Wouldn't it be great if you could read the minds of your potential customers? If you could find out what they think as they browse your website?

Mindreading might be impossible, but clickstream analysis makes understanding your website visitors a little easier.

Clickstream analysis is the process of analyzing a set of data to see how long website visitors spend on different parts of your site, what they click on, and the path they take through your site. That information helps you understand how visitors interact with your online store and identify customer trends.

In this post, we'll explore clickstream data metrics and clickstream data analysis to help you understand how it all works. We'll also look at the benefits clickstream analysis can offer ecommerce brands.

What is clickstream analysis?

Clickstream data is the raw information collected when visitors interact with your website – it's a type of big data. It includes details such as which pages each user visits, how long they stay on each page, what links they click on, and so on. On its own, raw clickstream data doesn't provide any useful insight. To draw meaningful conclusions, clickstream data needs to be analyzed and visualized.

Clickstream analysis involves collecting, analyzing, and visualizing click data to understand customer interactions with a website. Although analyzing the behavior of a single visitor might not be very useful, website owners can aggregate data and conduct clickstream analysis to reveal patterns of behavior across large groups of visitors. This type of insight helps website owners understand how their visitors interact with the site and allows them to identify areas that need improvement.

Analysis of clickstream data enables businesses to see how visitors interact with their website, measure user engagement, identify trends, and track conversions. Companies can use that information to better inform marketing strategies, improve the usability of websites and apps, and optimize the user experience.

Clickstream data metrics

Clickstream data tracks the path that a visitor takes through a site. A few key clickstream data point metrics include:

  • whether a visitor is new or returning

  • the search terms a visitor used before landing on the site

  • which page they land on

  • which click path they took (including where they click to after they land, if they use the back button, and how many pages they visit)

  • which website elements they interact with

  • how long they stay on each page

What is clickstream data analysis used for?

Clickstream data analysis is used by both website owners and search engines to better understand users.

Website owners

Website owners use clickstream data analysis to gain deep insight into the behavior of their visitors and measure user engagement. For instance, clickstream analytics can reveal where customers are dropping off, which pages are most popular, and how long visitors spend on a page before clicking away. That information can help website owners to optimize their content for click-through rates and conversions.

Search engines

Search engines use clickstream data analysis to analyze how users interact with websites in order to provide more relevant search results. By analyzing clickstream data, search engines can identify patterns of user behavior and better understand how people interact with a website. 

This information helps a search engine like Google to display the most appropriate and useful search results for a given query. For example, if users click back on the results page after only a few seconds on a site, the search engines know that page isn't relevant to the keyword query.

The benefits of clickstream analysis for ecommerce brands

Clickstream analysis offers significant benefits to ecommerce brands. It helps brands gain valuable insight into how their customers interact with their website and make more informed decisions about the design, content, and functionality of their site.

Understand user behavior and preferences

By analyzing clickstream data, businesses can gain insight into how customers interact with their websites and identify patterns of customer behavior. As well as helping brands improve their sites, clickstream analysis can give them a better understanding of the types of content their audience prefers, which can help shape business strategy.

Let's say you're an apparel brand. If many users click on one type of jacket but not the other, you know the first product is more popular - or maybe has a product image that's more appealing to your audience.

Improve usability and customer experience

Clickstream analysis allows businesses to identify the parts of their website that cause customer frustration or confusion. This allows brands to identify areas of the website that are difficult to use, fix any technical issues and make targeted changes to improve usability.

From clickstream data, you can also gain insight into where customers are dropping off and which pages they click on but don't take any further action. That information can help you identify potential areas of improvement and make your site more user-friendly. Clickstream analysis also helps brands understand which types of content resonate with their customers, so they can create more engaging and relevant content.

Increase conversions

By analyzing clickstream data, businesses can measure conversions. A better understanding of customer behavior will also help ecommerce brands to optimize their content for sales.

For instance, clickstream data can reveal which click paths customers take before purchasing a product or signing up for a service. That information can help businesses optimize their content and tailor click paths for conversions.

How to collect clickstream data

Collecting clickstream data is essential for analyzing user behavior and understanding the customer journey. There are several data sources and ways to collect clickstream data, but the main ways involve analytics tools and log files.

Analytics Tools

One of the most common ways to collect clickstream data is by using analytics software such as Google Analytics. This type of software allows you to monitor customer behavior on your website and gain insight into click paths, page visits, and interactions.

Log Files

Another way to collect clickstream data is by using web server log files. Log files record user activity on a website and can be analyzed for clickstream data. Log files are helpful for giving you a detailed view of clickstream data, but they can be difficult to interpret.

Clickstream analysis best practices

Analyzing clickstream data can be a complex process, but there are some best practices that businesses should follow to ensure they get the most out of clickstream analysis.

These include:

  • Defining clear objectives before beginning clickstream analysis

  • Collecting clickstream data via a web analytics platform like Google Analytics

  • Regularly reviewing clickstream data to identify trends

  • Actively testing clickstream analysis strategies and making adjustments as needed

Guide website visitors through their click path with ecommerce popups

Clickstream is all about understanding how visitors navigate through your site so you can optimize and improve the path they take. One way to guide people to take a desired action or route through your site is with popups.

While generic popups that spring up when someone first lands on your site might be annoying, there are several different kinds of popups you can create to gently direct website visitors. For instance, a click or scroll point trigger to encourage users to check out when they have items in their basket or to provide them with a discount when they move their cursor to leave the site.

You can also personalize popups based on things like browsing history and whether they're first-time or returning visitors. Read more in the Emotive guide to ecommerce popups.