Is it possible to know exactly how your customers interact with your website?

Thirty-two percent of online marketers would spend more on data analytics to improve conversions. They want a better insight into the sales funnel. Especially the reasons why visitors abandon their purchases.

If only there was a way to accurately record every action a visitor makes. That way you could optimize your site to increase retention.

The answer is session replay – a technology that lets you review everything that happens on your website.

This guide explains how the process works including the benefits of session replay. You’ll discover how simple it is to record your customer’s journey. And how to use the technology to spot issues that make users leave before buying.

Read this 101 tutorial and learn how the top online marketers get the best results.

What Is Session Replay?

Session replay or session playback lets you watch video recordings of your website visitor’s journey.

Every mouse movement and click or tap gets saved. It also includes scrolling the page and hovering over images and links.

All that data is then translated into a visual format that you can review as you wish.

For the first time, you get to see how a real user interacts with your pages. It’s a glimpse into their behavior and helps you understand their engagement.

Instead of analyzing statistics and guessing what happened, watch exactly what occurred.

How Does Session Replay Work?

Does session replay record live video when a customer arrives on your website? Wouldn’t that eat up bandwidth and slow the site to a crawl?

Unlike web conferencing or streaming, session replay doesn’t capture live video.

It uses a technique that records changes to the building blocks of the web page itself. Those changes are then saved for processing later. When you want to view a recording, the software replays the edits, rendering them as a video file.

Session replay provides a faster and more versatile way to register interactions than a live recording.

Not only does it save on bandwidth but it also allows for a step-by-step analysis of what happened. You’re able to drill-down on every action because each one gets saved.

That’s not possible with live recording but it’s a snap with session replay.

Integrating Session Replay Into Your Website

Web analytics firms like make the process of integrating session replay simple.

The 1-click installation works alongside major analytics and management platforms. Google Analytics, Slack, Adobe Campaign, and dozens more fuse seamlessly. All that’s required is a valid license.

There’s also an API or application programming interface that software developers can tap into.

You can push or pull customer interactions with ease in this way. Create your own system to record specific A/B testing, for example. There is no limit.

Why Is Session Replay Important?

Watching how your customer uses your site for the first time can be jaw-dropping. Yet session replay offers more than just a watch-along.

Segmentation Analysis

Perhaps you want to focus on how your customers react to a new marketing campaign. You’re not concerned with unrelated pages, just the funnel relating to your pay-per-click advert.

The best session replay software lets you control the scope of what’s recorded.

You can set your own parameters and block unnecessary data. The dashboard can filter sub-sets of information like date ranges. That way it’s easy to get the results that you need.

Behavioral Heatmaps

Heatmaps highlight the most-used parts of the page so you can see what’s popular at a glance.

Because session replay records actions, not video, it can generate all types of graphs. Scroll and Dot heatmaps visualize how much of the page is viewed. Behavioral gives an overall insight into engagements. Attrition offers zone analysis.

You can also compare heatmaps by placing them side by side on the screen or aggregating them.

Form Analytics

Did you know that 81% of people abandon a form before submitting it? Session replay helps you understand why.

The top-tier providers let you spot major problems without having to review a recording. Machine learning algorithms create a unique score for every form on your site. Any that fall below a certain threshold get highlighted automatically.

Session Replay Benefits

By now you’ve identified the main benefits of session replay.

The system enables you to record, playback, and analyze every action that takes place on your website. But what other advantages do session recordings bring?

  • A/B testing – check if your call to actions work correctly
  • Conversion Rate Optimization – find bottlenecks or problems that affect your CRO
  • Discover bugs – identify technical issues and glitches
  • Journey optimization – remove barriers that block the sales funnel

Using the right capture software gives you greater insight into the customer experience. Without it, you’re groping around in the dark.

Session Replay Security and Compliance

Are there any security or data compliance concerns when it comes to session replay? Does it capture user’s names or IP addresses? What if the saved data gets hacked or intercepted?

The answer lies with the provider that you use.

Only agree to install session replay software if the developer:

  • Uses 256-bit HTTPS encryption that secures saved data
  • Restricts who can access your account
  • Offers 2-Factor authentication
  • Is ISO 27001 compliant

Also, check if they comply with your local privacy laws like GDPR in Europe and the U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. Check with existing clients and only select a provider who has a great track record.

Make the Most of Session Replays

Now you know the benefits session replay can bring to your online business.

You can watch videos of all your customers’ interactions. You can review the features they like or those that make them leave. The software is secure and anonymous, making it an essential tool in a marketer’s arsenal.

Read more online marketing articles in our Marketing and SEO sections. We cover everything from machine learning to promoting your brand on social media.