What is Clickstream Data, and Why Is It Useful?

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Madison Zoey Vettorino
Madison Zoey Vettorino



There are countless ways to harness internal data to improve your business outcomes. And if you’re not already using your website users’ behaviors to inform decisions around your company’s website, you’re missing out.

Person using clickstream data to implement changes on their website.

Luckily, gathering clickstream data can fill that gap. And if your current arsenal of tools to gain a more robust understanding of your competitors is lacking, clickstream data can also help there.

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In this post, we’ll walk you through clickstream data, how you can apply it to your website analytics, and an example to help demonstrate its effectiveness.

When you hear the term “clickstream,” imagine a roadmap. The map details the “roads the user went down,” or the places they clicked, and visited … the list goes on. By looking at this road map, your company gains a holistic view of how users behave.

It’s one thing to see how a handful of people use your website, but the real value of clickstream data comes from recording data from thousands of users. By obtaining clickstream data on many users, you’ll start to notice patterns and tendencies users follow.

Think of clickstream data as a roadmapFor instance, do users generally get to a specific paragraph on the phrase and click off? If so, you may consider revising your copy for comprehensiveness. That’s just one example of how clickstream data can make an impact by providing insight into what your site could be doing better.

It is possible to store clickstream data on the server that supports your site or the user’s web browser. Alternatively, online advertising networks and internet service providers can record and store this information.

Once you’ve gathered your information, you’re ready to complete clickstream data analysis and unlock valuable insights.

What information can you obtain from clickstream data?

It’s helpful to understand what information your business can glean from collecting it. By collecting clickstream data, you will gain insight into the user journey and behaviors, including:

  • What term or word users typed into the search engine that resulted in your page displaying
  • The page the user first landed on
  • Where they clicked on the page
  • How long they were on the page
  • Where they navigated to next

Clickstream data provides information on facet of different user behaviors

Why use clickstream data?

As you’ll quickly learn, there are plenty of reasons why using clickstream data is advantageous. Here are some of the most critical reasons gathering clickstream data is essential:

Clickstream data has many uses.

We’ll admit the preparation and development of clickstream data analysis algorithms are complex. However, once these systems are in place, they’re versatile. Moreover, you’ll find that the data you obtain has many uses.

Clickstream data is timely.

Because clickstream data records users’ natural behaviors on your site, you collect it in real time. Consequently, there’s no wait time for your results to come back; all the information you need is available to you right now.

Clickstream data offers comprehensive data.

It can be tricky to stop and remind yourself to consider the big picture. Luckily, clickstream data will do that for you. Collecting this information will give you insight into many users' behaviors and their natural, unhampered actions. The data is comprehensive, and the insights you’ll glean from it will be actionable.

How to Apply Clickstream Data Analysis to Benefit Your Business

Next, let’s walk through some of the most practical ways your company can use clickstream data to improve its marketing efforts.

Helps Identify Trends and Trouble Spots

You’re privy to information regarding your customers’ paths with clickstream data. By analyzing a large amount of information, you’ll begin to notice recurring patterns. Once you’ve successfully isolated trends, you may decide to enact changes to your site or the copy that speaks to those similarities.

For instance, is a piece of content performing exceptionally well on your site? Clickstream data can reveal that it’s driving many customers to take action and purchase your product or inquire about your service. From there, you will learn to invest in similar pieces of content in the future.

Clickstream data clues you into what your site does well and reveals what trouble spots it may have. Say that, thanks to clickstream data, you’re noticing that a vast majority of users are not clicking on a button at the bottom of your homepage that instructs them to “Reach out.” You may decide to hire a copywriter to rework the CTAs on your site.

Prevent Cart Abandonment (For Ecommerce Websites)

If you’re noticing that many shoppers are abandoning carts, it may be time to rework your ecommerce site. Alternatively, there may be more minor fixes you can enact to fix the issue. But how will you know which page the majority of your users are on when they decide to leave the site? Your answer: clickstream data.

There are several reasons why cart abandonment occurs — visitors leave their cart behind if the site is too slow, or if they’re forced to create accounts. Using the information available, you may observe something broken on the page, or perhaps the copy is ineffective. With the help of clickstream data analysis, you can identify the problem and implement a solution.

Discover The Various Paths Customers Take

Using the roadmap analogy, consider how many different roads you can take and arrive at the same destination. Similarly, clickstream data analysis clues your team into customers' various paths to reach your product pages.

If your current path isn’t intuitive, you can redesign it to feel more natural. For instance, if there’s not a clear call-to-action, visitors can get lost on your site. Maybe you’re seeing a lot of customers hop around from page to page and only spend a few seconds on each. Or perhaps you’ve observed customers are taking many paths and not landing where you want them to. In either case, the knowledge you’ve gained with clickstream data will help you finetune the journey.

Learn More About How Competitors’ Users are Navigating Their Site

It’s every marketer’s dream to obtain data about how their competitors’ site users behave. You may consider working with a company that helps you utilize your competitors’ clickstream data to gain insight into what users do on their website, which may help you inform decisions about your site.

Clickstream Data Example

Let’s walk through a clickstream data example on the HubSpot website. Say you want to learn more about search engine optimization (SEO). To begin, you type “What is SEO” into Google.

Clickstream Data follows the user journey from the search engine, as shown here.

You see an article by HubSpot that answers what SEO is and decide to click it.

You’ve now arrived on Hubspot’s marketing blog and are reading the piece. With the help of clickstream data, the HubSpot team would be able to learn how long you are on the page and which term referred you to the page.

Clickstream data tracks users' behaviors as they visit your webpage.

You’ve reached the bottom of the article, and you’re ready to learn more. So you click on the SEO training link.

Clickstream data provides insight into where your visitors click after they're done on the page. Thanks to clickstream data, the HubSpot blog team would learn that this is where you clicked next. We can then use these insights to make a more intuitive user experience on the blog.

Start Collecting Clickstream Data Today

Are you ready to begin collecting clickstream data and gain invaluable insights into how users engage with your website and your competitors’? It’s timely, digestible, and provides actionable information. Implementing clickstream data analysis could be just what your team needs to elevate its website and improve its marketing efforts.


Topics: User Experience

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