How Clickstream Data Helps Your Data Do More

Knowing how consumers navigate the web could be the missing piece in your data picture

Blindspots in your data are a frustrating reality for lots of businesses. But there’s simply no way to solve the problem when we rely entirely on traditional data sources.

The reason for this, of course, is that even the most carefully curated database is typically focused only on a narrow band of customer interactions. 

For instance, your customer file is typically looking at transaction history. If you’re lucky, perhaps you also get some rudimentary demographic, hopefully solid geographic, and sometimes a bit of psychographic data. But even all this tells you nothing about current trends and other motivational factors that may be emerging.

As for the competition, you can certainly do competitive studies to gain insight about what they’re doing. But you’re still left nearly blind to what the audience is responding to over time across the Internet. 

This is not to say the data is the problem. The data is usually just fine. The missing component is inspiration. And this is where overlaying clickstream data can help.

Understanding the Clickstream

While traditional data sources are designed to go deep on the structure of the customer relationship, clickstream goes wide to show you where the market is moving.

Using a worldwide, diverse panel of millions of individuals who have agreed to have their web usage measured anonymously, we see both the interests of consumers today and how these interests have evolved over previous years.

In other words, it adds real-time context to your existing data sources and inspires new thinking about how to keep customers happy.

With a simple search across a specified timeframe, clickstream data reveals how behavior ebbs, flows, and shifts — sometimes over the span of years. This can offer tantalizing clues about possible emerging trends. You can also use it to match back to marketing initiatives or product development efforts to gauge audience attention. And it can even help determine where traffic goes after it leaves your site.

Putting It To Work

What are some of the practical use cases of all this? Let’s start by going back to the topic of competitive research as a good example.

If you’ve already gathered intel on a competitor’s new product, clickstream data can overlay specifics on spikes or lags in traffic to their product or offer pages, and how consumers found them. This can help you gain additional understanding of what is and what isn’t capturing market interest for them.

You could also overlay traffic across your entire competitive sector to help distinguish between over-arching market booms or busts vs actual competitive threats. So now if traffic is lagging to your site, you can get an instant read on whether interest is suppressed marketwide or if there’s a single competitor grabbing attention.

Plus, armed with this read of where consumers are focused, you can also get granular on your own product and marketing initiatives.

For instance, once you identify an actual trend rising around a certain feature or benefit, it enables you to respond more quickly with a product update or counter-messaging. It also gives your insights about the types of content capturing the most attention in the audience, allowing you to better target your own content and ads down the road.

Let It Inspire You

These are just a few of the many ways that clickstream data can help a company get the most possible value out of their own data. But it’s in no way a definitive list.

We’ve found that our clients continually uncover new ways to apply the clickstream to gain added context to their existing insights. So, often we end up being just as surprised at the advantages clickstream data can add as our customers are.

This is why we always encourage people to take time and get creative with their proposed research plan. Ask questions, like, “What would happen if we looked at where else our bounce traffic goes besides competitor sites.” Or possibly, “Is there a date each month where traffic spikes across the entire market sector.”

You just never know where the clickstream might take you.

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