Welcome to your go-to guide to for website optimization! From mastering leading best practices to learning expert tactics behind the latest digital tools, this guide lays out a clear-cut 4-step process for delivering best-in-class website experiences at the enterprise level.
To meet rising customer expectations on websites, you must aspire to deliver one thing: the ‘perfect’ digital experience.
As an enterprise, your ability to deliver flawless digital journeys is fast becoming the ultimate competitive differentiator. In fact, 81% of companies view customer experience as such, with superior experience-led brands generating 1.6 times higher customer satisfaction rates and 5.7 times more revenue.
Despite the competitive advantage better online experiences provide, however, many enterprises fail to deliver them. Why? Due to the unique challenges that come at the enterprise end of measuring and improving online experiences: scattered and siloed digital intelligence, and substandard, fractured optimization programs.
Perfecting experiences across enterprise websites requires masterful digital optimization, comprised of a fine-tuned methodology that leverages actionable analytics data, intelligent investigative tools, and calculated tactics across multiple departments. In fact, 65% of digital marketers believe a capacity for advanced data analysis is the most important factor for delivering great customer experiences.
To what extent is your organization set up for this kind of success? Well, regardless of where you sit currently, implementing the following 4-phase process for optimizing experiences will set you on the right path to generate consistent engagements, produce more conversions, and promote better customer loyalty.
Before diving into the weeds of experience optimization, your digital teams must identify and align on a universal key performance indicator (KPI), or else your optimization efforts will be aimless.
Tallwave CEO and business-thought leader Jeff Pruit emphasizes that “visibility into the right KPIs will make it clear whether your team is bought in and understands the direction.” However, you can’t choose any digital metric at random – you need a KPI that definitively quantifies digital experiences on your website.
Partnering with Econsultancy, we surveyed over 300 companies to determine popular KPIs digital teams use to measure online experiences. We’ve selected six of the most relevant KPIs from this survey data and highlighted the strengths and weaknesses you’ll want to consider for each:
While these metrics enable your digital team to measure optimization progress, you may notice each fails to definitively quantify and link the specific experiences affecting each metric. As a more modern alternative for digital teams, here at Decibel we’ve purpose-built the Digital Experience Score (DXS), a holistic, universal metric that measures online experiences automatically, used by enterprises like Adidas, AllState Insurance, and British Airways.
As an AI-powered metric, DXS crunches billions of data points around user navigation, frustration, engagement, as well as form and technical experiences, to provide a score between 0 to 10 for every user session. Proven to predict conversion, DXS takes the guesswork out of managing, measuring, and improving digital experiences.
Regardless of the experience metric your organization decides to use, it takes more than just a KPI to sync your different teams – you’ll need clear responsibilities. Setting guidelines that provide objectives for each practitioner enables multi-team efforts to move the needle on the collective digital experience KPI you’ve chosen:
Your own digital team structure may look a bit different, but this divide and conquer approach is foundational for effective and thorough optimization efforts. With a core KPI and team-wide responsibilities in place you’ll establish the foundation set for a successful digital optimization program.
With your primary KPI selected, it’s time to measure its performance across every single journey on your website. This view is foundational for effective optimization, with 80% of CX professionals believing a journey-based strategy drives overall business success, customer satisfaction, customer retention, and customer lifetime value.
Daniel Taylor from Digital Marketing World Forum believes the “days of linear conversion paths and funnels are long gone – and brands need to stop seeing the path to conversion as a journey.” You can no longer afford to view these journeys through a transactional and conversion-centric lens. Taylor emphasizes that your “customer is never on a predetermined course – they are unpredictable.”
With that in mind, shaping the ‘perfect’ user journey means optimizing experiences across every possible touchpoint. To do this effectively, you’ll need to evaluate your current end-to-end website performance using one of the following methodologies:
Use web analytics tools, like Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, to establish an existing view of user journeys across your website. Measure user traffic patterns across pages to identify key user journey flows – from product catalogs to checkout pages – or any other common user journeys.
From here you’ll map your selected KPI across these journeys to determine the performance of those user experiences. While generally effective, this method involves time-consuming data correlation between multiple data sources, which leads to more frequent discrepancies and inaccuracies.
Utilize user journey and segmentation tools in digital experience analytics solutions like Decibel, which visualize every user journey across your site. Using DXS as your universal KPI, it automatically scores the quality of ever user experience from user reading your blogs to prospects filling out contact forms.
Eliminating tedious and error-prone data mapping, DXS allows you to visualize and score digital journeys immediately, ultimately streamlining how you measure your website performance.
Overall, both methods provide the must-have insights on the quality of your user experiences and indicate the performance behind each user journey. Having this information will act as the foundation for meticulous digital experience investigation and optimization efforts in the next phase.
With a clear understanding of how experiences are faring across your website, now you can investigate any bottlenecks or low scores reflected by your KPI results. Success here often hinges on one factor: access to sufficient digital intelligence.
Brands effectively using available data and analytic insights are proven to be 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result.
To see similar success, there are three fundamental resources your team needs to use properly in order to diagnose and resolve the issues plaguing user experiences and derailing digital journeys:
Behavior detection is deemed effective by 96% of optimizers, as it shares highly nuanced data surrounding user intent. Customer experience thought leader, Kerry Bodine highlights that “to get the full picture, [you’ll] need to understand actual customer behavior” measured by digital experience analytics like Decibel.
Behavior detection tracks and measures digital body language to understand how your website’s experiences affect the user state of mind. Behavioral data not only accounts for every mouse click, but the movements between those clicks. With this level of intelligence, you can clearly identify frustration, confusion, or engagement by tracking key digital behaviors:
Rated as effective by 95% of practitioners, session replays offer you powerful firsthand insights by playing back user sessions exactly as they occurred. You’ll want to review session replays to understand how users actually engage on a case-by-case level, and to identify issues clearly provoking user frustration like a confusing navigation menu or a clunky contact form.
However, some session replay tools can be incredibly time-consuming, especially for enterprises with millions of monthly user sessions. It’s critical to streamline this investigative process by prioritizing session replays with modern features like those that Decibel offers:
Similar to session replays, 95% of end-users say heatmaps are effective for measuring and optimizing online experiences. Visualizing user session data in aggregate, heatmaps illustrate user journey trends and patterns. Displaying click data and mouse movement, heatmaps enable you to determine whether a newly implemented call-to-action button has driven more clicks, or if a change in your homepage user interface increases bounce rates.
While incredibly useful, traditional versions of heatmaps present limitations with how you can review user data. You’ll want to leverage modern versions, featured in solutions like Decibel, which bring new capabilities to this standby investigative tool:
Forms are the gateways to conversion on websites. Unfortunately, just 49% of users add details to an online form after viewing it, and only 16.5% actually complete it. Taking advantage of form analytics can help you reverse those trends by measuring data like abandonment rate, error rate, completion rate, completion time, and more.
These page-specific insights enable you to fine-tune forms into true conversion gateways instead of user journey bottlenecks. But to take form analysis a step further, teams can take advantage of digital experience analytics with form experience data baked in – like Decibel’s Form Experience Score – to instantly quantify the quality of experiences across any and all of your forms.
Moving forward, consider form analytics as your go-to tool for investigating and fixing UX issues across pages like online checkout, content downloads, account sign-ups, and demo requests.
Access to the right tools is foundational for your optimization program’s success, as 90% of executives whose teams use data analytics properly report better ability to deliver a great experience. With these analytics and investigative tools in place, you’ll be poised to identify user experience issues with ease and turn them into opportunities.
Once you’ve got your optimization opportunities fully scoped, it’s time to plan and roll out your fixes.
By now, you’ve established the issues undermining user experiences and sabotaging user journeys – and worked across departments to develop fixes for them. Whether you’ve recognized slow loading product images causing a drop-off in potential customers, or identified errors tracking rewards program points causing a spike in customer support requests – optimization efforts must be thorough and united to be truly effective.
If executed properly, your revamped digital experiences can create a 400% increase in conversion rates, but it takes a strategic approach to implementing optimizations to get there. In order to rollout successful optimizations, your digital team should follow these 3 steps:
Prioritize your fixes based on their potential impact and difficulty. Ensure your teams address low-hanging fruit like broken links quickly, while being methodical and thorough regarding larger projects like an interface re-design. Next, manage tasks and deliverables for each project and assign them to the appropriate teams.
Constantly measure progress by comparing post-optimization KPI results with your initial KPI benchmark. This will act as your digital team’s measuring stick for optimization, allowing you to identify projects which succeeded, failed, or need further work.
The difference between your website generating high-performing versus low-performing experiences will depend on your persistence. Optimization is an on-going function, which requires digital teams to continually monitor performance, optimize issues, and repeat this process.
Now that you have a systemic approach to optimization, your team can methodically implement user experience improvements with ease. It’s just a matter of time before engagements and conversions rise as you quickly chip away at the issues plaguing user journeys.
Whew! You’re well on your way to becoming an expert in all matters relating to heatmaps. Although, even with a clear grasp on the fundamentals and nuances of heatmaps, it’s wise to be on the lookout for innovations that may change how you use heatmaps in the future.
Take a look below at what we could see unfold with heatmaps beyond 2020 so you’re prepared to make the most of potential future functionality.
When putting your 4-step process to work, you’ll want to think of each phase as a link in a chain – if one link breaks, the whole completely loses its value. To recap, the process should unfold like this:
With your optimization program now operating at full speed, all that remains is to demonstrate the business value and return on investment (ROI) of your experience optimizations to decision-makers and stakeholders.
Businesses leaders high up in your organization often have the final say in the direction and resources behind digital optimization strategies, from budget allocation to project approval. This reality makes linking revenue and optimizations critical for securing leadership buy-in.
Conversion optimization Alex Harris confirms that digital teams need to “start by prioritizing website and apps improvements by ROI and customer satisfaction.” But 50% of CX teams are unsatisfied with their ability to quantify the impact of customer experience on business KPIs like customer lifetime value and revenue.
With Decibel’s Digital Experience Score (DXS), your digital team can definitively link UX changes with new revenue. Top brands worldwide harness the AI-powered experience metric to predict revenue behind digital optimizations with ease. In fact, travel booking leader TUI measured a 1-point increase in their DXS leads to $30M in annual revenue.
How exactly can you achieve similar successes within your own optimization program?
Decibel’s digital experience analytics pairs its proprietary DXS metric with journey segmentation tools, session replays and heatmaps, along with versatile analytics integrations for extensive digital intelligence. Forrester’s Test of Economic Impact Study of Decibel reveals major global enterprises deploying Decibel’s AI across their digital properties see staggering results:
Schedule a demo to learn how Decibel makes web optimization simple, scalable, and lucrative for enterprises, while driving consistent engagements, more conversions, and better loyalty.