A Practical Guide to Clickstream Data for eCommerce Brands

Recent studies show that 98% of shoppers don’t make a purchase during their first visit to a brand’s website. That’s probably because most people make the effort to research a product before deciding whether or not to buy it.

Convincing a customer to convert can require several visits to your website, as well as other online interactions with your brand. This is something that retailers need to consider when assessing their eCommerce KPIs and the performance of their marketing campaigns.

As the number of online sales channels and digital touchpoints increase, consumer journeys become more complex. This also means they are also more difficult to track. Brands don’t always have a holistic view of all the visits someone completes before becoming a customer, but that’s where clickstream data analysis can help!

What is clickstream data?

Clickstream data is a record of each click a consumer makes while browsing online. Tracking all these actions can help brands form an accurate understanding of the consumer journey.

Clickstream data can be used to map out how someone progressed from seeing an ad or searching Google to the point where they bought a product. It can show you the sites they visited, the pages they landed on and what they clicked next. This path is called the clickstream.

Every time someone clicks on a link, a menu item or a product image, this information is logged. As a result, clickstream data provides a detailed portrayal of consumer habits. With this information, brands can create accurate buyer personas, improve the customer experience and implement conversion funnel optimization tactics.

Because the data can be collected across different online platforms, it is particularly important for eCommerce brands that take an omnichannel or multichannel approach to retail.

Like contextual advertising or where to buy solutions, clickstream data doesn’t rely on third-party cookies to track actions. For this reason, more and more marketers will come to rely on it as Google phases out the use of cookies.

What is a clickstream analysis?

Clickstream data analysis is the process of tracking, collecting and analyzing consumer visits across websites. This can be done in a number of ways.

1. Market research studies

Getting an accurate picture of the entire consumer journey requires access to a lot of private information, so brands often rely on market research panels to collect authorized clickstream data.

This data can provide historical data and extremely detailed insights into the behaviour of your target audience. The data is always reliable and you can rest assured every single interaction with your brand has been tracked too.

However, it’s worth noting that this kind of research can be expensive to execute at scale.

2. Analytics tools

Reporting tools offer a convenient way to collect data and perform a clickstream analysis.

You can use Google Analytics to track actions that take place on your own website. The navigation feature allows you to view and link together the URLs shoppers tend to visit most. You can also see how they came to arrive on your website.

Paid tools like CrazyEgg, Amplitude and MixPanel specifically specialize in clickstream data. An all-rounded tool, such as ChannelSight’s ‘Where to Buy’ solution provides eCommerce brands with insights into the consumer behaviour and the path to purchase. Where to Buy solutions help brands drive more online sales by connecting online consumers, through a tracked ‘Buy Now’ button that is placed on the brand’s website or digital asset, directly to online retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, or Target, to complete their purchase. It delivers high-quality data with both speed and scale and doesn’t rely on third party cookies.

3. DIY tracking

Alternatively, if you have a team of engineers, you could consider a DIY approach using JavaScript to capture click information. But this is more difficult to implement.

With some form of clickstream data analysis in place, brands can benefit from an elevated understanding of their customers and identify the behaviour that can lead to conversion.

How to leverage clickstream data for eCommerce success

Clickstream data tells you where your visitors go and what they do. eCommerce brands can benefit from this information in all sorts of ways, but here are some of the most important ones.

1. Understand the consumer journey

Clickstream data can highlight the different paths visitors take to reach a particular product page, landing page or the checkout process. 

This allows brands to spot patterns and identify trends. With this information, they can then take action to streamline the user experience. They can end the trends that lead to negative outcomes, while also improving or expanding upon the ones that often end with a sale. The more brands can create an efficient path to conversion, the more they’ll benefit.

2. Nurture customers and find new audiences

Leveraging clickstream data isn’t just beneficial for your bottom line, it’s also better for your customers.

Because brands truly understand consumer behaviour and actions, they can help shoppers find the products they want easily and efficiently. They can also build out highly detailed buyer personas. These can then be used to improve the consumer experience at every stage of the eCommerce conversion funnel.

With insights into each group’s behaviour, brands can confidently implement different landing pages, paths to conversion, promotional offers and advertising campaigns to suit the interests, needs and behaviour of each persona.

Beyond this, clickstream data also empowers brands to identify new target audiences that they may not have been aware of previously.

3. Improve the ROI of your marketing campaigns

Because clickstream data provides insights into the entire consumer journey, brands can see how the likes of PPC ads, SEO efforts and eCommerce social media campaigns impact conversions later on.

This is particularly useful when it comes to brand awareness campaigns. After hearing about a product or brand, it can take a long time for shoppers to convert. But the deep insights provided by clickstream data can facilitate attribution for these kinds of eCommerce marketing campaigns.

This allows marketers to focus their resources on the channels, campaigns and ads that make the most impact. As a result, brands will generally benefit from a better advertising ROI.

Final thoughts

Implementing clickstream analysis is tricky, especially if you want to track every single stage of the consumer journey. But it’s worth the effort!

Clickstream data allows you to understand the behaviour of your customers – as well as consumers who don’t convert. This means you can take steps to optimise the customer journey and create a clearer path to conversion across your eCommerce channels. All of this should result in more sales for your brand.

If you are curious to learn more about how ChannelSight can help you achieve your eCommerce goals, book a demo today with our team today!

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