Three Technologies That Improve Customer Experience on Your Website
This is a short overview of web analytics, A/B testing and personalisation tools, which you can integrate with your website to improve customer experience. What is more, to use selected tools you don’t need to have programming skills.
Time to read: 6 min. Author: Bartosz Szkudlarek, CEO @ Eversis
Not everyone is a technical ninja.
It is easier to do business if you know HTML and JavaScipt. Because I started my career as a web developer in 2000, the shift for more business-oriented tasks was easier for me. Even if I need to speak with web developers, I know the topic well.
On the other hand, increasing your e-commerce or company website customer experience requires software changes. Improving user-oriented goals with a technical mindset can be a daunting challenge. Sometimes it is easier to do things by yourself.
For that reason, I picked three emerging cloud technologies that help you improve the customer experience almost without any coding. In this article, you will learn how to:
- Be free from technical tyranny – the Tag Manager
- Analyse your customer experience measurements – the web analytics
- Start experiments with your content – A/B testing and personalisation
Let’s start with the most technical task at the beginning: integration with tag manager.
Tag Manager – how to be released from technological tyranny!
How to simplify the integration of marketing tools into your website? The Tag Manager streamlines this task a lot. In most cases, to use any marketing tool, you need to inject tracking code into your website template source code. It means that you need to have access to your templates, know how to modify them, and keep the proper order of the instructions. As a consequence of a mistake, the website can go down for the moment or display the content in a not quite right way.
Once deployed on your website, the Tag Manager allows you to inject tools such as web analytics, A/B testing or personalisation without coding. The tools provide you with the administration console in which you can easily configure the desired integration.
Moreover, the Tag Manager allows you to do more than integrate the analytics, A/B testing and personalisation. Thanks to the Tag Manager, you can easily switch on marketing pixels from Google, Facebook or LinkedIn or run the lead capturing and feedback forms.
There are a couple of Tag Managers you can use on your CMS or website.
Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is the most commonly used tool. 90% of websites use this tool (https://w3techs.com/technologies/history_overview/tag_manager). Moreover, most content management systems (WordPress, Drupal) or page generators (wix.com) support Google Tag Manager natively. The enterprise-level solution, like Liferay Portal or Optimizely, supports the tool as well.
- ready to use tag templates allowing integration with standard marketing pixels and tools (developed and tested by Google and developed by community)
- community support (hundreds of youtube tutorials) and good documentation
- many companies providing commercial support
- data privacy concerns
Matomo / PIVIK
It is an alternative for Google Tag Manager for an organisation that pays a lot of attention to data privacy and security (Wait. Is there any organisation that does not pay attention to that?). Both solutions are based on open-source software supported by commercial companies. Both solutions have more or less the same functions, especially in free versions.
- open-source software commercial support available,
- on-premise and on-cloud hosting variants
- fully functional replacement of Google
- lack of support from the community
- the free versions do not contain ready to use templates, so finally, in each integration, you need to code on your own (or choose commercial, on cloud version)
- price – for the commercial version
Adobe Launch superpower is native integration with Adobe Experience Cloud universe. The Adobe Experience Cloud perfect environment is the big industry. So for sure, if you don’t have a full suite in your organisation, you will not use Adobe Launch. But, in the opposite case, you will be forced to use Adobe Launch.
The application is free for Adobe Analytics customers.
- built-in integration with Adobe ecosystem
- workflow and permission policy for managing and deploying tags
- can not be used separately from Adobe Analysts (part of Adobe Launch)
- not supported by community
- because it is “enterprise” software, you need to pay “enterprise” rates for the support
Once you have your tag manager, you can add your favourite web or mobile analytics tool. Web analytics allows you to improve the customer experience by setting and measuring your KPIs, such as traffic, bounce rate or conversion. When you master the art of doing web analytics, you can set up and analyse your conversion funnels, which start on your PPC campaign and finish downloading your ebook, signing up for a newsletter, or purchasing a product.
Here are some tools which help you build a good customer experience.
Google rules the market. The tool is the most commonly used analytics platform (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1258557/web-analytics-market-share-technology-worldwide/). Being free, providing the most comprehensive data is in opposition to privacy concerns and data ownership.
- most comprehensive web and mobile analytics platform
- built-in integration with Google ecosystem – directs statistics of AdWords campaigns, integration with Google Search Console (which speed up the work with search engines)
- can be used for web, mobile and non-web channels
- tones of youtube tutorials on how to use the tool
- the data privacy concerns
- usability of the tool, people compliant especially about the Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Matomo / Pivik Analytics
Both Matomo and Pivik aim to fill the gap with privacy and data protection. The platforms are mature and have the same capacity as GA. What is most important, you can install both tools on-premise or separate the private cloud.
Similar to Matomo and Pivik Tag Manager, the application is open-source and supported by commercial companies.
- multiple models: free and commercial, on-premise and cloud
- focus on privacy and data protection
- similar possibilities as Google Analytics
- commercial support from the company which creates the applications
- open-source with commercial support (I know, it is subjective – but I am a fan of open source)
- not natively integrated (it is not so problematic, you can set up custom parameters)
- no integration with Google Web Console
- fewer tutorials on youtube
It is a different tool in this category. The HotJar focuses more on how the user interacts with the page (which GA has very simplified). The app support three areas:
- heatmaps analysis showing statistics on how users use your website
- recording of customer interactions, which allows track single interaction and see where the customer has focus,
- feedback analysis – allows doing short surveys and analysing the sentiment of your content and website
HotJar can supplement the web analytics tools, so it is challenging to compare pros and cons with Google Analytics or Matomo/Pivik. I prefer to highlight how the tool can benefit:
- understand and measure how customers discover your product or service on your website and what are the best patterns for conversion
- monitor changes on the website and analyses the impact of this change
- monitor customer expectations
HotJar is a commercial tool but provides a free account to start working with that.
A/B Testing and personalisation
Tweaking web pages and improving customer experience without A/B testing tools is like making design decisions based on a crystal ball. For some reason, end-users prefer the button on the left, but sometimes the button on the right works better.
A/B testing tools allow you to build experimental variants of your page and measure which version has better conversion and drop-off rates. You can easily create two or more alternatives that differ in colours, content or images.
When you know what variant works better, you may need to differentiate the page depending on the acquisition channel. Personalisation tools allow you to adjust the website content, colours, images or even structure for a particular advertisement campaign, technical parameters (mobile devices, browsers, specific os), location or demographic characteristics.
Even if the A/B testing and personalisation concept sounds complicated, its implementation is simple and does not need HTML programming skills. Most of the Platform provides a WYSIWYG editor, which you can use to modify the website content, colours or images and provide your variants.
The following tools do both A/B testing and personalisation. The ease of integration with the website (through Tag Manager) and visual editor is a common feature in my selection.
Google knows how to do web marketing. Google Optimise, the part of the Google (TBD: the Platform’s name) Platform, is a leader with 99% market share (TBD: the market share). The strong point of the application is native integration with other tools from Google and its visual editor. The commonly commented pitfall is data privacy.
- integration with Google Analyst – direct access to xx (TBD) and yy (TBD: measurements, target milestones),
- integration with Google Adwords – personalisation for specific ad campaigns,
- an easy visual editor, which allows changing the website content, images and styles (chrome plugin)
- massive support from the community (youtube tutorials explains everything), self-service help centre and certified partners network
- it’s free
- the easy visual editor has its limitations,
- not clear privacy, no built-in consent management
- It’s a web tool.; it does not support native mobile technologies
A/B Testy is a swiss army knife for enterprise-level marketers. It includes a visual editor allowing a quick start with variants and personalisation on the website and advanced developer tools for building server-side integration. The second one allows integrating A/B Testy natively into the portal, mobile or IoT applications. Contradictory to Google tools, A/B Testy provides a complex, self-sufficient marketing toolset.
- more advanced development option, the tool does not have limitations like
- integration with third parties (data management platforms, customer data platforms, CRM)
- build-in customer segmentation
- they say they have the best customer support
- clear privacy data policy
- the tool is paid,
- challenging to trail the solution,
- no support from third parties, poor community support