If you want to improve your acquisition rate, reduce your churn rate, improve your retention rate, and address cybersecurity threats before they do major damage then you need to dive into the science of user behavior.
What is User Behavior?
User behavior simply describes how website visitors interact with a website, or how customers interact with a platform.
When reviewing user behavior data, you’ll look at user activity which includes how long unique users engage on a platform, what pages or features they engage with most, and where they tend to exit the site or platform.
What Is User Behavior Analytics (UBA)?
User Behavior Analytics (UBA) is a way for websites and SaaS companies to better understand and predict the behavior of prospects and customers by looking at aggregated user behavior data. By analyzing this data and discovering patterns, marketers, product analytics managers, and product managers can improve the customer experience, find the best-performing messaging, optimize for higher sales.
Additionally, user behavior analysis allows IT security teams to identify any anomalous behavior that might suggest a site or platform is under a potential threat from a cyber attack.
All of this is accomplished by asking visitors and customers to opt-in to sharing their activity while using your website or SaaS platform. Once you’re tracking user behavior you can start making smart data-driven decisions.
Issues You Can Identify by Analyzing User Behavior
Analyzing user behavior data is a great way to find both strong and weak points in a platform. You can see where customers are highly engaged and what they love, and you can also identify issues that need to be addressed.
Let’s dive into a few key issues that can be discovered through user behavior analytics. This is important because the better your customer experience, the higher your customer retention rate will be, and the more profit you will make!
Sure, you can keep paying for onboard new customers, but if they leave after just one or two months, your acquisition costs will keep eating into your profit margins and no one wants that.
That’s why the most successful companies are analyzing UBA to optimize their platforms across the board.
High Bounce Rates
First, let’s talk about how analyzing user behavior data can help you optimize your attraction marketing campaigns.
Let’s say you’re running Google Ads but aren’t signing a lot of new clients. You can use website analytics to identify if you have a high bounce rate from Google Ads.
Bounce rate is a user engagement metric that tells you what percentage of people are coming to your website and leaving without visiting a second page.
If you have a high bounce rate, then you know there is probably a disconnect between your ads and the landing page.
People are clicking the ad, showing interest and intent, but when they get to the landing page something is wrong.
Perhaps the navigation on your site is broken, or maybe your page loads too slowly, or the information on the web page is not what the person was expecting based on the ad or maybe it’s something else.
Whatever the reason, because you looked at your user behaviors and identified you have a high bounce rate, you can now fix it. Doing so will help you achieve a higher ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) and also a higher lifetime value for each customer.
This is key because if it costs you $100 to acquire a new customer and your software costs $50 per month, you need to keep each customer for at least 2 months to break even, and 3 months to start making a profit.
Plus, the longer they remain a customer the more profit you make.
Unoptimized Sales Process
Similar to how you can use UBA to optimize your attraction marketing campaigns, you can also use it to optimize your sales process once you have prospects flowing in.
For example, if you’re getting a lot of traffic to your website, but UBA shows you that not many are requesting your free offer then you’ll want to determine if the right people are coming to your site and/or if a different offer would be more interesting to your target audience.
Perhaps you’re getting a lot of responses to your free offer, but not many people are upgrading to your paid offer. You can now start optimizing your lead nurture touch points to convert more people from free to paid.
Without looking at your most common user behaviors you would only know that you are getting a lot of traffic but not a lot of paid customers. UBA shows you where the gaps in your sales process are so you can fix them.
High Exit Rates
Now let’s look at customer behavior patterns.
One of the most common reasons companies analyze user behavior data is to discover when and where users exit the platform most often.
Knowing if there is a specific feature or page that causes a lot of people to exit means that’s an area to focus more attention on.
Perhaps there is a bug that is causing frustration, maybe the user interface is weak, or maybe the user expectation for what the feature would do is not being met.
If there is a normal exit point from which customers should leave the platform, and you start seeing anomalous activity, be sure to look into this abnormal behavior immediately as you may be experiencing a security threat.
The bottom line is that you can’t address any user behavior issues unless you know where they are stemming from. Many times customers won’t tell you - especially if you’re offering a free trial or your product is low cost and some competitors can be easily jumped to.
Platforms with annual contracts would need to worry less about customers leaving due to a poor experience; however, having a platform that results in high customer complaints will create a sour relationship that will be hard to repair.
Low Usage Time
Just like knowing where the majority of exits are coming from, it’s important to also look at usage time.
Based on the user data from your best customers (and your own testing) you should know how much time the average customer should be spending on your platform each day, week, and month.
If you’re seeing really low usage times it means there is a problem, especially if usage time drops suddenly from normal to abnormal levels.
This anomalous user behavior could mean that a recent update pushed a bug through, that a UI update has made navigating the platform challenging or confusing, or even simply that the users you’re attracting aren’t a right fit for the product you are providing.
Combining what you know about usage time as well as where people are exiting will help you better determine where the issue lies so you can start addressing it.
Cyber Security Attacks
If you have a well-optimized platform and haven’t recently pushed any updates, but you’re starting to see your user behavior analytics go haywire you could be experiencing a cyber attack. Or worse, perhaps someone from within your company is engaging in risky behavior.
Your IT security team should be keeping a close eye on user behavior analytics for potential threat detection so security attacks can be addressed before too much damage is done.
While you might be thinking mostly about outside attacks via malware at this time, user behavior data can also help your security team identify insider threats.
For example, if you see an employee suddenly downloading sensitive material, that can be flagged and addressed to prevent damage from this malicious behavior.
A common insider issue includes a recently terminated or compromised employee trying to take proprietary information to a competitor.
Having user behavior tools in place that help you monitor security analytics is key to preventing malicious behavior, especially as your company grows and potentially becomes a bigger target.
UBA Helps Protect and Grow Your Business
Now that you see some of the ways product analytics and user behavior data can help you optimize your attraction marketing campaigns, identify gaps in your sales process, improve the customer experience in your app, and increase your cybersecurity- it’s time to get to work.
There are user behavior analytics tools and UEBA solutions (User and Entity Behavior Solutions) out there, such as Gurucul, Palo Alto Networks Cortex, and Splunk which will all help you dive into the data you need, particularly to identify security threats and malicious activity.
You can also use a free UBA software, like Google Analytics, to help identify user behavior data for non-security threats.
Having both a security solution and non-security tool in place to provide you with advanced analytics will help you see the full picture better.
To dive more into this topic, check out these five product analytics books we highly recommend.