a new, streamlined delivery form that was much less demanding on the user, and led to a surge in conversions.

Bird’s nest behaviors are key indicators of user frustration and confusion. Digital teams should keep track of them and, like with multiclick behaviors, ultimately aim to eradicate them from their websites and apps.


What other digital behaviors are users performing on your website and app? Stay tuned to this series to learn all about them – or, to discover them now, download the full report by hitting the banner below.

Topics: Behavior, Customer Experience, User experience
Back to Blog Home
Get Started

Ready to discover your Digital Experience Score?

Request a demo to speak to a Decibel expert and see DXS® on your website or app today.

Request Demo