How to Analyze Session Recordings (Effectively)

You’ve got hours of session recordings – now what?

Do you really need to watch them all, minute by minute? Maybe there is some other way to analyze them and get insights faster?

We know that you don’t have all the time in the world to watch session replay videos. If you were to watch them all, it would be a full-time job.

Session replays are supposed to make your work easier and not add extra repetitive work. In this article, we’ll show you how to analyze session recordings the right way.

We’re going to cover the following things:

  • how to get started with analyzing session recordings
  • what are the most common mistakes when interpreting session replays
  • how the right session replay tool will help you analyze recordings more effectively
  • what are our best tips for session recording analysis

Ready to learn more, boost your productivity and improve conversions? Let’s dive in!

How to get started with session replay analysis

Watching session recordings is one of the most effective conversion research methods. It’s commonly used by a wide range of companies, from SaaS businesses (see the RocketLink case study for more details) to ecommerce stores.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive and convenient way to learn more about user behavior, session replays make a perfect choice. They can serve to test your hypotheses, as well as to formulate new ones.

And here’s how to get started with this method: you need to set your goals first. Quantitative data from Google Analytics is a great place to start. For example, you can have a look at:

  • the pages with highest bounce rates
  • the most popular exit pages
  • the conversion rate of your Google Analytics goals

This information will help you formulate relevant hypotheses. Of course, the assumptions may be tweaked along the way – session recording can be a source of really surprising findings!

What to avoid when analyzing session replays

You don’t always have to learn from your own mistakes. We’ve listed some of the most popular pitfalls to keep in mind:

Confirmation bias

Here’s one of the biggest issues with analyzing session replays: our interpretations will always remain subjective, at least to some extent.

Confirmation bias is the danger lurking around the corner when you’re creating hypotheses for your research. The rule is quite simple: we focus on information that confirms our beliefs and we ignore data that goes against them. Most of the time, we’re not even aware that this is happening. For instance, when you hope that your new landing page is performing better than the previous one, you’re going to focus on behaviors that validate this assumption.

Luckily, there are some tricks that will help you avoid the confirmation bias when analyzing your session recordings:

  • Focus on the “why” – Analyzing session replays is a qualitative research method. When you watch a recording, always ask yourself why the user is behaving this way. What is their intent? Are they on the right way to achieve their goal?
  • Come up with alternatives – Challenge your first assumptions. Even when something seems obvious, try a different interpretation and see how it fits. This simple practice can help you overcome your own brain’s limitations.
  • Different points of view – If possible, share your findings with other team members. We’ve all got a thousand other tasks, but you don’t need to ask your workmates to go through the entire process. You can ask them to watch two or three recordings, without sharing your findings first, and see if their opinions will go in line with yours.

Not using filters

If you’ve just only started your business, you might have enough time to watch all the sessions. That’s good, but it definitely won’t work in the long run. The number of your visitors will grow and you won’t be able to watch every single recording anymore.

This is why it pays off to take a closer look at available filtering options and set up your first target segments at the very start. The more relevant data you’ll have, the better.

Ignoring available integrations

Just like different types of software, session recording apps can be integrated with other tools for better performance. Need inspirations? Our favorite integration ideas include:

With the right integration, all of this can happen automatically. Little tweaks like these sure to save a lot of time and make your work so much easier.

Tips for analyzing session replays

Now that you know what you should avoid, it’s time to answer another question: what you should do? Here are some of our best practices for analyzing session recordings:

Session recording filters

Illustration of session recordings.

This is the key to analyzing your recordings effectively. You don’t have to take shots in the dark, watch all the recordings and hope to find the data you’re looking for.

Instead, you can use different session recording filters to help you out. We’ll show you different possibilities on the example of LiveSession features:

  • Engagement score – This is the perfect feature to get you started. If you’d like to skip the recordings with little activity, you can do it with the engagement score:

    Engagement score in LiveSession

    So, how exactly does it work? It’s simple: every recording gets a score on a scale from 1 to 5, where 5 stands for most activity, e.g. clicks, scrolls, long session duration and large number of pages visited. You can only choose to watch recordings with the highest score.

  • Custom properties – Looking for sessions of users from a particular pricing option? You can find these very easily if you add custom properties to your recordings. Apart from different pricing plans, you can also add the user’s ID from other analytics software. This will help you integrate data from different sources and get even more in-depth insights.
  • Inspect mode – What about recordings of a particular feature? Inspect mode comes to the rescue here. This filter can be applied while you’re watching a session replay. You can choose an element in the recording (either a text value or a CSS selector) and immediately see all the sessions where someone has interacted with it.

Segmentation

Apart from the features mentioned above, you can use a whole range of other, more granular filters:

Segmentation filters

The best part? You don’t need to set up all dimensions manually every time you analyze your sessions. All the filters can be combined and saved to create user segments. This allows you to track how different segments are performing after you apply changes and test different conversion strategies on your website.

Sticky note strategy

Sticky notes on a wall.

Last but not least, here’s our unplugged tip: when analyzing a particular hypothesis, keep a sticky note on your wall. Write down your goals and assumptions and treat them like your north star. Once you make the direction clear, you’ll be less vulnerable to distractions and biases. Good luck and happy analyzing!

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Kalina Tyrkiel
Content Specialist @ LiveSession