June 18, 2012, 2:00 PM

New tool lets retailers watch videos of visitors to mobile sites

The service from ClickTale can help retailers better design their sites, the company says.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Lead Photo

ClickTale Ltd, a provider of online customer experience analytics, has released ClickTale Mobile Beta, a tool that enables e-retailers and other online companies to see recordings of visitors to mobile sites and also see heat maps that show where visitors go and how much time they spend there.

The tool allows mobile site operators to combine thousands of videos of site visitors into visual heat maps and segment reports by many metrics. For example, a retailer could see how Apple iOS users differ from Google Inc.’s Android users, or how Android user activity varies across devices and screen sizes, says Shmuli Goldberg, senior technology evangelist for ClickTale.

“We record every single tap, pinch, swipe and tilt, creating fully playable videos of customers’ online experiences,” Goldberg says.

Several e-retailers are testing the service, Goldberg says, as is CBS Broadcasting Inc., which is using it for the mobile versions of its global sites, including news site CNET and Internet radio station Last.fm. CyberAgent, a blog and Internet company based in Japan, is also testing the service. ClickTale will make the mobile analytics service available to the public later this year, including to the nearly 2,500 clients of its desktop analytics service. 

“We consider our mobile web site to be a vital part of our online presence, yet we feel that there’s so much more that we still have to learn in terms of customer mobile experience,” says Morikazu Suma, head of user experience at CyberAgent. “We’re excited to see the insights ClickTale Mobile will deliver.”

To implement the tracking service, mobile commerce site operators add one line of JavaScript code to the bottom of each page of a mobile site. When a customer visits the page, the code launches ClickTale’s recording software which records the visitor’s actions and sends data back to ClickTale’s servers. Site operators can then log in to a web portal to see the recordings and create reports, Goldberg says.

Mobile site operators can combine thousands of user recordings into heat maps to see the elements consumers interact with the most and if the interactions led to a sale, Goldberg says. For example, a retailer could create two heat maps for one page: one showing the behavior of visitors who made a purchase and the other showing the action of visitors who did not.

This, Goldberg says, can help retailers see the page elements that often lead to a sale and those that might deter a consumer from buying.

“You can see that 90% of customers who bought this product zoomed in on this image or 90% who read a particular review did not buy the product,” Goldberg says. “You can then essentially assign a dollar value to each component of a page and put the best converting elements in the best possible places.”  

Retailers need to do a better job optimizing their sites for mobile devices, according to some studies. For example, a recent study by reputation management firm Morrissey & Co. finds 88% of mobile users are unsatisfied with their mobile web experience. 

“Companies today are almost completely blind to how customers interact with their mobile sites – it’s essentially a black box,” says Tal Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of ClickTale. “Businesses can now visualize what’s working and what’s not on their sites. By revealing the problems that are frustrating their customers, businesses can finally make the site improvements that optimize the mobile customer experience.”

Goldberg adds that many companies took the wrong approach when launching mobile sites in that they simply shrunk down their desktop sites to make them fit a smartphone screen. He says consumers interact with mobile sites differently and have different needs and objectives.

“The only way to offer the best mobile experience is to look at the customer, see what they are doing and how they are acting, and design accordingly,” Goldberg says.

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