Understanding Your Consumer Insights Doesn’t Need To Be a Code-Cracking Exercise

The competition for customers is fierce, especially online. To rise to the top, you must understand what drives your customers. Termed “consumer insights,” these account for the needs, wants, and preferences of a business’s customer base. As such, they should be incorporated into every aspect of digital marketing, but especially your company’s website design.

The goal is to improve the user experience (UX) and better engage website visitors. And while the thought of building a website around consumer insights may seem complex, it can actually be streamlined and simplified with the right processes in place.

For instance, UpTop uses a four-step process to assess the customer journey and arrive at a UX strategy. Specifically, we:

  1. Meet with the client to discuss business and user goals, and the problem(s) to be solved
  2. Assess the current website through qualitative and quantitative research methods to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement
  3. Review and analyze the data to generate actionable insights for implementing proposed improvements
  4. Deliver a set of bespoke UX recommendations that will guide the website design

Consumer insights inform UpTop’s work in each step and even at the testing stage. Let’s dig deeper into why this customer data is so critical and how it can become easier to understand and use.

Defining Consumer Insights and Categorizing Their Context and Relevance

Simply put, consumer insights help businesses build a stronger and more complete understanding of their customers. This understanding then guides the company to deliver the products and services that customers actually want and need.

To generate actionable insights, your business should closely evaluate your target audience and articulate your company goals. In addition, take a strategy-driven approach to building a digital experience that will resonate with customers and prospects.

Understanding the Target Audience

To understand your target audience, you must first precisely identify that audience. Asking targeted questions can help. For instance:

  • Which of your products or services generate the best sales numbers?
  • Who can benefit the most from your products or services?
  • What differentiates your business from competitors?

In addition, a social media analysis can reveal which types of consumers interact with your company’s online presence the most. Other ways to build better, more complete understandings of your customers include:

  • Conducting customer/client surveys and interviews
  • Conducting industry-specific, trend-focused market research
  • Building and testing customer personas
  • Analyzing competitors and identifying value-added points of differentiation

Articulating Business Goals

Businesses usually understand their own goals and objectives, at least intuitively. But they don’t always articulate them with the level of precision needed to yield relevant and valuable consumer insights.

The “SMART” approach is one well-known way to specify business objectives. It involves articulating specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals, then tying those goals into your company’s core mission.

After articulating your business goals, you should then align your content strategy with those goals. As a result, your business becomes more visible to qualified consumers. This creates a superior website experience and can ultimately lead to higher conversion rates.

Understanding the Digital Experience

A consumer’s digital experience encompasses any aspect of the customer journey that occurs in digital or online spaces. Examples include:

  • Websites
  • Mobile apps
  • Chatbots
  • Social media
  • Personalized text or email messages

Easy, effortless, and frictionless digital experiences resonate with modern consumers. What’s more, today’s customers expect a greater number of access or contact points and personalized, effective, and prompt customer service. Configuring your digital experience to prioritize these elements creates a strong foundation for desirable results.

Interpreting Consumer Behavior

You can also generate valuable consumer insights by tracking, analyzing, and interpreting the way customers behave when they interact with your company. Behavioral analysis tools can reveal what users engage with when they visit your website, what they overlook, and how you can build a better website experience.

Examples of useful behavior analysis tools include:

Journey Mapping

Journey mapping involves creating visual representations of the entire customer journey. It typically begins with the consumer’s need for the products or services you sell. Then, it continues across the research, store or website visit, purchase, usage, and support phases.

When leveraged properly, journey mapping can:

  • Identify specific strengths and weaknesses of your current business or service model
  • Uncover pain points experienced by customers who interact with your business
  • Pinpoint areas for improvement or reconfiguration

Journey mapping works because it puts your business in your customer’s shoes. This, in turn, empowers your business to build a better understanding of itself from the consumer’s perspective.

Heat Maps

Heat maps are visual representations of the specific areas of your website that generate the highest levels of user engagement. They also reveal areas where the website isn’t engaging users to the desired degree.

As an element of UX strategy, heat maps provide clarity on where and how visitors engage with your website. Specifically, you can use heat maps to make data-backed design decisions, evaluate your website’s usability, perform and validate A/B testing, and boost your conversion rates.

Notably, heat maps excel at telling you “what” a user did, but not “why” they did it. For better consumer insights into the “why” aspect of user behavior, you can use this next tool.

Session Replays

Sessions replays record a user’s visit to your website. They track user interactions with website elements, note the qualitative and quantitative elements of user behaviors, and store the data for subsequent analysis. You can use sessions replays to generate insights into:

  • Mouse movements
  • Scrolling and clicking
  • Textual and numerical inputs
  • Time spent on the session
  • Website navigation patterns

UX strategy uses session replays to generate insights into how users interact and engage with your website. Sessions replays look at high-level trends. For instance: Which website elements do users engage with at the highest and lowest rates? Do users tend to exit sessions at a common point?

By analyzing these and other relevant questions, you can glean insights into why users might interact with specific website elements in particular ways.

User Behavior Monitoring

User behavior monitoring and analysis encompasses many of the same concepts covered by session replays. These strategies also strive to identify where users click and scroll, what content engages and holds their attention, and where they exit pages and sessions. However, they use a different set of tools to generate those consumer insights.

In the context of user behavior monitoring, analysts look at metrics such as:

  • Page views
  • Time on site
  • Click-through rates
  • Conversion rates

Analysis also considers factors like user demographics, the search queries visitors used to find the site, and where they were online immediately before navigating to your site.

Session replays and heat maps are relevant behavior analysis tools, but they can also be paired with other methods of generating consumer insights. For example, many businesses have successfully used built-in surveys to harvest opinions and feedback from real users.

Behavior monitoring can reveal what about the website is working, what isn’t, and how well the site is (or isn’t) responding to user needs. But it’s not a static concept: user behaviors constantly change. As such, you’ll want to analyze user behaviors at regular intervals to track dynamic changes and adapt your strategies to evolving user preferences.

Usability Testing

Usability testing is a qualitative way to evaluate a website or mobile app’s functionality before you finalize and release it. You can conduct usability tests to assess the current state of your digital assets or to validate redesigns.

UX specialists typically recommend usability testing on existing websites for two reasons:

  1. When the site has unidentified performance issues
  2. If the business wants to keep its site mostly intact while improving targeted aspects

Usability testing is a universal feature of new site designs and redesigns and should occur at the earliest possible stage. This approach enables designers to evaluate and compare various designs and strategies without overcommitting resources to options that haven’t yet been validated.

Traditional approaches to usability testing engage a pool of multiple users. Basically, UX designers evaluate the site’s overall impact on participants. But you can also take a leaner, faster approach known as rapid iterative testing and evaluation (RITE). This seeks to identify and address user experience shortcomings on a compressed timeline. The RITE approach facilitates continuous design adjustments, so you can resolve issues and perform efficient retesting on refined designs.

Turn Consumer Insights Into a Better-Performing Web and Mobile Presence

With an expert-led, systematized approach to improving your company’s website experience, you can demystify the process of using consumer insights to guide design choices and content strategies. UpTop uses a proven, multi-step approach to UX audits, incorporating a complete cross-section of proven strategies to improve commercial websites.

Engage your users, boost conversion rates, and drive business growth. Contact UpTop today to get started.