The Ultimate Guide to Clickstream Data 2021
What is Clickstream Data?
Clickstream data is a type of consumer data. It links together the individual actions of a user in a single session, such as the hyperlinks they click on, into a sequence which shows the path they take on their online journey. Generally, clickstream data shows how a user arrived at and progressed through a website, or how they went from search to purchase. The data includes events such as user clicks, time spent on a page, items added to or removed from the shopping cart, purchases made. For search engines, it shows if a user has searched for a term and then clicked on it and if they returned to the search after that.
Why do businesses buy external data?
Businesses buy external data to inform marketing decisions. Having access to data is a great way to understand the consumer, which is crucial in developing a competitive marketing strategy.
Clickstream data provides useful insights into a customer’s online behavior and is crucial in understanding the user’s path from arriving at a site to the desired destination. In understanding this, online businesses can develop effective marketing strategies.
Whilst collecting Clickstream data on your own site can help you identify the effectiveness of your current business strategies, buying data feeds and APIs from external providers, such as on Datarade’s data marketplace, can enrich your own data and help you to understand wider consumer trends and patterns. It can also help businesses to understand their competitors and make decisions accordingly.
How is Clickstream Data collected?
Various tools are used to collect this data, which each differ slightly in the variety of data they collect and how the data is stored. Some of the main tools include:
Analytics tools like Google Analytics, Heap, Amplitude and MixPanel which capture user data when a user makes a search or clicks on a hyperlink. These tools provide the infrastructure to collect data themselves, and are useful for product analytics. They may, however, offer you limited data ownership.
Tools like Segment and RudderStack provide client-side SDKs to capture and record a user’s actions.
What is a session?
A session is a user’s set of actions during a single visit of a website or app. Clickstream APIs provide infinite data which can be split into smaller defined sessions to make sense of it, making it easier to draw insights from.
How to define a single session:
One of the challenges of clickstream data is defining a single session. Typically, a session can be defined as the time between the user’s entry to a site until departure from the site, or until the session times out (such as after 20 minutes of inactivity). However, there isn’t a universal standard for defining a session which can make it difficult to decide the cut off point. For example, if a user spends multiple hours on the site should this be defined as a single session or divided into multiple sessions? Or if the user leaves the site and returns, does this count as one session or multiple? How a session is defined is important to consider as it will define the results of data analysis; the same data divided into different sessions can provide different results.
What is Clickstream behavior?
Clickstream behavior is essentially a map of the user’s experiences within a specific website. It shows what the user clicks on and which pages they visit. The data obtained from the clickstream activity of the users is clickstream data. Clickstream data that is sustained over a period of time is called a clickstream behavior pattern. For businesses, not only can it be used to see the user’s actions on the brand’s website, but it also shows historical clickstream data like the user’s online behavior before visiting the brand’s website and their behavior after. Knowing where the user came from before visiting your website can be helpful in recognizing the motives of users engaging with your brand.
What is Clickstream prediction?
Clickstream prediction is the use of historical clickstream data to carry out clickstream data analysis that can outline an expected pattern of clickstream behavior.
In order to find user behavioral trends such as user drop-off and anomalies, clickstream prediction can be ultimately useful as a key to making plans for the future. Drop-off prediction can also enhance consumer conversion and retention.
Another use is to evaluate and model user behavior by using a commercial clickstream dataset.
For example, to evaluate user clickstreams for the determination of web navigation trends, historical clickstream data like genome sequences, consumer buying patterns, frequent sequential patterns may be needed. After it is collected, such data can be used for clickstream prediction.
How can you capture Clickstream Data?
There are various options for capturing clickstream data but choosing the right one should take into consideration ease of use, cost effectiveness and where your data is stored, Some options for capturing clickstream data are:
• By using a data commerce platform. Such platforms offer their information via data marketplaces like Datarade’s, making the data very easy to collect, and you don’t have to worry about infrastructure management. They also provide a good UI for product data analysis. They are ideal if your goal is clickstream data product analytics, but can sometimes be a costly option for long term use. You also may not have full ownership of the data collected by these platforms.
• You can also use a middle-ground platform that includes client-side SDKs to capture click events and also contain BE that is used to collect and store on-site events. With these tools, the infrastructure for collecting data is provided but you have the flexibility to choose where to store your data.
What to consider when capturing Clickstream Data:
With various options for how to collect clickstream data, businesses should evaluate what their priorities and goals are in collecting this data. Some important things to consider are:
- What volume of data are you looking to collect?
- Is ownership of the data important?
- How do you want to use the data?
- Do you have the capacity to collect the data yourself?
- Is it cost effective to use X platform?
- Is access to the full history data important?
- How will you analyse the data collected?
What are the attributes of Clickstream Data?
Typically clickstream data contains information about a user’s online actions. A dataset might provide information on a user’s interaction with certain webpages, such as how long they stayed on the page and whether they return to search after. It can also tell you their series of actions on a page, such as whether they finalized a purchase or turned back at a preceding step.
Clickstream datasets can provide information on both a user’s online and mobile actions to give you a full picture of the user’s online interactions.
What is Clickstream Data used for?
Businesses buy clickstream data to track a consumer’s interaction with their online pages. For vendors it can be used to see whether a consumer completed their purchase or help explain why if they did not.
It can be used to analyze the behaviour of a user on a business’ website and therefore the behaviour of the user before and after the website, for example how they got there and where they went next if they did not complete a purchase.
Clickstream analysis is very useful for monitoring users’ web activity and can be used in software testing and market research.
How is Clickstream Data Analysis used?
Clickstream Data Analysis can be used by anyone wanting to understand user behavior better. This can be useful for both E-Commerce and research purposes.
Clickstream Data Analysis in E-Commerce
Clickstream analytics can be used to adapt a business’ website to ensure high conversion rates. Conversion is when a user’s session ends in a purchase. Typically, e-commerce sites recommend purchases to customers but this feature can be enhanced with the use of clickstream data. Businesses can look at clickstream behavior to discover what led a customer to making a purchase, and use this knowledge to target the consumers when they arrive on the site.
Clickstream data analysis can also be used to facilitate up-selling for online business. Up-selling is a sales technique which involves convincing a customer to spend more or buy a more expensive version of a product. Clickstream data analysis can look at how a user typically interacts with a site, which can be used to design a site in a way which encourages the customer to purchase more or upgrade their purchase in just a few clicks.
Clickstream Data Analysis in social media research
Clickstream data is also incredibly useful for social media research. A clickstream API can show both visible interactions such as commenting or liking, as well as silent interactions such as browsing. This can then be grouped together to define different types of social media users based on how they interact with the site; this process is called clustering.
For example, a study using clickstream data from Twitter defined 5 main clusters based on clickstream data of various user sessions. This defined 5 typical user behaviors:
- Surf Timeline: user’s activity takes place mostly on timeline
- Check Notifications: users viewing their notifications
- User Interaction: events occurring on the pages of others
- Other and Own Profile: combination of events occurring on own profile and other events, such as looking at information on Twitter as a company
- Information Seeking: users behavior is mainly searching, clicking hashtags, etc.
Clickstream Data Analysis in Higher Education Research
There is a growing interest in the use of clickstream data in higher education research. Clickstream data can look at student’s usage of Learning Management Systems (LMS), such as Canvas, to study how they engage with online education. This can be useful in seeing which pages are most useful to students, or to help identify student subgroups based on how they interact with the LMS. With the rise of online learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this data is becoming extremely important for educational research.
Why is Clickstream Data useful?
There are many ways companies can make use of clickstream data. Here are some of them:
• Identifying consumer trends: Businesses can see the direction clients have taken to get to their site thanks to clickstream data. A company can detect such similarities and trends that they can use for generating profit by gathering and analyzing the clickstreams of a large number of clients. For example, if a majority of users used the same search term to find a website that led them to the website of the brand, the company would remove the middle man and guarantee that the search term is tailored for their website alone. By seeing what led the user to their site, businesses can adapt their content to target this audience more specifically.
• Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Search Engine optimisation is adapting a website to increase its visibility in search engine results. By looking at clickstream data, businesses can see what searches led users to landing on their site and use this to optimise the number of visitors. For example, if a majority of users used the same search term that led them eventually to the website of the brand, the company can ensure this search term is used on their website to attract users directly from the search engine and optimize the number of visitors reaching their page.
• Improving user experience: Clickstream data can show how easy a site is to navigate. For example, if many clicks are required to reach the desired destination, companies should reconsider the design of their website to make it more efficient. Clickstream data can also show flaws in the website, such as if a page takes a long time to load, which when recognised by the company can be fixed to improve user satisfaction.
• Clickstream data can also be used to visualize the online customer demand routes, to carry out clickstream data analysis. Using clickstream analysis, the company will look to build the most successful way for consumers to find the product they are searching for quickly and efficiently through their page and secure a conversion.
• Preventing abandonment: Clickstream data can also show the top pages where most visitors leave the site. Using this data, companies can infer what causes users to leave their sites; perhaps the site is difficult to navigate or there are too many obstacles from arrival to purchase. This helps companies to make appropriate changes to reduce their sites’ bounce rate.
• Device compatibility: Clickstream data can show the difference between how users of different devices interact with a site. Studies show that search and clicking behavior differs between mobile, desktop and tablet users. With the modern day increase in smartphone users, it is crucial to ensure that mobile sites function just as well as desktop sites and are easy to navigate. Clickstream data can be used to see how users of different devices act differently so that the interfaces can be adapted accordingly.
• Clickstream Data Analysis: Clickstream data can also be used to visualize the online customer demand routes, to carry out clickstream data analysis. Using clickstream analysis, the company can infer which routes led to successful purchases and what caused users to leave the site. Companies can then look to build the most successful way for consumers to find the product they are searching for quickly and efficiently through their page and secure a conversion.
What are the advantages of Clickstream Data?
In discovering what searches led to your page, clickstream data is more accurate and reliable than Keyword Search Volume data. It is easier to identify and filter out automated searches from bots and collect data from real user searches.
Seeing a user’s progression through a site can be much more insightful than simply counting the number of people on a page, as it shows the intention and behavior of an individual when on a website. Clickstream data allows you to really understand the customer, which is crucial in digital marketing and e-marketing for example:
How to effectively use Clickstream Data in E-marketing:
To use clickstream data to your advantage and gain the most insights from it in marketing it is important to have a hypothesis. Simply looking at overall clickstream data will not help develop your marketing strategy, but if you choose a specific aspect to focus on it can be extremely insightful. For example, if you recently included a new offer on your website, looking at how many customers proceed from this offer to a purchase will inform you of how effective it was. The great thing about clickstream data is that it shows individual choices made by users on the journey from arrival to purchase or to abandonment. By recognising which aspects of the website lead to the most purchases, and drawing conclusions from this, you can optimise your marketing strategy to increase the number of conversions.
What is the definition of Clickstream Data analysis?
Clickstream analysis (also referred to as clickstream analytics) on a website is the method of gathering, analyzing, and reporting an aggregated commercial clickstream dataset about which pages a website user visits and in what order. The route taken by the user to a website is known as the clickstream.
The two levels of clickstream analysis include traffic and e-commerce analytics.
Traffic analytics functions at the level of the server and monitors how many pages are available to the user, how long each page takes to load, how often the user hits the back or pause button of the browser, and how much information is transmitted before the user moves on.
E-commerce analytics deals with the historical clickstream data showing financial transactions across the board on the website.
How to visualize Clickstream Data?
To visualize clickstream data means to identify the customers before analyzing the clickstream data. Typically, consumer descriptive characteristics include income, demographics, and behavior. Although it is easy to measure sales and demographics, consumer behavior is harder both to define and also harder to quantify. The nature of your business mostly determines which aspects of consumer behavior are important to your strategies.
To start simple visualization of clickstream data, note that on all websites, clicks, transactions, and other online footprints are usually registered. With this data, you can check the demographics, transactional details, and other descriptive factors that make up your audience. That can help you proceed onto clickstream data analysis with the visualized data in the form of heatmaps and graphs. Combining your first-party audience data with clickstream data can provide a clear picture of how different groups of users interact with your website in different ways. One of the main forms of clickstream data visualization is in the form of heat maps.
How are heatmaps used for Clickstream Data Analysis?
A heatmap is a way of presenting data in a map or diagram where data values are represented by colours. A clickstream data heatmap makes visible which links users click the most and which content is ignored. This can be extremely useful for recognising which elements in the website are most important and which need editing.
Is Clickstream Data structured or unstructured?
Clickstream data is normally unstructured data delivered via API or data feed. Unstructured data does not behave according to a predefined data model or does not act in a predefined direction.
Thus, unstructured data is used to characterize information that does not adhere to the structure of a standard relational database. Clickstream data, in essence, is a comprehensive record of how users move through a website. Such movements are usually unpredictable because they are liable to become influenced by multiple uncontrollable factors. Clickstream data analysis offers considerable insights into how quickly the web is navigated, which pages confuse users the most, and which pages are crucial to achieving the desired destination from a user’s perspective.
How can a user assess the quality of Clickstream Data?
The best clickstream datasets will include the most up-to-date information on users’ online activity and will be constantly updated. This is key due to the high amount of internet traffic that is generated each day. Good sets will also contain historical data so that you can track user patterns and trends that can be seen over time. Always make sure to check the provider’s reviews before buying and ask for a clickstream data sample before you buy clickstream data to ensure that the dataset fits your needs.
What to consider before buying Clickstream Data from an external provider:
How fresh is the data feed?
How is the data sourced?
How is the data stored?
What is the expected event volume per month?
How often is the data updated and delivered via API?
Is there access to historical data?
How expensive is the data?
Considering these questions can help you make informed decisions about your data purchases and ensure the clickstream data you buy is accurate and cost effective.
Who are the best Clickstream Data providers?
Finding the right Clickstream Data provider for you really depends on your unique use case and data requirements, including budget and geographical coverage. Popular Clickstream Data providers that you might want to buy Clickstream Data from are Datos, Above Data, Swash, Lifesight, and Datastream Group.
Where can I buy Clickstream Data?
Data providers and vendors listed on Datarade sell Clickstream Data products and samples. Popular Clickstream Data products and datasets available on our platform are Datos Global Mobile Clickstream Data (>10M MAU, Real-time & Historical) by Datos, Above Data | Global Clickstream / Weblog Data (>500M DAU, 2 years history) by Above Data, and Swash Clickstream Data - User Search Data on Top Search Engines by Swash.
How can I get Clickstream Data?
You can get Clickstream Data via a range of delivery methods - the right one for you depends on your use case. For example, historical Clickstream Data is usually available to download in bulk and delivered using an S3 bucket. On the other hand, if your use case is time-critical, you can buy real-time Clickstream Data APIs, feeds and streams to download the most up-to-date intelligence.
What are similar data types to Clickstream Data?
Clickstream Data is similar to Semantic Website Data, News Data, IP Address Data, Web Scraping Data, and Web Traffic Data. These data categories are commonly used for Web Traffic Analytics and Clickstream Data analytics.
What are the most common use cases for Clickstream Data?
The top use cases for Clickstream Data are Web Traffic Analytics.