What is behavioural analytics?

What Is Behavioural Analytics & How Can It Improve Website Performance


The moment you start to understand your users’ behaviours is the moment you can stop guessing about your website strategy.

User behavioural analytics (UBA) give your business unique insights into your customers.

How your visitors behave on your site helps you understand their needs and wants and provides you with key insights that help you serve them better.

Where traditional website metrics track what actions are completed or how many visitors you have, user behaviour shows the driving factors behind those actions. UBA tools such as website heatmap software provide an easy-to-read visualisation of this data. 

Ultimately, user behaviour analysis improves website performance and conversions by boosting customer engagement, optimising positive customer experiences, and focusing on the most important part of your sales: the people buying from you.

In this article, we’ll break down what behaviour analytics is, how it compares to data analytics, what kind of actions you can track with behaviour analytics and how you can use it to improve your website’s performance.

What is user behaviour analytics?

A heatmap tracking UBA

User behaviour analytics (UBA) is data that shows how customers and website visitors interact with your brand online. 

UBA is tracked using tools such as heatmaps, session recordings and data visualisation software.

By implementing heatmaps and other behavioural tools, you’ll be able to better understand different aspects of your users like:

  • What they like and don’t like
  • Where they get stuck or struggle on your site
  • The actions they take right before leaving
  • What they’re looking for on pages they visit
  • The actions they take right before converting (sign up, purchase, etc.)

With behavioural analytics, you can collect and analyse data that speaks specifically to how people behave on your site.

Different UBA software makes note of different actions your visitors take on your site — giving you insights into why your users act a certain way.

Traditional web analytics data gives you one aspect of your users, like pageviews, conversion rates, and bounce rates.

While these are important metrics, they don’t show the whole picture.

Behavioural analytics seeks to tell you the why behind the conversion, pageview, or bounce by diving into visitors’ actions with a fine-toothed comb. It gives you a more accurate picture of your website or sales funnel experience.

For example, UBA tracks actions like 

  • How far users are scrolling down the page 
  • Which CTA’s and copy they are focusing on (or not focusing on) 
  • Which design elements, links or buttons they are interacting with 
  • What is happening in between each action

Tracking user behaviour metrics helps keep visitors on your website longer because they analyse where customers may be confused or unclear so you can fix it. 

What’s the difference between data and behavioural analytics?

There are a few key differences between data and behavioural analytics. While data analytics are beneficial to improving website performance, using UBA creates a more customer-centric approach to funnel perfecting. 

The biggest difference between data and behavioural analytics? Metric data shows which actions are happening. Behavioural analytics show you WHY they are happening. 

For example, data can show you that a customer bounced or clicked away. Behaviour analytics show you that a visitor tried to click a link several times and then got frustrated and clicked away. 

Key differences between data analytics and behavioural analytics: 

  • What is happening versus what is driving it 
  • Track an action (e.g. click-through) versus tracking inaction (e.g. hover without clicking) 
  • Measuring the completion of an action versus the flow of actions to complete action 
  • Source of traffic versus individual actions
  • What happens when someone takes an action versus what happens in between taking action 

Matomo Heatmaps offer both website analytics and user behaviour for a comprehensive analysis.

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User actions you can track with behaviour analytics

So, what kind of actions can you track by implementing behaviour analytics?

Behaviour analytics gives website owners a complete picture of the user experience by tracking specific individual actions of your users. Key actions include the following:

1. Clicks

One of the common ways a website visitor interacts with a website is by clicking.

Your site visitors interact with links by clicking internal links to other web pages like your contact page or a product page. They also click external links. Behaviour analytics shows you this click data to help you see what they like engaging with.

With click tracking insights, you can improve your site’s user experience (UX) to help users find what they want.

2. Mouse movement

Behavioural analytics can also track where users move their mouse around to give deeper insights into what they’re reading or where they are hesitating.

People tend to look where their cursor is, so mouse movements indicate what’s capturing your visitors’ attention.

Mouse movement tracking can give you insights into your users like:

  • What they’re paying more attention to (product images, description, specific elements).
  • How they’re progressing through your site 
  • If they’re ignoring a section of your page

3. Scrolling

Scroll tracking is another key element in the behaviour tracking realm.

This is a crucial tool since it shows you if your visitors are reaching important parts of your page or not so you can adjust your layout and different page elements.

Why do behavioural analytics help improve website performance?

User behaviour is important because it doesn’t matter how many website visitors you have if they don’t convert. 

Why do behavioural analytics help improve website performance?

If you have a lot of traffic on mobile devices but a low CTR, heatmaps show you what is causing the low conversions. Perhaps there is a button that is too far down the page or a pop-up covering important copy. 

Analysing the driving factors behind each decision means that you can increase sign-ups and conversions without losing money on website traffic that never actually buys.  

There are four key reasons behaviour analytics help website owners:

1. Understand what your users are paying attention to

Behavioural analytics are all about your users and what they’re doing.

This type of analytics shows you a deeper understanding of what your users are looking at.

Since users typically track where their cursor scrolls with their eyes, you can know what they’re paying attention to by where they move their mouse around.

And a click is a surefire way to know where they’re looking.

With these insights, you can place certain key elements in your users’ eyelines to ensure they don’t miss them.

2. See what is stopping visitors from taking action

Since behaviour analytics shows you your users’ mouse movements, scrolling, and clicks, you can see where they’re looking and what they’re doing.

But it also shows you what they’re not doing.

For example, let’s say your traditional web analytics data shows a high volume of pageviews on a refreshed page for one of your products.

But they’re not converting.

Well, it’s the same product; why did the conversions drop? Are your customers not interested in this product anymore?

By analysing your behavioural data, let’s say you realise that visitors don’t scroll past a new video you put up of the product.

They watch the video and then leave.

Well, it turns out you placed the call to action to buy the product a bit below the video. 

In this case, you know you either need to get rid of the video entirely (or simply place the call to action higher up on the page).

3. Get feedback in real time with session recordings.

Behavioural analytics works so well because it gives you insights into what your users are doing. It’s not just theory. It’s observable, concrete information.

One reason it’s so powerful is because it essentially enables you to step in the shoes of your visitors.

In fact, one of the best uses of behaviour analytics is for session recordings. You can watch video recordings of visitors’ sessions to see exactly where they are clicking, scrolling, and moving their mouse.

4. Make a data-driven case to management 

As a marketer, behavioural analytics can help you make a case for certain decisions. No more guesswork. No more debates.

A heatmap showing user mouse movements

For example, let’s say you want to redesign your website. It’s going to cost $10,000.

It’s not always an easy task trying to convince an executive or business owner to drop $10,000 on a new site design.

But, when you have behaviour analytics showing that people are dropping off and losing interest, you can easily make your case.

UBA gives you proof that there’s a problem that needs to be fixed. 

Whether it’s because your users can’t find what they’re looking for or the site is causing them to leave, you can prove why you need a new website, in this case, making it much easier to convince them.

How do heatmap tools show website user behaviour analytics?

Heatmap tools provide a visual representation of user behaviour. 

There are several key ways that heatmap tracking can improve website performance and, therefore, your overall conversions.

Firstly, heatmaps show where to optimise website structure. It uses real visitor experiences to indicate whether customers must scroll to reach important content, whether important messages are being missed, and whether CTAs are clear. 

Secondly, heatmaps provide always-on UX and usability testing for your website, identifying user frustrations and optimising their experience over time.

They also show valuable user experience insights for A/B versions of a landing page. Not only will you see the raw conversion data, but you will also understand why one page converts more than another.

Screenshot of Matomo heatmap feature

Ultimately, heatmaps increase ROI on marketing by optimising the traffic that you are sending to your website.

5 ways heatmaps and user behaviour analytics improve website performance and conversions

When you break it down, the core purpose of behavioural analytics and functions like heatmaps is simple: It’s all about understanding your website visitors.

Once you start to understand how visitors behave, you can position your site content (and your offer) to serve them better.

The result?

Better user experiences, improved customer engagement and more conversions.

Here are five ways heatmaps and behaviour analytics improve website performance and conversions.

Five ways heatmaps and user behaviour analytics improve website performance.

#1. Improve customer experience

One of the most important uses for UBA is to improve your customer experience. 

Imagine you had a physical store. If something was blocking customers from getting to the counter, you could easily see and fix the problem. 

It is just as important for an online store to find and fix these “roadblocks”. 

It reduces friction in the sales funnel, making it easy for customers to buy from you and improving their overall experience. And when 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience, UBA should be one of your top priorities for growing your bottom line.

#2. Improve customer engagement

Customer engagement is any interaction between a customer/product user and your business. 

User behaviour analytics increase engagement at each customer journey touch point. 

Using data from heatmaps will improve customer engagement because it gives you insights into making your website more user-friendly. This reduces friction and increases customer loyalty by making sure customers:

  • See important content 
  • Are not distracted by unnecessary elements 
  • Can easily access information or pages no matter what device they are using 
  • Are clicking on important page elements that take them further through the customer journey 

For example, say a customer is on a sales page. A heatmap might show that pop-ups or design elements like links to another page are pulling their attention away from the primary focus (i.e. the sales copy).  

#3. Focus on customer-centric approach

A customer-centric approach means putting your customers at the centre of everything you do. There is a lot of competition for customers, so you need to stand out. A good product or service is not enough on its own anymore. 

User behaviour analytics are at the heart of customer-centric strategies. Instead of guessing how customers interact with your online presence, tools like heatmaps give insight into what customers need. 

This, matched with an effective customer feedback strategy, gives a holistic and effective approach to improving customer experiences.

#4. Capture customer data across multiple channels

Most customers won’t convert on their very first visit to a website. They might interact with your business across many channels and research your product multiple times before purchasing. 

Marketing attribution, also known as Cross Channel Attribution or Multi Channel Conversion Attribution, lets you assign a value to each visit before a conversion or a sale. Applying different attribution models gives you a better view of which channels lead to a conversion.

User behaviour analytics like the multi channel conversion attribution that Matomo offers can show you exactly where you should focus your money to acquire new customers.

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#5. Track and measure business objectives

User behaviour analytics like heatmaps can show whether you are hitting your targets. 

Setting goals helps track your website performance against business objectives. 

These include objectives such as lead generation, online sales and increased brand exposure. Matomo has a specific function for tracking goals and measuring analytics.

Using a combination of UBA and data metrics will produce the most effective conversions. 

For example, a customer reaching the payment confirmation page is a common objective to measure conversions. However, it is only tracked if they complete the action. Measuring on-page customer activity with heatmaps shows why they do or do not convert so you can fix issues. 

Final thoughts on user behaviour analytics

User behavioural analytics (UBA) provide a unique and in-depth insight into your customers and their needs. Unlike traditional data metrics that track completed actions, UBA, like heatmaps, show you what happens between each action and help fix any critical issues. 

For a better website and happier customers, use Matomo’s GDPR-compliant and privacy-friendly web and behavior analytics to gain accurate insights. It respects user privacy and helps you make better data-driven decisions.

Try Matomo free for 21 days. No credit card requried.

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A powerful web analytics platform that gives you and your business 100% data ownership and user privacy protection.

No credit card required.

Free forever.