Looking into digital experience analytic tools and confused by all the marketing speak? We break down the clear differences between Decibel and ContentSquare. In the end, there is no competition.
Sometimes it is hard to decipher between fact and fiction when evaluating digital tools. At first glance, top-level marketing messaging can make providers in the same industry sound almost identical- all solving the same problems in very similar ways.
But don’t be fooled by the word-speak and flashy images when exploring the offerings of digital experience analytics solutions. Understanding how users engage on your websites and apps – and improving conversion rates, revenue, and customer loyalty as a result – is too important to approach with the wrong technology.
With that in mind, there are key differences between Decibel and other providers in this space. This guide is designed to cut through the marketing-speak and investigate the details behind the 5 most common reasons enterprise brands choose Decibel over ContentSquare specifically. The truth may surprise you!
Enough preamble: let’s get into the good stuff.
ContentSquare does not have a comparable metric.
Decibel’s technology measures everything that happens when people use websites and apps. We capture and process every moment of interaction within a visitor session to deliver experience metrics across categories like mouse velocity, movement, focus, attention, and more.
Our AI then parses this data to surface insights into user behavior – computing, for instance, how the pixel distance a mouse travels relates to frustration or how page length affects engagement. Decibel’s data science team developed world-class algorithms to uncover hidden insights and patterns that reveal user experience at scale. These well-trained machine learning models process all this information to output a set of unique digital insights that help define what makes a good and bad experience in the digital body language we observe.
All these unique insights ultimately feed into the Digital Experience Score (DXS®), the first ever universal metric that measures online customer experience at scale.
Released in 2015 after extensive testing & validation, DXS® delivers an objective score (from 0-10) of every customer experience across websites and apps – and can be used as a strategic reporting metric, as well as a diagnostic tool to pinpoint and prioritize the most urgent CX issues across your digital properties.
Decibel exposes the workings of DXS® through five unique experience pillars. These pillars offer digital teams actionable insights to understand how to improve the digital experience, and in turn, drive revenue, engagement and customer loyalty as a result. The pillars, together with overall DXS®, provide enterprise brands with an actionable roadmap to address the most critical issues across their websites and apps with the highest revenue impact. In fact, the science of DXS® powers Decibel’s entire digital experience analytics solution. DXS® critically sews together our set of best-in-class forensic tools designed to investigate exactly how and where to optimize for better experiences.
What about ContentSquare? Don’t they also have an experience score too?
Years later, in mid-2019, ContentSquare launched the Digital Happiness Index (DHI), which is also derived of five components. This younger metric, which has had less time to mature, claims to be a measure of visitor “satisfaction” and is “calculated from several behavioral metrics” to compute a final score between 0-100. Questionably, ContentSquare chose to evaluate only one subjective state of mind, “happiness,” as oppose to the more complete, objective evaluation of both positive and negative “experience” that Decibel provides.
Additionally, as we all know, the presence of more data results in better, more accurate data science models. And, less training data reduces the accuracy of the model. Because Decibel has been collecting and analyzing data from top enterprise website across the globe for much longer time period, our increased size of training data enables us to provide the most accurate predictions and guidance in the industry.
Are the scores equally trusted and scientifically driven?
While there is no evidence to suggest that ContentSquare’s DHI has been scientifically proven, Decibel recently published a 50-page whitepaper on the science and strategic-thinking behind DXS®.
In fact, the Digital Experience Score has proven itself to be a trusted, science-driven, and continually validated metric and is currently being used by hundreds of leading enterprise organizations to measure the quality of digital experiences across their websites and mobile, as they happen.
For example, Constellation Energy, a leading US utility company, was able to tie a 0.5 increase in their website’s overall DXS® to a resulting 23% increase in overall online signups – and a massive 45% increase in mobile signups.
And, by optimizing based on DXS®, international travel leader TUI, was able to increase revenue by a significant 5% site-wide across all devices. In fact, in a separate study with TUI, researchers predicted a $30M revenue increase per year with a DXS® improvement of just 1 point.
Building on the initial scientific foundation for DXS®, Decibel is continuously harvesting and enriching a previously unattained set of data metrics to capture more and more nuanced behavioral indicators. So, the expected results of Decibel users will continue to only get better and better as our data science advances.
Are there published research studies that attest to the validation of these metrics?
Decibel conducts validation studies internally with our data science and insight teams, as well as with 3rd party vendors, to validate the impact and correlation of DXS® to relevant customer metrics. These validation studies are 100% data driven, blending both customer data and Decibel metrics to ensure that what we say we are measuring is accurate and true. The studies consist of analyzing millions of unique sessions using logistic regression models to validate the correlation of DXS® to the probability of conversion and the impact on revenue and other KPIs of the business. The outcome is a model that allows the customer to make smart decisions based on analytics custom to their business.
One such example of a recent validation study is with London-headquartered high street fashion brand, River Island. In this study, researchers found that improving DXS® by 1 point would increase conversion probability by 43%, which in turn would potentially drive an estimated monthly increase of $4.2M in revenue.
In terms of validation for ContentSquare’s Digital Happiness Index, to date there has been no publicly published studies – independent or internally driven from ContentSquare themselves – to prove any level of reliability or statistical connection between DHI scores and actual conversion or revenue on websites or apps.
ContentSquare offers only page-level prioritization and charges users an additional fee for this guidance.
Decibel’s Discover Reports enable users to uncover previously unknown issues across websites and apps, and quickly identify areas of opportunity for optimization. How? By crunching aggregate user behaviors, smart experience metrics, and site performance trends.
To allow for flexible and focused analysis, Decibel offers these reports at five levels across your digital properties: page, segment, journey, form, and site-wide.
Within Decibel’s Discover Reports, our “Experience Issues” allow digital teams to immediately identify the most urgent issues impacting websites and apps by surfacing the detractors to the Digital Experience Score (DXS) and provide the ability to measure the impact of changes in real-time. Experience Issues are ordered by the impact on the DXS, so you’ll know where to focus your attention on first.
In simplistic terms, Experience Issues dashboards prioritize exactly which issues affect the most users, radically reducing the time it takes to find actionable, impactful insights.
Let’s compare this prioritization engine with that of ContentSquare.
As a paid add-on to their core offering, ContentSquare sells a product called CS Insights. They market this add-on product as their solution for users who need help to identify areas of opportunities with a prioritization framework.
This prioritization guide is based upon page “opportunity scores,” which score every page on a website numerically from 0-100. From these scores, CS Insights users can get a list of pages to investigate further. Then, within each page, users are met with another list of “Insights” to show where to focus your attention. Seems like a lot of work and time lost just to figure out where to begin your optimization efforts.
Most importantly, though, it is critical to understand some of the key difference in prioritizing efforts based on page scores, as oppose to Decibel’s more holistic approach and methods. For enterprise properties with hundreds if not thousands of pages, it’s nigh on impossible to review every single page with a low score. Also, as we will discuss later in the guide, scoring the experience on a single page is hardly representative of real user experience, which should be judged over the course of an entire journey across multiple pages – not a singular page experience with no interconnectivity to what happened before or what will happen afterwards.
How do ContentSquare’s Insights & Decibel’s Experience Issues compare?
ContentSquare’s “Insights” are based on a small handful of collected metrics that show friction and errors and claim to show impact on goals and lost conversion. Currently, CS only offers seven of these automatic Insights to drive all optimization suggestions – multiple field interactions, rage clicks on clickable elements, rage clicks on non-clickable elements, multiple button interactions, loading time, homepage re-visits, and disappointment after click.
And, as with ContentSquare’s DHI, there is no publicly available evidence of the scientific rigor or accuracy behind these identified “Insights.”
This sits in contrast to the multitude of Experience Issues available within Decibel’s key Discover reports. Varied examples of Decibel Experience Issues include unacceptably high page load time, erratic mouse movements, mobile device rotations, unresponsive multi-click behaviors, low engagement on content-heavy pages, and many more.
Most importantly, Decibel users can count on Experience Issues as proven insights because we’ve done the work to scientifically correlate DXS® with revenue. And so, (because these Experience Issues form the basis of DXS®), by default, Experience Issues tie with lost revenue.
To back this up again, let’s take a look at a recent Decibel case study with insurance group LV=. By focusing on resolving the most urgent Experience Issues uncovered with Decibel, LV= was able to increase annual revenue by 1.2million.
By automatically surfacing the Experience Issues that affect your entire site or app, Decibel allows you to discover new areas of opportunity to fully evaluate the most critical problems instantly. You can also focus your analysis by searching Experience Issues for a specific page, page group, segment, funnel/journey, website or form.
Every Experience Issue within Decibel links to the relevant report or visualization that enables you to best action the insight. For example, if the issue is frustrated mouse movements like bird’s nest behavior, then Decibel will visualize which specific elements on the page are causing the frustration through a behavior heatmap, and will also link to the associated session replays.
ContentSquare does link to associated session replays directly from “Insights” list, but only when sampling allows. It’s hard to fully understand the issues on your digital properties when you do not have all the pieces to the puzzle.
Are there any other ways to quickly surface and prioritize insights for further investigation?
Yes, within Decibel’s DISCOVER menu, users can use sunburst journey analysis to see the actual paths that online visitors travel across their websites or apps. And, while ContentSquare offers a seemingly similar starburst functionality there is one critical difference between the two offerings that enables drastically different prioritization guidance.
Within Decibel’s Journey discovery analysis, you can overlay the sunburst diagram with digital experience scores to quickly pinpoint paths (and steps within paths) with the poorest experiences for further investigation. By understanding, at-a-glance, where exactly the worst experiences are happening within complex user journeys, Decibel enables you to prioritize your focus towards otherwise unknown areas.
While ContentSquare’s sunburst visualizations look similar to Decibel’s Journeys, there is no way to easily assess whether the experiences of the visitors along these paths are positive or negative. With no experience overlay available, this feature is much less useful in pinpointing areas for further investigation.
ContentSquare focuses on page-level analysis.
The core of the ContentSquare product rests on a focus around page-level analytics. In other words, what interactions and problems are happening at an on-page level.
A prime example of this page-level focus is their prioritization guide being page-based analysis only, as well as the heavy focus on their on-page zone analysis as a center piece feature of the core CS Digital offering. While page-level metrics certainly have a place in understanding online customer experience, they fail to tell the complete story.
Analyzing on-page behavior does not allow for the full picture of digital online experiences, and there will be inherent gaps. Are rage clicks or confused behavior happening because of a poor experience on a previous page? Is confusion on one page causing the user to repetitively loop between two pages? Complex questions like this can only be assessed at a session-level.
Relying on page-level metrics also makes it harder to make connections between behavioral trends and other captured data – like feedback from Voice of Customer tools or traditional web analytics data.
Many reports from traditional web analytics products, like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics, are based on session-level metrics. For this reason, it would not be surprising if data from ContentSquare would not align directly with the data and metrics that you may see within these traditional analytics solutions. For easy integration of analysis, if you are looking for experiencce data to more equally compare and contract with that of traditional analytics, ContentSquare may not be the best solution.
Fortunately, problems that can arise from lack of access to session-level analysis are not relevant to Decibel users. Decibel’s digital experience analytics are very flexible and can be assessed at many levels, including session-level and also easily segmented across many different audiences for customizable analysis. This flexible and comprehensive data allows for a more accurate picture to emerge from your investigations. You are able to analyze patterns of behaviors across pages – and then segment analysis to only the scopes of interest that matter most to you.
So, more generally, companies should avoid a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to optimization; what works for one group of users, may actually tarnish the experience for another. Additionally, the more enterprise the brand, the more complex their customer segments may become, and the bigger the need for a nuanced understanding of segment behavior.
Because Decibel calculates metrics at both a page and a session level, it is possible for digital teams to truly measure and understand the quality of experience across their segments. For example, who has a higher frustration score, desktop or mobile? How do new vs. returning visitors experience your checkout? Do those who use alternative payment methods such as Apple or Google pay have a smoother user journey? All these questions can be answered at the drop of a hat with Decibel’s automatic segment analysis.
Moreover, Decibel makes its experience metrics (the DXS®, the 5 pillar scores, sentiment behaviors, and interaction data points) available within segmentation itself. For the first time, brands can understand how the journeys & interactions of visitors who have a poor experience score compare with those who have had a good experience.
ContentSquare users can access field-level metrics only within zone-analysis. No overall form scoring.
In many cases, the forms on a website equal conversion- whether that is a visitor making a purchase, downloading a piece of content, or requesting a demo. It is critical that there is no friction getting in the way of your visitors completing their journey- and hopefully providing you revenue in the process.
Decibel utilizes its machine learning algorithms to provide a unique Form Experience Score (FXS) for every form on your website, allowing digital teams to focus their optimization efforts on the forms that require the most urgent attention.
Conversely, ContentSquare does not have any method to score the overall experience of each individual form across your digital properties. Ultimately, ContentSquare users have no quick way of identifying which forms on their digital properties are performing well – and which ones are not. Therefore, ContentSquare users are left in the dark as to where to focus their form optimization efforts – and critical problems and errors could go unnoticed, especially on large, enterprise websites that potentially house many, many conversion forms.
So, what form analytics metrics does each solution provide?
In addition to overall form experience scores, Decibel generates a unique dashboard for each form on your website, allowing for rapid diagnosis of performance and issues. Users can gain insight into engagement, abandonment, errors and completion – on both the form and field level. With this level of insight, users can quickly identify the which fields are causing users trouble and pinpoint where they typically abandon.
The data shown in our form field dashboard include (but is not limited to):
Furthermore, within Decibel, users can drill down on any metric to watch corresponding session replays directly from within the form analysis dashboard. And, while ContentSquare offers a similar feature match to access associated session replays, Decibel users can feel secure that their sampling ensures all relevant sessions will be accessible for further analysis when needed.
With Decibel, you can also segment your forms to understand how different user groups interact with the important forms on your site. For example, where mobile users versus desktop struggle. Additionally, form interactions are made available within Decibel’s segmentation engine, and so it is possible to segment everyone who abandoned on a specific field (for example) and combine this with additional segment filters for granular analysis.
If you are solely focused on improving form error rates across your website, then you can utilize Decibel’s form error reports to get to the heart of the issue, straight away. Content square does not offer form error reports.
Within ContentSquare, form analytics is not a separate feature set, but rather, is part of their zone-based analysis. So, form fields are classed as “zones” for investigation. In terms of metrics, while ContentSquare does also offer unique form-specific friction detection metrics, like “last-field-before-drop-off”,these are likely all focused on field-level insights.
When it comes to robust online form analysis, no one in market can compete with the depth that Decibel provides. Decibel is the go-to option for optimizing form experience and conversion across your websites or apps.
Take Provident as an example. By acting on insights uncovered in the analytics dashboard of the loan application form, Provident was able to resolve common form validation errors and other experience issues causing user frustration. As a result of changes, the completion rate of the loan application form increased by 15%.
Decibel aggregates all technical performance metrics into the Technical Experience Score (TXS) to highlight the most critical technical issues for easy prioritization. Decibel exposes the most urgent technical issues to prioritize.
These site performance and technical errors are then linked to the associated session replays to expose the effect the errors have on the end user, allowing you to identify the most critical errors and prioritize resources accordingly. The ‘download source’ panel within the session replay allows you to pause the session at any point and download the HTML source at the time the user visited the site. This is key to diagnosing technical issues.
All detected errors are reported in a way that can be easily actioned by website developers during troubleshooting and maintenance. Reports quantify the most commonly occurring errors across multiple variables including operating system and browser combinations, markets, and pages across the site. And, set up technical alerts to be notified as soon as possible when critical anomalies occur.
Decibel also has ‘HTML Search’ functionality, which allows the user to search directly within the html code for a specific error message. Decibel retroactively quantifies how many visitors saw the error and links with the associated session replays.
Once an issue has been identified in the session replay, users can describe the problem in detail within the ‘comment’ field and share the error code and messaging with the engineering team via email, Slack, Jira etc.
This functionality came in handy recently for AARP. After receiving reports of error messaging derailing the renewal process on their website, the AARP team was unable to replicate the problem (and therefore, not able to find a way to resolve it). Using Decibel’s HTML Search, their team found 17 instances of the error message – and was then able to resolve quickly.
As you would expect, there are far more than 5 reasons why Decibel is the preferred choice over ContentSquare (and others in the digital experience analytics market). Decibel’s experience intelligence can be shared across your entire MarTech stack with established, bi-directional and real-time integrations – empowering advanced personalization and optimization Most notably, Decibel is the only digital analytics solution with a premiere partnership with Adobe. This means, if you are an Adobe user, you can expect deep bi-directional integrations across your suite of Adobe Experience and Marketing Cloud tools, like Analytics, Launch, Campaign, and Target
Overall, it is essential as a potential buyer and product user to move beyond the “marketing speak” and look at what’s under the hood. Invest in the solution that has the complete range of functionality needed to uncover the good, bad and ugly of your digital offerings along with the proven science and metrics to earn your respect and trust. When going head to head with ContentSquare, Decibel users feel confident that they have access to the most advanced and only validated analytics available today and are partnered with an organization invested in an innovative roadmap.