While web analytics are helpful for learning how users got to your site, they do not help you find how users act once they’ve found you. If you want to learn how long users stay, what they’re doing, and where pain points are, you need to look at clickstreams (or “click paths”).
When seeking a tool for collecting this information, keep in mind the ethics of tracking your users. Do not use a tool that will threaten the privacy of your users, or knowingly divulge private information. Use clickstream information only to improve your website’s ease of use.
SCHEDULE TIME & GATHER MATERIALS
Time to Analyze a Single Task and Prepare a Report: 4-8 hours
Server log files or
Reports from software like Google Analytics’ Flow Visualization Reports
CARRY OUT THIS METHOD
Describe the problem you are trying to answer.
Describe one or more hypotheses for why the problem is occurring.
Many analytics applications will email clickstream reports on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis; request access to these, if applicable. Otherwise, partner with someone who has server log access and can run custom queries for you and help interpret the data.
Examine the clickstream information.
Determine which hypothesis the clickstream information supports.
Explore alternative explanations.
When you’re satisfied with the hypotheses, document the results of your research.
Create a plan for A/B Testing to verify or determine the root cause.
TIPS AND RESOURCES
Try these tips
Clickstream Analysis can identify a problem, but only qualitative analysis and user testing will explain the reason for user behavior.
Explore more resources
Open Tracker: Clickstream or clickpath analysis
Gartner: Clickstream Analysis
Google Analytics: Flow visualization reports