All You need to know about Session Replay Tools!

When it comes to website optimization, no doubt Customer is the ‘King’. Your ultimate aim is to satisfy your customer and increase your conversions. One of the best ways to know what they want is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. For this, you need to really understand what they are going through. But how? A session replay tool, I would say is one of the best options here. It enables you to really understand your user’s actions, what they experience when they are navigating through your website.

So, let's get started with what are session replays. Basically, session replay lets you record your site visitors actions as they use your site. These recordings capture everything that the users do on your website, including mouse movements, clicks, taps, scrolling, etc. Session replay thus enables you to see what your customers do and understand the details of their experience of your site. This understanding of how users interact with your website is very critical to determine the effectiveness of your website and also to optimize it based on the user’s needs.

Session replay is also called as session recordings, session playback, user replay or user experience replay. Whatever you call it, it is a powerful tool to gain insight into how your users behave. The insights from viewing multiple session replays can help you a lot in fixing and optimizing your user experience and thus improve your conversions.  

So, what insights you can get from a session replay? Well, there is a lot of information that you could gather from session replays like which links customers clicks most, what works on your website, what breaks and so on. You may think you could get these pieces of information from analytics tools like Google analytics as well.

Then why you need a session replay tool? Yes, that’s true. Analytics tools could give you these pieces of information as data in numbers like number of page visits, bounce rates, number of clicks and so on. But you really might not get an idea of what is happening.

That’s why you need session replays. Session replays let you understand what your user experiences really, where they get stuck on your website, what are the issues they face and how exactly can you reproduce them, what users like most, what the customer is trying to do, what makes them frustrated and so on. Thus, while the analytics tools give you data points, a session replay tool gives you a clear picture of how those data points convert to real user experience.

How does Session replay help understand your customer?

Here is a quick summary of how session replay really helps understand your customer.

  • Session replays help you understand what your customers are going through when they browse through your website. On seeing many session replays, you really get to understand the real UX and understand things like which areas of your website persuade the users to convert, where the users experience any navigation difficulties and so on.
  • Session replay tool is a great option to help with conversion rate optimization. Analyzing session replays help you to answer ‘why are my users are not converting?’.The answer you get by viewing many session recordings help you optimize your website to build a more efficient user experience. Combining A/B testing with session replays is a great way to come to hypotheses and optimize your conversions.
  • Session replays help you discover and fix bugs faster. Rather than waiting for issues raised or complaints logged by customers, you get to identify any bugs as and when an user experiences those.
  • With session replays, you can understand how users interact with any specific elements on your website- may a new product feature or anything you have added in your website. You can identify how users respond to the elements- what attracts them, what they just skip over, etc.
  • Session replays can help you understand the effectiveness of your online advertising by understanding how users from different advertising campaigns react to your landing pages.

So, session replay tool can be used by multiple teams in an organization - product managers, product developers, UX designers, UX researchers, marketing teams, and even the customer support team could benefit from using a session replay tool and get more close to the customers. It definitely could make your work a lot easier!

Now, we saw what can Session replay be used for. But I am sure before you decide on if you want to use a session replay tool, you would wish to know how it works? How are these recordings made? What about the security and privacy of users? The next sections of the blog will answer these questions.

How Do Session replays work?

So, how does the session replay magic works? How did you create a video of the user’s experience? Do you record the user’s action using a hidden camera? Nah, that sounds weird! But then how?

Well, it's not exactly a video of your user experience. It is actually created a reproduction of a specific user’s experience including mouse movements, scroll, clicks, taps or whatever. The session replay tool accesses the DOM of website and captures the changes occurring within the DOM. Every action that users do on your website- mouse moves, scrolls, screen swipe, etc creates some information to be transferred and are called events. A Session replay is the reconstruction of all the events from an extremely detailed log. In addition to these event logs, session replay tools also capture record the associated web assets,( say images, HTML, CSS, etc) on your website. Thus a session replay tool collects all the bits and pieces necessary to replay how users experience your website and create a movie like replay. Sounds interesting? Check out Browsee if you want to give a try with session replay.

How about security?

When using a session replay tool on your website, you owe to keep a disclosure as a pop up to collect your customer’s data. This applies to all analytics services like Google Analytics, Optimizely or any such tool. The information collected by session replay tools is similar to any of these tools. Just ensure you chose a session replay tool adhering to privacy and has proper security protocols in place. The session replay tool should ideally not collect any personal input fields like passwords, email, phone numbers, etc.

I hope that was pretty much information to give an idea on session replay tool. Using a session replay tool in combination with other tools like analytics tools, heat map tools, is highly recommended to make your analytics strong. You can stop making speculations and start using real data by seeing what your customer does.

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